• Lisa

Ultimate Maui Guide

Updated: Jun 27

Maui is an absolute dream come true. There is a reason millions of tourists visit this island each and every year. There is so much to explore and do that you'll never be bored (which is saying a lot considering this is an island). Check out my guide on Maui below, featuring where to stay, Top 15 Things To Do, and the best restaurants!

Know Before You Go

  • You’ll need your own car in Maui. Rent one in advance and anticipate a decent amount of traffic around the island.

  • Bring lots of Dramamine. Between the winding island roads and the boat adventures, you'll find yourself in a lot of situations that could make you nauseous.

  • Plan head - a few things require tickets in advance that sell out quick.

**MAP: Stars in Red are Top Attractions; Pin Points in Blue are Best Restaurants**

Where To Stay

I prefer Hotels and Resorts as opposed to AirBnBs. However, I did find that AirBnBs tend to be cheaper on Maui. If you’re looking for a picture perfect vacation (you know, with the nice resort pool, nice amenities, restaurants and bars all in walking distance) go with the resort. You’ll spend more money, but you won’t regret it. I prefer staying in the Ka’anapali Bay Region. It’s filled with resorts but has a nice beach along the entire coast, shopping, restaurants and more.

Top 15 Things To Do in Maui

Some people come to Maui to sit on a beach and relax. But this island offers so much that you're doing yourself a disadvantage if that's all you do. Get out and EXPLORE. You won't regret it. I've listed the must do things below!

1. Road To Hana –

(10+ Hours)

The number one thing on everyone’s Maui bucket list is the “Road To Hana”. It’s a winding, narrow road that will take you along the coastline to see waterfalls galore. The Road to Hana is all about enjoying the journey, not the destination. When you get to Hana, you'll see what I mean.

In my opinion, the only way to do this is to Wake up EARLY to avoid traffic of the thousands of tourists. I mean, real early. I typically try to get to the starting point of the “Road to Hana” at sunrise. From there, there is mainly one road that winds through the jungle.

Things to note:

  • Cell Service/WiFi is very spotty out here. Download any resources/maps you need prior to starting.

  • The road is very windy and will most likely require nausea medicine.

  • You need a brave driver, some of the road requires you to be on the very edge (especially if another car is passing by).

2. Pipiwai Trail -

(2-4 Hours)

This trail has become an iconic site to see in Maui. Located in the Haleakala National Park and at the very end of the “Road to Hana” you can hike 4 Miles to see Waimoku Falls. The hike is strenuous and takes you through various terrains (steps, grass, steep incline, mud, and more). You’ll see 2 waterfalls along the way, pass through the Bamboo forest, over 2 bridges, and so much more. In my opinion, the hike is more fun and adventurous than the actual destination at the end (the Waimoku Waterfall).

WWL Tip: Bring water and wear hiking shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. This trail is a lot muddier than you'd think! Also, put on lots of bug repellant.

3. Snorkel at Molokini Crater -

(5 Hours)

Molokini Crater is a small Crescent-Shaped island about 3 miles off the coast of Maui. It is most known for snorkeling and scuba diving which all require a tour. There are tons of marine life out here waiting for you to explore - over 250 types of fish and 35 types of coral. There are a few different tours but each will take about 5 hours.

WWL TIP: Take Dramamine so you don't get nauseous on the boat ride to the island.

Aerial View of Molokini Crater

4. Watch the Sunrise at Haleakala

(3-4 Hours)

There’s something so serene about watching the sunrise over an island while you’re sitting on a dormant volcano. This will require you to wake up at 2AM or 3AM to start the drive. You'll be driving up the volcano which can be winding so pack your nausea medicine! You’ll want to ensure you are at the top of the volcano at least 30 minutes before the sun begins to rise so you don’t miss it.

You must reserve your spot in advance for $1 – tickets sell out fast as this is a popular thing to do. There is also a $30 fee for entering the park which you’ll pay upon arrival (if you have a National Park pass, entrance is free).

You can also book a tour (like this one) that will pick you up so you don't have to drive at 3AM.

The weather can be quite cold. Some people bring towels and blankets from their hotel to bundle up.

Most of the time, the weather cooperates (it's just cold) and you'll have a great picture like the ones above. However, since you have to schedule this in advance, sometimes you're cursed with terrible weather days like the ones below. In the pictures below, the wind chill was 16 degrees, it was hailing, raining, and all around miserable (even though my dad looks like a champ).

5. Ioa Valley

(1 Hour)

You'll feel like you're deep in the Jurastic Park movie here in Ioa Valley. The entrance fee is $5 per car. There are two very short trails - one that will lead you to a small observation hut for the Ioa Needle and one that will lead you to the river. It's very lush and green in this valley but other than the two small trailheads, there isn't much else to do. It's worth driving through to see it and heading out.

6. Ali'i Kula Lavender Field

(1 Hour)

I bet you didn't expect to see a Lavender Field in Maui! Well, you're in luck! This Lavender Field is open year round and always has blooms. This is because there are over 20 types of lavender here! Peak season is July-August. It is located in Kula.

It is open from 9AM to 4PM and costs $3 per person to enter. There is also an optional guided tour for $12 (offered 4 times daily).

WWL TIP: The gift shop has a fabulous lavender scone!

7. Maui Goat Yoga

(1 Hour and 30 Minutes)

Yup, you read that right! You can do a full yoga class with goats in Kula, Maui. They'll interact with you, sit on your mat, and make yoga 10x more fun!

