Travel Guide | Maui, HI

I've had a lot of people ask about the best places to see and eat on Maui, so I made a travel guide that covers all of mine and Ryan's favorite things on Maui- some local hot spots, a few tourist attractions, and some hidden gems. If you are going to Maui with your significant other or your entire extended family, this list has something for everyone. Don't waste your time or money on mediocre- there are too many amazing places on Maui to settle. 

| F O O D |  

If you want a casual, filling breakfast: 

Mala Ocean Tavern- Weekend brunch. They only serve breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays until 3pm. Eggs Benny, Caramel French Toast, Chilaquiles overlooking the ocean. My favorite way to start the day. On the pricier end, but worth every cent. 

808 Grindz- Local Favorite. Cheapest Hawaiian style breakfast on the island (I'm talking less than $10 for more food than you know what to do with), hole in the wall. Expect a long line. I recommend the macadamia nut pancakes with the sweet cream sauce. 

The Gazebo- Most popular breakfast spot on the island for tourists. There is usually a line, but its worth it. I LOVE their white chocolate mac nut pancakes with coconut syrup and butterscotch whipped cream, and the fried rice (be warned, a half portion of fried rice will feed a village). Overlooks the water at Napili Bay.

The Bakery- a hidden gem back by Taco Bell in Lahaina. Go before 9 to get the best French pastries and malasadas. Hole in the wall. You'll know where it is by the giant mixer outside.

TaquerEATa- Taco truck in Lahaina, on Wainee St. off Front street. Breakfast tacos for cheap from a trendy truck. 

If you need a quick, casual lunch or mid day snack: 

Honokowai Fish Market- The BEST $4 Baja Fish tacos! I crave them all the time. Small, hole in the Wall, about a 10 minute drive from Kaanapali Beach. You can also pick up fresh fish to serve up for dinner.

Choice Health Bar- Hit up this local favorite in Lahaina for the BEST Acai bowls. $12 for a shareable size bowl. They also have healthy salads, smoothies, and kombucha on tap. 

Baya Bowls- Food truck for Acai bowls (open Tuesday-Sunday 8-3:30pm) on Wainee street off of Front street. Cheap, yummy Acai bowl with homemade coconut and lots of toppings.

Ululani's Shave Ice- Best Shave Ice on the island. Don't forget the haupia ice cream on the bottom, and the sweet and condensed milk on top. The Coconut Lovers is my favorite. 

Cafe Cafe- I love this little european coffee shop right next to Front street for their acai bowls, and their bagel sandwiches. Great for a snack or breakfast. They also rent scooters for the day. 

Paia Fish Market- Yummy fish tacos, fish sandwiches, and anything fishy. Located in Paia, but coming soon to Lahaina. 

If you want a casual, family- friendly dinner: 

Flatbread Pizza- Possibly our favorite place on the island. Get the "MOPSY," BEST PIZZA YOU WILL EVER EAT. Kalua pork, fresh pineapple, bbq sauce and goat cheese. Can't get better. Located in Paia. 

Cool Cats- Best burgers and shakes with a diner feel. At least one of us always got the burger of the month, and we almost always loved it! Located right on Front street across from the Banyon Tree. Great vibes, usually live music in the evenings. 

Leoda's Pie Shop- One of our tops! So fresh and yummy! They have pot pies, sweet pies (peanut butter and chocolate Mac are the best!), salads, burgers, sandwiches, everything! I love their salads, fries, and Reuben sandwich. Farm house vibes In Olowalu, close to Lahaina. Get it to go and hit up the beaches on the side of the road. 

Frida's- A little bit pricier, but worth the money for quality Mexican/Spanish style food. Newer restaurant, right on the water in Lahaina with great vibes. You can't go wrong here- all of the food is incredible! 

** DO NOT GO TO CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE. Trust Me. 

If you want a fancy sit down: 

Leilani's- Go to the upstairs restaurant over the downstairs beach bar. Everything is delicious- I recommend any of the steak, fish, or chicken dishes. 

Kimo's on front street- Great view over the water and fun environment for families. Classic fish and steak dishes for a decent price. Try the "Hula Pie" (It's a great dessert to share between everyone). 

Sale Pepe- The BEST Italian food I've ever eaten- and I ate in Italy ;) The Pasta is so flavorful, fresh, and homemade. Authentic woodfired pizza, and yummy appetizers. Small, cozy atmosphere. Be sure to call ahead to make a reservation. Decent prices. 

