Some say Hawaii is overrated. I say they are boring and confused.
Maui is definitely the place for you if you are ready to step away from everyday life and onto an island of adventure and tropical beauty and culture! I have heard before that Hawaii is over rated, but I disagree. Maui just has such a warm and beautiful feeling about it, and some of the most incredible scenery, food, and beaches I have ever seen.
On our trip, we wanted to make sure we got everything in, so I would advise someone visiting Maui to make sure to take some time to just relax. There are endless activities and adventures, but remember that this is vacation, and it is important to sit back and refresh also! I learned this the hard way. We ran around the entire trip trying to fit everything in and we were exhausted by the end of it! I had an incredible time, but wish I had taken some time to take it all in and rejuvenate. With that said, here is the list of my favorite things about Maui. And I HIGHLY recommend them all if you have time!
1. Start your day off with some “Bad Ass” coffee and stop at a local Farmers’ Market
First of all, this place clearly has an awesome name! And to add to its awesomeness, it is authentic Hawaiian 100% pure Kona coffee and their drinks are delicious! (My fave was blended mocha.) I also suggest you take a stop by any one of the Farmers’ markets on the island and pick up some fresh baked pastries and island picked fruit for breakfast.
A MUST TRY: pineapple bread with papaya cream cheese. I literally have dreams about this! Take your breakfast to the beach or a park for a picnic, and take in all the morning beauty that Maui has to offer!!
2. Check out some amazing Maui snorkeling at Ka’anapali beach at Black Rock
I’m sure there are so many awesome places to snorkel, but this was my favorite. It is just full of life and active all of the time, as well as easy to get to. It is on the shores of the main resort area on Maui. You are almost guaranteed to see Sea turtles here also! Please, please don’t touch the turtles!! They have a special algae on their shells that helps to keep them healthy. They are just as enjoyable from a bit of a distance and will actually get very close to you! Just try not to touch them, even if they want to be your friend! 😉
3. Take a Scuba class in tropical Maui waters
There is so much incredible snorkeling in Maui… but scuba diving takes that one step further. There is absolutely NOTHING in the world like being submerged underwater and being able to hang out there and observe the world under the sea. Maybe it’s just my younger self and her fixation with The Little Mermaid showing through, but I couldn’t love anything more than feeling like a mermaid and hanging out down by the ocean floor. It is a magical and peaceful place. If you do choose to scuba, be safe! Do not push yourself beyond your physical boundaries. AND do not touch anything down there unless your instructor tells you to! Remember, you are a guest in their home.
I have also heard amazing things about diving in Molokini. We did not get to dive at Molokini but we definitely plan on diving there next time!
4. Watch some Whales!
Whale watching season is November – May. The majority of whales will be there in January, February, and March. (Most of these are Humpback whales.) If you are planning to go during this time, go whale watching AT LEAST once. The experience is one that just cannot be described accurately. These guys are GIGANTIC!!! You have no idea how huge. It is not until you are in close vicinity to one; that you understand just how puny and insignificant we are as humans. They are magnificent creatures and to see one jump out of the water is a magical experience. It should be on everyone’s bucket list!
5. Drive the Road to Hana
This is an intense and all day activity to say the least. It is 64 miles long, but do not be fooled; it will take you all day. We chose to drive it on a day that it was raining. Don’t do this. It was probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. The road is very narrow, and many of the bridges that it encompasses are only one way. We also ran into some issues with trees falling into the road because of the wet mountain side. No big deal though. Don’t let me scare you! Just be careful and have fun!!
The road takes you up and up through tropical rainforests and valleys, and with 617 turns, the drive alone is a serious adventure. And the drive is just the beginning. There are so many sensational stops to make along the way including bamboo forests, waterfalls, black sand beaches, caves, hikes, and natural pools! (I will fill you in below on the stops we made.)
