Maui Travel Guide: Explore Paradise
Maui offers a magical blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, thrilling adventures in the water, or a tasty culinary experience, Maui has something for everyone. Embrace the aloha spirit and make memories that will last a lifetime on this stunning island in the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy your trip to paradise!
Here’s your brief travel guide to make the most of your Maui adventure:
Maui is convenient to explore. Renting a car is the easiest way to get around, but you can book tours for specific excursions. We have had great experience booking car rental through: https://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/
Top Attractions and Activities
- Road to Hana: A scenic drive along the winding Hana Highway, offering breathtaking views of waterfalls, lush rainforests, and hidden beaches. Be sure to stop at the Garden of Eden Arboretum and Seven Sacred Pools. We recommend starting your day early to minimize the traffic. It’s also great to stop by the various fruit stands and food trucks along the way to break up the drive and enjoy tasty snacks.
- Haleakalā National Park: Witness the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā, a dormant volcano. You can also hike the numerous trails within the park. The sunrise experience does require reservations, which can be booked here: https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/sunrise.htm If you do plan on going, just a friendly heads-up, it is a very early morning start and it does get fairly chilly as you wait for the sunrise.
- Beaches: Maui boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, including Wailea Beach, Ka’anapali Beach, and Big Beach (use caution at all the beaches, however, Big Beach does tend to have rougher waves). For those with little ones, we love going to Baby Beach in Paia. Baby Beach has a protected reef and creates a calm pool of water making it safer for little ones.
- Snorkeling and Diving: Explore the underwater world at Molokini Crater, Honolua Bay, and Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. You’ll encounter vibrant coral reefs and a variety of marine life. We had a great tour experience through: Ali’i Nui and Sail Trilogy
- Turtle Watching: There are many opportunities to come across the magical turtles in Maui. However, we have almost always have seen them at Ho’okipa Beach. It’s almost guaranteed to see turtles there.
- Whale Watching: Take a boat tour (December thru March) to witness humpback whales breaching and tail-slapping in the Maui waters. It’s an unforgettable experience. The beaches right in front of Honua Kai is also a surprisingly remarkable spot to watch the whales. We have heard great things from this company: https://www.pacificwhale.org/cruises/maui-whalewatch/
- Iao Valley State Park: Hike through this lush valley and admire the iconic Iao Needle, a volcanic rock pinnacle. This is a shorter hike, but with beautiful views. It does require reservations: https://gostateparks.hawaii.gov/iao-valley
- Surfing: Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, Maui offers some excellent surf spots. Try your hand at learning or improving your skills.
- Luaus: Experience Hawaiian culture through a traditional luau, complete with hula dancing, fire shows, and a feast of local cuisine. We’ve enjoyed the Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt in Ka’anapali – Get there a little earlier and visit the penguins and different parrots in the lobby.
- Trip to Upcountry: A great getaway from the typical beaches and pools is an escape to Maui’s countryside. Drive through old Makawao Town and stop by Komodo Store that’s been around since 1916 for some delicious pastries. If you do make it out to Makawao – stop by our favorite coffee shop, Espresso Mafia, and say hello to the owner Anthony from us. He makes all his coffee syrups from scratch. Enjoy the quant shops and art galleries in town. Then continue the drive towards Kula where you’ll find other wonderful places to stop such as Kula Country Farms, Lavendar Farms, Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, and Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery. To continue the scenic drive we always enjoy stopping by the Ulupalakua Ranch for some tasty burgers and just across the way there’s a wonderful tropical winery at Maui Wines; this is a great stop to enjoy the scenic mountain views, and if you’re traveling with little ones they can run around the large grassy area.
- Farmer’s Markets: If you want to break up your time from away from the pools and beaches we love exploring the local farmer’s markets.
Don’t leave Maui without savoring some of the island’s delectable dishes. Try poi (taro root paste), poke (raw fish salad), loco moco (rice, hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy), Spam Musubi, and fresh tropical fruits like pineapple and coconut.