Lahaina Grill- Voted best food on island. Perfect for a special evening with your sig. other. Only open for dinner, and you have to make a reservation well in advance. If you are a foodie who is willing to spend money for good food, this is for you. 

Mama's Fish House- Popular spot for a fancy dinner, with an unreal view. Save room for dessert. Located in the lovely town of Paia. 

Fleetwood's - With the most beautiful rooftop setting on Front Street, and the frequent local band playing, this is a date night to the max. Pricy, wide range of dishes. 

Luau- Old Lahaina or Drums of the Pacific at the Hyatt. 

| B E A C H E S | 

Napili Bay-  Next to Kapalua. We usually hit up both beaches in a day. Great place to snorkel with turtles.

Kapalua Bay - My favorite beach. Take the pathway and follow it all the way around to the dirt road and there is a stunning coastal walk. Along the way, you’ll see “cliff house” where locals hang out and jump off rocks.

Beaches off the side of the road in Olowalu- stop and park, have a picnic and hang out for the day. Shallow, and good for kids. 

Kaanapali Beach aka Black Rock - Tourist hot spot, but it's fun for an all day hangout with a lot going on. Great for snorkeling. If you want a quieter beach, go to the other side of black rock. 

Big Beach- Located in Wailea. Biggest and most beautiful beach on Maui. The water is insanely blue, but watch for big shore break. Great beach for walking, picnics, relaxing, and sunbathing, because there is usually a nice breeze. If you continue driving down the main road past the beach parking, you will see volcanic rock fields, and at the end there is another parking lot. Park, and follow the path for a beautiful walk around La Parouse. 

Slaughterhouse Beach- Part of Honolua Bay, with a nice sandy beach perfect for jumping in the waves, laying out, and building sand castles. If you continue driving past the beach entrance, you will find incredible cliff views, and cool landscape to photograph. There is a small fruit stand on the side of the road open until 2pm daily. They sell the largest/yummiest avocados I've ever seen. 

| A C T I V I T I E S | 

Trilogy Excursions- The sailing company Ryan worked for, and the most well known on Maui. The trip to Lanai is a little pricey but the best thing to do in my opinion. You get to sail, see another island that is so different looking, snorkel, eat, and explore. They are the only sailing company that has rights to be at the best beach I've ever been to, Hulopo'e Bay. All of the snorkel trips are a fun adventure, and a great way to spend a few hours. They do 2 hr. whale watches in the winter.

Drive up North, past Kapalua for half an hour. Park, and walk down to see the blow hole and the heart rock on the water. Gorgeous views, and cool little hikes all along the road. Do it on rented scooters for the best time of your life. Go to the top of Honolua Bay for sunset and pretty views. 

Banyon Tree - see one of the biggest trees on the island right on Front Street.  (Side Note: the ice cream shop next to it "Banyon Treats" has the best cookies of all time) 

Shopping- Check out the shops along Front Street. Don't forget see "Hale Zen" and "Going Left" on Dickenson St. They are the cutest Maui Boutiques. My favorite things to buy in Maui: prints from "Ono Gelato," Hawaiian inspired jewelry from "Sand People," Hawaiian "slippers" from any touristy store on Front St, trucker hats from "San Lorenzo" in Paia, coconut syrup from any "Whaler's", "Alola" clutch or bag from "Hale Zen," Surf treasures from "Puka Puka" in Paia, and clothes from "Imrie" in Paia. 

Hang out in Paia- My favorite little hippie town. Paia has some of the coolest boutiques and the best food. “Ho’okipa Beach” is a fun one to watch wind surfers and see turtles on the shore. 

Drive up to the top of Haleakala. We go for sunset because sunrise is way too early and it looks just as cool. At night, the stars are unreal up there. There is a bakery called Komoda's in Makawao (close to the bottom of haleakala) for really good donuts and malasadas.

Waihee Ridge Trail- gorgeous hike with cool mountain views, but it's mostly out in the open so go on a cool, clear day or early in the morning when it's cooler outside. Around 2 miles uphill. Bring lots of water! 

| R O A D  T O  H A N A | 

Here is the short version: It is a long drive, but I think its worth it (unless you get really car sick- I just bring Dramamine or ginger candy). Bring food with you because there isn’t much on the road (we usually stop at Mana Foods for some healthy snacks before we start the drive). Leave early in the morning because its a good 5-6 hours of driving for the day, with stops in between. 

Places to stop along the Road to Hana: (pick and choose because you can't do them all in a day)

Twin Falls- short 2 miles or so hike to multiple waterfalls. 

