• Melisa Smith

25 Things About Maui


25 Things About Maui


1. Island Time.

Being on Island Time is a real thing. Take it slow and practice Aloha.


The speed limits on some of the roads may seem unusually slow and it does take a while to get from place to place even though everything really is so close. The roads are often narrow and there can be a lot of traffic congestion so remember, no one is really in a hurry here on the Island so go with the flow.


2. Sea turtles!

Sea turtles are an endangered species and there are very specific rules to follow for their safety. It is illegal to touch a sea turtle. Click on this to see more on sea turtle viewing guidelines.

Sea Turtles are a common sight on Maui. They come ashore regularly and are often seen swimming near shore where humans are snorkeling, swimming and surfing. Be sure to give them plenty of space and enjoy them from at least 15 feet away. They are beautiful majestic creatures and can live to be more than 100 years old. You can judge the age of a sea turtle by the width of it's back. They grow about 1 foot across every 20 years.



3. Nakalele Blowhole, West Maui


Nakalele Point is a land mass on the eastern edge of the northern tip of the island of Maui. Located on Highway 30, between mile marker 38 and 39 you will see a green sign in the grass to help point the way.

There's lot's of parking and a demanding but doable .8 mile out and back hike here but you can see the blowhole as we did from just off the parking area. It can be very slippery and muddy after a rain, we discovered, so we opted to not hike down. On a dry day it would be quite different.

Blowholes are extremely dangerous. A good rule of thumb is to stay where the land is dry. That can be hard to do if it has rained recently. Use good judgement while visiting this wonder on Maui!

4. West Maui, Highway 30. #NottheRoadtoHana


Continuing on from Nakalele Blowhole is a short drive on a path less taken around West Maui back to Kahului known as the Kahekili Hwy. This road trip is stunningly beautiful!


5. Joey's Kitchen

You will find this restaurant in a small mall in Napili, West Maui. It's great Filipino food with island flair. Bring your own wine or get some at the nice market next door. They have a $5 corkage fee. What a bargain!

Rumor has it that Chef Joey used to work at Roy's in Kaanapali but recently left to open this restaurant for himself. Everything we had was excellent and we found many locals who obviously ate there regularly.

We ate here more than once and some of us had the mussels more than once! Highly recommended.


Order the Crispy Pata to share. Oh my is this good!


6. Mama's Fish House


The Pearl of Maui as restaurants go. Or should I say Black Pearl? You'll have to see the picture of my dessert below. It's their signature dessert. All desserts are made in house by the way.

We came here for lunch the week of Thanksgiving with family and friends. They don't have seating for a group larger than 5 or 6 at any one table so we had adjacent tables and visited each other during our visit to Mama's. Be sure to make reservations and come early. You will want to take in the grounds and the beach on your way in. The cove where this restaurant is located is one of the most beautiful on the Island in my opinion.

This restaurant is amazing. The staff is well trained and works as a unit. Each person plays a very specific role to ensure that guests are cared for to the best of their ability. Nothing is rushed here and service is impeccable. We had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves at Mama's.

Mama's Fish House is expensive but worth it! If you enjoy going to a concert or the theater and are willing to spend the money for the ticket, think of Mama's as the same kind of event. You will have a great experience beyond the excellent food and drinks here.

7. Maui Wine, Ulupalakua Vineyards


This is a beautiful stop half way up Haleakala on the Piilani Highway. There is also a cute little ranch store across the street that serves sandwiches and such.

It's known for it's pineapple wines but has a wide variety to choose from. I really liked the sparkling rose' called Lokelani that was dry for a rose' and very nice! I'm truly a red wine gal from the Northwest so I might be a lot partial to dry wines. If you are into whites you may really like the different varieties here.

The grounds are beautiful and they had some lawn games set up and someone with a bearded dragon that was fun to watch too! Don't miss the amazing wood sculptures in front of the tasting room known as The Hula Circle.

8. Visit the Maui Arts & Cultural Center


There are many things presented at the MACC worth seeing so check the schedule when you come to Maui. Concerts, dance companies and celebrations of all kinds happen here on the campus of the University of Hawaii. We happened to catch a Rita Coolidge concert that was really entertaining! They had a a beautiful full service bar set up outdoors before the concert with seating.

9. Visit Maui Brewing Co.

This was a great place for us to visit because we were such a large group and with kids too. We ate here a few times and there was plenty of good food on the menu to choose from, large portions and an enormous selection of brews! It is noisy and not exactly romantic but a wonderful place for groups and families. The service was quite good too.