You'll need to book this reservation in advance here. If you don't have a mat, you can rent one onsite for $5.

8. Nakalele Blowhole

(30 Minutes)

If you thought the Road To Hana was tough, you should probably skip this one. The road to get to this blowhole is even more challenging. Furthermore, once you arrive, you'll need to do a little bit of a hike over lava rocks to get the best view of the blowhole. Be sure to stay on rocks that are DRY. Do not get too close to the blowhole as a strong gust of water could knock you over.

(BLOWHOLE: A blowhole is basically a marine geyser that shoots ocean water up the lava tube or hole when waves hit the lava surrounding it.)

9. Explore Lahaina and The Harbor

(1-2 Hours)

This cute beach town is a perfect place to explore before or after dinner. There is one main street along the ocean that features many shops and restaurants. Don't forget to check out the huge Banyan tree in the heart of town. During Christmas, they put string lights all around the tree.

WWL TIP: If you eat dinner in Lahaina, save room for gelato! There are a few different gelato shops in town that are to die for!

10. Zipline

(2+ Hours)

Try ziplining in the jungle to get your heart rate pumping! This is actually something I haven't tried yet on Maui, but I've heard amazing things. It's on my list for next time (always got to save something to go back to, right?).

11. Horseback Riding

(1-2 Hours)

One of the best ways to see the countryside is to go horseback riding! There are a few different companies, but I prefer Ironwood Ranch. This tour is great for beginners and allows you to ride through pineapple fields and countryside. You'll also get panoramic views of the island.

12. Explore Paia Town

(1+ Hour)

This town feels like you've been transported to the old west 100 years ago. This town is unique in it's own way. Dubbed the Hippie Town of Maui, this town has great local shops and restaurants.

13. Sunset Cruise

(2 Hours)

If you love boats and sunsets (who doesn't), this is perfect for you. Bonus - there is an open bar and dinner!

If that hasn't sold you yet, I don't know what will! My favorite tour company is Pride of Maui. They offer many different types of boating excursions (whale watching, snorkeling, sunset tours, etc). You'll get on board with about 40-50 other people and sail into the sunset. The open bar includes wine, beer, and Hawaiian themed cocktails. There is live music on board and dinner is included!

WWL Tip: This is the second windiest harbor IN THE WORLD. Bring a jacket.

14. Luau

(2 Hours)

It's like an unspoken rule - you can't go to Hawaii without going to a Luau at least once. Dress up with your friends and family for a night of entertainment and fun! The top five luau's are listed below!

15. Relax at the Beach!

After you've worn yourself out with all of the fun activities on the island, you deserve to relax at the beach! With so many options to choose from you can't go wrong! I've listed a few favorites below.

  • Makena Beach

  • Big Beach

  • Kaanapali Beach

Where To Eat:

I was very surprised by the number of amazing restaurants there are to eat at around Maui. From local donut shops, to breweries, to fancy 5 star restaurants, Maui has it all.

Maui Brewing Co ($$) -

Kihei, Maui and Lahaina, Maui

When in Maui, drink like the locals. :) Maui Brewing Co has a wide variety of amazing beers to try. You'll see their beer at any local bar and in the grocery stores here on the island. However, I loved going to the brewery (two locations on the island) to try some of their food as well. The wait was long but worth it. My favorite beer is the Bikini Blonde!

Mama’s Fish House ($$$) –

Paia, Maui

This is a beautiful restaurant located next to the beach offering great views of sunset. It’s also the last place you’ll see before the Road To Hana. In other words, it’s the first place you’ll see when you’re returning from the Road to Hana, which makes this a very popular place in the afternoons/evenings. Most people finish the Road To Hana and stop here for food or drinks. If you want to do this, make reservations far in advance for dinner. It also might be wise to pack a set of nicer clothes to change into after the Road to Hana, depending on what you did on the drive.

Grotto Bar ($) –

Lahaina, Maui

The Grotto bar, located in the Hyatt, is known for being the "Cave Bar". Nestled between waterfalls and cave surroundings, its a unique atmosphere to grab a drink! Guests at the Hyatt have the luxury of swimming up to this unique bar, but visitors can still visit the bar and dine here.

Kula Lodge ($) -

Kula, Maui

This is the perfect pit-stop after the sunrise at Haleakala. You'll pass this on your way down the volcano. They have a beautiful view and great breakfast food. I even got a Maui Mimosa! Hopefully the fog isn't too bad on this morning so you have a good view. If it is bad, you'll just feel like you're dining in the clouds!

Donut Dynamite ($) -

Wailuku, Maui

One word: yum. These brioche donuts from "Donut Dynamite" are made fresh each and every day. They have a wide range of flavors that rotate each day/week. Follow them on Instagram and they will post the flavors of the day each morning. However, note that once they sell out, they're out. This means they could be completely out of donuts by 10AM, or earlier.

Paia Fish Market ($) -

Paia, Maui and Lahaina, Maui

This place is sooooooo good. It's almost like a fast food fresh fish shop, but better. I've tried almost everything on their menu and it's all so tasty - you can't go wrong with any choice.

Blackened Salmon at Paia Fish Market

Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop ($) -

Lahaina, Maui

Whether you just stop in for a Pie-To-Go, or you stay for a meal, you'll be so happy you stopped by! This shop has the tastiest homemade pies with a good variety of flavors. You can order your pie in advance and pick it up or window shop all of their options when you get there.

Wowza, what did I tell you?! There's so much to do in Maui, you'll never be bored! How many of the Top15 Things can you check off your list during your visit?

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