Maui has grown to become our favorite of the Hawaiian Islands. I want to show you exactly why in this Maui travel guide blog post. Maui strikes the perfect balance between nature, activities, and food. It has the bars and restaurants like Oahu without being overly touristy. It has nature, waterfalls, and hikes like Kauai without making you feel like that’s all there is to do. You can relax in luxury resorts or rent a airbnb. Our trip to Maui was sprinkled with luxury and adventure, and this is exactly how we like to travel!
Read more about Maui in my Four Seasons Resort Maui Blog Post.
Where To Stay
There are five main areas to consider as your home base: South Maui, West Maui, Along the Road to Hana, Central Maui, Upcountry. South Maui (Kihei and Wailea) is the most popular because it has gorgeous beaches, excellent dining options, and quick access to resorts.
We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, and this was the best decision of our trip! FS Maui is a luxury 5-star beach resort, located right on Wailea beach. It has it all: beaches, restaurants, pools, and vibes for days. You can refuel and recharge without ever leaving the resort. Their dining options are fresh and eclectic. Their services and amenities are top-notch, something we know and love from the Four Seasons group.
Best Time to Travel
Our visit to Maui was in early March. We were greeted with warm weather and very little crowds. Summer and winter months see a large number of tourists, so if you want a more peaceful Maui, visit April – May or September – November.
Maui Travel Guide
- 1. Road to Hana
- 7. Dragons Teeth
- 8. Iao Valley
- 9. Best Beaches in Maui
- 10. Waihe'e Ridge Trail
- 11. Outrigger Canoe Experience
- 12. Get a Haku Lei Flower Crown
- 13. Picnic on the Beach
- 14. Pa'ia Town
- 15. Lahaina Town
- 16. Upscale Restaurants in Maui
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1. Road to Hana
The legendary Road to Hana one of the most scenic drives in all of Hawaii. Prepare to encounter rugged terrain, hairpin turns, and narrow one-way roads. The Hana Highway has 620 curves and 59 bridges! But it’s all worth it for the beaches, gushing waterfalls, lush tropical rainforests, and beautiful coastline views. The drive is along the northeast coast of Maui, and takes anywhere between 4-6 hours round trip.
Start early. We started at 7:30am from Kihei but wish we had started sooner at 6am. Be prepared to spend the entire day on the drive, we made it back to Kihei at 8:30pm. We took the same route to and from Hana because it’s known to be safer than the full-circle drive.
Download Offline Maps. We experienced poor reception during much of the drive.
Pack food and snacks. We treated it like a roadtrip. And no road trip is complete without snacks! There are food vendors along the way (see my Road To Hana Eats section below), but we wanted to make minimal stops.
Plan your stops. There’s so much to see. Be sure to prioritize the ones you want to see most.
2. Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach
These jet black shores need to be in your Maui bucket list. Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach is located in Wai’anapanapa State Park along the Road to Hana, located at mile marker 32. The beach is also referred to as Pa’iloa Beach. The black sand is created from volcanic lava hitting the cold water.
The state park has a dedicated parking lot. The beach is accessible via a short flights of stairs. Easy peasy.
3. Red Sand Beach
Kaihalulu Beach is one of the few red sand beaches in the world. It’s a hidden gem along the Road to Hana. The trail to the beach is steep, narrow, and slippery because of the crumbling red cinder cone ????. But the secluded beach worth a stop!
Come prepared with proper shoes because the trail hugs the side of the cliff and the loose soil makes it dangerously slippery. When you arrive, you’ll see a gate marked with a “no trespassing” sign. You’re in the right spot. Take the grassy area on the left of the gate and continue towards the dirt trail in the end. You should see a narrow trail hugging the cliff. The red sand beach is at the very end of this 15 min trail.
4. Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls
This was our last stop along the Road to Hana before we started the drive back. You’ll encounter diverse landscapes throughout the hike: lush jungle, bamboo forests, banyan trees, and a dramatic waterfall in the end. The trail is safe and well maintained.
Time your hike accordingly. The park closes at 5:00 pm sharp, there’s a hefty fine if you don’t leave the gates before this time. We arrived at 3:50 pm determined to see it all. We SPRINTED much of the hike (this was quite the workout!), and made it to the bamboo forest around 4:25 pm. We simply didn’t have time to make it all the way to the Waimoku Falls (sad). Don’t be like us!
5. Road to Hana Waterfalls
There are countless waterfalls along the Road to Hana drive. We stopped at far too many. The one pictured below is the Upper Waikani Falls, located just beyond Mile Marker 19. Underneath the bridge, you’ll find a moderate trail that leads directly to the falls. We decided to forgo the hike because it was raining, and the steep rocky trail looked quite slippery. Safety first!
Other notable waterfalls we stopped at: Makapipi Falls, Twins Falls, Hanawi Falls, Pua’a Ka’a Falls, and Wailua Falls.
6. Food stops along Road To Hana
There are numerous food vendors throughout the drive to keep your hunger at bay! Notable ones we stopped at: Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread (it was piping hot when we picked it up!), Coconut Glens vegan coconut ice cream, and numerous Fruit Stalls.
7. Dragons Teeth
The Dragon’s Teeth a unique lava formation along Makaluapuna Point. The sharp jagged points of the formation are reminiscent of dagon’s teeth. The volcanic rocks are truly a sigh to behold, for moment it feels like you’re on another planet! There is a small parking lot at the trail head and it’s an easy walk to the rock formations.
