Travel

Hawaiian Adventure: Part 3 – Magical Maui

While my first visit to Hawaii was now almost one year ago, I can still smell the salt air, I can hear the ocean waves and I can feel the Aloha spirit. I have very fond memories of each island I visited on that incredible two week journey. I have shared my thoughts and recommendations on Oahu (plus where to stay in Honolulu and the island circle tour) as well as Kauai, and today, I am taking you to magical Maui.

Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island and suprisingly sparsely populated. The landscape is quite different throughout the island, with farms for sugarcane and pineapple, cattle ranches, mountains and rainforests. It’s got quaint towns and villages, and big city finds alike. You can stay in a rental home, a small motel or even a 5 star resort. In Maui, you’ll be able to experience breathtaking views, incredible cuisine, and plenty of Hawaiian culture.

Ma'alaea Maui Airbnb

Aloha sign in Hawaii

Since my Hawaiian trip was a long one, I had strategically planned to do more sightseeing on the first two islands and to leave lots of time for poolside and ocean lounging in Maui, which was the last leg of the trip. The weather had other plans in mind. Hawaii faced unusual amounts of gloomy skies and rain while we were there, even risks of mudslides on the famed road to Hana (needless to say, we didn’t take that trek). But, even on an island that is famous for it’s sunshine and blue skies, I can promise, it’s just as beatiful in the rain – plus you are bound to see even more rainbows! While I didn’t spend as much time lounging as I had hoped, it did give me an excuse to really get out and see more of the island. With over 120 miles of coastline, and lots in between, Maui is packed with things to see and do, I guarantee you can fill any type of agenda you may have, but here are my choices of the top five things you must do in Maui.

  1. Old Lahaina Luau: Can you truly claim to have visited Hawaii if you don’t see a luau? I think not! And Maui offers one of the best luau’s you can see, the Old Lahaina Luau. This luau has been operating in the town of Lahaina for over 35 years and features classic Hawaiian food, dance and music. Upon arrival you’re greeted by lush greenery and as you step through the entrance you’re presented with a very fragrant and fresh lei, seconds later your eyes settle on the incredible round outdoor theater, with stunning oceans views (you can even see the islan of Lanai in the distance). As you are seated your Hawaiian host will bring you delicious drinks and food before the incredible show begins. I encourage you to walk along the waters edge and really take it in before darkness comes and the tiki torches are lit. From this stunning vantage point, I saw the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. The town of Lahaina is really charming as well, with loads and loads of shops along Front Street featuring local goods – one of my favorites was CocoNene, where you can build your own custom picture frame to remeber your trip. In the middle of town you can see a century old banyan tree that will take your breath away. I would recommend arriving several hours before the luau (which you should absolutely book well in advance) and exploring this area, which was, prior to 1845 the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Old Lahaina LuauOld Lahaina LuauOld Lahaina LuauOld Lahaina Luau
  2. Golf in Ka’anapali: I’ve heard people say, even if you aren’t a golfer, you should experience golf in Hawaii. Well, I am a golfer, but even I can back that opinion. There is nothing quite like playing golf amid lush palm trees with the ocean out in the distance. Even if you have a bad day on the course (which we all know is bound to happen from time to time), the atmorpshere makes up for it. I enjoyed golfing at the Ka’anapali Kai course, and made sure to explore nearby Whalers Village after, for a delicious meal and of course some great shopping. K'anapali Kai Golf Course Maui K'anapali Kai Golf Course Maui K'anapali Kai Golf Course Maui Pink Hotels in Maui
  3. Nakalele Point: If you want to enjoy a drive along the coast, but maybe aren’t ready for the day long adventure full of twists and turns that is the road to Hana (or you have rainy weather too), take a drive the other way along the western coast to get to the most northern point on Maui. The cliffside views you’ll have along the way, while sometimes nail biting are truly incredible. There are several places to pull the car over and get out to really take it all in – which is also much safer than attempting to do from within the car. Plus, you’ll see lots of surfers in action. Once you get to Nakalele Point you will be able to see Hawaii’s first lighthouse, and if the surf is just right, you might spot some sprouting geysers (aka blowholes). Nakalele Point Maui Nakalele Point Maui
  4. Think Pink: If you’ve been a reader of my content for a while now, you know I have a slight obsession with pink buildings. I can’t tell you what it is exactly, but I am just so drawn to them! (You can see all of my favorite pink palaces here.) I knew Maui had its own pink palace, and I knew I needed to see it. The Grand Wailea was a complete stunner from the minute I pulled into the driveway. The hotel is ituated along the ocean in the town of Wailea, which is a luxurious resort community. And luxury definitely oozed from the Grand Wailea! The grounds are pristinely manicured, the pool is a watery work of art and the chapel (yes, you read that right), looks like it’s straight out of a Hawaiian fairytale book. There was a wedding the day I visited and I could definitely see why it’s a hot spot for destination weddings. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate love in a tropical, pink infused setting? There are shops on the property as well as several restaurants. I recommend getting a drink at one of the many restaurants and just taking in the surrounding beauty – which really showcases the magic of Maui. If you want to explore more of Wailea, there are five beaches, several golf courses and a great entertainment area at The Shops at Wailea. Grand Wailea Maui Hawaii Chapel at Grand Wailea Maui Hawaii Grand Wailea Maui Hawaii Grand Wailea Maui Hawaii lush grounds at the Scenery from the Grand Wailea hotel in Maui Hawaii
  5. Kihei: The town of Kihei has old-school Hawaiian surfer vibes. It’s perfectly described as laid back and local. There is a great path to walk along the ocean, cute beachy shops and some really great dining options. If you are looking for a great start to the day, I encourage you to try Kiehe Caffe for breakfast – but be prepared to wait in line. It’s a hot spot, but for avery good reason, the food is incredible! Kihei Maui

Choosing where to stay in Maui can be challenging, since it is a large island and much of what you aim to see will likley dictate the best location to call home while visiting. We rented a beachside apartment in Ma’alaea and the location was perfect. While there is not much besides housing within the vicinity, it was the perfect half-way point to get to everything else. We had an easy ride in from the airport to the north, a quick drive east to get to Kihei and Wailea and about the same distance to the west we could get to Lahaina and Ka’anapali. The views were impeccable, and in whale season, a prime spot to see them sprouting out of the water offshore.

Ma'alaea Maui Airbnb

Bananas growing upward

Southwest airplane flying into Maui

The biggest lesson learned in Hawaii is that the beauty of the islands is enough. No matter which island you visit, where you stay or what you plan to do, you will be entranced by the nature surrounding you. Thousands of miles from the nearest land, the air is fresh and pure, the sun seems to shine brighter and the mood is truly that of Aloha, which means, among other things, love.

To make your travels and trip planning a bit easier, feel free to use my interactive Maui map, featuring my top 5 places to visit in Maui!

interactive map for Maui Hawaii

Signed with Style,

sarah in style, sarahinstyle.com

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