Oceania

Maui, Hawaii | Travel Guide

Year-round sunshine, beaches, and so many activities, it’s no surprise why Hawaii is a popular destination for everyone – from backpackers to families and couples. 

Getting Around

If you will be staying at your hotel/resort and just chilling by the beach and pool you will not need a car. Its common for hotels to have an airport shuttle, so you can inquire with your hotel and book one and not worry about the driving at all. If you plan on doing lots of sightseeing and activities, a car will definitely be required. The island is pretty small and easy to get around. There are tours but many are overpriced and if you go on your own it’s usually better because you can explore at your own pace. Also, take note many tours do not offer hotel pickup and if they do, they charge you extra. Renting a car tip – get a small car. It will make getting around quicker, easier, and parking will be a breeze. If you wish to splurge little more on an expensive car, do not book it online but rather wait till you reach rental car company and ask for an upgrade. 

 

Sights To See

  • Kaanapali Beach, Maui (#1 Beach in America)
    • There is a nightly torch lighting at Black Rock, Kaanapali Beach. Before the arrival of Europeans, Pu‘u Keka‘a — which is often called “Black Rock” — was where Kahekili, the King of Maui, would practice the sport of lele kawa, or leaping into the sea. This tradition is still performed every night in front of the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa, where a man will clamber across the rock and light a string of torches before bravely throwing himself off the cliff in an arching swan dive at sunset.

  • You can even do cliff diving from Black Rock (do at your own risk)
  • Kā‘anapali Beach is good for snorkeling, surfing, playing beach volleyball and watching the sun go down — not to mention the scuba diving, boogie boarding, shopping, cliff jumping and rows of oceanfront beach bars.
  • Whalers Village shopping center (the lower floor has a food court if you get hungry or are looking for something to eat – decent food options). 
  • Lahaina (which means “merciless sun”)
    • Lahaina was named the first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom by King Kamehameha I in 1802 and remained so for 50 years. During this time, the town also became a major whaling hub with as many as 400 ships and their sailors passing through, including Herman Melville (of Moby Dick fame).

 

  • Old Lahaina Courthouse (courthouse also houses the Lahaina Visitor Center)
  • The giant Banyan Tree ( one of the world’s largest banyan trees. When it arrived from India in 1873, it had one trunk and was only eight feet tall. Today, it has grown 12 major trunks, is over 50 feet tall and provides shade to over two-thirds of an acre in the courthouse square.)

 

  • Lahaina Prison

  • The Baldwin Home (The Baldwin House, built in 1834 for missionary Dr. Dwight Baldwin and his family, is the oldest standing structure in Lahaina. It has been accurately restored and is open daily)

  • Shave ice stands (there is this popular Ululani’s Hawaiian shaved ice in downtown area which is amazing)
  • Baby Beach 
  • Old Lahaina Luau is recommended if you are in the area. Note this a traditional Luau so there are no fire knives or dancing. 

  • Helicopter Tour
  • A hike at Waihe‘e Ridge Trail (4-mile) – Read all about this trail here – stop in Pāʻia to eat in the island’s happiest town…you can even do some shopping here.
  • Nakalele blowhole and Heart

  • Kahekili Beach
    • Pu‘u Keka‘a today forms a barrier between Kā‘anapali’s two beaches. The southern beach, called Kā‘anapali Beach, runs for more than a mile and includes the stretch from the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa to the Sheraton. On the northern side of Pu‘u Keka‘a is Kahekili Beach, also known as “Airport Beach” since a small airstrip served Kā‘anapali until 1986. Today, the park at Kahekili Beach is one of Maui’s best spots for snorkeling and also has much more public parking than you’ll find at Kā‘anapali Beach. It’s a popular spot for island locals who BBQ and throw potlucks on weekends and a place where people gather to watch the fiery sunset each night.
  • Honolua Bay, Maui
    • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Honolua Bay
    • Wave Watching at Honolua Bay
    • Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (also called Honu)
    • Honolua Valley
  • Napili Beach 
  • Oneloa Beach 
  • Hike the Hoapili Trail
  • Spend a day snorkeling and relaxing at Mokapu or Keawakapu Beach
  • Watch the sunset from Makena State Park
  • Makena Beach/Big Beach
    • At Makena Landing and Maluaka Beach, protected coves create perfect conditions for snorkeling, paddling, and kayaking and are home to canoeing and kayaking tours that cruise the rocky coast. More famously known as “Turtle Town,” the area is packed with Hawaiian Green sea turtles that live in underwater caves and occasionally surface to sip some air before swimming off into the blue.
    • “Big Beach” in Makena State Park, which aside from being one of Maui’s longest and widest beaches, still exists in its natural state, as it’s blissfully undeveloped.
    • The other two beaches inside the park are black sand Oneuli Beach and “Little Beach,” which is officially Maui’s unofficial nude beach.
    • To sample Makena’s other beaches, you can bask on the sands of Po‘olenalena and snorkel around the rocks or literally walk through a hole in the wall to emerge at pocket-sized Puako Cove, more commonly known as “Secret Beach.”
  • Pay a visit to the sharks and sea turtles at the Maui Ocean Center, in Maalaea
  • Wailea’s name translates to “water of Lea,” the goddess of canoe-builders.
    • Linger in South Maui to enjoy the sunset and dine at one of the area’s terrific restaurants
  • Maui Pineapple Tour 

