You guys, i've FINALLY gotten around to writing out a list of my top recommendations for food, activities, beaches, snorkeling, surfing, and all of the other amazing things there are to do and see in Maui, Hawaii.
After being asked (almost daily) via Instagram DM about this, i've decided to put all of my recommendations in one place and make it easier on both of us :) So, here we go!
My Top Recommendations For Maui, Hawaii:
Mama's Fish House (Paia): Hands down, the BEST place to eat in Maui. Be prepared to spend some $$ as it is pricy, and you will need a reservation, but if you're in Maui, Mama's is a MUST.
The Mill House: Another higher end restaurant with awesome farm to table options (GF, allergy friendly)
Merriman's (Kapalua): Go here for happy hour out on the "point lounge" (3-5pm daily). One of the MOST beautiful places to get a drink on the Island, listen to live music, and eat pupus. You can also make dinner reservations inside, but I prefer the more casual atmosphere out on the "point". The poke is delish!
Pi Pizza (Lahaina): More on the casual side, great pizza, right on Front Street (GF, veg options)
Choice Health Bar (Lahaina): Healthy, real-food, vegan options + the BEST acai bowls on the island. A definite must!! (GF, allergy friendly, veg)
Maui Kombucha (Paia): Locally made kombucha, vegan food (GF, allergy friendly, veg)
Alchemy Maui (Lahaina): Locally made kombucha, healthy options (GF, allergy friendly, veg)
The Farmers Market (Honokowai): More of a health-food store than a restaurant, but perfect for specialty items. Also has a smoothie/acai bar, salad bar, and hot food bar (like a mini, local whole foods!) The outdoor market is MWF from 8am-12pm.
Paia Fish Market (Lahaina, Paia): One of the best fast-casual options on Maui in my opinion! Lots of great fish options for a reasonable price. Try the fajitas or cajun spiced ahi sashimi!
Milagros (Paia): Good mexican food at decent prices (GF, veg options)
Honu Seafood and Pizza (Lahaina): Great seafood, pizza, drinks, and views (GF options)
Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina): Great location (right on front street) with lots of fish and Mediterranean dishes + drinks.
Sansei (Kapalua): Best sushi on the island (+ the best price!) early bird special (25% off until 6PM, every day) Definitely make a reservation. They also have late night karaoke.
Kahului Food Trucks: A few different local food options that are reasonably priced if you are in Kahului and need a bite to eat!
Da Kitchen (Kahului): Delish, decently priced local food
Star Noodle (Lahaina): Not gonna lie, didn't think I was going to be a fan of this place but it. was. amazing. Be sure to make reservations.
Ululani's Shave Ice (Lahaina): The best shave ice on the island! A must try.
Grandma's coffee shop (Upcountry, Kula): Cute coffee shop for breakfast, then take a walk down Thompson Road and try to spot Oprah's house ;)
Cafe Cafe (Lahaina): Amazing coffee on the west side, on Front street
Costco: Obviously not a restaurant, but if you're staying for longer than a few days or have a large family, Costco is the best place to buy in bulk and cook for yourself throughout the week. You will save TONS of money this way, and their fresh fish options are unbelievable. They also have a decent amount of local produce. (And the booze is super cheap!! #Maitais)
The beaches in Maui are AMAZING and each has different things they are known for. I obviously can't list all of them here, but these are my favorites.
Honolua Bay: The walk through the jungle to get to Honolua bay is one of the best parts about this beach. Depending on the time of year, it's a surf spot + a snorkel spot. Keep in mind this is not a sandy beach though, so it's not a great place to go if you just want to chill on the beach.
Airport Beach/Kahekili Beach (Ka'anapali): Great snorkeling, nice walking path, big stretch of sandy beach. I ALWAYS see turtles here :)
ka'anapali Beach/Black rock: Big stretch of sandy beach in front of many of the resorts. Can get touristy, but definitely worth checking out. Grab a drink from one of the resort bars and come chill on the beach, or swim over to black rock for some snorkeling.
Big Beach (Makena): Big stretch of sandy beach where the waves can get HUGE! Fun to play in, but definitely be careful at this beach. Sit and watch for a few minutes and you'll see people getting pounded in the shorebreak (#respecttheocean 🤣)
Little Beach (Makena): Nude beach, if that's your thing ;) From big beach, climb over the rock wall (to the right) and prepare for lots of nakedness!
Baby Beach (Lahaina): Super calm water, sandy beach, great for families with small kids
Ho'okipa: One of the most well known surf beaches on Maui. Can get super windy, fun to watch the wind surfers or see the turtles that like to hang out on the beach here.
Kapalua Bay: Great for snorkeling! Can get busy/touristy
Cliff House: Great for snorkeling, swimming, lounging, cliff jumping. You'll have to park by Ironwoods beach and walk down the boardwalk, up over the rocky area to get here, but totally worth it.
