Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See our Advertising Policy
The best island in all of Hawaii, in my opinion, is Maui. I’ve done and seen pretty much everything there is to do on the island at least twice and plan on doing many more!
There is an abundance of natural beauty, fantastic dining options, and an endless amount of things to do. There are 4 different ways to visit this stunning location that I get to call home in order to properly appreciate all that Maui has to offer.
This Maui travel guide is organized with my favorite must-do Maui activities first. Then it’s the best air tours and ocean activities I have enjoyed in Maui. I also share with you the restaurants on Maui that I have visited and can’t recommend enough to visitors. Finally, all the things you should not do when visiting Maui.
It took years of expertise to completely recommend the best of the best in this article, not just a few weeks.
All of Maui has been significantly impacted due to the recent fires. Check directly for up-to-date information and consider donating via a trusted Maui charity.
Must Do Activities On Maui
Sunrise at Haleakala
An absolute must-do!
Go watch the sun rise above Haleakala Crater, but be AWARE you do need reservations and they book up to 60 days in advance. If you don’t get them way ahead of time you will not get to go for SUNRISE, There are tickets that release two days before each scheduled day but there is .00001% chance of getting them because there are computer algorithms designed to snatch them up first.
If you can’t get sunrise tickets or just simply don’t want to get up that early just venture up there for sunset!
From Kihei/Wailea to Summit: 1 hour 40 minutes
From Lahaina/Kaanapali to Summit: 2 hours
From Paia to Summit: 1 hour 13 minutes
YOU WILL HAVE TO LEAVE AROUND 3-4 AM DEPENDING ON THE TIME OF THE YEAR!!
The tallest peak on Maui is located in Haleakala National Park. Haleakala, which has a height of 10,023 feet (3,005 meters), is known as the “home of the sun” and was where the sun was lassoed by the god Maui to give people more time to dry kapa (cloth) and cultivate food. The “crater” of the extinct volcano is actually a valley formed by erosion.
Since the late 1800s, when Samuel Clemens penned: “It was the sublimest spectacle I ever beheld, and I think the memory of it will linger with me forever,” sunrise tours at Haleakala’s peak have been a popular tourist destination.
The Summit District of the park rises from 7,000 feet (2,134 m) to 10,023 feet in elevation (3,055 m). The peak is a great location to view the sky because of its high height, lack of light, environmental pollution, and changing weather patterns. Haleakala National Park now needs reservations for any car entering the park before sunrise because of the demand for sunrise viewing at the peak and the park’s limited parking (3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.).
Reservations. A reservation is required for each vehicle entering the park from 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Beginning April 7, 2021 you may book a reservation up to 60 days in advance and 2 days in advance of the start date.
Reservation Tip! Login to your account or create a new account before Haleakala National Park Summit Sunrise tickets go on sale. You can only add a ticket to your cart and proceed with your reservation if you are logged into your account.
Please Note: Tickets are per vehicle, not per person. Tickets are limited to one per customer every three days.
Road to Hana
(Use caution when going) 7-12 hours long
This is an all-day 100-mile out-and-back journey from Kahului to the historic Hana town through dozens of windy curves and one-lane bridges. Although I don’t want to recommend this out of respect for the local Hawaiians living there, people will do their own research and go anyway. So if you do decide to go I want it to be the right way, and to be respectful of all the locals living in the Hana area.
This is an all-day adventure usually taking about 7-12 hours depending on how many stops you take. You will come across dozens of waterfalls, 2 bamboo forests, botanical gardens, farm tours, and plenty of hikes for all types of people.
REMEMBER– If there is a resident behind you (you will know this by them driving fast or tailgating you) pull over ASAP and let them pass, they have jobs and lives that depend on getting through that very road you’re driving slow on to see all the magnificent scenery. It’s a simple gesture of respect. Hawaii is all about respect, especially with visitors. As long as you respect the people and the land, people will welcome you with open arms.
Historic Lahaina Town (Front Street)
With endless activities, Front Street serves as a historic landmark located in Lahaina Town. Front Street is home to many shops, restaurants, magic shows, etc. Spend your time in the surf shops you can visit here and there buying trinkets, a new bikini, or a locally made T-shirt. The range of artwork and photography created by artists shown in the several art galleries dotted around the busy boulevard will also attract you.
