Updated: 1/25/2021 | Travel Guide to Maui
Maui is loaded with amazing culture & stunning beauty, you just need to get away from all the tourist areas which is pretty easy to do if you have a car and some guidance.
We love Maui because there is a ton to do on the resorts, within nature, and all over the island. It’s really a choose your own adventure destination.
Compared to the other islands, Maui is not as sleepy. It has a bustling nightlife and you can choose between a lavish experience or one that is adventure-filled. It’s all up to you and what you want from your Maui vacation!
Per our Maui travel guide, we recommend spending at least 6 days in Maui for the best experience. Plan on spending a whole day or two if you decide to include the Road to Hana.
Ready to start planning? Below are our tips for having the most awesome Maui adventure.
Maui Travel Guide
Things to Do and See
- Haleakala is a fantastic outing if you’ve not done it. There are two ways to go about seeing the sunrise and sunset at Haleakala:
- You have to reserve your tour spot ahead of time. It’s only a $1 but they won’t let you in before sunrise without a reservation. The tour is from 3 to 7 AM. You’ll need to find your way up to the observatory.
- Book with Valley Isle Excursions! We cannot express how impressed we were with their Haleakala sunrise tour. They took care of everything so that we could enjoy the views. They pick up pretty early (2-3am) but you can sleep on the bus while ascending.
- You also have the option to Hike Sliding Sands trail into Haleakala. You start at about 10,000 feet and then descend into the Crate. It will look like you’re on Mars and you’ll need a winter coat and gloves because it’s very cold. The air is thin up there so when you are heading back up to the summit where you will park you will notice you’ll need to stop more than normal due to less oxygen￼. That volcano is one of my favorite places on the planet. Pure magic! #MauiMagic You can also park at a lower parking lot and then hike up and back down but I’ve always parked at the very top and then entered the Crater from there.
- Ali Kula Lavender Farm – it’s beautiful up there and they have a little scavenger hunt for the kids.
- Surfing Goat Dairy Farm is next to the Lavender Farm. We highly recommend combining the two attractions into your day.
- Check out the Lahaina Cannery Mall schedule for free hula shows.
- There are also hula shows at Whalers Village for free. Grab an ice cream and have a seat on the grass to watch.
- We highly recommend the snorkeling tours at Molokini and Kaanapali beach. It’s like the Maui version of Waikiki in Honolulu.
- Maui Pineapple Plantation tour! I could not get enough of the tour! Ride a bus to learn about how pineapples are grown and harvested. Try freshly plucked pineapples too! At the end of the tour, you’ll also receive a Maui golden pineapple to take home!
- Visit the main cultural exchange center.
- Napili Bay – Park anywhere on the street and access the beach from anywhere. Don’t forget to explore the little streets near the resort as well. While you’re near Napili, head just north to visit Kapalua Bay beaches.
- Road to Hana: I DEFINITELY recommend going on a tour for the road to Hana. It was totally worth it for a day trip since. The drive is stressful but WORTH IT. Car rental companies have provisions where areas on the road to Hana will void your insurance. This means you can’t go through the back way, but it’s still worth it. Make sure to stop by Aunty Sandy’s or Hana Farms for some delicious banana bread! If you want a good tour guide, we recommend using the Shaka Guide (paid App) for a self-guided audio tour.
- Here are things you should not miss on the Road to Hana:
- Black Sand Beach (30 mins)
- Red Sand Beach (30 mins)
- Wailuaiki Water Fall and swim in the hidden pool! (30 mins)
- Twin Falls (30 mins)
- Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream (20 mins)
- Seven Sacred Pools (2.5 to 5 hours)
- Check out Hana town (1-2 hours)
- Here are things you should not miss on the Road to Hana:
- Waihe’e Ridge Trail: This was by far one of my most favorite hikes! This steep hike along the West Maui side will take you up into the clouds and you’ll experience a wide range of climates, all-around views and even cows. Moo! The hike will take approximately three hours. Bring a drink, snacks and good hiking boots. Of all the things in our Maui travel guide, you don’t want to miss this!
Things to Eat
- Ululani Shaved Ice – There’s one near the airport and in Lahaina. the one in Lahaina is in a plaza with activities for kids.
- Local Food – Little shack of a place with a little old lady running it. She serves really good Hawaiian food. It’s located in the same plaza as Ululani.
- Cinnamon Roll Place – Stop here for delicious cinnamon rolls.
- Costco – Stock up on spicy poke and all your groceries. Maui can be pretty costly depending on where you go. Costco is located near Kahului airport.
