What To Do On Maui
Where do you begin? There is no shortage of exciting things to do on Maui. If you are active, check out our Sports page. But if you are just looking for a relaxing vacation, you certainly have come to the right place! So first, lean back, enjoy yourself, have a tropical drink, and dip your feet into our awesome beach just across the street! Most people can easily fill a few days just with that. If you get bored, start looking at the list below for some initial ideas. Oh, and whatever you do, don't try any poi! Don't say you haven't been warned! ;-)
Of course, the beaches are one of the main attractions on Maui. One of the best beaches, Charley Young Beach, is just across the street. This beach is awesome, not super busy, and can be enjoyed by all. You can get a bit of surfing or SUPing in (see Sports) but it is generally a very friendly beach for the whole family. There are no waves the size of houses as you would find them on the North Shore. I generally like to think of Charley Young Beach as a quieter version of Waikiki. I like to think Waikiki was like this 200 years ago:
Maui is a tropical island, and thus has tons of awesome beaches. Check out some of the beaches further south, for instance, Big Beach is always a favorite with everyone. Just drive south through Wailea until you get out of the populated area and the road just about turns into a dirt road. Then hang a right. That's Big Beach. There are other cool beaches on the way to Lahaina. Just drive along and stop when you see a place you like.
The North Shore is also worth a visit. Baldwin Beach and Paia Bay (just before you enter Paia) are awesome North Shore beaches and picturesque. Bring your boogie board. But be careful with the waves. On big days (especially in the winter months) there can be considerable shore break. Be prepared to be mangled and washed and spit out. But, that's half the fun, right? :-). Also, if you like to bare it all, walk down the left/western side of Baldwin Beach until you reach Little Beach. I believe it's the only nude beach on Maui.
Who doesn't enjoy eating good food? Exactly! And there are lots of places on Maui to do just that. The area in Kihei our condo is in is near lots of restaurants. So no matter whether you like fast food or upscale dining, American food or Asian cuisine, you will find it here. We also recommend a trip or two to Lahaina. You'll find several nice restaurants right in Lahaina as well as just past Lahaina (usually in the hotel complexes). We personally really enjoy Roy's, which serves Hawaiian American fusion. It's not the cheapest meal you will ever have, but it is excellent. Talking about pricey food: If you are willing to kick it up another notch, visit Mama's Fish House in Paia. It is hands down the best restaurant we have ever been to in any of the Hawaiian islands. It has style and the food is great. We always make sure we take friends who visit us on Maui to Mama's at least once. (BTW: Make reservations, or you won't get in). Oh, and while you are in Paia (perhaps because you are on the way to Hana... see below) you should also check out Flatbread's (organic pizza) and the Fish Market. Those are great places you can just drop in, no reservations needed.
The Road to Hana
So what is this "Hana" I mention above? Well, Hana is a small town on the eastern end of Maui. You drive there along the northern side of the island. You'll travel a tiny windy road and you will pass through miles and miles of pure nature and rain forest. You will see awesome beaches and coves. And once you are in Hana, you can visit the Seven Sacred Pools, which is a very cool place to visit (and you have probably seen it on pictures of Maui before). Also, if you are prone to car sickness, you want to bring some ginger, because this is a very windy road. It will also take you significantly longer than you think, because did I mention that the road is small and windy? There is a reason people wear "I survived the road to Hana" t-shirts. But hey, it is all worth it! Oh, and stop in Paia at the Fish Market and get a picnic basket full of food for the road. You will need it, and it is the thing to do. ;-)
BTW: If you have a rental car, the company will tell you that you cannot take the car around the south side of the island. I know this sounds like a dare. And yes, the first time I came to Maui and rented a car, it went to Hana and took the car around the south side of the island. I had a Jeep. It was a pain. The road is awful and there isn't really anything worth seeing. And I hear the road has only gotten worse and there is even less to see more and more of the handful of people that live in that area have moved away. It's really not worth it. But I understand. A dare's a dare ;-)
Kihei may be one of the top destinations in Maui, but Lahaina is worth a trip too. It has more art galleries and when the cruise ships are in town, it can get seriously busy. It also has some cool restaurants and other shops. It is definitely worth the trip.