You still can’t go shopping all day if you’re hungry. Be sure to visit one of the many eateries on Front Street, such as Down the Hatch or Paia Fish Market. After a long day of wandering up and down the street, you may also stop by an ice cream or shave ice shop for a quick lunch to satiate your cravings.
See our current list of the 5 Best Luxury Hotels on Maui
The city of Lahaina’s Banyan Tree Park is situated at the conclusion of Front Street. With so many quaint stores and eateries nearby, this tree, one of the nation’s oldest Banyan trees, is the ideal place to unwind in Lahaina. A 200 square foot area is covered in branches and leaves, making it the ideal spot for shade. This tree was brought from India as a gift to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the missionaries’ arrival, and it has grown to be 60 feet tall. Since 1837, the Banyan tree has been a well-known icon in Lahaina, making the town a popular destination.
Last but not least, “Second Friday,” a delightful activity that happens on Front Street every month from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It’s a celebration with a variety of traditional hula routines and live music from island favorites. Local vendors descend to provide goods for sale and delectable prepared dishes. This evening also features exquisite island arts and crafts.
A large number of stores and restaurants also provide discounts to customers on this one day out of the entire month in addition to this chaotic night.
La Perouse Bay (Massive Lava Field)
The final show of Haleakala can be seen at La Perouse Bay on Maui’s southeast coast. Haleakala is thought to have erupted in 1790, creating the jagged lava rock coastline. Native Hawaiians built their homes atop the jagged a’a lava rock, and now there is a memorial and remnants of those homes.
The road physically ends in La Perouse in south Maui. At the very end of Makena Alanui Road, at mile marker 7, it can be found. Take Piilani Highway south to Wailea from Kihei. Wailea Iki Road to the right, then Wailea Alanui Road to the left, which becomes Makena Alanui. As you travel between mile markers 5.5 and 7, pay close attention to your surroundings. You should notice fields of a’a covering the terrain on either side.
Kapalua Coastal Trail
In the northwest part of Maui, the Kapalua Coastal Trail is a stunning journey that passes through lava fields and wildness, along the beach, and next to opulent resorts and condominiums. The distance of this short stroll is 1.76 miles, or roughly three and a half miles round trip. It extends from D.T. Fleming Beach to the southern edge of Kapalua Bay (where parking is available in the Bay Villas beach access parking lot) (the beach at the north end of the Montage Kapalua, where you can park in the Fleming Beach parking lot).
It is accessible from dawn to dusk.
Food/ Drink Tours
Ocean Vodka- Have you visited a vodka farm? Upcountry Maui is home to Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery. You can get a behind-the-scenes tour of Hawaii Sea Spirit’s 80-acre facility and sample some of their luxury goods, like Ocean Organic Vodka, during a 30-minute tasting tour. Additionally, there is a cafe on the premises that serves flatbreads, specialty cocktails, and food with a local flavor.
Enjoy your meal and a spectacular Upcountry sunset while lounging on the vast lawn. (Hot tip: In the summer, the sun doesn’t set until after seven; therefore, the last call for food and beverages is at 6:45.) Plan a trip during the winter for the finest sunset views.)There is no admission fee to visit the farm, gift shop, or cafe; there is a fee for the half-hour tour.
Surfing Goat Dairy- This adorable certified-humane goat farm is located just a short distance from the vodka farm and makes more than 30 delectable (and national award-winning) goat cheese products, such as aged soft cheese, chevre, and quark. There is no entrance cost, so you are welcome to browse the merchandise whenever you like.
However, three guided excursions are for sale, and my personal favorite is the Saturday 2-hour Grand Dairy Tour. amusing and instructive You can give the goats food and milk, discover how cheese is made, and partake in a very liberal sample of the dairy’s gourmet goat cheeses. Come with an empty stomach!
MauiWine- The location of MauiWine’s tasting room and gift shop on a historic estate in Ulupalakua (Upcountry Maui), surrounded by trees that are at least 150 years old, could not be more lovely. The winery, formerly known as Tedeschi Winery, opened its doors in 1974 and today creates a variety of distinctive pineapple wines in addition to classic estate wines. Visit the tasting area to try these fantastic artisan wines and stroll the magnificent grounds.
Free guided tours of the grounds are available, however wine tasting is chargeable.