- Da Kitchen – Come here for traditional Hawaiian eats and try the deep fried spam musubi. You can also order takeout and eat on the beach if the lines are long. The location near Kahului airport has closed.
- Sale E Pepe – Really good Italian food!
- Miso Phat Sushi – Legit amazing. The fish is so fresh! Get the chirashi bowl or one of their sushi combos. There are two locations in Kihei and Kahana.
- Okazuya Deli – Reasonably priced eats. The fish dishes and kalbi ribs are great. Take out only.
- Fish Market Maui – Try the Ahi sandwich and fried fish tacos. We loved everything here. It’s also next door to the Okazuya deli. Take out only.
- Mala Ocean Tavern – We stumbled upon here and were pleasantly surprised by their food, beverages and the amazing view of the west coast. Definitely try their salads and oyster shooters! Oh, man. I am still dreaming about the food and cocktails from Mala.
- Mama’s Fish House – Menu rotates daily with many fish and seafood options to choose from. Make this a special fine dining night if possible. If there is curry on the menu, order it. If there is any shrimp + vanilla dish on the menu, ORDER IT. We highly recommend making reservations online ASAP as they get booked quickly.
- Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman’s – OMG! A must visit each time we return. We LOVE the cocktails and the happy hour menu. The regular menu is amazing too.
- Ono Tacos – Delicious hole-in-the-wall taco truck. You can sit on the benches outside to eat. They also have a salsa bar that is super ono (delicious)!
- Aloha Mixed Plate – Great place for breakfast. Get the Loco Moco (they make the fried rice with the slow-cooked underground Kahlua pork from the luau the night before). You’ll also get some great beach views.
- Sansei – Come here for some of the best sushi! Call and check if they do early bird specials. The one in Kona does 50% off from 5 to 6 pm.
- Star Noodle – It was fancy Asian fusion, but not too fancy on the wallet.
- Gazebo Restaurant – Nice view, huge rice royales, good macadamia nut pancakes. Get there early because the line will get long.
- Slappy Cakes – Full-service breakfast restaurant with seasonal pancakes! Now closed temporarily! 🙁
- Leilani’s on the Beach – They have THE BEST fish tacos here. The Caesar salad was also super delicious.
- Leoda’s Kitchen – Come here for amazing pies & good sandwiches.
- Hula Grill – Good for both lunch, dinner, and happy hour! We prefer the dining room to the bar menu for dinner.
- Lahaina Grill – I dream of the seared ahi with vanilla rice!
- Coconuts Fish Cafe – If you find yourself near Kihei, you must come here for the best fish tacos you will ever have. It’s a small Hawaiian chain. You can also visit their restaurants in Kauai.
Places to Drink
- Mala Ocean Tavern – Enjoy craft cocktails on their oceanfront patio.
- Mama’s Fish House – They bring drinks to your table in a shaker. Great photo opportunity!
- Maui Brewing – Try local craft beers. They make all types of styles and have rotating guest beers too.
- Monkeypod by Merriman’s – Come for happy hour and enjoy $10 drinks and pizzas! All apps are half off too.
Best Acai Bowls in Maui
I am an Acai bowl snob. Here are places you can get a pretty decent Acai bowl.
- Island Vintage Coffee – Get the Cacao Moana bowl if you love chocolate and peanut butter. It’s so ono (and my favorite)!
- Baya Bowls – Little food truck in Lahaina that serves up a mean Acai bowl. Take your bowl over to Front street and peruse the cute shops and vendors.
- Paia Bowls – Stop here on your way through Paia for a delicious Acai bowl. I tried the blue mystic with spirulina and the texture was too snotty for me. Go for their original Acai bowl instead! They have a little patio deck that gives me all the vibes.
- Fly into Kahului Airport (airport code OGG). We flew direct on Alaska Airlines.
- Rent a car to get around the island and use it to go on the Road to Hana. We booked a car with National. You can also compare pricing with RentAgile.
Lodging in Maui
- Maui is flocked with resorts along the coastline. We used Agoda to book the best hotel deals.
- You can stay at a hotel or even in an Airbnb. Get $65 off your first booking when you use this link.
- If you decide to stay in Hana overnight, we recommend the Heavenly Hana Paradise! It cost us $250 for a night. We highly recommend making the Road to Hana a two-day trip so that you can see as many things as possible!
Has our Maui travel guide convinced you to book a trip? We hope so!
Maui is one of our most favorite Hawaiian islands. You won’t be bored and there is always so much to discover with each visit.
If you need recommendations on how to dress in Hawaii, we got you covered there too.
Make sure to keep your COVID-19 test results with you (via screenshot) and enjoy the Valley Isle! Aloha!
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