10. Snorkeling off Molokini


Snorkeling off Molokini was one of the most memorable things about Maui for all of us. If you can afford to do this I really recommend it. We had an amazing time with our guides and our captain, Don Burns, aboard the Seafire. Check them out at www.molokinisnorkeling.com They are safe, reputable and great with kids and families.

Our guides were very knowledgeable about the wildlife and the island history giving us a lot of information and allowing everyone plenty of time for questions.

If you have never been snorkeling before, they have all the equipment you need, they will teach you everything you need to know and help you every step of the way so you have a safe and exciting adventure. If you need a prescriptive mask you can rent equipment from Snorkel Bob's. They are everywhere on Maui. Departures are from Kihei, HI.


On our way back to shore from Molokini we fed these little birds a few bread crumbs and they followed us all of the way back to Kehei boat launch! They are so cute!

11. Enjoy your accommodations


This is where our three families rented condos from the local owners. These condos and many other condo complexes in the area rent through VRBO, Home Away, Air B&B and other services when the owners are not staying in them. We really enjoy using these services when we travel. So far we have had wonderful experiences in the homes and condos that we have rented.

The Hale Mahina Condo complex is a very special place indeed! We were all very happy with our rentals and had great experiences here.

Every afternoon we gathered together for some beach time here at Hale Mahina, relaxing by the pool and hot tub that were very well maintained and enjoying the grounds filled with amazing tropical flowers at every turn. The kids played in the sand and we saw sea turtles swimming in the water and climbing up on the beach. Several coconuts floated up on the surf too. That was oddly interesting to see!

We talked about the days events and made plans for dinner until the sun was nearly set. Then it was time for pictures and a conch ceremony performed each night by an owner who happened to be there the week we visited. (video below)


Conch Ceremony performed by a local condo owner. Thank you! We really enjoyed that!

12. Get some of the islands Best Ono Fish Tacos at Ohana Tacos.


We had the fish tacos here one day for lunch. It was really very good and they had so much more to offer. They have a great salsa bar and everything is made fresh there. This place is very popular for take out with people living or staying in local condos.

13. Take time for the sunsets.


Sunsets in the islands are some of the best in the world. You are on vacation so take time out to enjoy them.

14. Check out the Farmer's Markets


The produce markets on the islands are a mainland cooks dream. So many amazing new things to try and gawk over! Even if you aren't a cook you will enjoy the copious amounts of beautiful fresh fruit just waiting to be cut up and eaten.

Don't gather any to take home though, there are strict regulations against bringing fruits home from the islands. You can purchase pineapple after passing through security in the airport that you can bring home with you but the price may both stun and amaze you.

15. Take time to smell the flowers.


Really...smell them... they are amazing!


16. Have Brunch at "The Gazebo" Napili Shores Condo Complex, West Maui.



This is a fabulous place for brunch! Check them out on Yelp HERE. We had a large party and needed to be split up again but that was all right. Table space at this place is really at a premium! We did a little shopping at the gift shop outside while we waited. It's a lovely location and it really didn't seem that long although I think we did wait around 40 minutes to be seated.

The service was great despite the crowd and the food is wonderful. We didn't feel rushed either.

Try the Banana Pancakes and the Fried Rice! Wow!

17. Take the back road to Hana, Pilani Highway


It's possible to make a loop of Haleakala instead of driving the same road to Hana and then back again. We took the Piilana Highway up to the Maui Winery again and then continued on around the island from there. There are a few small sections that are not paved and one fairly lengthy spot that is something like cobblestone and extremely bumpy but none of it was impassable for our small car.

I've heard some rental agency's will tell you that you can't take a rental car to Hana but absolutely everyone does. There was literally no one on the road all in the morning and we arrived at Hana in time be one of the first few tables for lunch at Hana Ranch Restaurant. We had truly beautiful outdoor seating and service was wonderful. We had a fresh tuna poke appetizer and burgers that were very well prepared. It was interesting to stop there as we had just passed the actual Hana Ranch on our way into Hana from the southwest. It's a very large and scenic place.

We love off the beaten path road trips and this was certainly just such a drive. It was so gorgeous and the weather was perfect. There is nothing else quite like this drive anywhere on the island.

18. Drive the Hana Highway from Kalepa Bridge to Kahului.



The scenery begins to change here from the dry side of the island to the luscious tropical rain forest of the east side as we round the southern tip of Maui. This is where The Seven Sacred Pools are. When we passed by, they were not allowing people to swim here anymore but you could enter the park and walk around for $25.00 per car.

