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When you think of Maui or Hawaii, for that matter, you think of suns and beaches. And more sunshine and more beaches. And well, that pretty much sums it up.
Having traveled to Maui, I did learn, however, that all beaches are not created equally. While there are many things to see (and do) you will spend a lot of time doing and NOT a lot of time vacating if you do them all. As a result, I wanted to offer a guide to you on things to do in Maui (especially if it’s your first trip there).
As I mentioned in my earlier practical review of Maui, island life is VERY slow. Because of that, if you want to do a lot of things in one day – it isn’t easy. Things shut down early there. I am not sure if this was due to the crowd, or if this was always the case no matter what season. In general, each day, you kind of pick one or two things to do, and that’s about it.
One of the other things I must mention is the time change. This may not be hard for you depending on where you are located but the time change for me was -5 hours! Every morning without fail I woke up around 3-4 am and went to sleep around 7:30 pm. I just could not get adjusted to the time zone. One night we stayed up until 8:00 pm: all we heard was the ocean and the breeze. So safe to say we did not miss much after 8:30 pm.
Think about it- you go to breakfast, and it’ll be a wait (or if you eat at your vacation condo), then you go to the beach or go on an excursion. The excursions are usually 3-5 hours, you go back, shower and rest- then…that’s your day. Things shut down early in Maui, so it’s not as if you are doing a lot of late at night activities. Besides all of that, it is INSANELY dark at night. Like- I have been in the country at night where you cannot even see your hand in front of your face- think that, but darker.
Here are some practical things to do while in Maui:
- Go to the Beach: This seems to go without saying, but there are A LOT of beaches in Maui. And all beaches are not the same. The cool part about Maui is the beaches are free. You can even rent chairs and other beach gear at shops nearby (for a day or a few days, depending on your needs). There are tons of sites that go through the features of some of the top beaches. I figured out quickly I wouldn’t be able to visit them all. And honestly, after a while, it’s kind of like sand is sand, and the beach is the beach (except for Black Sand Beach). But if you want to know where I went, I went to the following beaches:
- Ka’anapali Beach
- Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach (on the Road to Hana)
- Kapalua Bay
- Maluaka Beach
- A Luau: For my first trip to Hawaii, I did not know whether I wanted to drop the coins for the luau. It was a little on the pricey side. I asked a few people and after going myself- it was 100% worth it. It’s more than just a fancy dinner (buffet) style, it’s a show. You learn a lot about Hawaiian culture and history. The performers are entertaining. Yes, it is cheesy but it’s a must-do- At least ONE time. Now that I’ve done a luau when I return to Hawaii, I will not do another luau but I am glad I did the one I did. We did the laua at the Marriott. Make sure you make early reservations- at least 2 weeks out.
- The Road to Hana: In fairness, the road to Hana deserves it’s own post (which I will provide), but I would be remiss if I did not mention it here. I did drive (we did not do a guide) the trip myself. We downloaded the Shaka app, which you need to purchase but is worth it. The guide person goes through views and things you will see on the way. It’s really freakish, but it’s like a live GPS. He tells you things to stop and see or things to pass by, places to stop (and eat), and where you are regarding time (and sunshine). This was very helpful as the Road to Hana is an ALL day excursion. If you plan to do it- do not plan to do anything else. We started our day at 6:30am and got back and 7:00pm just at sun down. We were exhausted at the end of the night.
- Restaurants: Food can be subjective but I will tell you that food in Maui is expensive. It was a rare occasion that we sat down for a meal and a drink and did not spend more than $30-$50.00. The food is very good and of course the fish is great. Here are some places I ate while in Maui:
- Food Truck Lot (Kihei Station Food Truck Lot). There are a lot of options and we just got a bunch of food like a sampler and ate it all.
- Kihei Caffe: The line is long but it moves swiftly enough. Breakfast was plentiful.
- 5 Palms Restaurant: The view is amazing. You are RIGHT on the beach.
- Fork and Salad: This happened to be one of those random places we went and had the BEST veggie wrap ever. We ate there twice.
- The Pour House: This is a very upscale restaurant. The food is Italian but amazing. The owner/chef was so kind and comes out and spoke to every patron. He made us feel as if we were the only people in the restaurant. This restaurant is not a place you will go to every night, but it’s undoubtedly a nice dinner for the last night or a notable anniversary date.
This list is not exhaustive of everything I did, but it covers the bases for your first-time visit.
As you can see, there is a lot to do in Maui. You will certainly fill your days with many things to do, but remember you can always visit other beaches and other restaurants a second time (or again and again).
Make sure you check out my post on Practical Things to Do in Maui and my post on The Road to Hana.
If you’ve been to Maui, let me know below some things you did. And what you thought about it while there.