Maui Pineapple Plantation and Distillery Tours- The Maui Pineapple Tour is an authentic 90-minute tour of a working pineapple plantation in Hali’imaile (near Makawao). You’ll learn about “all things pineapple” and go right into the pineapple fields to sample fresh-picked Maui Gold pineapple, an extra sweet variety.
Plus, you’ll leave with your own pineapple, boxed and ready for travel (included in the tour price). You can also choose to include a 30-minute distillery tour of Hali’imaile Distilling Company.
O’o Farm Gourmet Lunch and Farm Tour- MUST DO FOR FOODIES!!!! O’o Farm in upcountry Maui offers a genuine “farm to fork” experience. The experience kicks off with a tour of the 8.5-acre farm, during which you will harvest the produce for your meal. Then, relax and enjoy a chef-prepared gourmet lunch incorporating farm-fresh products, set on the slopes of Mount Haleakala with stunning views of the island.
Also offered is a similar O’o Farm experience for breakfast that includes a coffee farm tour: The Seed to Cup Gourmet Breakfast and Tour.
Luau On Maui
When you enter a Luau, you are transported into a beautifully maintained hub of Hawaiian storytelling, dining, and culture with a stunning ocean view. These Hawaiian luaus are the best that Maui has to offer, not just any luau. Spend an evening with them as they showcase Hawaiian hospitality, cuisine, and entertainment.
Just a warning to the families, luaus may go anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, and I have witnessed children become bored and had to leave. However, the luau is usually all-you-can-eat and drink, and most kids and adults find it to be a lot of fun.
Old Lāhainā Lūʻau (best overall Lūʻau, Usually booked months in advance so book as soon as you can. Also you and your group may be seated at a table with other people you don’t know)
Feast at Lele (A more intimate Lūʻau, the tables are set up to only be as big as your party, and they have amazing food and a great show)
Maui Ocean Center
A beautiful center filled with phenomenal displays, a theater, amazing aquariums, and a glass tunnel where fish and sea life swim around and over. The 14-minute humpback whale 3D film experience is breathtaking and powerful. You can almost touch the whales swimming in front of you in your comfy reclining seats (and viewing is part of the ticket cost).
Live sharks, fish, turtles, and sting rays are abundant… and the property and vistas are majestic of both the mountainside with the huge wind turbines and the harbor and the Pacific Ocean. The Hawaiian history and marine life educational films and displays were insightful. The gift shop is one of the most robust I’ve been in.
Clean bathrooms, and a nice coffee shop. Lots of benches and seating throughout the facility along with ample parking.
There are so many hikes on Maui that are just stunning. Here are my favorite six:
- Waihe’e Ridge Trail (2.5 miles, Moderate)
- Pipiwai Trail (4 miles, Moderate)
- Sliding Sands Trail (11 miles, Very difficult and very hot during the day)
- Twin Falls Trail (2.5 miles, Easy)
- Kapalua Coastal Trail (3.5 miles, Easy)
- Nakalele Blowhole(1 mile, Moderate)
OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES
ATV– Maui Off-Road Adventures has an amazing trail up into the mountains that is defiantly worth the price.
Zip-line– Kapalua Zip-lines is the best on the island, they offer the Longest single line in Hawaii, and I had the most fun with them on their 7 Line Zip). Jungle Zip-lines is second in my opinion, it has a really fun zip through Haiku on the slopes of Haleakala.
Jet Ski or Parasail– Pacific Jet sports in Kaanapali is awesome, they have a fun crew and they pick you up on the beach in Kaanapali.
Bottom Fishing– Makai Adventures
Maui Must Do Air Tours
Helicopter Rides On Maui
This is an amazing way to see parts of Maui that you simply cannot see by foot, car, or boat. The waterfalls are incredible after a rainstorm. Don’t take too many photos on the flight as you may not have the same experience as you would just looking and enjoying the scenery, and it may cause you to not feel so good looking through that lens the whole time. Just a tip from someone that enjoys helicopter rides a lot and wants to share his experience with you so you have a great trip.
One of my favorite trips is the Molokai route, simply breathtaking as you get to see the tallest sea cliffs in the entire world, some of which have been featured in Jurassic Park.
DO take Dramamine if you get motion sickness at all.
BEST ROUTE– West Maui/ Molokai (I’ve done every route and this was my favorite!!)
BEST COMPANIES– Maui Plane Rides
Maui Ocean Activities
Whale Watching & Snorkeling
Relaxing Snorkel+Whale Watch on Catamaran vs. Snorkel+Whale Watch Adventure on ZODIAC raft, which to do??
