Heading to Maui: A Hawaiian Guide for the Ages

Maui is truly considered to be one of the most special Hawaiian islands and it has long been a top pick for sunbathers and surfers. What I love is that the island offers something for everyone, so it truly does not matter if you are a family, alone or traveling with friends, the allure of the golden sands and crystal-clear waters from all direction are sure to satisfy any type of traveler. This for me is bliss, because travel should be about involving people, not just about enjoying yourself. It is great to see people coexisting around the beaches, hotels, resorts, and rentals in Maui. The island contains a magnificent landscape that you can truly interact with, especially the giant stretches of green valleys and volcanic landscapes. Hopefully that has given you a little bit of an appetite to learn more about this wonderful island, so read on to find out more.

Top Attractions

Although the biggest drawcard of the island is its huge array of high quality beaches, such Kahekili, Kapalua, and Kaanapali, those who can explore away from the sands will be also berewarded. Mt. Haleakala, one of the two volcanoes that created the island, is the largest dormant volcano in the world and towers over the island at more than 3,000 meters above sea level. It truly is an imposing site that can be seen from anywhere on the island. Just going for a simple drive around the island is something that you absolutely must do. Cruising around the scenic route 620 is going to be a drive that you will never forget, with tropical landscapes, stunning waters, blue skies and secluded black sand beaches. Iao Valley State Park is also a place that is a bit off the beaten track, but is well worth visiting. Here you can take in the sights and sounds of the lush rainforests, as well as the gushing and relaxing sounds of flowing waters at the various waterfalls here. The Molokini Crater is also a must visit whilst visiting Maui. It is a volcanic crater that was formed by a volcano and has an unusual crescent shape and lies on the ʻAlalākeiki Channel. The best part about the crater is that is has formed a home for the unique and colourful marine life of the area and is the absolute best place on the island to go snorkelling. You probably won’t find a better snorkelling spot in your entire life!

Eating and drinking

As with most places where the sun shines bright, the food and drink are always a great attraction in themselves, and Maui is no exception to this rule. The island itself has a lot of its own produce and this makes for some extremely fresh and tasty food. There are tons of tasty dining spots right throughout Maui, but if you’re looking for a rowdy night out, head over to Oahu. Lahaina Town is home to several standout establishments and serving farm-to-table cuisine, which has gained a lot of traction in Hawaii in the last few years. There truly isn’t anything fresher than this concept. Some of the must-try is the classic American meal at Lahaina Grill and some of the best Hawaiian food at Lahaina Lune Café. For handcrafted local ales, visit Maui Brewing Company to quench your thirst. If you want to go a little bit more traditional, I would highly recommend trying some food cooked in an Imu. This is the traditional oven that the native Hawaiian people have used for many years to cook their mouth watering food. Hot rocks are put into a pit with food wrapped in plant leaves (to protect them) and then covered. The rocks slowly cook and roast the food for many hours, making for mouth watering dishes like laulau, which is pork that is slow cooked using this method. The pork melts in your mouth because it is slow cooked and the juices are sealed within the protective leaves.

Shopping

Maui has no shortage of boutiques and galleries and the number of shopping options there is absolutely incredible. International stores and shopping malls can be found everywhere. The biggest and most extensive is The Shops at Wailea with more than 60 shops, while in Upcountry Maui, Baldwin Avenue is has a great range of unique gift shops. While Lahaina offers a great shopping where you can find the Lahaina Cannery Mall, Front Street and The Outlets of Maui, a touristy strip lined with stores and boutiques selling everything from aloha shirts to Maui fine art. If you’re looking for local farm produce or handcrafted jewelry, don’t forget to check out the swap meet next to the car park at Maui College in Kahului on Saturday mornings. This is the place to get that perfect souvenir to take home and cherish forever.

Small towns to visit

  • Kihei – Located on Maui’s southwest shore, Kihei is the sunniest and driest part of the island. Kihei coastline is six miles of stunning beaches, which are great for surfing and swimming.

  • Wailuku – This small town can be found at the foot of the dramatic West Maui Mountains, which is just a 10-minute walk from the Kahului Airport. Wailuku is home to charming mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, contemporary boutiques, stylish cafes, and chilled- out coffee shops.

  • Makawao – This is the largest of the little towns, which is located on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano. For a real local treat, enjoy its famous cream puffs from T. Komoda Store. This town also has a thriving art community, where you can roam around the streets and watched the skilled artists and artisans go about their daily business, such as wood sculptors, glassblowers, and painters working on their craft!

  • Paia – This was once a plantation town, it has now been transformed into an art town filled with colourful galleries, storefronts, boutiques and restaurants. If you’re visiting during winter, head to Hookipa Beach, the windsurfing capital of the world.

  • Hana – Despite being the most popular town among all the small towns in Maui, Hana isn’t overcrowded, mainly due to its isolated location on the eastern tip of Maui. Hana Beach Park and Hamoa Beach are best for sunbathing and swimming, while Waianapanapa State Park is known or its black sand beach and is also great or snorkeling.

I hope you enjoyed reading more about what the wonderful island of Maui has to offer. There was, of course, much more that could have gone into this article, but hopefully it has given you a glimpse into a place that could potentially (and should) become your next adventure playground.

Have fun exploring Maui!