For those of you who don’t know, Maui has a special place in my heart. I have a deep connection to Maui on my mother’s side, as she has spent tons of time there with her sisters growing up. Ever since I was little, I remember visiting my aunts, cousins, and grandmother there. I am still fortunate to have family on Maui, whom I visit every chance I get!
Needless to say, I’ve experienced all the “touristy” things on Maui several times. When I visit now, I divide my time relaxing, taking in the beauty, but also visiting my FAVORITE places.
Below are my top 7 Favorite Places/Things to do that I make sure to do EVERY time there. I couldn’t cut it to 5! Call me a repeat offender but these places are a must for me.
You can’t come to Maui and NOT go snorkeling. It’s like a right of passage for travelers on the island. However, if you’re going to do it..Do it well. Spend the money and book a catamaran. Not just any catamaran, book the Trilogy. I’ve been several times and every single time I have the best time. Their staff is not only hilarious, friendly and helpful, but they are also insanely intelligent about marine life.
Book the full/Half Day excursion to Molokai. You’ll get to experience the sunrise over the West Maui Mountains, freshly baked cinnamon rolls, and whale spouting; all before 9am. Enjoy the time snorkeling by Molokai and then hop back on to have some lunch and travel to another spot to search for turtles! The best part is sailing back to port and enjoying the breeze, upbeat music and whale watching.
If you’re lucky, they’ll also have a photographer on board to take photos of you and crew with an option to purchase them afterward. Check out mine below!
Leoda’s Pie Shop
Located right off of Honoapi’ilani highway in Lahaina, Leoda’s is a cute, quick spot for lunch. Think delicious salads and sandwiches but let’s be real here, the winner of this establishment is the pie. The flavors change daily, are baked fresh every morning, and come in the perfect size, small or large. My family and I definitely grab a bunch of the small ones to share.
Beach day in Kihei (Keawakapu Beach)
While there are several beaches on Maui, Keawakapu beach is a hidden gem and my favorite. It is located by the Mana Kai hotel (a great option to stay while on Maui) and extends to the end of South Kihei Road. The sand is soft, it’s not too packed, and the water is nice and clear. It’s also great for little ones since the sandbar is nice and shallow, there’s ample snorkeling available, and it’s easy to take a stand up paddle board in and out from there.
Now.. where to park. There is a small hidden lot at the very end of South Kihei road. If you are able to grab a spot there, you definitely scored. If that’s full, head into the Mana Kai parking lot. You shouldn’t have any issues if you are just there for the morning/afternoon!
Aloha Mixed Plate
The phrase “Mixed Plate” or “plate lunch” are very common terms used on Maui. In short, it encompasses a plate of 2 scoops of rice and mac salad and meat or fish. Aloha Mixed Plate is my top choice for plate lunch. Located right in Lahaina off of Front Street, enjoy oceanfront dining in a laid-back atmosphere.
Make sure when you’re there to actually order the Aloha Mixed Plate off the menu. You get to enjoy shoyu chicken, kalbi ribs & fresh fish with white rice and mac salad. Talk about YUM!
Aloha mixed plate is considered the “start” of Front street to me. Cruise on down front street during the day to explore all the different types of restaurants and shops galore. I usually will spend a few evenings here or a whole day so I don’t miss out on any of my favorite places!
My favorite restaurants on Front Street Include:
- Aloha Mixed Plate – See above
- Fleetwood’s on Front Street For Happy Hour (Yes Mick Fleetwood’s restaurant!)
- Lapperts Ice Cream & Coffee – Their vanilla bean is to die for.
- Koa 156 – Great oceanside dining and beautiful for sunset
- Kimo’s – Great for dinner, drinks, everything. and HULA PIE! (more to come on that)
- Longhi’s Lahaina- amazing breakfast
- Honu – Quaint, oceanside, and awesome pizza!
- Mala – right next door to Honu- great food as well
Favorite Shops on Front street Include:
- Crazy Shirts – did you really go to Hawaii if you didn’t get a Crazy Shirt?
- Hurley/Quicksilver – easy souvenirs with fun and kitschy Hawaiian sayings
- The Lahaina Christmas Store – Self-explanatory
- Whalers General Store – Souvenirs
- ABC Store – Essentials and Souvenirs
- Honolua Surf Company – surf brand local to west coast/islands
- Maui Divers Jewelry- A great selection of pearls and gems
- + many more Art + Jewelry Stores galore!
Short and sweet. You MUST have one slice of Hula Pie before leaving Maui. Order one to share and you won’t regret it. Original to Kimo’s, you can also order Hula Pie at Dukes or Leilani’s restaurants or additional Maui restaurants. You know it’s legit with it’s labeled “Kimo’s Original Hula Pie” on the menu. It’s made with macadamia nut ice cream, piled high on a chocolate cookie crust, and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts. Is your mouth watering yet? It is served on a yellow rimmed plate with a spork for enjoying.
Add Paia on your list when exploring Maui. Located on the northern coast of Maui, Paia is a small town home to several restaurants, art galleries, and shops. Head past town to Ho’okipa Beach Park to catch a glimpse of surfers, sunsets, and the most amazing group of sea turtles. Your eyes will trick you into thinking the beach is filled with large rocks, but take a longer look as you see all the sea turtles alone the far end of the beach.
Take some time to pop into the kitschy shops that line the main drag in town and then head to Flatbread company for some delicious pizza. Many of the ingredients are from local farms on Maui. If you’re feeling adventurous and want Maui-infused flavor, definitely order the Mopsy’s Kalua Pork Pizza complete with free range pork (or chicken), organic mango BBQ sauce, Maui Pineapple, Hawaiian goat cheeses, with organic cheeses, herbs, and garlic oil.
While I’ve barely scratched the surface to the exquisite island of Maui, I hope you found some inspiration of places to go or things to do on your next trip to Maui! I cannot wait to go back in 2019 and write up a new post as well! Aloha.