Maui is a main hub and typical entry point into the islands. It’s a great option that’s inbetween ultra touristy Big Island and low-key Kauai. There’s plenty to do – like learn how to scuba dive! – whether you’re looking for luxurious relaxation or beautiful outdoor adventures. Spend a day split between golfing on the Wailea Gold course and getting a spa treatment over at the Willow Stream Spa in the Fairmont (limited time Groupon deal). Head to the east side of the island for the famous Road to Hana experience for some stunning hikes, but do plan ahead for this as it’s a long drive and not the easiest. And if you’re on the island in April, check out the big Taro Festival in Hana.
What to Eat
808 On Main
808onmain.com, 2051 Main St, Wailuku
Definitely check out this popular sandwich and drinks spot, it’s always busy and there are plenty of locals so you know it’s gotta be good. We had the Shitake Beef Melt sandwich and Chicken Mango Chutney panini. Both were delicious and packed with flavor, we left full and fully satisfied. Don’t forget their tantalizing drink menu, the may look small but they pack a punch! We had the Lilikoi Mojito and the Main Street Mule and couldn’t decide which was our favorite.
Paia Fish Market Southside
paiafishmarket.com, 1913 S Kihei Rd, Kihei
Touristy location but good quality food and good people. If you’re not familiar with fish, you can google them while waiting in line (like I did) or wait until you get to the front, they have descriptions of each fish on a small little sign right by the register and the lady was super nice about making recommendations. We got the fish tacos and the grilled Opah fish with rice, both bomb and actually worth the price unlike other spots in the area. Their slaw was delicious and crunchy – I actually ate all of it and I usually don’t care for slaws.
Poi By The Pound
poibythepound.com, 430 Kele St, Unit 101, Kahului
Recommended to us by a car rental worker, we tried the Squid Lu’au Combo and the Hawaiian Plate and we were not disappointed. The kalua pork and pork laulau was pretty darn tasty, moist and tender! Though the squid and taro look unappetizing, it was so savory that we ate up all the rice and still had leftover squid lu’au.
starnoodle.com, 286 Kupuohi St, Lahaina
Upscale Asian inspired/fusion, make reservations as there can be quite a long wait. This restaurant was more on the pricy side, especially if you’re not one who finds Asian dishes exotic, but the food was tasty, albeit extra bold compared to the traditional dishes.
We had the Scallop Shots (not to be chugged, this was a seared scallop dropped into piping hot dashi broth!), Hapa Ramen, Garlic Noodles (super garlicky!), and Malasadas for dessert (disappointing). Their drinks all sound fun, but they were a little disappointing – the Thai Basil Sake Lemonade just tasted like a lemonade and the Ginga Ninja which was ginger in yo face (and I like ginger but I was not able to finish it).
Some other spots we ate at but weren’t impressed by was Kimo’s and Cheeseburger Grille & Tap Room – decent food but overpriced and much too touristy for us.
snacks & desserts
Home Maid Bakery
homemaidbakery.com, 1005 Lower Main St, Wailuku
1. Get a dozen, half-half malasadas
2. Eat them right away
Also try their Maui mochi (black bean filled traditional mochi, super soft but not as sweet as red bean) and peanut butter chocolate mochi (like a mild PB brownie cake that’s super soft).
S & Q’s Coffee & Shave Ice Shack
mauishaveshack.com, 2439 S Kihei Rd, Rainbow Mall, Kihei
We tried the Kamaole Sands smoothie, a cinnamon sugar butter waffle, and the Hawaiian açai bowl. The smoothie was great, the waffle was hard crunchy like it was previously made and then retoasted (seriously) and the açai bowl wass a sorbet açai (which is fine but if you’re in love with the traditional Brasil kind that’s grittier and pure açai and guarana, it’s definitely not the same).
Service was super friendly but I was sorely disappointed by the waffle, you can’t just actually make it fresh with a waffle maker? You have to wait 5 minutes for them to toast it anyway…
Ululani shave ice
ululanishawaiianshaveice.com, multiple locations
There are tons of places to get shave ice on the islands, but this spot does not disappoint. Make sure to get ice cream with it, it’s super creamy and I think it’s better than Lapperts!
What to do
Hana Forest Reserve
There were a ton of beautiful hikes we really wanted to do but couldn’t fit into our trip. You’ll want to reserve a full day for this park and perhaps consider booking a tour if you’re not comfortable driving narrow windy roads. Note that at the time of this post, the Pools of `Ohe`o are closed indefinitely.
If you’re interested in catching sunrise on this mountain, make sure to reserve your spot. We opted to go for sunset instead and really enjoyed it – the colors tend to be more vibrant for sunset and then you can stay to try to catch the stars. Pack a picnic and bring something to sit on, there won’t be anywhere to pick things up in the park. Be prepared for some serious cold and of course try to get there early as parking at the peak is limited. If you’re physically capable of a short hike up, parking at the information center lot is much easier to get in and out of.
Waihe’e Ridge Trail
Kahekili Hwy, Wailuku, get more info on AllTrails (we use AllTrains ALL the time!).
Note that while it’s labeled Moderate – the difficulty really depends on how wet the trail is. It happened to be super muddy when we went which made the trek slow going and rather scary to descend, however we did catch a whole family hiking in just sandals. We hiked through clouds which made it feel ethereal and kept us cool, but it also hid the any views when we got to the peak.
We didn’t do any particular shopping while on Maui, but there is the Front street in Lahaina and the Shops at Wailea. Both areas were fairly touristy and didn’t have anything noteworthy.
Where to Stay
Great location, right across a beautiful beach and within walking distance to plenty of eateries and shops. The condo we were in was a little excessively decorated in beach house theme and we had some issues with the one of the broken and unusable shower heads and some of the stove burners didn’t work. Also they were doing painting on the building and needed to paint our doorframe and we had to leave so they promised they would close up after but when we got home the door was open.. Luckily nothing was stolen but that was really not ok. While the premises is beautiful (orchid walls and the sound of birds to wake you) we probably wouldn’t stay here again.