Three Bears Falls aka Upper Waikani Falls- off the side of the road. 

Black Sand Beach- a short 5 min. walk and a cool sight to see. 

Red Sand Beach - in the town of Hana, google how to get there. Its hidden, but really neat and quiet.

Seven Sacred Pools and the Bamboo Forrest Hike- Hike is 2 miles, but it is super easy with an amazing waterfall at the end. Pools are located by the coast, 5 minute walk from cars. Bring cash for parking. Really cool spot when the pools are flowing. 

Hamoa Beach- a local beach with gorgeous scenery, and good waves to play in, lots of shade. 

Brudduh Huts- along the side of the road, local food truck for some Hawaiian grub. 

*If you drive all the way around the island, instead of turning around in Hana, the landscape totally changes and its cool to see. I recommend it if you have time.  Stop at the general store if you do the whole way around. It’s a little ways past seven sacred pools. 

Maui is a dream. Treat the locals with respect and love, enjoy every moment, and take in all of the beauty around you. Maui No Ka Oi. 

 

Couldn't Stay Away...

We took any excuse to get back to our island paradise, Maui. When Ryan's friend needed a second shooter for a wedding in Maui, we jumped at the opportunity. It had been eight months too long! I wasn't going to let Ryan have all the fun, so I bought a ticket and we left a week later! We stayed in our friend's beachy bungalow, ate lots of fish tacos, took nightly bike rides to watch the sunset, and showered outside. I love the island life. Couldn't have a trip to Maui without a sail to Lanai. Ryan and I sailed over with friends, and took a speed dive boat out to see the backside of the island. Blue water, caves, huge rock cliffs, prime snorkeling- I love that you can take an hour boat ride to an island that is so unknown to so many, without tourists to ruin the beauty of the island. Ryan filmed, while I met with design clients. Talk about an amazing place to do business ;) 

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Photos taken by myself & Ryan 

Lanai, a daycation.

It has been 10 days since my sisters were visiting, and I miss 'em like crazy! Although I am happy to have our studio to ourselves again (4 people in 300 sq. feet is a little crammed!), I miss exploring all day, eating out for every meal, and laughing with my sissies. I don't necessarily get homesick, but I do miss good times with family. Anyway, when my sisters were here Ryan hooked us up with a Trilogy sailing trip to Lanai. I realize how lame this is because my last post was about a sailing trip to Lanai, but this was much cooler. We woke up at 5:30, so we could be there by 6-way too early! We caught the sunrise on our hour and a half sail over to Lanai. Lanai is a small island visible from the west side of Maui. About 2,000 people live there year round, and a bunch come visit-mostly richy riches of the world like Justin Bieber and Oprah. They have two gorgeous Four Seasons resorts that cost a minimum of $500/night. Upon arriving, we walked over to a beautiful beach only accessed by a select amount of people. We explored other beaches, more private and secluded beaches, snorkeled with the fish, and even took a van tour of the island. They fed us a lunch of noodles, salad, bbq chicken before we sailed back. It was a cool experience, that became even cooler when we saw whales breaching. 

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Sailing on a Sunday

Although we hate to work on the sabbath, there is one day month that Ryan has to be a part of the Blue Aina- an organized beach and reef cleanup that Trilogy puts on with a group of volunteers. If we have to break the sabbath, at least it is a good cause, right? I got to go with him last week to the beach cleanup at the Lanai harbor. Ryan hangs out, talks to people, and takes photos for the blog he runs for his company. It was nice that he wasn't working the sail trip, so we got to hang out and spend time together. I had never been to Lanai, so this was a fun experience! The sail from Lahaina to the Lanai harbor is about an hour using the motor. Somehow, I managed to make it the entire way without getting sick or throwing up (Last sail trip I threw up twice!) There is hope for my dream of sailing around the world one day! Yay! Lanai from the harbor side is brown, dry and totally different from Lahaina. There weren't really palm trees, but big cliffs and rocks. The water is clear and deep beautiful blue. We went snorkeling off the sailboat in these beautiful reefs full of fish, and a couple turtles. It was incredible! We helped clean up the trash at the harbor, and enjoyed a Trilogy made meal of sandwiches, stir fry, and salad. They sure know how to make a service project appealing to everyone! There were 100 volunteers that PAID to help. How generous! 

It was fun seeing Ryan in his element, sailing, talking to everyone, and running the service project. Sailing is exhilarating. I'm ready to go again! Here are some shots from our day of the sailboat, the harbor, and our captain, Caleb! Such a fun day! 


