By Dawn’s Early Light: Maui Sunrise

Our 5 favorite places on Maui to watch the sunrise (that aren't Haleakalā Crater)


molokini crater sunrise

Molokini Crater with Kai Kanani Sailing Charters

There’s only one way to see the sunrise from Molokini Crater, and that’s by waking in the hours before dawn and motoring there on a boat.

The partially submerged caldera is a popular snorkeling destination, but it also provides a panoramic view of the sun illuminating—and eventually rising out of—Haleakalā. In summer, the sun is tucked behind the volcano, but in winter it gradually moves south, slowly rising from the mountain’s lower flanks until, from Molokini, you’re nearly watching it emerge from the sea.

While most morning snorkeling tours to Molokini depart from Mā‘alaea Harbor between 7 and 8 a.m., the Kai Kanani Sunrise Deluxe sails from Maluaka Beach in Mākena at 6:15 a.m. The ride is much shorter, and you’re out at the crater by 6:45 a.m.—perfect timing for greeting the sun—and beating all the other boats to this marine and seabird sanctuary.

In winter, you may also see humpback whales spouting or waving a tail, and since you’re back on the beach before 10 a.m., there’s still plenty of time for another Maui adventure—or catching your afternoon flight.

For information and reservations, visit

West Maui, 55 minutes | South Maui, 10 minutes



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