  • Drive to Hana (My recommendation is to stay a night in Hana that way you can fully cover it and not be rushed)
    • A walk on Baldwin Beach
    • Grab breakfast/picnic supplies in Paia
    • Twin Falls & Twin Falls Maui farm stand

 

 

  • Aunty Sandy’s Banana bread
  • Kaihalulu: Maui’s Red Sand Beach
    • Reaching the Red Sand Beach, however, isn’t exactly easy, and is part of the reason the beach is so empty despite its proximity to town. The thin trail that leads to the beach is at the end of Uakea Road, and is found by walking across the grass where the pavement comes to an end. There’s minimal parking on this part of the road, so it’s easiest to park by the Hana Ballpark and just stroll down the street from there.
  • Wai’Anapanapa Caves and State Park
    • Watch sunrise/sunset from Waianapanapa black sand beach (this beach is also good for snorkeling)

  • Sunrise at Mount Haleakala (Red Hill overlook) – Close / On Route to Hana so more reason to spend a night so you don’t have to drive all this way twice
    • Haleakala, a massive shield volcano that rises 10,023 feet above Maui’s coastal areas is located in Haleakala National Park, and has not erupted for more than 200 years. It is a place of legends and intriguing biological diversity that annually attracts more than 1 million visitors
    • Sunrise at Haleakala, called “House of the Sun” by early Hawaiians
    • check available activities in the park (activities like hiking, horseback riding, and guided nature tours are available in the park. )
    • cold temperature, occasionally dipping below zero. Carry warm clothes
    • No food or gas is available in the park
    • luncheon tour at 8-acre O‘o Farm (you can even bring your own bottle of wine or just sip on the French-pressed coffee)
    • Ocean Organic Vodka is made right next to Surfing Goat Dairy
    • complimentary tastings at MauiWine. MauiWine has three collections: Ulupalakua Vineyards (estate wines made entirely from MauiWine grapes), Rose Ranch (blends of raspberries and some grape varieties, such as Pinot and Chardonnay, from Mainland sources) and Pineapple (made from fresh Maui Gold pineapples). MauiWine is at 14815 Piilani Highway in Kula, Maui. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, and admission is free. Visitors 21 and older can enjoy complimentary wine tastings. Complimentary tours open to everyone are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
    • Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm offers tours of their Upper Kula property that’s bathed in purplish hues. Order a scone from the small café and sip on lavender tea, and watch the mist as it gathers on flowers up here at 4,000 feet. The lavender farm is right up the road from the luncheon at O‘o Farm
    • Finish the day with dinner in Makawao (grab a coffee at Casanova deli and sit on the street-facing porch. If Komoda bakery is open when you visit, grab a perfectly glazed “Stick” donut from the family-run establishment, which in 2016 celebrated 100 years of satisfying Makawao’s sweet tooth. Or, for a classic Makawao happy hour, belly up to the bar at Polli’s, a favorite Mexican restaurant, where locals have sipped on margaritas since 1981)

  • The Pipiwai Trail (4-mile)
    • Located in the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park
    • it’s a journey to a tropical fantasyland, where banyan tree branches burst like sun rays and bamboo creaks in the wind, while waterfalls tumble from cliffs so high you find yourself staring toward the sky.
    • If you’re planning to hike the Pipiwai Trail, begin by parking in the official entrance of Haleakala National Park, which requires a fee of $15/vehicle and allows access to the Pools at Ohe‘o. If you’ve traveled to the summit of Haleakala within the past 3 days, then your entrance ticket should still be valid for the Kipahulu section as well.
    • beautiful banyan
    • Before setting out on the Pipiwai Trail, ensure you have water, snacks, and sunscreen for completing the 2-hour hike.
    • You will see beautiful thick bamboos and there is a stunning waterfall at the end (400-ft. Waimoku Falls).

  • Snorkeling at Molokini Crater

 

What To Eat

I made a separate blog post on this topic. Check it out here

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Sheena
    November 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    looks like you had a lovely trip! your travel pictures are always so gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Shannon
    November 30, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    hubby and I are going to Maui for our honeymoon, so so excited and glad you wrote up this guide…can’t wait to visit all these places and get amazing photos like you! xoxo

    • Reply
      mrsgupta
      November 30, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Congrats, you will have so so much fun!

  • Reply
    Kristie
    December 1, 2017 at 9:40 am

    your pictures are amazing, this post was very interesting to read and inspire other travelers like myself…..keep it going!

  • Reply
    Meghan
    December 1, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I love your blog girl, the content is very engaging, interesting and unique. I recently started reading it but have been making time to go back and read up on all your adventures.

  • Reply
    Natasha
    January 13, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Just booked a trip to Maui! Your photos and recommendations are too good. Super excited!!

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