Sunsets and Sailboats

One thing I hope to never take for granted while in Maui are the sunsets. Never again will I live in a place where there are pretty sunsets every night. Never again will I work in a store with a back deck where I can watch the sunsets every night. I hope I don't forget how amazing that is. I thought watching the sun go down was magic enough, until I tried paddleboarding on the ocean at sunset. I recently started working for a Stand up paddleboard company doing social media, marketing and a little bit of design. I get to be on the water constantly doing photo shoots, trying out their boards, and even attempting some yoga on them- not as easy as it looks. It's part time, so I can still work at Lush and do some design also. It is a perfect combination for me. 

 I crave adventure, trying new things, and facing fears. I feel like Maui provides so many opportunities for this. A couple weeks ago Ryan and I went with some work friends to Haleakala crater for ziplining. It was a special charity event, so we ended up with super discounted tickets. I was shocked at the cool temperatures up there- so refreshing coming from sweaty hot Lahaina. The ziplines were exhilarating, the company was prime, and the food after was the best part. Paia has the cutest crepe cafe in town. It resembles a romantic french outdoor cafe with candles, string lights, and comfy couches on the patio. A sunset above the clouds on the mountain, and a dinner crepe followed by a nutella dessert crepe made my entire week. 

In between my long hours at work (not complaining about because I LOVE work. It's way more fun than work), I try to find time to enjoy the beach and relax. I need time to regroup, think alone, and actually enjoy living in paradise. Here are some photos from the last little bit. Some sunsets, some sailboats, and paddleboarding. So much to be thankful for. 

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Don't fall in the Blowhole

October is almost over. I have done literally nothing involving pumpkins, fall, scarves, or parties. And absolutely NOTHING with chocolate. What is wrong with me?! I am dedicating my last week of October to constant fall everything! I love this month and I don't want to miss out! Pumpkin milkshakes, here I come. ALSO, Halloween in Lahaina will be in my next blog post. Thousands of people on the same street-NO idea what to expect, but I'm bringing something to ward off all the drunk nudies, like pepper spray or a sword.

Lately, Ryan and I have been busy with work. Lush is closing down for renovation for three weeks, so I was busy packing the store up. I can't believe how much I miss going to work. Not just for the money, but the people and the tourists. It is such a rewarding, and happy job. I love talking to people from around the world, as I scrub their feet! They really open up, and you become immediate friends. I love how Lush educated their employees constantly. I have literally memorized the ingredients in every product in the store, and what exactly each of those ingredients does for the body, hair, skin etc. It is fascinating! Who knew that seaweed made your skin soft, and papaya has enzymes that eats away at dead skin?! Nerding out! 

A few weeks ago, a couple came into Lush, and as I scrubbed their feet we learned we have a lot in common. Besides the fact that they were also Washingtonians, they had just moved to the island for an adventure and work before they settle down with a family. I was so excited for married friends, so we exchanged contact info. The other day we finally hung out. Ryan had to work, but I grabbed my friend instead. We rode our scooters/motorcycle to Honolua Bay. This bay is famous in Maui for it's clear, deep water and coral for snorkeling. Although, the day we went it was murky- still beautiful and fun! The jungle you have to walk through to get to the bay is one of my favorite parts. It is absolutely gorgeous- vines, tall trees, fruit trees, a stream. 

We hit up the blowhole after. It's in the most beautiful location on Maui. Right on the ocean, with cliffs, and rolling green hills in the background. I highly suggest taking the Highway all the way around the island to the west point for any tourist. The drive is windy, but right along the coast and absolutely breathtaking. The blowhole was pretty weak this time around. Usually it shoots up like 30 feet high, but today it was spitting rather than barfing up the water. I love the sign next to it that says not to get too close or you will be sucked in and die. Then there are a bunch of crosses. The hole is like a foot in diameter...I don't understand how someone could just fall in? They probably thought it was a water slide, and jumped in. Dang tourists. 

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Wild Chickens at Hololua Bay

 

Green for days

Adventure Sunday is one of my favorite parts of my week. It is the only day Ryan and I get together. We get to sit in church together, holding hands, and forget everything we left at the doors. It is relaxing and rejuvenating. We usually plan a fun activity for the afternoon like picnic on a hill overlooking the ocean or explore a new part of the island. Two weekends ago, we spent the day in Iao Valley in Wailuku, Maui. We were borrowing a friends car for the weekend- an electric car. I'm convinced we all need one. They are silent, smooth, fast, and just plain fun. We finally had a mode of transportation that allowed us to listen to loud music and go where we wanted to go. Pure bliss. 

