Updated: 12/14/2021 | Maui Travel Guide
Maui is loaded with amazing culture & stunning beauty. You just need to get away from all the touristy 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 yet affordable. 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. If you decide on adding the Road to Hana to your itinerary, plan on spending a whole day or two exploring the western coast of the island.
Ready to start planning? Below are our tips and recommendations for having the best Maui vacation.
Maui Travel Guide
We love Maui so much that we had to create this travel guide.
You can also visit our Maui Instagram stories to see what we did in real life.
Things to Do and See
- Haleakala is a fantastic outing if you’re interested in seeing the sunrise and sunset. There are two ways to go about seeing the sunrise and sunset at Haleakala:
- Go on your own: You’ll have to rent a car and reserve your tour spot ahead of time. It’s only $1 and it’s important to know that they won’t let you in before sunrise without a reservation. Expect to be there between the hours of 3 to 7 AM. We have also seen people hike or bike the entire route to Haleakala. Dress warm because it is freezing!
- Take a Tour Bus: We booked 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 (around 2-3 am) but you can sleep on the bus while ascending. They also provide refreshments, food and outerwear during the tour.
- Hike into Haleakala: You also have the option to hike the 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. The volcano is one of our favorite places on the planet. Pure magic or #MauiMagic! You can also park at a lower parking lot and then hike up and back down but we’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 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 free hula shows at Whalers Village. Grab an ice cream and have a seat on the grass to watch the shows.
- We highly recommend the snorkeling tours at Molokini and Kaanapali beach. It’s like the Maui version of Waikiki in Honolulu.
- Do the Maui Pineapple Plantation tour! I could not get enough of the tour! Ride a bus around the plantation 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 to learn about Hawaiian culture and history.
- 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 one to two-day trip. The drive can be stressful but it’s so WORTH IT. Car rental companies have provisions where certain 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 to go as far as you can. 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. We also included the amount of time it takes to complete that stop.:
- Black Sand Beach (30 mins) – Part of Waiʻānapana State Park and now requires reservations. Make reservations ahead of time.
- Lava Tube (30 mins) – Also part of Waiʻānapana State Park. We also recommend climbing the lava rocks and seeing the ocean from above. It’s gorgeous!
- Red Sand Beach (30 mins)
- Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees from Australia (15 mins)
- Wailuaiki Water Fall and swim in the hidden pool (30 mins)
- Twin Falls (30 mins)
- Upper Waikani Falls or Three Bears Falls (10 mins)
- Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream (20 mins)
- Seven Sacred Pools (2.5 to 5 hours) – Most people make this a day trip. And as of 2018, the pools have been closed for swimming due to low water levels.
- Check out Hana town (1-2 hours)
- Here are things you should not miss on the Road to Hana. We also included the amount of time it takes to complete that stop.:
- 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 and is considered a difficult climb. Bring a drink, snacks and good hiking boots. Of all the things in our Maui travel guide, you do not want to miss this!
Where to Eat
Maui is PACKED with so much good eats. It’s really hard to narrow down our favorites, so we’ll just give it all to you and try to convince you that you’ll need to visit Maui multiple times in order to experience all the amazing food on the island.
- 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.
- Hui Hui – This is a must when in Maui. It’s located along Kaanapali beach and has an amazing menu. Their happy hour (from 2PM-5PM) is also worth visiting. Enjoy an amazing beach view with 20% off their entire menu. See what we ordered at Hui Hui here.
- 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 this beachfront restaurant and were pleasantly surprised by their food, beverages, and unobstructed views of the west coast. Definitely try one of their huge salads and oyster shooters! Oh, man. I am still dreaming about the food and cocktails from Mala.
- Mama’s Fish House – The 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-flavored side dish on the menu, ORDER IT. We highly recommend making reservations online ASAP as they get booked quickly.
- Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman’s – Monkeypod is a must-visit each time we return to Maui. We LOVE the cocktails and the happy hour menu is great on the wallet. The regular menu is amazing too. We love their Mai Tai’s which come with a passion fruit foam on top.
- Kusina Ni Jayboy – I’ve seen this place at least three times before finally trying it and I am seriously regretting that I did not go here sooner. They have a loco moco that is made with crispy pork belly that is INSANE. Words cannot describe how simple yet amazing this dish was. Get the pork belly loco moco, please!!
- Paia Fish Market – A great place to dine with the entire family. We love their fresh salads to which you can add any protein to. There are three locations; Paia, Kihei, and Lahaina.
- 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” (aka delicious)!
- Aloha Mixed Plate – Great place for breakfast. Get the Loco Moco (they make their 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 – Come here for fancy Asian fusion that’s not too harsh on the wallet. We love their saimin dishes.
- Gazebo Restaurant – Nice view, huge rice royales, good macadamia nut pancakes. Get there early because the line gets long after 10 am.
- Slappy Cakes – A 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. You’ll also get an amazing view of the ocean from their patio.
- Leoda’s Kitchen – Come here for amazing pies & good sandwiches. We personally prefer their savory pies over their sweet ones. But both are still good!
- Lineage – OMG! Chef Sheldon Simeon is a GENIUS. You need to come here to try his crab and scallop milk toast and creative craft cocktails. See what we ate at Lineage here.
- 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! It’s so delicious and affordable.
- Tamura’s Fine Wine – This is the go-to place for booze and poke. The airport location (Kahului) no longer sells poke, but you can still get it at their other locations in Lahaina and Wailuku. They also have locations on Oahu.
- Tin Roof – Located near the OGG airport, we highly recommend stopping here after landing for some of the BEST poke on the island! Their poke of the day (typically ahi) is creamy and paired with fluffy warm rice and crunchy onion bits. They also make their own kimchi and pickled onions which are great for adding to any of their rice or noodle dishes. If you love Tin Roof, you MUST TRY Chef Sheldon Simeon’s other restaurant Lineage.
- Coconuts Fish Cafe – If you find yourself near Kihei, you must come here for some of the best fish tacos you will ever have. It’s a small Hawaiian chain and you can also visit their restaurants in Kauai.
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Places to Drink
- Lineage – Maneki Neko cocktail? Yes please!
- Mala Ocean Tavern – Enjoy craft cocktails on their oceanfront patio. Hearing the waves crashing against the shore is super relaxing.
- 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 appetizers 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 in Maui.
- 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 – [NOW CLOSED] 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 aloha vibes. Dogs are welcome!
How to Get to Maui
Here is how you can get to Maui.
- Fly into Kahului Airport (airport code OGG). We flew direct on Alaska Airlines and often use our companion fare to get here.
How to Get Around Maui
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 Heavenly Hana Paradise! It cost us $250 for a night. We highly recommend making the Road to Hana a two-day trip with an overnight stay 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 and enjoy the Valley Isle!
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