Maui Magic: The Ultimate Guide to Paradise

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Advisor - Jennifer Grant
Curated By

Jennifer Grant

  • Couples Travel

  • Honeymoons

  • Family Travel

  • Babymoons

  • Group Travel

  • Maui

  • Hawai'i

  • Iseland

  • Outdoor

  • Sightseeing

Peoples on beach
Curator’s statement

Maui is the perfect destination for so many travelers, from romantic couples to families and multi-generational trips. While home to spectacular beaches and resorts from which to unwind, there are diverse activities to inspire everyone to explore this breathtaking island. Aloha, the universal greeting, means love and fellowship, and that warmth will live in your heart long after your visit. NOTE: Due to the devastating fires in Lahaina in August 2023, West Maui remains closed to leisure travel. The rest of Maui and other islands are open and their economy is tourism-dependent.

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Where to stay in Maui

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Things to do in Maui

A group of girls with turtle swim

Watching the sun rise over Haleakala Crater with the wind whipping around you and a park ranger chanting a song about Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, is an inspiring start to the day. As is the thrill of biking (all downhill) to town as the sun lights the sky. I recommend planning this for your first day, especially if your home time zone will have you waking up early anyway.

Whale migration is typically mid-December to May. If you are lucky enough to visit during this unforgettable season, a whale watching tour will get you close to the action, but you can even see them from shore and hear their songs underwater, which surprisingly evolve and change every year.

The Road to Hana is a long full day of driving but so worth it if you have the time. Sights include "painted" eucalyptus trees, bamboo forests and countless waterfalls and beaches (including the famous black sand at Wai'ānapanapa State Park, but make sure to reserve your time slot online in order to visit.) And don't forget to make a pitstop at Halfway to Hana for "the original" banana bread.

Snorkeling at Molokini Crater is a treat thanks to the clarity of the sheltered waters. Turtle Town is a great spot to swim with turtles and other marine life. However, if the conditions don't cooperate it is very likely you will get lucky just by swimming off the beach and there are tour options from the beach as well as boat tours.

For the braver explorers, nothing beats a helicopter tour to fully appreciate the exquisite natural beauty of Maui. There are many different itineraries so be sure to book your preferred tour in advance, particularly if you have more than two in your group.

Day Trips

If you have more than a week in Maui, consider a day trip (or more!) to Lana'i. Known as Hawaii's most secluded island, this former pineapple plantation is home to spinner dolphin, hiking trails, less crowded snorkeling and not one but two fabulous Four Seasons resorts.

Places to eat & drink in Maui

view from the restaurant at hotel wailea

Mama's Fish Shack is wildly popular, and for good reason. I recommend booking a table as soon as you set your dates of travel, especially if you would like sunset, as they take reservations up to 18 months in advance. If you cannot reserve, walk ins are welcome but the wait can be prohibitively long.

The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea is a gorgeous fine dining restaurant with farm-to-table cuisine. For a special evening, book a table on the lanai 30 minutes prior to sunset and watch the sun drop into the ocean while enjoying some of the best food in Maui.

Tin Roof offers tasty takeout, including pork belly bowls and garlic noodles, from a counter in Kahului. Owned by Top Chef Sheldon Simeon, a great place to grab and go to nearby Kanaha Beach.

Coconut's Fish Cafe in Kihei has incredible loaded (17 ingredients!) fish tacos.

Nuka in Haiku is the place for the freshest sushi and izakaya style eating. They don't take reservations but they are open for both lunch (10:30-2:30) and dinner (4:30-10) and worth the wait.

Flatbread in Paia has great pizza and craft beer. It's not air-conditioned and there can be a wait for dinner but it is also open for lunch.

Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea is a fun farm-to-table Pan-Asian spot with live music and cool vibes.

The Bamboo Hale at Hana Farms serves up artisan wood-fired pizza and salads along the Road to Hana. No reservations, but a welcome stop along the 64-mile drive.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Serene Gunnison's guide, The Ultimate "Road to Hana Maui" Guide.

Advisor - Jennifer Grant

Travel Advisor

Jennifer Grant

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maui.