Best Places to See the Stars on Maui

From remote lookouts to a hotel rooftop, discover the darkest skies on Hawaii's 'Valley Isle.'

Milky Way over Haleakala in Hawaii

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The Hawaiian Islands are hotbeds of volcanic activity, but fiery lava and continuous sunshine aren't the only sources of natural light on this idyllic archipelago. After dark, the sky over Maui dazzles with the glow of the Milky Way, the twinkle of thousands of stars. It's an astrophile's paradise.

While traces of modern-day light pollution plague parts of the island — such as Kahului and Lahaina — the majority of Maui offers dark-sky views like constellation soup. Here, binoculars or a telescope, a warm blanket, or even the hood of a car are all that's needed to participate in one of humankind's most ancient and romantic experiences.

Here are the best places on Maui to see a celestial event, or simply to soak in the silence and solitude of night in Hawaii.

Kalahaku Overlook

One thing to know before visiting Haleakalā National Park is that the stargazing there rivals the sunrise in terms of impressibility. From the upper slopes of the expansive Haleakalā crater, the Milky Way stretches like a celestial zipper connecting two sides of the sky, and there are often more shooting stars racing across the darkness than you have wishes for. At about 9,300 feet, Kalahaku Overlook offers a dark, private, and elevated corner, as well as the best view when a rising moon illuminates the crater floor (don't worry — the volcano is dormant). Just remember to bring a jacket as the air up there is cooler.

Haleakalā Summit

Night sky from Haleakalā

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Even higher than the Kalahaku Overlook, standing at just over 10,000 feet, is Haleakalā's summit. This could be one of your best bets for breaking through low clouds for a good view of the night sky — and don't worry, you won't have to climb it. The summit of this massive shield volcano is drivable. Go early in the morning, before dawn, to see one of the best sunrises of your life.

Science City

High-altitude observatory and science complex on mountain

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Adjacent to Haleakalā's summit, the Haleakalā Observatory — aka "Science City" — sits on 18 acres of wide-open terra firma. This high-altitude space surveillance complex was erected in 1958 and is celebrated for having observed the highest number of asteroids monitored in a single night (19) in the world. Don't expect to gain access to its solar telescope — the largest on Earth, no less — or any of the structures at Science City, for that matter. But you can post up with your own equipment just outside for the next best view.

Lipoa Point

In West Maui’s agricultural heyday, this rugged, volcanic, panoramic headland was covered in pineapples. Today, thanks to local conservation efforts that halted proposed developments, a blanket of stars still canvasses the sky above Honolua Bay. Lipoa Point, about a mile walk from the dirt parking area, provides the perfect vantage point for watching the sun gradually set over the knife-thin ridges of Moloka‘i in the distance. Just be sure to bring plenty of light for the walk back as the trail is a bit overgrown and unmarked.

Honomanu Bay

Set along the world-famous Road to Hana, the black sands of Honomanu Bay mirror the inky black sky of night on this remote part of the island. The taro-rich unincorporated town of Ke‘anae is the closest semblance of civilization, and it has only a tiny population. While sightseers crowd the beach by day, the occasional fisherman and the crashing surf are the only nighttime companions.


Starry night sky over Maalaea Harbor

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One surefire way to separate yourself from light pollution is to take to the water via a stargazing cruise. PacWhale Eco-Adventures offers a Sunset and Celestial Cruise that departs from Maʻalaea Harbor on the west side of Maui. Guests are joined by astronomer Harriet Witt, who teaches about the stars and the importance of the night sky in Polynesian wayfinding. Tours are offered year-round and last two and a half hours.

Star Lookout

The Pleiades meet pastureland at this rustic cabin in the verdant upcountry of Maui. Tucked out of the way on a country road in rural Keokea, at 2,900 feet of elevation, the aptly named Star Lookout vacation rental is the perfect place to stargaze while sipping hot chocolate from the privacy of a wraparound deck. Better yet, from the hot tub. The cabin's hilltop location offers sweeping views across the valley and the wide-open sky. No neighbors. No lights. No sounds. No problem.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

On the roof of a hotel isn't the first place you'd think to go for stargazing — it's certainly different than the remote and rustic locales on this list — but Hyatt Regency's Maui outpost has been called the world's best hotel for stargazing. It embraces the moniker with a nightly rooftop astronomy program, Tour of the Stars, during which experts talk about celestial phenomena like Hōkūle'a, Hawaii’s zenith star. Hōkūle'a reaches its highest point in the sky when it's directly over Hawaii. The program is held Thursdays through Mondays and requires a reservation.

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