At different points throughout our Hawaiian getaway we would ask each other, “Would you feel okay if we had to go home tomorrow? Do you think we’ve seen and done enough to make our trip worthwhile?” And our answer to that question after one week adventuring in Kauai was a resounding “No!” because we knew there were so many more mountains to climb, more poke bowls to eat, and much more relaxing to be done on the island of Maui.
Luckily, we had seven days left in paradise before we had to go home and we maximized every second of it. These are our Maui must-dos.
Surfing in Kihei
Everyone should try surfing at least once on their trip to Hawaii, and we would highly recommend doing so on the southwestern coast of Maui on the beaches of Kihei. The waves are a manageable 2-3 feet, perfect for novices like us and for young kids, and the water doesn’t come up hardly past your waist, which makes falling off your board very unintimidating because you know you can just stand up! Our lesson with the Maui Beach Boys was so much fun and we were both riding waves on our first attempt!
Haleakala National Park
Nothing says vacation like a 2 AM wakeup! One of the magical experiences we were told not to miss was the sunrise at the top of Haleakala Volcano, a dormant crater inside Haleakala National Park. Driving to the top of the crater takes about 3 hours total from where we were staying in Kaanapali, and so with sunrise at 6:15 AM and wanting to get a front-row seat at the observatory, we left earrrrrrrrrly from our hotel with banana walnut bread and canned Hawaiian coffee drinks in tow. Winding is an understatement when describing the road that takes you up the crater and when it’s pitch black out be sure to drive slowly! Once at the top, we walked around in the dark before settling in to our viewing point, after which hoards of people huddled up behind us at sunrise approached. At 6 AM the magic started- I’ll just leave these here…
Yes, it was cold, and yes, we had lost feeling in our toes, but did we head down the crater as soon as the sunrise show was over? No, and neither should you! Haleakala National Park is HUGE and has so many trails and landscapes to explore that it would be a shame to scurry right back down the volcano to your resort. For a moderately strenuous hike we recommend the Sliding Sands trail, which takes you down a loose cinder path and rewards you with sweeping views of the inside of the crater. It felt like we were on Mars (yes, we’ve been to Mars, didn’t you know?). The entire trail is 11 miles total out and back, but you can do as we did and hike 1 mile out, and 1 huffing and puffing mile back up the crater- the altitude really hits you climbing out!
Mama’s Fish House
Voted the best restaurant in Maui, and one of the top restaurant for fresh seafood in the country, you knew my husband had booked us a table here. Mama’s Fish House is located in a private lagoon on the North Shore of Maui and we had made late lunch reservations at this secluded spot following our morning at Haleakala and visiting the small town of Paia nearby. What’s so special about Mama’s is their ocean to table approach to dining. Every day their fishermen head 30 miles off shore and bring back fresh Opa, Onaga, and Ahi to be prepared that day or the following, and what’s more, to highlight their efforts, the fisherman’s name is featured next to their own catch on the menu. Our meal here was absolutely superb- the service was exceptional, the cocktails oh so tropical, and the fish, while prepared simply, was the freshest and most flavorful we’d ever enjoyed.
Sit back and the enjoy the views
For goodness sake, you are on one of the most beautiful islands in the world- not every moment has to be action packed, so sit back and enjoy the views! Whether you’re staying at a swanky resort in Wailea (we HIGHLY recommend the Andaz, a luxury Hyatt hotel), or leisurely exploring the rugged coastline, don’t forget to enjoy your time away in Maui and take in the little things that make this island so special. To us, sitting back and relaxing meant treating ourselves to luxurious breakfasts at Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz, not leaving the infinity pools for days at a time, doing some “hiking” along the Kapalua Coasta trail, having beachside Ululani’s Shave Ice, and enjoying many amazing sunsets on the beach.