Iao Valley is full of big green mountains that take your breath away. The history is that there was a battle fought in this valley many years ago, and hawaiians used the valley to hide from their enemies. The Iao Needle sticks out of the mountains, and provided a tower to spot on coming enemies. You can follow the tourists up the short concrete path to the lookout for the needle, or you can hop the railing at the lookout and continue on deep into the jungle. We took the more extreme route, of course, and were surprised to be alone for the majority of the hike. The trail is about a foot wide, so the constant slap of banana leaves, and branches scraping our legs became quickly expected. The plants and trees were beautiful! Such different scenery from the mountains of Idaho or Washington. It was refreshing. Although, sweaty. Let me tell ya! I slowly stripped down to my bathing suit, because I was dripping sweat. Who needs hot yoga, when you get the same effect walking anywhere in Maui! After an hour of stepping on strawberry guavas, and karate chopping trees in my face,  we made it out of the thick jungle. As we came up for air, we realized we were high above in the mountains looking out on the most gorgeous view- pure green hills as far as the eye could see. It was mesmerizing, and peaceful. 

I highly reccomend this short hike to anyone who wants to escape the world, the tourists, and hang out with the mosquitos. Although i came back with a few bites, it was 100% worth it. That view made me realize how incredible this island is, once again. I love you, Maui. Don't forget to grab your bug spray, bring lots of water, and shoes you can get muddy. I wore sandals  (which was fine) because I had a cute guy wash off my feet in the river. ;)

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The Endless Summer

As I see the back to school instagrams flooding in, I am reminded of the major downside of living in Maui. We won't get to switch our closets of shorts and swimsuits for cozy sweaters, wool socks, and trendy leather boots. We miss the leaves changing colors, and falling off the trees. We don't get the Starbucks runs, and the hope of snow days where we cuddle of the couch and watch movies instead of going to school. I love the seasons. I love that Seattle has the perfect year with magical summers, fresh falls, snowy winters, and rainy but green springs. Most of you may wonder why I complain when I live in Maui, a tropical oasis full of beauty. Although Maui is wonderful and I am completely content, I have come to realize many things I used to take for granted-like Fall. 

On the other hand, living the HI life has its benefits- I get to wear a bathing suit year round, my tan never fades to pasty white, the diet is always pineapple and shaved ice, and everyone is always happy and content. Ryan and I have been in Maui for over a month now, and we finally feel like we can walk outside and get recognized by street vendors. The hawaiian lifestyle is extremely laid back, a drastic change from the busy city life I am been raised in. There are moments that I wish I had a slammed pack schedule to keep me on track, moving forward, progressing, achieving. I can only hope the lazy Maui lifestyle doesn't rub off on me in my short time here. Other moments, I feel so blessed to have time to relax with my favorite person. It has definitely brought us closer to be away from our friends and family-it's just us and I am loving it. When I married Ryan, I knew that I could have nothing else and be completely satisfied with just him. I do miss my family. When you are in an incredible place like Hawaii, you want to share the exhilarating scooter rides and the magical moments under a waterfall with your loved ones. 

As our "summer" comes to an end, we have so much to be thankful for. It has been a summer to remember. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store as our summer continues in Maui. Here's a review of June through August through photographs. 

A SUMMER REVIEW

Camped 15 nights, visited 7 states, drove thousands of miles, had countless brats over the fire, got better at rockclimbing, had several loud and happy "cards against humanity" nights, hundreds of taco bell grillers and crunchwraps, GRADUATED COLLEGE, swam in many many lakes, said goodbye to dear friends, MOVED TO MAUI, got solid jobs, made new amazing friends, and learned many life lessons. It's been a full and memorable summer. Here's to a new year and new adventures! Cheers! 

 Yellowstone, Wyoming 

Yellowstone, Wyoming 

 Kolab Canyon Zion's, Utah

Kolab Canyon Zion's, Utah

 Alpine Lake Sawtooths, Idaho

Alpine Lake Sawtooths, Idaho

 Ririe Resevoir

Ririe Resevoir

 Lake Morraine

Lake Morraine

 Lake Louise

Lake Louise

 St. Anthony Sanddunes. PC: Erica Rascon

St. Anthony Sanddunes. PC: Erica Rascon

 Bainbridge Island Ferry Seattle, WA

Bainbridge Island Ferry Seattle, WA

 Onelea Bay

Onelea Bay

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 Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay

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