Hawaii is one of the few warm beach destinations that are equally appealing in every season. While this South Pacific state has dozens, if not hundreds of beautiful spots, Maui is placed at the top of many lists. If you’ve never been to Hawaii, this is certainly the best place to stop. If you’re fortunate enough to be making a multi-destination trip to Hawaii, Maui certainly deserves to be one of your stops.
Highlights of Maui
Maui can be considered a microcosm of Hawaii, offering a little bit of everything, from fabulous beaches to nature trails to authentic Hawaiian culture. The majority of attractions here have to do with the great outdoors, as you might expect.
- Haleakala Crater –This is either a steep drive or a strenuous hike to a beautiful dormant volcano. This is a great spot for views and photographs, especially at sunset.
- Zipline Tours –If you haven’t tried ziplining, it’s a trendy new sport where you swing from a harness attached to a cable. This is actually a safe and spectacular way to see scenic places, especially in Maui. There are several companies offering ziplining tours, including Skyline Eco-Adventure Zipline Tours, Kapalua Ziplines and Flyin’ Hawaiian Zipline.
- Pipiwai Trail –One of Maui’s best spots for hiking and horseback riding, with distinctive scenery that includes a bamboo forest and several waterfalls.
- Lahaina Front Street –This is a good place for shopping in Maui. You can find everything from restaurants and cafes to art galleries and souvenir shops.
- Ka’anapali Beach –One of Maui’s best beaches, with a lively boardwalk and close to several hotels and resorts. It’s equally nice for relaxing and water sports such as surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Certain times of year you can often see whales from the beach.
- Wai’anapanapa State Park –This is a popular stop off Hana Highway. It has some nice beaches, including an unusual black sand beach. It also has some interesting cave pools and many good hiking spots.
Dining and Nightlife
In addition to offering the best of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, which is largely centered around locally caught seafood, Maui has been rapidly gaining a reputation as a foodie destination, meaning you can find an eclectic assortment of both traditional and modern dishes. One tip to keep in mind is that many restaurants serve a large plate lunch in the early afternoon. Many savvy visitors (as well as locals) have discovered that the most economical way to eat here is to make lunch your main meal of the day.
Maui is a large place with lots of dining options. The following are just a few restaurants that are especially well regarded.
Mama’s Fish House, in the town of Paia is among the most popular seafood restaurants in Maui. It has ocean views, great service and delicious fish dishes. Though costly, it’s worth visiting if you want to experience some of Hawaii’s best seafood. Another choice in Paia is Flatbread Company, which has a variety of organic and gluten-free pizzas.
Another fine seafood place, this one in Kihei, is Coconut’s Fish Café, which is famous for its fish tacos and many other seafood specialties. Also in Kihei is Kinaole Grill Food Truck, which is right by Kamole Beach. Many people buy their food and take it to the beach to see the sunset.
If you are near Lahaina, a good place for breakfast is Gazebo Restaurant at Napili Shores, where you can start your day with amazing dishes such as coconut pancakes. Also in Lahaina is Star Noodle, featuring house-made noodles and other Asian specialties.
As for entertainment, many hotels and resorts in Maui provide lots of traditional Hawaiian music and dance. Lahaina is a good spot for theaters and nightclubs. Among the most popular are Old Lahaina Luau, Slack Key Show and Burn’n Love. Another good place to experience traditional Polynesian culture is Ulalena Show at Maui Theater, which combines Hawaiian music, history and storytelling in an entertaining and captivating performance.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay at a resort with lots of activities, Maui has plenty of options, including Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and Montage Kapalua Bay in Lahaina.
While Maui is known as an expensive destination, there are also some budget choices that are close to the beach and other attractions. These include Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului, Lahaina Inn and Maui Beach Hotel, which is close to the airport.
If you prefer an inn or B & B, some of your choices include Ho’oilo House in Lahaina, Maui Tradewinds in Haiku and Pineapple Inn in Kihei.