22 December, 2022
Aquamarine coastlines and emerald forests await: Our Big Island travel guide
22 December, 2022
22 December, 2022
The striking volcanic landscape of Maui is a haven for holidaymakers. Part of the Hawaiian archipelago, this spectacular island is home to wide stretches of golden beaches, enchanting forests, and a mighty volcano known as Haleakalā - or ‘house of the sun’ to the locals.
Maui is much more than just a pretty face, though. From whale watching to snorkelling with marine life in the Coral Gardens, the island presents endless opportunities. After an action-packed day, you can unwind in your beautiful villa or head into Kahului to sample the delicious local cuisine. Looking for the best things to do in Maui, Hawaii? We’ve created the ultimate guide for you to read before heading on your next adventure.
Enjoy some downtime on Maui’s magnificent stretches of sand; whether you like the buzz of a busy beach or prefer to have the entire stretch of coast to yourself, there are plenty of glorious coastal spots to discover.
Part of the wider Mākena Beach State Park, Makena Beach has been left undisturbed from major developments. Backed by lush greenery, this idyllic stretch of golden sand is perfect for bathing or hopping in a canoe and exploring beyond its tranquil shores. The waves can get quite big and choppy here at certain times of the year, so it’s always best to check out the tide before heading out on your own.
Boasting over three miles of pristine sands and crystalline waters, Ka'anapali Beach is easily one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States, if not the world. Renowned for its excellent snorkelling opportunities, there’s always the chance you’ll end up swimming alongside the island’s friendly sea turtles. After you’ve worked up an appetite, you can head back on-land to the nearby Whalers Village for some tasty shave ice - a regional favourite.
A golden, crescent-shaped bay on the northwest coast of Maui, Napili Beach is perfect for families with little ones in tow. With warm, shallow shores and silky soft sands, you could easily spend an entire day making sandcastles and splashing about here; and if you do, you’ll get to experience the most glorious sunset as the sky explodes into a fiery display of red, pink, and orange hues.
Scattered across the island are a number of towns and villages; each with its own unique charm and story. Most are dotted along the seriously scenic Road to Hana highway, which means you’ll get to enjoy fabulous views on the drive between your stops as well. And if you’re lucky, you might even stumble across a luau taking place in one of the towns - a traditional Hawaiian celebration with lively music, massive feasts, and dazzling performances.
For those seeking the tranquillity of the country, the Upcountry region in the centre of the island is where you’ll find Kula. Set on the slopes of Haleakalā, this verdant town is surrounded by lush fields and working farms. From coffee to lavender (and even vodka), this is where most of the island’s regional produce is grown, harvested, and processed. Tours abound here, offering foodies the opportunity to handpick their own coffee beans or try a sample of the award-winning Ocean Organic Vodka.
Set four miles east of Kahului, Paia is a quaint town lined with art galleries, restaurants, and independent boutiques filled with regional arts and crafts. The Paia Fish Market is renowned for its excellent selection of seafood and offers an array of fresh catch plates with a choice of local fish including mahi-mahi, snapper, and ono. A few miles from the centre of the town is Hookipa Beach, a hotspot for windsurfers since the late 1970s.
Nearby, the town of Makawao is a fabulous spot for fans of all things arts and crafts. Within its many boutiques and galleries, sculptors and artists are busy at work - crafting a whole host of unique statues, magnificent paintings and artisanal clothes. For those who feel particularly inspired, art classes are regularly held within the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. An insider tip for while you’re there: be sure to stop by the T. Komoda Store. A hit with locals and travellers alike, this charming bakery has been serving up tasty cream puffs, butter rolls, and doughnuts since 1916.
Once you’ve explored all the major attractions and fun things to do on the island - the Maui Ocean Center, Kahanu Garden, and the Garden of Eden Arboretum are just a few that spring to mind - it’s time to head off the beaten track, map in hand, and discover the wilder heart of Maui.