Just before entering Hana we passed by the beautiful Hana Ranch. I presume that's where the beef for our lunch came from. Hana was actually bigger than we thought it might be. It's very picturesque and has several places to eat, a small museum and a tiny bit of shopping.

All along the Hana highway from Hana to Kahului you will find small roadside family owned places to stop for a beverage or a bite. You will also notice how much more water there is!

19. Cross beautiful narrow historic bridges along the Hana Highway.


The Hana Highway is narrow and passes over more bridges than we could count. They are all different and beautiful in their own way. Many are on corners and the corners are so sharp that it's common practice to blow your car's horn as you round the bend.

On our way back from Hana toward the middle of the island we passed rental car after rental car full of passengers hanging out of windows with selfie sticks trying to get the best picture of the oncoming corner, bridge and waterfall. It was great fun.

Keep in mind this road is very narrow and the bridges are even more so. Having a small car is helpful here. Often you need to yield to oncoming traffic and cross the bridges one at a time. Remember we're all on Hawaiian time here so please be courteous. Mahalo.


20. Be amazed by the multitude of stunning waterfalls along the Hana Highway.





There are amazing waterfalls literally around every corner.

21. Visit the Maui Tropical Plantation


This plantation is truly gorgeous if you are into landscaping at all! I think my husband and I both wished we had come to visit the plantation earlier in the week and taken the full tram tour maybe but we only had half a day and it was raining the day we went there. It was still worth the time but this adventure requires more than that to really experience it.

There is a fabulous restaurant here called the Mill House that is on the spendy side but looks fantastic! The plantation has the largest gift shop on the entire island full of nice and affordable Maui treasures and tasty treats.

22. Have lunch at Mala Ocean Tavern


This may have been my favorite lunch outside of Mama's Fish House of course! Mala Ocean Tavern is right on the water at the North end of Front Street in Lahaina. We sat outdoors, the weather was spectacular until we left when the wind started to pick up and a shower rolled through. Our timing could not have been better!

I had the best warm olive appetizer I think I've ever had here. It was so large that I took some back to share with the rest of the family later during beach time at Hale Mahina. Lunch was Manilla clams Oh! So Good! I've been told breakfast here is awesome too.

23. Discover this amazing Banyan tree that covers an entire city park and do some shopping in Lahaina.



This historic Banyan tree covers an entire city park! It's quite a sight to see and directly in front of the old city hall that houses a wonderful little local artists gallery. It's also quite close to the best free public parking in Lahaina.

Parking in Lahaina is tough. It's very expensive if you can't find street parking. I highly recommend the lot at the south end of Front street that is free parking for a few hours if you can get in.

Front street is known for it's quaint shops and art galleries. I'm very sad I didn't think to take pictures here because it's really something. There are also some historic buildings you can tour if you like. There are high end art galleries that are fabulous to window shop as well as trendy clothing and jewelry shops.

There are also many low priced souvenir shops, so really, there is something for everyone here. Of course there are several eateries as well and this is a great place to get treats like shave ice and island coffee.

Don't forget the Honolulu Cookie store where you can sample your way through every flavor and then buy gifts for everyone at home. My cousin loves to bring these back for her friends at her office. Smart choice Patti!

24. Eat at Hula Grill Kaanapali!


The Hula Grill at Kaanapali is a very large atmospheric restaurant with great food! As it's name suggests it's set in the resort community of Kaanapali amid the high end shopping mall and hotels. As we were a large party we did have to wait about an hour for a table but just like The Gazebo, this is such an atmospheric place it didn't seem like that long. We found a place to watch the live entertainment and get drinks while waiting and in no time we had a table that could accommodate us all! They had lovely food, service and drinks and we enjoyed the evening immensely.

25. Experience a Luau.


Wailele Luau, Maui, HI

If you have never been to Hawaii, do attend a luau! This luau had spectacular entertainment. Drinks and food are included in the price of the ticket and of course it's all you can eat and drink. The servers were attentive but beware, If you intend to eat a lot, get back into line quickly because the buffet gets packed up fairly quickly and all that's left is the dessert table. Drinks do continue however.

We enjoyed the opportunity to have professional pictures taken that really turned out wonderful and there were vendors available for souvenir shopping that had surprisingly good prices on their wares. We all purchased something and think we all felt great about our purchases here. Including the photography.

The entertainment was remarkable!




Are you planning a trip to Maui anytime soon? Have you been here or do you live here? I'd love to hear about what you love about Maui. Please leave me a comment below.


Aloha!

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Copywrite © 2019 by Melisa Smith