While it’s reasonably difficult to distinguish any particular season from another in Hawaii – especially given the year-round predisposition to (unfairly, we admit) glorious weather – our summer guide to Maui includes its fair share of perks for those who can stand the heat. From annual festivals to statewide celebrations and foodie events, summertime on Maui is an unbeatable travel destination for all ages.
The Ultimate Summer Guide to Maui
As we say goodbye to whale season, summer on Maui ushers in a whole new reign of outstanding seasonal events. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite summertime happenings to make your summer travel on Maui one for the books.
Wa’a Kiakahi Festival: June 2nd & June 3rd
Best witnessed from the west Maui shoreline fronting the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, Hawaii’s 14th annual Wa’a Kiakahi Festival and Maui Jim Ocean Shootout features several exciting individual sprint and team relay races in traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes, with men and women competing for the top spots and ensuing prize money.
Obon Festivals: June 2nd – August 25th
Sponsored by the Maui Buddhist Council, Maui’s Obon Festivals are held each year to honor the deceased. Far from a grim event, however, local Obon Festivals feature traditional Okinawa dance and taiko drum musical performances, lanterns, kimonos, food, decorations and more, and are held throughout the island at temples like the Lahaina Shingon & Jodo, Puunene Nichiren, Wailuku Jodo & Shingon, Kahului Jodo, Paia Mantokuji, Kahului Hongwanji, Makawao Hongwanji, Wailuku Hongwanji, Lahaina Hongwanji and Kula Shofukuji.
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival: June 7th – 10th
Now in its 37th year, Maui’s annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival is the longest running food and wine event in the country, featuring activities like cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, exclusive parties, a champagne and caviar pairing, seafood festival and more. Held at Kapalua Resort, The Ritz Carlton, Merriman’s Kapalua and Montage Kapalua Bay, this local celebration embraces drinks and cuisine found both locally and afar.
Maui Film Festival: June 13th – June 17th
One of the year’s most anticipated local events, the Maui Film Festival is your chance to attend foodie events like the Taste of Summer, Taste of Chocolate and Taste of Wailea while rubbing elbows with celebrities, as well as attend new film screenings under the stars at one of Maui’s most scenic outdoor locations in the heart of Wailea. With past honorees featuring actors Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, Laura Dern and Claire Danes, we are thrilled to see this year’s list of attendees and watch movies with a side of tropical moonlight.
King Kamehameha Day: June 16th & June 17th
Though June 11th is the official statewide holiday honoring the legacy and rule of King Kamehameha I – also known as “Kamehameha the Great”, who is credited with uniting the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 – Maui hosts a 2 day annual celebration the following weekend. Located in the west Maui town of Lahaina, guests are invited to attend the Na Kamehameha Commemorative Pau Parade and Hoolaulea along Lahaina’s historic Front Street and Banyan Tree Park. Featuring Hawaiian music, dancing, food, shopping, exhibits and plenty of activities for the kiddos, this is one of the best times of year to witness an authentic local celebration.
Ki Ho’alu Guitar Festival: June 24th
One of Maui’s best family-friendly concerts, the 27th annual Ki Ho’alu Guitar Festival features many of the state’s top slack key guitar players, including Makana, George Kahumoku and more. Guests can enjoy free admission, laid-back lawn seating (BYO chair or blanket), local arts & crafts, food trucks and more at this beloved Maui Arts & Cultural Center event.
Independence Day: July 4th
While you can’t expect a fireworks show quite as dramatic as the ones found in New York City or Boston, Maui’s west side gem of Lahaina Town is still an excellent spot to take in the views and celebrate Independence Day while oceanside. The annual fireworks show usually starts at 8pm, and is best viewed from the balcony of a local bar or restaurant, or near Banyan Tree Park, Campbell Park, the Wharf Cinema Center and Library Lawn, where performers and local vendors set up shop for a full day of national celebration. Alternately, Pride of Maui hosts a special Fourth of July Cruise departing from Ma’alaea Harbor, though you’ll need to book your spot early to snag a spot.
Makawao Rodeo & Parade: July 6th – July 8th
Though a rodeo doesn’t often come to mind when planning your itinerary on Maui, Makawao has long been celebrated as Maui’s paniolo – or Hawaiian cowboy – town on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano. Each year, Makawao is host to a series of annual rodeo events at Oskie Rice Arena, an Upcountry tradition featuring bull riding, steer chasing, horse racing and more. On Saturday, head to Makawao Town early to catch the 9am parade down Baldwin Avenue, followed by more rodeo fun and family-friendly activities.
Lana’i Pineapple Festival: July 7th
Dubbed The Pineapple Isle, Maui’s neighbor island of Lana’i still remains one of the lesser-visited islands in Hawaii, despite only being a short 45 minute boat ride from Maui’s Lahaina Harbor. This year, Lana’i is hosting its 26th annual Pineapple Festival in Dole Park from 1:30pm to 9m, which is set to include local musical group ‘Hawaiian Time,’ the 5th annual ‘Da Beach Bucket Food Fight,’ exhibits, local food, prizes, crafts, games, a parade and more, all ending with a special fireworks show of their own. Guests who attend can take advantage of the 9:30pm Expeditions ferry back to Maui.
Maui Calls: August 18th
The Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s annual gala event, Maui Calls is your chance to indulge in some of the island’s most delectable pupus and premium wines from some of the world’s top boutique wineries. Enjoy live music performances and dancing under the stars, and talk story with some of Maui’s top food and drink purveyors.
While far from an exhaustive list, we hope this summer guide to Maui helps you narrow down your must-dos for an unforgettable upcoming summertime adventure. Have something to add to the list? Let us know and we’d love to add it.
And don’t forget, summer is the perfect time to experience one of our Maui Craft Tours, so reserve a spot on our Taste of Upcountry, Taste of Maui, Ultimate Craft Adventure or Field to Glass tour, or design a custom craft adventure on a private tour of your own.