One of the most memorable ways to explore the Mars-like landscape of the Haleakalā Crater is by horseback. Hawaiian cowboys - or paniolo - have been navigating the wild landscapes of the island for many years, and now visitors can enjoy the exhilarating experience for themselves. If you’d prefer to set your own course for the day, mountain biking is another popular way of getting around the park.
Prefer the sights and sounds of the coast? A visit to Maui isn’t complete without a snorkelling or kayaking adventure, which we can always book on your behalf. Dive into the crystalline waters of Honolua Bay for a chance to swim among the vibrant butterflyfish and yellow tangs - if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of a manta ray as it glides by. There are many other snorkelling hotspots on the island; Napili Bay, Mokuleia Bay, and Wailea Beach - to name just a few.
Follow the lava stone trails of Wai'anapanapa State Park or spend a day on the idyllic shores of Ka'anapali Beach - but not before exploring the wild and wonderful landscape of the Haleakalā National Park. Encompassing over 33,000 acres, you’ll get a real chance to reconnect with nature as you explore its sub-tropical rainforest; discovering the many waterfalls and natural pools along the way.
A hiking tour of the Īao Valley State Park will take you through truly awe-inspiring landscapes, thickly blanketed in lush tropical foliage. Encompassing a mighty 4,000 acres, it’s here that you’ll find the Īao Needle - a stunning stream-cut valley and one of Maui’s most recognisable natural landmarks, jutting out at a dizzying 1,200 feet from the valley floor.
While Hawaiian cuisine is largely inspired by the foods of the indigenous Polynesians, it has been influenced over the years by those who immigrated to the islands from all corners of the world. As you might expect, fresh fish and seafood dishes feature prominently, although there’s a lot for vegetarians and carnivores alike to sink their teeth into.
Set along the shores of West Maui, the Lahaina Grill is a historic, art-filled restaurant offering a vibrant array of local dishes. Beautifully presented and cooked to perfection, you can expect to see dishes including sautéed local mahi-mahi, seared lion paw scallops, and Kona coffee roasted lamb on the menu—among many other mouth-watering dishes. Seats can fill up fast here, so it’s always worth making sure your name is on the list before you arrive.
If you’re searching for stunning sea views and fresh farm-to-table food, then look no further than Merriman’s Kapalua restaurant. Perched on a beautiful rocky peninsula, framed by sparkling blue waves, you’ll only find the finest artisanal products on the menu here - at least 90% of which are locally grown or caught, using sustainable methods. Pair that with a round of exquisite cocktails out on the open-air lanai and you’ve got yourself the perfect evening.
A unique Japanese beach house set beside the shores of Mōkapu Beach, Morimoto Maui serves up expertly crafted sushi dishes in a sophisticated seafront setting. Particularly lovely in the early evening hours when the sun is still setting behind the horizon, this chic eatery is the perfect spot for a date night under the stars. Even if you don’t feel like sushi, you’ll find a whole host of other tasty Japanese classics - gyozas, sticky ribs, and soft bao buns are just a few of the delicious dishes offered here.
For the freshest seafood on the island, it’s well worth making the trip over to Mama's Fish House which is located in Paia. From wild-caught ahi to Kona lobster, you’ll find an array of local fish dishes; all beautifully baked, sautéed or steamed with regional vegetables and spices. Mama’s Fish Curry is always a hit—ahi, mahi-mahi, and kanpachi served with homemade mango chutney, macadamia nuts, and fiery sambal.
At onefinestay, we offer an exclusive range of concierge services to ensure your holiday is as memorable and carefree as it should be. Whether you’re planning to hike along the incredible Haleakala National Park or simply kick back and unwind on Maui’s beautiful beaches, everything can be tailored to your requirements. From in-house private chef services to soothing spa treatments, your Travel Advisor will guide you through all your additional options. Everything is organised before your arrival, so you just need to turn up and enjoy.
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