Maui is a phenomenal island full of both luxury and adventure. It’s well known for its grand beaches, tasty food and the Road to Hana. My intention with this blog post is to help you dive deeper, past the surface level & generic recommendations, into what makes this island truly unique – to explore the less explored. Hawai’i has so many more experiences to offer than the usual ‘tourist trip’ when you step outside the guide book – you just have to know where to find them!
To read ALL of our all-time favorite island stays, restaurants, cafes, beaches, experiences, shops & tips for traveling to Maui (over 100 of them) – check out our Maui Travel Guide. My intention with the Maui Travel Guide is to stop the need for cheesy guide books, endless scrolling/screen-shotting on Instagram, hours spent researching on Google and getting lost on TripAdvisor or Yelp! We have custom catered this guide to those who want a more immersive experience and don’t want to settle for the average. The guides are for people who truly want to immerse themselves in their surroundings and those who want to know the best places to go, without the fuss of having to find them yourself. The point of being on vacation is to relax, unplug and immerse yourself in the beauty & culture around you.
Our Maui Travel Guide is accessible anywhere in the world & easy to bring with you on your smartphone or tablet while traveling! All recommendations are linked to further information or directions.
If you want a little taste of what’s in the full guide, here is a glimpse into our favorite things to do in Maui!
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MAUI
The only luxury adults-only resort in Hawaii. We can’t say enough about this place! The experience is unmatched: food, drinks & accommodations are top shelf. It’s been Aaron’s personal favorite resort in Maui for years.
We stayed at Maui Beachside last year and LOVED our experience! The condos are right on the beach, with a pool, newly renovated kitchens & gorgeous decor. We watched whales & dolphins play right from the master bedroom window, sunsets on the lanai were perfect. Highly recommend their two condos!
The Paia Inn is a beautiful boutique property nestled on the north shore of Maui & I’m pretty sure it’s the only place to stay in town! We love Paia town for the great main strip of business, coffee shops & restaurants. There are some beautiful beaches up there with crazy surf. We love spending time in Paia!
Travaasa is the best (and maybe only) hotel on the eastern side of Maui in the beautiful area of Hana. If you want a secluded oasis away from the hustle & bustle, this is the perfect spot.
BEST EXPERIENCES IN MAUI
Drive through Paia, Haiku, Keanae then hit Hana or you can go through the Southside and drive through Ulupalakua and Kaupo (not really recommended as much of it is 4×4). The northern drive is the famous, winding road that everyone talks about! It takes a few hours & is definitely an all day excursion or if you’re up for it, book a few nights in Hana. Be careful while driving & stay off your phone or you’ll get car sick! The lush, tropical views are worth every minute!
Known often as the ‘windmill hike’ this scenic hike is a gorgeous way to spend your day in Maui!
These sacred waterfalls are a famous stop along the drive through Hana. The whole drive to Hana is breathtaking and worth stopping where it’s safe to!
This place is AWESOME! It’s a family farm specializing in coconuts and sharing all the incredible knowledge they have. They have weekly coconut workshops available to locals and visitors where you learn the lifecycle and history of the coconut, can taste all ages of the coconut, master opening techniques and get hands on with coconut milk making. You’ll try unbelievable coconut noodles and learn delicious recipes. Think of it as part farm, part immersive school! They’re super passionate and loved by the community.
This shop is AMAZING & definitely worth a stop when you’re in Hawai’i. The goal of Native Intelligence is to champion cultural traditions, craftsmanship and beautiful design while perpetuating Hawaiian values. By showcasing local artisans and creatives who strive to protect and evolve the culture, Native Intelligence is an advocate for both culture and community.
Sail Maui has a fleet of three catamarans – all ready for an amazing voyage! Their captains & crew are really friendly & we loved the vibe of being on their boats. We highly recommend the Snorkel Molokini trip if it aligns with your schedule but all options are lovely!
Hawaiian Paddle Sports is a small company, that provides unique, authentic & intimate experiences in the ocean without large groups or gas hogging motor boats. They have many ongoing environmental initiatives, are very active in the local community & are a certified B Corp. Highly recommend going out with them!
Here at this beautiful lavender farm they grow 45 different varieties of lavender & you can overlook both bays of central Maui. The views are insane! Take a Tour or explore the sprawling property on your own. Before you leave, stop into the gift shop for a kombucha or a lavender scone!
