While all of the Hawaiian Islands are beautiful, there is just something special about Maui. It is the best blend of all of the islands. It has Kauai’s outdoor adventures, from ziplines through the lush canopy, to hiking past lava flows, to surfboarding. It has the great food and nightlife of Oahu, without being as populated. It has the history of Molokai, and the resort possibilities of the Big Island. But it also where you find the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii, possibly the world. Ka’anapali Beach is perhaps the most well-known and iconic of these beaches, but there are more the island has on offer as well.
You can visit the Ke’anae Peninsula to see this little slice of old Hawaii, with a church from the 1860’s, and beautiful lava rock shoreline, as well as Ke’anae Arboretum, which is a botanical garden with free entrance, it sits right along a stream in a rainforest. View traditionally-grown hibiscus, papaya, and more, including the beautiful “rainbow eucalyptus”. There are also taro patches fed by stream that families have tended throughout the generations.
There is the best traditional Luau on Maui, the Old Lahaina Luau, which regularly sells out, sometimes up to weeks in advance. An evening of traditional cuisine, music, dancing, and crafts, along with stunning views of the beach at sunset while the Kalua pig is unearthed from its underground oven (called an “Imu”) where it has been roasting. You can choose between a more traditional seating on cushions on the grass in front of the stages, or there are regular tables and chairs.
Take a tour of Surfing Goat Dairy, a working goat farm that makes the chevre cheese you will find on most menus throughout the islands. There’s free samples as you tour, and afterward you are welcome to bring wine with you, order some extra cheese and sundries from the farm store, and enjoy the view from outside the dairy. There are different types of tours, one of which includes “evening chores and milking” if you feel like getting hands-on with your cheese.
Lana’i Snorkel & Dolphin Watch Cruise and whale-watching tours leave from Lahaina harbor, with naturalists to point out flora and fauna, and describe what you are seeing while out on the water. Though it is unlikely, if you do not see a whale on your trip, the next trip is free!
For food there are several mainstays of the island, as well as some newer inclusions. Don’t miss Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s self-named Morimoto restaurant. Elegant food with an excellent view. Sidle up to the sushi bar for a more casual experience in the event you can’t get a reservation here. World famous Mama’s Fish House is one of the busiest restaurants on the island for a very good reason. Friendly service, casual home-style Hawaiian fare with an eye toward perfect seafood. Check out Hali’imaile General Store, set within what used to be a plantation worker’s camp house in a pineapple field. The acclaimed restaurant specializes in gourmet dishes, expertly prepared, focusing on the local island’s produce, like taro and Maui sweet onions. End your day with Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. This is not the Hawaiian shave ice that the mainlanders have come to know. With toppings like sweetened condensed cream, and pickled mango, in addition to more familiar flavors like the “Hawaiian Rainbow” which comes with strawberry, pineapple, and vanilla flavorings. This place is as popular with the locals as it is with the tourists.