Snorkel trips offer the opportunity for you to see things not visible from the shore such as various species of fish, and all different kinds of marine life. If you want to relax and take it easy or if you have a family with some little ones choose a Catamaran, if you’re more on the adventurous side looking for a thrill and some adrenaline book a Zodiac raft, they go a lot faster, but aren’t very comfortable or relaxing and definitely not for little kids.
WHALE WATCH ONLY RUNS ROUGHLY FROM NOVEMBER THROUGH MAY!
Trilogy (more expensive but nicer boats)$$$
Sea Maui (More youthful fun crew, not as much food, but they always seem to have a bottomless amount of alcohol) $
Alii Nui Sailing (Go with Alii Nui if you have the budge and want the nicest in every area, they have the nicest boats, the most luxurious boating experience, best food, and drinks) $$$
Hawaii Ocean Rafting (if you’re staying on the west side of the island this is the best raft co.) $
Blue Water Rafting (if you’re staying on the south side of the island this is the best raft co.) $
Treat yourself to a sunset dinner sail on a catamaran rather than staying inside a restaurant or hotel during the most romantic hour of the day. As you cruise down the Lahaina coastline, take advantage of the complimentary cocktails and watch the sunset behind the island of Lanai. After that, savor a sumptuous three-course dinner while listening to local music.
The time of year may even allow you to see humpback whales.
Trilogy (more expensive but nicer boats)$$$
Sea Maui (More youthful fun crew, they always seem to have a bottomless amount of alcohol) $
Alii Nui Sailing (Go with Alii Nut if you want the nicest in every area, they have the nicest boats, the most luxurious boating experience, best food, and drinks) $$$
Best company- Atlantis Submarines
Rent Surfboards / Stand Up Paddle Boards
Whether you’re staying close to Lahaina town or Kihei they both have loads of surfboard rentals and companies offering surf lessons.
Best Beaches On Maui
West Side(Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, Kapalua)
Lahaina Baby Beach
Local families with young children are the main visitors to Lahaina Baby Beach. Small children won’t be run over by large waves in this quiet shallow region because the beach is protected by an exposed length of coral, and parents can let youngsters play without worrying too much about the ocean.
Most tourists generally miss Lahaina Baby Beach. The beaches of Ka’anapali, Napili, and Kapalua to the north are superior to those in Lahaina. The sand on this narrow beach ranges from an unpleasant dirty-gray at the northern end to barely any beach at the southern end.
Additionally, there are a lot of coral heads and pebbles scattered throughout, which are attractive to look at but unpleasant to scrape or stub, and which may rapidly ruin any fun that adults or older children might try to have in the water.
From Black Rock to Canoe Beach, Kaanapali Beach is bordered by seven resorts, Whalers Village Mall, and a wide variety of upscale stores and eateries. The beach is magnificent in and of itself. Swimming and water entry are beautiful and long, wide, and sandy.
Cliff jumping is available at Black Rock (and cliff-jumper watching.) There are countless activities. The beach, restaurants, bars, and a large concrete walkway are all within walking distance of one other.
It truly doesn’t get any better than this if you’re searching for a top-notch resort location with all the amenities. The pinnacle of the high-end commercial interpretation of Hawai’i is sitting along every single inch of the full length of this beach. You may very well be comfortable staying inside the confines of the general resort area and never leaving for those who want nothing more than a resort experience to unwind from the rigors of work and life back home.
Ka’anapali Beach is marketed as a “Hawaiian-themed luxury resort destination” for people looking for a more authentic Maui but has actually been so professionally sterilized that it could have been plopped into any similar latitude closer to your house. After about a half-day visit, most people with this mindset will likely grow tired of the constant commercialism.
At the northern end of the beach, nearest to Black Rock, there is good snorkeling for anyone interested in doing so. The deeper places are known to have powerful currents that weaker swimmers should be wary of.
Napili Bay, one of West Maui’s most stunning beaches, is a well-liked hangout for tourists and locals alike and a great place to take a midday siesta, picnic, go stand-up paddle-boarding, or go swimming. You won’t be able to see it from the street, but the automobiles parked all along the street will probably let you know when you’ve arrived.
