Best Things To Do:
1. Drive to the summit of Haleakalā – Definitely one of the best views I witnessed in Maui. I was literally ABOVE the clouds! Haleakalā is a massive shield volcano (extinct) that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. I believe it’s also the highest point on the island as well. The drive up was a long one (about an hour?), and I was unprepared for all the windy roads–definitely prepare yourself ahead of time if you’re prone to car sickness. Be sure to go early in the morning to beat the crowds, and expect it to be cold. When we went around 10am it was ~50 degrees! Good hiking shoes are recommended as well.
2. Road to Hana – It’s important to realize that the drive is the destination here. There is no need to actually go to Hana (there’s nothing there but a tiny general store and a post office). The main reason you should do this is for the BLACK SAND BEACH at the end of the drive near Hana! You can find it at the Wai’anapanapa State Park which has spots to have lunch, places to camp, and cliffs to explore (and a little cave!!). I wish I could have stayed longer. The Road to Hana itself was very pretty and offered lots of gorgeous views of waterfalls and the ocean, but the road is very narrow and has SO MANY tiny twists and turns. I went with a tour group (which I would recommend because you get to learn a lot more about the island from a local), and after about ~5 miles someone threw up from car sickness (I purposely sat in the front seat next to the driver to avoid this). Around the halfway point, there is a pit stop for snacks/bathrooms; be sure to get the shaved ice!
3. Helicopter ride over west Maui – This was absolutely the highlight of my trip!! I had never been in a helicopter before; it was AMAZING. Getting to see Maui from a whole new perspective that you could never get while on land was unreal… The helicopter ride was from Hana (after the Road to Hana) back to the airport, and I have to say: it was SO NICE not having to do the entire Road to Hana back the way we came again. Trust me, it’s worth it!
4. Zip lining in Ka’anapali – This was my first time zip lining, & it was so much fun! We went with Skyline Eco-Adventures which was ~8 zip-lines total that took you high above the Ka’anapali pacific coastline and featured amazing views of the pacific coastline and off shore islands. Be sure to wear close-toed shoes for the journey. Also, the dudes who take you on the actual tour are hilarious. We all had a blast!
5. Chill out at Makena beach – If you are looking for a beach that’s not surrounded by hotels/condos and doesn’t feel overcrowded with tourists, come to this beach. I wish I had known about it sooner! It’s located on the south end of Maui and has parking on site along with a food truck and quick access to the beach. The waves are also pretty big here! There isn’t much shade so bring an umbrella if you need one.
Best Places to Eat:
1. Best lunch spot: Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop. (sandwiches + mini pies) Finally a cute place where you don’t have to wait to be seated. You just order at the counter, and they’ll bring your food out to you. It’s REALLY hard to find affordable places to eat in Maui, and this is one of them. Their sandwiches are so good, but they’re also huge, so if you’re down to split with someone & save some extra $$, do it.
2. Best mainland mountains view: The Mill House. (farm to table food) This was probably my favorite meal and overall dining experience of the trip. The first image of this post was taken at The Mill House too! It’s not just a restaurant though; the grounds surrounding this place are huge! There’s a coffee shop, a gift shop that serves ice cream, a small zip-line area, and they have short tours to take you around the grounds. There’s so much to explore; we were here for like 2 hours. The actual food was amazing (especially their beets, pictured below); it’s farm to table style so everything was really fresh. I actually WANTED to order a salad here (unheard of for me); it did not disappoint.
3. Best casual spot: Maui Brewing Co. (beer + bar food) I had tried Maui beer in Austin at a Hawaiian soul food place, but it was really cool to come to Maui and experience the real thing! They have 2 locations on the island and are currently expanding to the other islands as well. I knew I would like the beer, what I didn’t expect was to like the food. My mom and I split a flatbread pizza and it was SO good! Enough to keep both of us full as well. I remember looking around the brewery and thinking, “This place would fit in well with Austin.”
4. Best ocean view: Aloha Mixed Plate. (Hawaiian food) A local actually recommended this place to me. This is where you should come if you’re wanting local Hawaiian food + it’s not TOO expensive. It’s good for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. All the seating is outside on a big patio, so no need to request it if you’re wanting that nice ocean view; pretty much every seat there has a good view. I ordered their poké of the day which was pretty good, but my mom’s choice of the short rib was the clear winner.
5. Best rooftop spot: Fleetwood’s on Front St. (fine dining) Owned by rock and roll icon Mick Fleetwood, this place leans more on the fancy side, but not too much. It’s is a great place to celebrate special occasions; be sure to make a reservation ahead of time because their rooftop fills up fast. They also have a main bar area below the rooftop that has a daily happy hour (with live music) daily from 2:30 to 5:30pm. The rooftop has a great view of both the inland mountains and the ocean; definitely try to be there to catch the sunset.
If you’re on Instagram, for a first-hand look at my trip with peeks into the above places, head to my profile and find the “Maui” highlight in my bio. You can also find my packing list + everything I wore in Maui over at this post.
Anything else just ask!