Some of our Favorite Restaurants
- Miss Arepa – for something a little different, Venezuelan specialty. This locally owned shop has delicious food. https://missarepamaui.com/
- Pizza Paradiso Mediterrenean – very close to Honua Kai and great option for both adults and kiddos – You can do pizza and kabobs in one night. https://www.pizzaparadiso.com/
- MonkeyPod Kitchen by Merriman’s – located in Whalers Village, it over looks the ocean. Get there early or there can be long wait times. Even better, go during Happy Hour and enjoy their specials. I think they have the best Mai Tai’s on the island. https://www.monkeypodkitchen.com/dine_ka_anapali
- Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop – one of our favorite restaurants and pie shops. The olowalu pie (their version of Key Lime) and banana cream pie are our favorites. Also, don’t forget to try their banana bread. http://www.leodas.com/
- Taverna – flavorful Italian cuisine that overlooks the Ka’anapali Golf Course, you can’t go wrong with any of their menu items, but our favorite is always the lasagna. http://www.tavernamaui.com/
- Merriman’s Maui – a great location to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. We like having reservations a little earlier to secure a table with a view. https://www.merrimanshawaii.com/
- The Gazebo Restaurant – a favorite among tourists, it has one of the best views on the West Maui. Get there early as there’s always a line to be seated. https://goo.gl/maps/SnZJRhEFexHcENV69
- Leilani’s & Leilani’s On The Beach – located at Whaler’s Village, it over looks the ocean. The downstairs location is more casual dining whereas the upstairs location typically requires reservations and offers a more formal cuisine. http://www.leilanis.com/menus
Kihei and Wailea:
- Nalu’s South Shore Grill – For your typical Hawaiian Cuisine – http://naluskihei.com/
- Matteo’s Osteria – delicious traditional Italian food. Do make reservations as they do get busy here. https://www.matteosmaui.com/
- DUO Steak & Seafood – if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate a special occasion, this is the spot, Located in the Four Seasons it has beautiful views and great food. http://www.fourseasons.com/maui/dining/restaurants/duo-steak-and-seafood/
- Pita Paradise – a casual mediterranean restaurant – we enjoy the hummus and chicken kabobs. http://www.pitaparadisehawaii.com/
- Momona Bakery & Coffee – great stop either either on the way to the airport or just upon landing. They have the best croissants on the island. – https://goo.gl/maps/RCfkqiZsqVL5m72r8
- Akamai Coffee – this is always our first and last stop on our trip, drive thru location in the Home Depot Parking lot – they have the best cappucinos and we love their Honey Bee Frap http://www.akamaicoffee.com/
- Mo’Ono Hawai’i – a food truck right across the street from Costco offers our favorite Acai bowls. Make sure to add the poi and lilikoi drizzle on top. https://www.moonohawaii.com/
- Sugar Beach Bake Shop – one of our favorite Malasadas on the island, try their unique flavors such as lilikoi filled which is so delectable. http://www.sugarbeachbakeshop.com/
- HomeMaid Bakery – a long standing local bakery, they make your malasadas fresh to order, another favorite stop (don’t mistake this with the Kihei location) http://www.homemaidbakery.com/
- Cafe des Amis – great mediterranean & indian fusion type food. http://cdamaui.com/
- Mama’s Fish House – one of the oldest most traditional Hawaiian restaurants in Maui. TIP – book this first! Reservations can be booked up to 18 months in advance and they do book up. https://mamasfishhouse.com/
- Flatbread Company – fresh unique pizzas right in the heart of Paia. TIP – add the locally made sausage to your pizza OR salad (trust us on this one). http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/
- Serpico’s Restaurant – Casual homestyle traditional italian – We love the pizza, meatball sandwich, and shrimp parmigiana. http://www.serpicosmaui.com/menu.html
- Espresso Mafia – on our longer stays in Maui we spend time in Upcountry with our family and this is our daily go-to coffee shop. You really can’t go wrong with anything you get from here. http://www.espressomafiamaui.com/
- Colleen’s Restaurant & Bar – Another locally owned restaurant has some very tasty specialties including their crispy chicken entree and delectable ribs. http://colleensinhaiku.com/
- Kula Bistro – this is our go-to in Upcountry Kula Area. It’s BYOB and they have amazing steaks and italian food choices. If you do make it out here, definitely get their dessert, we love the POG Bar. http://www.kulabistro.com/
Water Safety Tips
- Water safety: Pay attention to ocean conditions and follow lifeguard instructions. Be cautious of strong currents. You can check the surf and wave conditions here: https://mauinow.com/surf/
- Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from marine life and respect their habitat. Please do not touch and leave a safe-distance away from all marine life, including turtles and monk seals.
- Respect the environment: Preserve Maui’s natural beauty by following Leave No Trace principles.
- Sun protection: Apply reef-safe sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.