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  • Writer's pictureMatt Tannenbaum

Maui, Hawaii Travel Guide

Maui Mountains, palm trees, and beautiful beaches

The island of Maui is one of the best Hawaiian Islands to visit as it provides for the perfect combination for resort relaxation and outdoor adventure. Maui has some of the best resorts in the state with the largest selection of world famous luxury beach front properties.

If you are looking to leave the property, a short drive escape will bring you on to some amazing adventures with plenty of sights to see.

About Maui

Maui is the second largest island and has many direct flights from the mainland. The neighboring island of O'ahu has a much bigger population and airport and will often have more options. If you end up flying to O'ahu, Maui's Airport is only a quick 30 min flight away.

Island Hopping is now the most affordable with daily inter island flights being offered from Southwest Airlines. If you book your trip 6+ months out, you can find one way flights for less than $40! The quick and cheap flights make pairing multiple islands on a vacation a must do (especially if you won't be coming back to Hawaii often).

Maui is very spread out so renting a car is a must. Be sure to book early as rental cars can be very expensive on the island. There are some ubers and taxis but they are not very reliable. You may be able to get away with our renting a car if you're only planning to stay or be near your Hotel Property. However, not renting a car will have you missing out on all of the must visit locations. The weather in Maui is beautiful year round. It rains a little more in the Fall/Winter but there is certainly no bad time to visit. Winter is desirable as you will want to enjoy the warm weather and pristine beaches when escaping the mainland temperatures. These months also bring high waves so you may be able to witness some amazing surf competitions. The winter months also means Whale Watching! The whales migrate to the warm climate and you'll be able to spot tons of these beautiful animals. The two main areas for accommodations are West Maui, home to Kaanapali Beach or South Maui, home to Wailea. Both destinations are about the same distance from the airport and are about the same distance to some of the iconic attractions on the island.

West Maui

Home to one of the most famous stretches of coastline, the west side of Maui has some of the pretties views, beaches, and luxury hotels.

Lahaina, is an old historic town which is a great location for shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Be sure to plan at least one evening starting with catching a sunset. Ka'anapali Beach has some of the best beaches on the island which miles of white sand and clear blue water. A perfect place to enjoy the calm waters and snorkel. There are a lot of hotels located in this area but there is still a sense of calm and peace on the beaches. Kapalua is quieter than Kaanapali and has some of the best luxury resorts on the island like the Montage or Ritz Carlton. Honolua Bay is even quieter as you get past all of the hotels and enjoy some of the most beautiful waters. During the winter you will seem some of the biggest waves at these beaches which is home to professional surf championships in November/December. If you come here in the Summer the water is very calm and peaceful and perfect for snorkeling. Places to Stay:

Ritz Carlton (Kapalua)

Montage (Kapalua)

Westin (Ka'anapali)

Places to Visit: Slaughterhouse Beach

Honolulu Bay

Enchanted Forest

Nakalele Blowhole

Olivine Pools

Places to Eat: Lahaina Grill (Lahina)

Monkeypod Kitchen (Lahina)

Sansei Seafood (Kapalua) South Maui

If you aren't staying in West Maui then you will most likely find yourself on South Maui.

Wailea is filled with luxury beach front resorts from the iconic Grand Wailea to the Four Seasons Maui. There is a beautiful beach path along the coastline which connects all the resorts and makes for a perfect morning workout run or sunset stroll. Wailea is home to the luxury shopping mall as well as great golf courses. Molikini is the neighboring crescent shaped crater that sits out in the middle of the ocean and is home to some amazing snorkeling. You will find many boat tours that will take you out there on daily excursions. Makena Landing State Park, also known as Big Beach is a great spot to enjoy a local beach. The white sand beach here is way bigger than Wailea and has more room to space out. Kanahena Cove is a short drive south and is a great spot to snorkel. You will most likely encounter sea turtles swimming in this location. Be sure to give space to these animals!

Places to Stay: Grand Wailea

Fairmont Kea Lani

Andaz Maui Places to Visit: Makena Beach, Big Beach

Lava Fields

Kanahena Cove

Places to Eat: Humuhumunuknukukapua'a (Grand Wailea) Monkey Pod Lappert's Ice Cream Island Gourmet (Supermarket with great quick options) Ko (Fairmont Kea Lani) Spago (Four Seasons)

East Maui

One of the best and must do day trip adventures is located in East Maui; the iconic Road to Hana. The Road to Hana is a windy road with single lane bridges bringing you through the lush rainforests, beautiful waterfalls, and colorful beaches. There are tons of hidden waterfall gems along the way but be sure to start your journey early as traffic will certainly build up! It is best to continue in a giant loop vs turning around and backtracking as you will have to fight the traffic on the way back and won't get to see all of the amazing views. Hana is a small local town with tons of character. Be sure to stop and grab some banana bread at one of the huts/shops along the way. The Hana Maui Resort is a remodeled boutique hotel which was just recently purchased by Hyatt. This is a more laid back and rustic hotel and not quite like the luxurious resorts in Wailea. This is a good place to stay if you want to take your time and see all of the spots along the way. It can easily be done in one day but you will be on the move all day. See the amazing beaches like the famous Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park. There is also a Red Sand Beach right near the Hyatt property. A must visit stop is a day trip to Haleakala National Park home to one of my favorite hikes. The Pipiwai Trail is my favorite hike on Maui as you can hike down to the beach or up to the amazing Waimoku Waterfall which will bring you through a bamboo jungle. This hike is well paved out and much easier than some of the off the beaten path Hawaiian hikes. Places to Stay: The Hana-Maui Resort (Hyatt)

Places to Visit: Twin Falls Wainapanapa State Park (Black Sand Beach) Red Sand Beach Hana Haleakala National Park Places to Eat: Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread Stand Hana Farms **There is not many places to eat so be sure to bring snacks & drinks

North Maui Home to the Airport and the more commercial area of Maui, there are still some gems to visit in North Maui including one of Maui's most famous restaurants, Mama's Fish House. Be sure to book a reservation WAY in advance. North Maui is also home to one of the craziest surf breaks in the world, Jaws. During the winter months you will be able to see waves 50+ feet high! To get here, you need to take a dirt road path which should only be done with 4x4 high clearance vehicles. Do not come if it has just rained as the path is very muddy and not easily accessible. Central Maui

The Iwo Valley State park is a quiet park with some beautiful hiking trails. Driving to the top of Haleaka National Park for sunrise is one of the most famous attractions to do on Maui. Most people will tell you to go to the top for Sunrise (you will need to make a reservation) but I will actually tell you to plan for a sunset (no reservation needed). You will be able to see the weather throughout the day to determine if its going to be good conditions. Technically there are no bad conditions as on a cloudy day you will be able to drive through the clouds and watch the sunrise or sunset from ABOVE. If it is a clear and sunny day then you will get a clearer view of the island below. Either way, it is a great trip and certainly a must do. A lot of people will do bike tours which is another reason to go for sunset because it will be less crowded to get down the very windy road. Bonus, stay past sunset and watch the stars!!!

Looking for more Trip Inspiration? Check out more.

Written by Matt Tannenbaum


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