-Beach with golden sand
-Steep descent to the water, but otherwise quiet with the prospect of mild waves
-Excellent stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP), swimming, and snorkeling are available on both sides of the bay. Whale watching may also be feasible.
-Abundant tropical fish and coral
-Walking distance to restaurants
-No public restrooms; only available to guests of the adjacent hotels and condos
Kapalua Bay, which won the title of America’s Best Beach in 1991, is the epitome of a lush Hawaiian paradise. Kapalua Bay is the ideal location to spend the day outside in West Maui, offering sheltered conditions that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling year-round, however, you should anticipate that others will have the same thought.
-Beach with golden sand
-Silent weather with the potential for current and soft breaking waves
-Excellent swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling opportunities are available. Marine life is abundant and includes corals, tropical fish, and turtles.
-Wonderful sunset vistas
-Public restrooms at the trail’s summit
-Snacks and drinks available at a nearby beach hut -No lifeguards
D.T. Fleming Beach Park
D.T. Fleming Beach, located near Kapalua, is a stunning beach that was recognized as America’s Best Beach in 2006. This beach is fantastic for those of you who like to play in the waves or like watching others do so, but we can’t suggest it for young children owing to the rough weather and waves.
-Golden-white sand beach
-Strong rip currents; frequent high waves; bad for calm swimming; bad for snorkeling; bad for scuba diving
-Bad for small children and inexperienced swimmers
-Windy in the afternoons
-Good for surfing and bodyboarding during north swells
-A beautiful beach with a great view
-The Ritz Carlton has restaurants and shops, but it’s recommended to bring your own food and beverages.
-Communal restrooms, grills, picnic tables, and grassy areas
-There are lifeguards on duty -There is a spacious parking lot
South Side (Kihei, Wailea, Makena)
The most stunning beach on South Maui, if not the entire island, is Big Beach. Its formal names are Makena Beach and Oneloa Beach, and it is situated in Makena State Park. One of Maui’s longest, widest, and least developed beaches, its white sands stretch for about two-thirds of a mile.
There are two beaches in the neighborhood; Big Beach is the more well-known, and Little Beach is popular for its casual dress code and Sunday night events.
South of Wailea, close to the Makena Beach and Golf Resort, is Big Beach. This spectacular natural setting along the coast offers a private area for enjoyment and relaxation with breathtaking views of the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe.
Big Beach is popular with swimmers, snorkelers, and sunbathers alike. It’s crucial to remember, though, that the ocean has a strong on-shore break that can be hazardous. Rip tides can be quite dangerous during heavy surf periods, therefore it may be advisable to stay out of the ocean.
In any case, this is a classic Hawaiian beach with all the amenities you could want. Big Beach should not be missed because it is seldom too busy and is truly stunning!
The Kamaole 1 beach, one of the top five South Maui beaches, is the longest and largest of the three beaches that make up the Kamaole Beach parks. This region is sometimes regarded as the best place in Maui for ocean swimming because of its stunning white sand and crescent-shaped beach. Its tranquil waves and length of a third of a mile make it the ideal spot to dip your toes into the Pacific.
The rocky end of the beach is better for snorkeling than the rest of the area. The region is kept contained by the sand dunes that divide the beach from the road. This is located on the southern end of Kamaole 1 for families who require a grassy area to play and picnic. There is something in Kamaole 1 for every member of the family.
In front of the Wailea Elua condominium complex, between two rocky points, there is a sandy beach called Ulua Beach. Numerous diverse types of individuals are drawn to this river. Bodyboarders are drawn to the high surf because the waves are bigger and more powerful than at the other nearby beaches.
However, snorkeling and diving are wonderful when the ocean is calm. The fish and corals are magnificent and create gorgeous underwater living art. Ulua Beach is an excellent area to learn and develop your skills if you are a beginner to intermediate snorkeler. A short distance away is the magnificent Wailea Fairway Estates.
The best area to view the fish and corals is towards the rocky northern end of the beach.The most well-known game fish in Hawaii goes by the name “Ulua,” which explains why this is such a terrific place to find them.
Ulua Beach is the place to be if you’re looking for a beach with lots of entertaining activities.
Must Visit Maui Restaurants
(Save these on your maps so it’s easy to find them)
West Side Restaurants (Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, Kapalua)
Merriman’s Kapalua $$$
YOU MUST MAKE RESERVATIONS BEFORE YOU COME! Merriman’s is renowned for its atmosphere, which is open to stunning views of the sun setting, delectable cocktails, and a three-course meal prepared by a master chef. Choose your entree, dessert, and appetizer. There is something for everyone. Free valet parking is provided.