6. Make a stop along the Road to Hana to see the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees
Along the side of the road, on the Road to Hana, there is a sweet little grove of these magical Dr. Seuss looking rainbow trees. They really seem imaginary. Their bark peels off at different times, and it changes color after a bit, so it appears to have rainbow bark! You can hang out in the grove for a while, and take lots of pics. (Even though the photos don’t do the trees justice.) Things TO NOT DO: scrape your name into the trees in a heart, take branches from the trees, or do any ridiculous rude things to the trees. Again, please don’t be that idiot. Traveling allows you to take in the beauty of the world. If we ruin it because we are assholes, there won’t be any more beauty to see. Not sure why many people don’t understand this. I am clearly the human Lorax. But please just take the trees in and enjoy their beauty without defacing them. Thank you!
7. Check out the Hana Lava Tube
Another stop on the Road to Hana, the Hana Lava tube, is a must see if you’re down for a cave adventure! It is off the beaten path, and is literally a tube of lava formed by a river of lava hardening and forming a tunnel. The inside of the tube very much resembles a cave, and is a great chance to explore a creepy tunnel in the dark. (They will provide flashlights for you!) My husband is more of a ‘cave man’ than me.. yes pun intended, but I enjoyed it also!
8. Hike through Maui’s Bamboo Forest at Haleakala National Park
Also a stop on the Road to Hana. Along the Pipiwai trail, on the way to Waimoku Falls, there is a completely magical bamboo forest. The feeling of walking through the bamboo is so serene, and the sound the bamboo makes when the wind blows is pure tranquility. This was one of my very favorite parts of Maui. I have not done anything quite like it before. Totally zen. It is an amazing place to hang out in and to take pics of course!
9. See the Seven Sacred Pools (also known as Ohe’o Gulch)
The water was very low when we were there, and the wind was insane, so no swimming in the pools for us! Also I am pretty sure there were not seven… also probably because the water was low. They are a breathtaking sight to see though. The pools are also in Haleakala National Park, and right above them is the hike with the bamboo forest and Waimoku Falls. I guess some people die here sometimes so make sure to be careful!
10. Take in Maui’s beauty at Waimoku Falls
The hike from the start to Waimoku Falls is about three hours… two if you are fast I suppose. I really enjoyed the entire hike because there is so much to see and it is all incredibly beautiful! It is not especially strenuous and definitely not boring. The waterfall is at the end, and a perfect reward for your long(ish) hike!
The waterfall is so tall, it is almost impossible for you to see it in one view. The water was kind of weak when we were there; due to it being low. But having nothing to compare it to, I thought it was fantastic! The water is fresh and beautiful, and there is a fairly shallow pool under it where people were hanging out. The signs tell you not to get close but I don’t actually know that anyone obeys that sign. I mean, who hikes all that way just to look at this thing from 100 feet away?? Not us. This waterfall is a seriously grandiose and beautiful sight to see though!
11. Take stroll on the Black sand Beach at Wai’anapanapa Park
What a strange and special sight! Never having seen a black sand beach, I thought that this was stunning! Normal beach sand is usually made up of seashells and corals. Black sand is made up of crushed up lava. There are also natural blow holes and arches made of the black rock, which makes for some excellent scenery and photo ops.
12. Eat at Mama’s Fish house
If you want to get the full Maui experience, Mama’s Fish House is a MUST! The food is locally and sustainable sourced, and it is seriously delicious! They go out each morning on small boats to fish for dinner. Then the menu tells you who caught what specific fish that morning. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! Everything on the menu is fantastical. It is a pretty relaxed atmosphere; most people there are on vacation. But we took this a little too far. We felt a BIT out of place in our hiking clothes and swim suits. (We stopped here on the way home from Hana.) I am pretty positive they sat us away from everyone else so no one would see us and/or because we smelled. Don’t do that to yourself. Be prepared! …Although it was hilarious and makes for an awesome memory!
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, RELAX!!
(and sip on a Lava Flow)
Just lay on the beach and lose your thoughts there. Soak in the warm and bright South Pacific sun. And just be. This is your time to escape all of your every day problems and distractions. Let yourself! You are in Maui after all! Also, a lava flow is a combo of a pina colada and strawberry daiquiri, and it is my life! if you are into cocktails… wait who isn’t into cocktails? Anyway, if that sounds like your kind of thing you will be obsessed.
Been to Maui? Have more suggestions? Share your thoughts! I would love to hear your ideas and what amazing things YOU did while you were there!