Lahaina harbor: Great for surfing
Wainapanapa/ Black sand Beach (Hana): Breathtakingly beautiful colors/ contrast from the black sand, blue ocean, and lush greenery
Puamana/Launiopoko (Lahaina): Great for beginner surfing!
Whale Watch (Nov/Dec - Mar/Apr - Lahaina): There are a lot of different companies to choose from for whale watching, but I have always gone with Pacific Whale Foundation and loved it. If you come between Nov/Dec and Mar/Apr, whale watching is a must! (But if you're on a budget you can pretty much always see them from whatever beach you're at)
Sunset Cruise: If you come outside of whale season, definitely schedule a sunset cruise! Not a dinner cruise - they are overrated and pricy, but the sunset cruises are around $50 and usually include 2 drinks per person.
Molokini Snorkel: Molokini is a crater-shaped "island" off the coast of Maui that is a popular snorkel spot. This is usually a 4-ish hour trip and a lot of fun if you enjoy boats, but I will say that the snorkeling you will see here is comparable to anything you could see from most beaches. (In most cases, beach snorkeling is even better).
Road to Hana: If you have a rental car and are staying longer than a few days, the road to Hana is definitely a must. It takes a few hours, but there are tons of pitstops on the way. Once you get to Hana, be sure to check out the bamboo forest, rainbow trees, Venus pools, and black sand beach.
Bamboo Forest (Hana): Mile Marker #6.7
Rainbow Trees (Hana): Mile Marker 7
Massages: Serenity Spa, Lahaina
Facials: Skin & Tonic, Lahaina
Venus Pools (Hana): Fun cliff jumping spot!
Wai'hee ridge trail hike: One of my favorite hikes
Iao valley: Last I checked this was still closed due to flooding, but this is a beautiful place to come walk around, take photos, and hike.
Sunrise/Sunset at Haleakala: A must while you're in Maui. If you plan to come for sunrise, reservations are REQUIRED!!!! Give yourself at least a few hours (especially if you're coming from the west side) before the sun rises to get all the way to the top. It is also FREEZING so be sure to bring warm clothes. Sunset is equally as beautiful, and much less crowded (no reservations needed).
Paia Town: A super fun, hippy/surfer town with great shops and restaurants.
Surf lessons: There are a bunch of places to do this in Lahaina, and if you've never tried surfing before, this is a must while you're in Hawaii.
Upcountry Farmer's Market: Saturdays from 7-11am. The best local farmers market on the island. Tons of fresh, local produce and locally made goods.
Watch sunset at Honolua Bay: Drive to the north side of the bay, past where everyone is parking and the food trucks/bathrooms are. Go up the hill a bit and turn left down the dirt road and watch sunset from the cliff. Absolutely breathtaking.
Front Street: Fun to walk around, lots of restaurants, shops, and people watching
Surfing Goat Dairy: Try different types of goat cheeses, enjoy the views, and (my favorite) feed the goats!
Ocean Vodka Distillery: Get a free tour of their eco-friendly distillery and get to try a shot of Ocean vodka + rum. (AMAZING views)
WHERE TO STAY:
My pick: I might be a little biased, but I LOVE the west side (Ka'anapali, Lahaina, Kapalua, Napili) - anywhere you can find over here will likely be close to the beach, the weather is beautiful pretty much year round, and there is tons to do. However, I think most people agree with me, making these areas some of the most pricy on the island.
Kihei/Wailea: The south side of Maui, also beautiful, Kihei has some more reasonable options but Wailea tends to be pretty expensive.
Kahului/Wailuku: This is where you'll fly into, and you'll likely find some cheaper Airbnb's over here, but you probably don't want to be staying over here if you don't have to.
Paia/Haiku: Less touristy, more reasonably priced, close to surfing beaches. Haiku is extremely lush and jungly, Paia is a fun surfer town with shopping, restaurants.
Upcountry (Makawao/Kula): Less touristy, more reasonably priced, but at least 30 mins from most beaches. Also you can expect it to be quite a bit cooler, temperature-wise. BUT there is still a lot to do and see Upcountry, it is BEAUTIFUL, and you're away from the tourist craziness. Makawao also has a fun town to walk around, check out the restaurants and shopping.
If you're on a budget, Airbnb's are going to be your best best. Look for ones that have a kitchen so that you can do some of your cooking at the condo.
Scott's Cheap Flights has been having TONS of killer deals lately, make sure to subscribe and get his updates, whether you want to travel to Hawaii or literally anywhere else. (Not sponsored, I am just obsessed with his deals).
Best time to come:
April-May, September-November are the best times to come to avoid crowds and high-season rates. But you really can't go wrong, Maui is incredible any time of year :)
Have you been to Maui? What were your favorite activities/restaurants? What did I miss?