To snap pictures, plan to arrive before sunset. The beautiful bar inside, however, you have to sit down to place a drink order. If you’re prepared to splurge, this is the spot to do it since they’re only serving the $120 Prix Fixe menu right now.
Paia Fish Market $
This is my favorite restaurant on the island with the best fresh Mahi Mahi/Ono/Snapper. Don’t hesitate to get the Mahi Mahi or Ono burger, they definitely give you your money’s worth. In total their fresh fish burgers are about $16 and that includes a side of potatoes, fries or cajun rice!
Lahaina Grill $$$
The best service I’ve received in a very long time, in all honesty. The wait staff pays close attention. The meal was enhanced by so many small details. The cuisine is outstanding and matches the service. They will sometimes snap a picture of you, give you a card, and a dessert if you’re celebrating your anniversary.
They pay very close attention to any dietary restrictions you may have, such as being gluten-free or having allergies. They make sure you can still sample the dessert and the day’s seafood special.
Taverna has a lot of raw wood and industrial-chic design, making it modern, stylish, and attractive. The restaurant’s main bar has a lively, raucous, sports-bar atmosphere, and many customers appear to come there only for happy hour. However, the rest of the space is calm and informal.
Italian crowd-pleasers including lasagna, carbonara, and ossobuco are all masterfully prepared and available on the menu. The fritto misto (fried shellfish), polpette (beef and bacon meatballs), and tiramisu and panna cotta for dessert are all standouts.
Star Noodle $$
Star Noodle has several natural finishes, like stone, teak, and wicker chairs, and is light, contemporary, and Japanese-inspired. The atmosphere is unmistakably laid-back and informal, with guests conversing and devouring magnificent family-style Asian dishes with tastes from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, and Singapore that harmoniously blend together. Vietnamese pancakes with shrimp, pig, and bean sprouts served with sweet-and-sour Nuoc Cham, porky Hapa Ramen, and melt-in-your-mouth adobo ribs are standouts.
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop $
Even while Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop is trendy enough with its wooden tables and chalkboard pie menu, the atmosphere is not what always draws large lineups. All of the food is created with ingredients from surrounding farms, even though you can order standard diner cuisines like burgers, pot pies, and pastrami sandwiches.
But the pies, which change daily, are the true thing to order here. Highlights include the fluffy and luscious Coconut Cream Pie, the wonderfully tart Olowalu Lime Pie, and the Kiawe Bean Tart, which is created with Maui Meyer lemons and sweet, nutty kiawe flour.
Moku Roots $$
The food at Moku Roots is anything but chain restaurant fare. It is served in a Maui shopping area inland from Lahaina’s waterfront and next to a Ross department store and a DMV. Additionally, it boasts a sizable cocktail menu that includes a few daily specials. Additionally, they provide Prosecco, strong kombucha, as well as regional brews.
But if you want to feel like you’re on an island, get one of the “If You Like Vegan Coladas,” which is created with toasted local coconut, fresh macadamia nut milk, organic cane sugar, and rum. A large menu offers vegetarian and vegan adaptations of Hawaiian specialties as well as classic comfort foods. Dishes on the menu include sushi-ritos, a famous taro burger on an oat-wheat bun with macadamia nut aioli, a flavor-packed coconut “noodle” bowl of mixed greens and herbs topped with avocado and cilantro lemongrass crema, and more.
Upcountry Restaurants (Kula, Makawao, Haliimaile)
Hali’imaile General Store $$
The Hali’imaile General Store is located in a historic structure constructed in the 1920s that originally provided services to the local pineapple fields’ laborers. The area was changed in 1988 to become this quaint, light-filled general store/restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere. Farm-to-table cuisine was served at Hali’imaile 30 years ago, before it was even a thing, and business is brisk.
With traditional dishes like roast chicken with Molokai sweet potato mash, scallop risotto with Kula corn, and roast duck with pineapple chutney, the menu has probably not altered all that much over the years.
