The Locals Travel Guide to Maui: where to eat, where to stay, what to do
Maui was the first Hawaiian Island I visited and it has been on my bucket list for awhile. Maui is so beautiful but the other Hawaiian islands are a must see as well. Right now, the airlines are featuring cheap, no frills’ flights to Hawaii from multiple states so pack your bags now and take advantage of great discounts! Sometimes visiting a new place is a bit overwhelming. The key goal is to relax on vacation but plan to see and do all the memorable things Maui is known for. We have taken out all the guess work and made a complete travel guide to answer all your questions. It includes where to stay, the best eateries, and unforgettable sites to visit on the island. I haven’t been to Oahu yet but out of all the other islands I’ve been to, Maui is definitely my favorite. The Big Island features volcanic rock which is unique, but Maui is so tropical, lush and beautiful.
Get ready to pack your bags and head to Maui!
Where To Stay
We stayed at Honua Kai Resort and Spa during our visit. The open concept hotel allows guests to see straight out to the pools and the beach. The oceanfront location makes you feel like you’ve arrived in paradise! It’s breathtaking. Not only that but the view is unobstructed because of the floor to ceiling glass windows. The doors to the beach and the doors to the front of the hotel lobby stay open so there is this draft and wind circling the hotel lobby that is amazing. There is infused water upon arrival and valet available. You can’t help but smile right as you step out of your car. The hibiscus flowers and landscaping are so gorgeous! It’s all so tropical!
What To Do
Of course, you’re going to want to do The Road to Hana – it’s even better if you get a written or audio guide. You can find them at stores on the island or download it from the App Store. It’ll help you know where good stopping points are. Make sure to check out up-country: Paia and Kula are great towns, with delicious restaurants!
If you want to see the island, the best way to do that is from the air! The aerial views are breathtaking and the helicopter pilots know all the history of the island. I loved flying over the waterfalls and seeing different climates. The overhead view of the Road to Hana is even more spectacular because you get to see more of the long, curvy, and winding road that you can only appreciate from above!
Read More: An Epic Adventure You Must Try In Maui!
One thing you definitely want to do before going home is snag some local goodies to share with family and commemorate the Hawaiian trip. Check out the local shops but be sure to head to Moonbow Tropics for an authentic Hawaiian shirt! If your husband is like mine, he always wants to know if he can golf. You’ll be happy to know that I discovered 13 golf courses on the island!
Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery is an 80-acre organic farm on the slopes of Haleakala offering tours of the grounds & vodka distillery. Their vodka is in the coolest bottle.
Every beach on Maui has it’s own characteristics, it’s unique sand, and different kind of waves. Every beach is open to the public and free of charge. For beaches, our top picks are Ka’anapali, Napili Bay, Keawakapu (a local favorite), Sugar, and Wailea! However, there are some nice beaches up-country too! Haleakala Crater can be really amazing, but it’s slightly cold at the top, so make sure to bring a jacket. If you like snorkeling, we suggest a chartered trip to the Molokini Crater, it’s spectacular!
Part of Makena State Park, One’uli (also called Naupaka Beach) is found on the Wailea side of the Pu’u Ola’i cinder cone and is the place to go to see a black sand beach. Appropriately, oneuli means “dark sands” in Hawaiian and is made up of ground lava.
Old Lahaina is the most authentic luau in Maui. Most notable, the food and entertainment are really fantastic.
Its authenticity, intimacy, hospitality, cultural integrity, and sheer romantic beauty have made this Maui’s top luau. – Frommer’s Maui
Hawaii Magazine rated it the best luau in the state. It was featured in National Geographic Traveler, New York Times and The Travel Channel. Old Lahaina Luau is also the six time winner of the prestigious “Kahili Award” and was voted “Best Luau” by basically all of the local Maui Magazines. It’s all the rave and I’d highly recommend checking it out.
Where To Eat
Ok bare with me here because you will not go hungry in Maui; there are so many good places to eat! My friend Javi who lives in Maui and owns Down The Hatch was just featured on DDD (Diners Drive-Ins and Dives)! So you know you have to eat there! He also recommended Lahaina Coolers, Starnoodle, Leodas, Sale Pepe, and Sansei’s for sushi! You can also try some 100% Maui coffee at Mauigrown Coffee.
Paia Fish Market is one of our faves as is Mama’s Fish House. I’m sure you’ve heard the hype about Mama’s and I can tell you it’s definitely true! Best meal we had on the island!
If you are up-country, planning a day at the beach and want some awesome yummy take out nibbles, Pukalani Suprette is a small store with delicious eats, including potato-mac salad. It’s sooo Ono (Hawaiian for good)! If you want to eat where the locals eat, head to Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina for an amazing plate lunch. The Kalbi ribs came highly recommended. While you’re there make sure to also try out Da Kitchen in Kahului. Oh and Sugar Beach Bake Shop is a must too! If you’re looking for a local Hawaiian flavored breakfast make sure to stop at Slappy Cakes. I had the ‘beach break’ brunch cocktail and the lilikoi pancakes!
For a unique Maui experience, head to The Neighborhood Farm, a working egg farm on the beautiful plateau of Launiupoko overlooking the ocean. You get to tour the farm, which gives you a chance to see healthy, happy chickens living in a “managed free range” system with lush fruit trees and vegetation. You also learn about the history of the islands, including the arrival of Polynesians and Hawaiian ways of life. The tour is followed by a gourmet lunch featuring these fresh local eggs at the best beachfront restaurant Pacific’O, in Lahaina. Known for their local farm to table cuisine. Don’t be surprised if you see a local fisherman walking into the restaurant with his fresh catch! If you’re going for dinner, definitely make reservations.
The ‘Where To Eat’ section wouldn’t be complete without telling you where to go to get shave ice! There’s definitely no shortage of places to get shave ice on the island but if you want it, why not have the best! My favorite place to get shave ice is Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice! They even make their own ice using filtered/purified Maui mountain water. What I wasn’t used to was the Maui-made Roselani ice cream on the bottom, but it’s a game changer!
Needless to say Maui is amazing and will make the perfect vacation! Mahalo for reading and if you love this post we’d love for you to share it!
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