Whether you’re stopping in on your way to Haleakalā for sunset, looking to sample some Hawaiian wine or just want to tour Maui’s only winery, this is your spot! I absolutely recommend doing a tasting & playing a game of their Hawaiian word jenga. So fun to learn a bit about the language while learning a bit about their wine! Be sure to try out there famous Pineapple Wine.
Sea La Vie is known for there unique locally sourced tropical gifts, goods for babies through adults and art. They carry so many of my favorite local makers. We always have to stop in here when we go to Maui!
This is a pretty touristy spot if you just go to the lookout but locals know some secret spots to hike. We haven’t ventured back into the valley but even from the lookout it is breathtaking. There is a lot of history here & Iao Valley is very sacred to Hawaiian people.
Haleakala National Park is absolutely amazing! It’s surreal driving above the clouds up the 10,000 ft volcano. We recommend watching the sun rise or set here – it’s magic. And if you want, you can hike in the park too. Check out Sliding Sands Trail but there are also others. FYI: if you want to watch sunrise there, you need to book a reservation ahead of time online (here’s the link). They do this to keep the number of people down!
BEST BEACHES & STATE PARKS IN MAUI
This is probably our favorite beach on Maui! It’s HUGE and so gorgeous. It gets really busy since it’s a state park but the water is crystal clear and we love it here. If you climb over the hill on the right side of the beach you will get to “Little Beach” which is a nude beach.
This beach is right off the main road in Kihei & is a good beach for snorkeling & sunset!
This small black sand beach with crystal clear water is hard to beat on a sunny day. It’s located just off the Hana Highway on the outskirts of Hana and the black sand is unique & absolutely beautiful!
Famous windsurfing and surfing spot. This isn’t the famous wave “Jaws” though! You can park and just watch the waves, or go down on the shore (the shoreline is pretty small). There’s usually some giant turtles and seals laying out which is fun to see but always respect the animal by keeping at least 20 feet between you & then (and never touch them!).
BEST SPOTS TO EAT IN MAUI
Enjoy a farm to table luncheon at the sister farm of Pacific’O. Definitely recommend going for a tour here. At the end of the farm tour, they cook a fabulous meal from the delights of their farm!
MokuRoots is a vegan restaurant in Lahaina. They are the only zero waste restaurant (for example: using banana leaves as take-away containers) serving healthy, locally grown ingredients! Definitely worth checking out.
Frida’s (inspired by Frida Kahlo) offers unique Mexican cuisine beachfront in Lahaina! We love this spot for lunch — grab a few tasty cocktails & anything that makes your mouth water on the menu before or after the beach!
The Mill House sits at the heart of Maui Tropical Plantation, surrounded by farmland, against the breathtaking Waikapū Valley. The kitchen and bar apply an innovative approach to fresh, local ingredients in dishes that honor the cultures of those who emigrated from distant lands to work in Maui’s sugarcane industry a century and more ago. It’s an upscale feel but with a really friendly, welcoming staff & gorgeous views if you sit out on the lanai! Highly recommend.
All organic, locally sourced acai & pitaya bowls & smoothies. Great place to stop to start your morning!
Flatbread Pizza is a favorite of ours from Aaron’s hometown in Maine but they also randomly have another location here on Maui. GOODNESS do we love this place’s food but also their mission of sourcing ingredients from the community & serving their community. Aaron’s recommendation: order the Mopsy pizza! Elana’s recommendation: the Punctuated Equilibrium pizza!
Great spot offering breakfast, lunch, happy hour, & dinner. They have a good variety of dishes throughout the day some favorites are the Fish n’ Chips, Mahi Mahi Tacos, and Ahi dishes. I loved their CBD infused cocktail & live music around happy hour time. (& Aaron says, don’t be afraid to try the Chicken & Waffles or Shrimp Po’Boy!)
Located in Lahaina, this coffee shop & crepery is the perfect light, bright & airy spot to start your morning. They’re menu is full of healthy, delightful options and some indulgent ones too! I recommend trying the Spiced Lavender Mocha if that’s your kind of thing!
Get The Complete Maui Travel Guide
If you want all of recommendations, check out our full insider’s guide to Maui for adventurous travelers filled with over 100 personally curated recommendations from our experiences – grab our Maui Travel Guide! You can easily access it from anywhere on your smartphone, computer or iPad.
The guide includes:
+ Tips for where to stay on the island, ways to be a mindful traveler & things not to miss
+ The best places to enjoy açaí bowls, delicious coffee and tasty meals all around the island
+ Our favorite beaches, hikes, tours & must-experience ideas for your trip