South Side Restaurants (Kihei, Wailea, Makena)
Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante $$
The Four Season Maui’s trademark Italian restaurant, Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante, immediately impresses guests with its hanging lamps, vantage point over Wailea Beach, and background live music. You’ll think you’re the star of your own romance comedy at the illuminated tables by the seaside at sunset since they are so unbelievably picturesque. The menu offers handmade pasta, grilled meat and fish, huge, bold salads (like tomato and burrata salad), and more. Each meal is appealing and delicate, yet full and never excessively pricey.
Kitoko Maui $$
While there are numerous food trucks in Hawaii that can be found along the roadway, Kitoko Maui is an upscale option. Instead, you’ll enter South Maui Gardens, a well-established plant nursery in Kihei, by way of a crunchy gravel walkway lined with beautiful potted plants and large Buddha sculptures.
Everything revolves around the exquisitely presented steel bento boxes topped with swordfish, braised beef, or Kauai shrimp. You could even become vegan. The grilled shrimp are a terrific option for hot weather; they add a Thai flare to an incredibly fresh Hawaiian staple and are served on a bed of zesty veggies and dusted with almonds.
Some of the most delectable treats you’ll eat in Maui are handcrafted sorbets and macadamia-caramel tiramisu. They also look fantastic on Instagram.
There are a few restaurants at the posh Shops at Wailea, an upmarket shopping center behind the resorts on the island’s beaches, but only Lineage truly stands out in terms of both food and ambiance.
The most recent iteration (post-coronavirus) has to-share items like Korean fried chicken, garlic szechuan noodles, and a wagyu kalbi short rib served with roasted bone marrow, with a menu that leans more Korean and Chinese in flavor. The smashed cucumber and Szechuan peanut vinaigrette is a delightful way to start, while the indulgent and heavenly aji tamago, a six-minute egg marinated in soy-dashi and stuffed with potato whip and truffled mushroom duxelle, is a lighter option.
North Side Restaurants (Kahului, Paia)
Mama’s Fish House $$$
This renowned Paia restaurant is the place to go if you’re seeking great dining done the island way. Elegant and polished, with glossy mahogany accents and panoramic ocean views, it’s the ideal setting for special occasions. Servers balance lovely cocktails and exquisite-looking fish while gliding around in muumuus with Hawaiian prints and aloha shirts.
The island’s greatest and freshest seafood cuisine is served at Mama’s; it is so fresh that the menu is updated every day and includes information on where and by which fisherman each item was obtained.
Monkeypod Kitchen (Kaanapali and Wailea)
Frida’s (Mexican cuisine)
Choice Health Bar (very health-conscious food, salads, smoothies, and açai bowls)
Down the Hatch (best nightlife atmosphere)
Cool Cat’s (Amazing Burgers and milkshakes)
Baya Bowls (Best açai bowls and smoothies)
What Not To Do On Maui
DO NOT GET WITHIN 6 FEET OF ANY TURTLE/DOLPHIN/WHALE If you touch them you will pass on diseases very easily. DO NOT follow them as they swim in the water and chase them wherever they go.
DLNR monitors this and will fine you up to $15,000 if you harass or harm a turtle.
The green sea turtle is listed as threatened and the hawksbill sea turtle is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Although green sea turtle populations are recovering, they still face threats, including destruction and alteration of nesting and feeding areas, incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries, entanglement in and ingestion of marine debris, poaching, disease, vessel strikes, and climate change.
DO NOT BUY SINGLE USE PLASTIC BOTTLES OF WATER Microplastics are becoming a really bad situation and the fish on Maui and all around the world have been found containing microplastics in their guts, which we then consume.
There is Maui Tropic Water and The Water Store that both offer the BEST water on the island, I’ve talked with the owners of both stores and I have independently checked on the filters that they use. They are top-of-the-line, best of the best, you not only improve your own wellness by deciding not to take in the chemicals that are present in plastic water bottles but you also help reduce plastic use and waste.
DO NOT LEAVE TRASH ANYWHERE It’s very disrespectful and this is becoming a massive problem as well, clean up after yourselves and if you go on any adventures/hikes do not leave any trash behind. If you see anything on the ground please help and pick it up, it’s greatly appreciated by residents and helps keep our beautiful island clean.
DO NOT SNORKEL ALONE Always go out with a friend or someone else. Bring some sort of thing you can float on if you are unsure about how good of a swimmer you are. The ocean isn’t a hotel pool, there are currents that can take professional swimmers for a ride so just because the ocean looks somewhat calm on the surface, doesn’t mean it is below.