8. Iao Valley
The Iao Valley State Park is home to the iconic Iao Needle. Fun fact, the Iao Needle is often referenced as the phallic stone of the God of the Ocean. There is a well-marked and paved path from the parking lot to the ridge-top lookout point.
There’s an off-trail secret hike with breath taking views. If you climb the metal fence at the ridge-top lookout point, you’ll see a trail and stairs. This is the beginning of the trail. You didn’t hear this from us 😉
9. Best Beaches in Maui
Wailea is among the most beautiful beaches on Maui island. We stayed at the Four Seasons Maui Resort, and it happens to be located right along Wailea Beach. Imagine waking up every day and strolling over to these warm blue waters within seconds! Having 24/7 access to this beach was definitely a highlight of our stay.
Other notable beaches we visited during our trip: Big Beach, Little Beach, and Kaanapali Beach.
10. Waihe’e Ridge Trail
Waihe’e Ridge Trail (also known as Mauna Kahalawai) offers spectacular views of the ridge and ocean, all from a bird-eye view from the towering mountain. This is a 5 mile intermediate hike, but well worth it.
11. Outrigger Canoe Experience
FS Maui offers numerous complimentary Hawaiian cultural activities to connect hotel guests to the rich history of the land. These include hula dancing lessons, outrigger canoe, palm frond weaving, lei making, cultural garden tour, guided art collection tour, and more. The outrigger canoe was our favorite of them all.
The canoe experience starts at Wailea beach. The private experience begins with a brief tutorial on how to row the canoe. Then you set off into the waters! The team makes it extra special by explaining the history of the canoes, sharing stories of the islands, pointing out different landmarks, and helping us catch glimpses of the beautiful sea life underneath. Be on the lookout for green turtles, reef fish, manta rays, and humpback whales!
12. Get a Haku Lei Flower Crown
Ladies, no trip to Maui is complete without getting yourself a Haku Lei and living out your princess Moana dreams! Where to get a Haku Lei in Maui? @Petit.Maui makes THE MOST BEAUTIFUL flower crowns on the island. She pays incredible attention to detail, and fills the crown with lots of unique flowers and leaves. I requested for a pink and green arrangement, and she made my dreams come true. Reach our to Andrea and tell her croissantsandcaviar sent you 🙂
13. Picnic on the Beach
Food tastes better when paired with the lull of a gentle ocean. TRUST ME! Pack a picnic and take it over to a beach to enjoy. We did this on Wailea Beach. You can visit DUO Restaurant at the Four Seasons Maui Resort and order takeout to enjoy on the beach.
14. Pa’ia Town
Paia is a small town on the North Shore of Maui. Make a pit stop at Mana Foods (a grocery story known for it’s natural food selection), Paia Bowls (for their acai smoothies and bowls), and the Rainbow Surf Boards (for a photo op!)
15. Lahaina Town
Lahaina is an old-time-sea-town. It’s a long road along the coast dotted with art galleries, boutique shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants. We spent about 2-3 hours here.
16. Upscale Restaurants in Maui
COME HUNGRY. Our trip to Maui was unlike most of our other trips because we didn’t get a chance to try very many local favorites. We’re not complaining because we had so many incredible dining options at our resort! Not a day passed without a serving of fresh poke and tropical fruits. On some days, we indulged in wagyu and caviar. On others, we overdosed on seafood.
17. Humble Market Kitchen
Want to eat fish that’s cooked to buttery flaky perfection? Come to Humble Market Kitchen, a Roy Yamaguchi restaurant. Their menu features some beautiful flavor combinations. We honestly loved everything we tried, from the Sashimi Platter, to the Misoyaki Butterfish, to the Potato Crusted Local Catch, and Rack of Lamb. The fish was cooked to buttery flaky perfection.
Spago is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant featuring fusion Hawaiian-Californian cuisine. Spago strikes the perfect balance between fancy-white-table and relaxed-aloha. The menu is both boujie and approachable. $180 Wagyu is paired with fries. $135 caviar is paired with beignets. Click here to see more of our Spago meal.
19. DUO Steak & Seafood
DUO is located within the Four Seasons Maui resort. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During the day, they offer takeout and a breakfast buffet. Breakfast menus feature pastries, ube pancakes, waffles, french toast, omelettes, açai bowls, eggs benny, and more. DUO/s dinner is land meets sea, in the most luxurious way. Lobsters, tiger prawns, and crab cakes meet foie gras (pictured below), dry-aged ribeye, and wagyu New York strip. See more of our DUO meal.
20. Ferraro’s Bar E Ristorante
Ferraro’s serves contemporary Italian dishes with a fresh Maui twist. This is Wailea’s only oceanfront restaurant! It’s also located with the Four Seasons Maui Resort. We ordered poke, pizza, pastas, catch of the day, a few cocktails, and all their desserts. The Tiramisu Moderno (pictured below) and Chocolate Budino are a must! See more of our Ferraro’s meal.
21. Lobby Lounge
We had the BEST COCKTAILS of our trip here. Located within the lobby of Four Seasons Maui, this lounge offers bites, sushi, and an impressive craft cocktail program. There’s a hula performance between 5:30pm – 6:30pm, torch lighting at sunset, and live music all night. See more of our Lobby Lounge experience.
22. Best Seafood Poke Places in Maui
There is so much incredible seafood on the island so fresh poke is easy to come by. Some notable places we tried: Foodlands Grocery Store (TRUST us, this was incredible and affordable), Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors (a wine shop but also sells yummy sushi)
Hope this Maui travel guide helped you in planning your travels! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or message me on Instagram @croissantsandcaviar!
Read more about Maui in my Four Seasons Resort Maui Blog Post.
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