Sunsets in Maui are a special experience, and not just because of their beauty. They are evening shows that happen on cue, fiery ends to activity-filled days, unique performances that are different each night—with free admission for all. While time doesn’t stop in the literal sense, it’s as if, during sunset, all obligations and responsibilities are momentarily paused. Cars on the highway pull off the road and pedestrians stop in their tracks. Myna birds rain their evening songs from the boughs of rustling banyans, and the sound of conch shells echoes off mountains as they are trumpeted from oceanfront luaus.
During particularly impressive sunset displays, even surfers will pass up waves in favor of watching the show. Then—in the expected digital follow-up—the scene is replayed on social media channels for anyone who wasn’t in attendance. Sunsets here are Nature’s performance, and the following are some of the best places on Maui for a front row seat to the show.
Haleakala is more than a one-trick pony when it comes to watching the sun. Already famous for its breathtaking sunrise, the summit offers views from the Big Island to Moloka‘i (almost the entirety of Maui) that are just as spectacular at sunset. On days when the summit is above the clouds, explosive oranges and pastel pinks seem to float on a sea of white. Warm jacket required!
Every beach in Kihei is a prime sunset-watching viewpoint, but hidden Keawakapu is special for its perfect angle and a stretch that’s refreshingly free of crowds. The middle of the beach is often emptiest, and the sun hits the beach in a particular way that reflects off the smooth wet sand.
Lahaina Pali Trail
This is the best place on Maui to watch the sunset—but getting here requires a little bit of work. A 15-minute hike from the Ukumehame trailhead lets you climb 500 vertical feet, and the panoramic view gazes due west over a white-capped swath of ocean (in winter, you can count the whales you spot). Be sure to pack a flashlight for the walk back down.
Aboard a Ka‘anapai Sunset Sail
It’s not just the sunlight reflected on water that adds to the offshore romance. Nor is it the calming ukulele rhythms that float from the deck of the sailing catamaran. It’s the view of West Maui bathed in twilight, a rainbow stretching over Ka‘anapali, or a full moon rising over Mauna Kahalawai to complement the setting sun.
Kahekili Beach Park
Pack a beach chair and a cold drink and then settle in for the show at this sweeping shoreline. Not only does the beach face due west; the surrounding grassy park and towering palms create the perfect sunset amphitheater. The ample parking and restrooms are a logistical bonus, and the beach is over a mile long if you feel like a sunset stroll.