While in Hawaii, you can't miss visiting a Luau. It just isn't the full Hawaiian experience without it. What's a Luau you ask? Wikipedia says, "a Luau is a Hawaiian party of feast, usually accompanied by entertainment". So this is where you will see traditional Hawaiian singing and dancing and you will be fed traditional Hawaiian food (caution: there is poi-danger here!). Translation: This is where you will see hula girls. No matter whether you generally are into tradition and folk dances and all that, a luau is cool! I mean: Who wouldn't want to see the hula girls? ;-)
The best place to see a Luau is in Lahaina.
Haleakaka is awesome. It's the mountain/volcano right behind our condo. A sunrise at the top of Haleakala is well worth the trip. You will have to get up early though, since it takes a while to drive all the way to the top. On the way, you will pass through most of the world's climate zones. Half way up, you'll swear you are in the European Alps. At the top, it gets somewhat barren. And cold! So bring some warm clothes, even if it is hard to imagine that it could be cold up there when you start out at sea level. Oh, and pick a nice day. The conditions at the top can be somewhat unpredictable, and we've had a few sunrises ruined by fog and clouds. But, when you get a good day, it is well worth it!
Paia and Makawao
We recommend that you swing up to the North Shore and visit Paia and Makawao. They are unique charming little towns. Have some food, shop a little, take it all in. You'll enjoy it.
Watch Surfers and Windsurfers
You can't go to Hawaii and not see surfers. They are everywhere. In Maui, you add windsurfers to the mix. If you are interested in participating yourself, check out our sports page. Even if you do not want to take to the elements yourself, we recommend you at least watch. The best place to do so is Ho'okipa Beach Park just past Paia on the North Shore. You can't miss it. Park your car and take a seat on the grassy hill on the west side of the park and you will practically enjoy stadium seating. Bring your camera.
Depending on the time of year, you may be able to see humpback whales. They come to Maui in the winter months. You can take whale watch tours on boats. You can also often see the whales from shore. I recommend you simply drive out the north side of Kihei and towards Lahaina. When you get around Maalaea (where the little port is), you will get to a scenic overlook from which you can often see the whales well. This is on the cliff of the mountain range you can see from Kihei. This is basically the end of "Kihei Bay" and still very close to Kihei. It's a short trip and well worth it. Although you may also be able to see the whales right from Kihei. In fact, you might see them from our balcony and/or our beach if you are lucky.
If you are interested in an organized whale watch trip, do a quick search on the Internet for the most up to date information. One of the first hits that comes up seems to be www.whalewatchmaui.com.
You can take a trip in a submarine out of Lahaina. It is basically like scuba diving for non-divers. If you scuba dive, I recommend you do that (see sports page), but for everyone else, the submarine trip is a great alternative. What you see is a matter of a bit of luck of course, but we have done it twice and enjoyed it, and everyone else who's done it has told us they loved it.
More on Trip Advisor
This is just a short list of things we like to do when friends visit. For a more complete list, check out "the Googles" or take a look at this list on TripAdvisor.com.
About the Weather
Many of the things you do in Maui are weather related. Who wants to sit on the beach when it is raining? And contrary to popular belief, it does rain on Maui. In fact, Maui is one of the world's wettest spots. But Kihei is not prone to rain, so you shouldn't experience many rainy days. However, you might experience more rain if you go to other places on the island. Especially the area between Haiku and Hana is prone to rain. It may also threaten to ruin a day of golf. But know this: We have learned that on Maui, it isn't so much a question of what the weather is like, but it is more of a question of where the weather is. It may rain in Haiku, but it is probably a beautiful day in Kihei. It may rain at the Pukalani golf course, but the Wailea courses are dry. So if the weather isn't to your liking, just drive a few miles. Usually Kihei is your best bet for good weather.
Hula Dancers at a Luau...
On the Road to Hana...