Visiting Maui After Lahaina + Kula Fires
On August 8th, 2023, the town of Lahaina and parts of Kula were deeply affected by fires that caused monumental devastation in our community. It will take a long time to rebuild what was lost, but together we will heal and continue to care for each other.
We understand it may be uncomfortable or confusing to plan a trip to visit our beautiful island home at this time, so we'd like to provide some clarity regarding questions you may have as you prepare for your Maui vacation!
What areas were affected? Was it the entire island?
Contrary to it what it may seem like, only a small area of Maui was devastated by the fires. The west side of the island, including Lahaina, Ka'anapali, Napili and Kapalua, are currently not accessible for visitors. We expect respect for these areas, as there is much clean-up and repair that is necessary, and roads going through these areas must be reserved for local residents, aid workers and first responders.
The remainder of the island - north shore (Paia), east side (including Road to Hana and Hana town), south shore (Kihei and Wailea), as well as upcountry (Makawao and Kula) remain open for visitors!
Is Maui open for visitors?
Yes! After the fires, visitors were told to leave the island. While it was necessary for a short period of time, it has created somewhat of another disaster on Maui: economic disaster. Maui has swiftly recovered resources and aid needed to assist displaced families and individuals, and while there is a very long road to recovery, there is no threat of tourists taking away those needed resources - much in thanks to incredible donations from around the world to support our island 'ohana!
Although the west side (Lahaina, Ka'anapali, Napili and Kapalua) is closed to visitors, much of the island remains open to tourism! This includes the areas of north shore (Paia), east side (including Road to Hana and Hana town), south shore (Kihei and Wailea), as well as upcountry (Makawao and Kula).
Can we still visit Lahaina?
Historic Lahaina town was devastated by the fires that took countless buildings, landscape, historical landmarks and loved ones. We ask that no one visit the west side of Maui (Lahaina, Ka'anapali, Napili and Kapalua) out of respect for first responders, aid workers and residents who are still living in the area. To stay up to date with openings on the west side and accessibility, please visit trusted sites, such as Hawai'i Tourism Authority's GoHawaii page here: https://www.gohawaii.com/maui-travel-updates
Are there any campgrounds that are no longer accessible?
Fortunately, most of Maui's campgrounds are located on the east side of the island along the Road to Hana or near the summit of Haleakala in the upcountry region. The only west side campground, Camp Olowalu, is temporarily closed while they use their grounds to support fire relief efforts. Please follow their website or contact them directly for re-opening information.
How can we support the community while on Maui?
We are fortunate to have many Maui residents that are creative, talented and operate amazing businesses in our community! While you're planning your trip to the Valley Isle and while you're here, consider eating at local restaurants and food trucks; grab a cup of coffee at one of our delicious coffee shops; book helicopter, snorkeling and hiking tours with local operators; and stay with local accommodations like booking with us at North Shore Vans or other boutique accommodations. Supporting the local economy has never been more important here and, in fact, allows us to use our small businesses to be of greater service to our community.
Is it possible to volunteer during our trip?
Absolutely! There are many wonderful organizations on Maui. If you have a special skill or generally want to offer your hands to help in the community, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can do our best to connect you with an organization you may be interested in volunteering with.