Maui, Hawaii – the Mega List


You can’t go wrong on Maui.  The beaches are safe, the restaurants are terrific, and there’s lots of outdoor stuff to do.  Best for families, Maui wins for diversity and safety of ocean activities.  The Big Island involves too much driving, and Kauai beaches are not what I would call safe.  I would also pick Maui or Oahu for: first-timers to Hawaii; Weddings; and large family gatherings like family reunions.  Devoted spa-goers should check out the Grand Wailea.


On any island in Hawaii, we like to stop every night and watch the sunset from a beach somewhere.  Even better if there are mai tais involved.  Watching the sunset is a revered Hawaiian tradition and speaks to how much nature is entwined into daily life in Hawaii.  Try it once and it will become your tradition, too.

Here’s the Maui activities that we like…

We really enjoyed the sunrise bike ride down Haleakala.  You have to get up crazy early, like 2:30am to drive to the bike shop and then ride in a van to the top of Haleakala for the sunrise, then you ride back down on a bike.  We went with this company 15 years ago (so take with grain of salt and verify in the blue book): http://www.bikemaui.com/

Alternately my brother and his wife decided that biking was not for them so they drove themselves up to Haleakala for sunrise and then hiked about the crater for a bit.

The “Road to Hana” is the thing everyone has heard about.  This is along a very tiny windy road with lots of pullouts and places to swim, etc..  We only had time to go part way along the road so I can’t tell you if driving all the way to Hana is worth it.

We also drove around the northwest tip of the island, heading north (clockwise) from Kapalua.  We enjoyed this, we found a cool art gallery along the way where Teri bought a ceramic turtle (honu).  No idea if the gallery is still there. Beautiful views from along the road.

For snorkeling the cool place to go is Molokini.  You take a tour boat out to a mostly sunken volcano cone in the water and jump into crystal clear water 20-30 feet deep.

There’s a pointy greenery-covered rock called `Iao needle that is worth a quick visit.  Near the saddle of the island.

Out favorite restaurants in Hawaii are Duke’s (same as Duke’s Malibu where I had my 50th birthday party) and that owners, TS Restaurants, has several restaurants in Maui, all in Kaanapali and Lahaina: Duke’s Beach House, Kimo’s, Hula Grill, Leilani’s.  http://www.tsrestaurants.com/

My brother recommends the following place in Lahaina and he is hard to please: 

The other standard recommendations I always read about but that we didn’t get to were Mama’s Fish House, and the Hali’imaile General Store.

Maui tourism web site: http://www.gohawaii.com/maui

Airfare:
Flying Weds-weds will be the cheapest.  sat-sat or sun-sun will be the most expensive.  play around with the dates and see.  cheapest to fly out of lax.  some hotels will let you stay the night and leave the car there for a week, called “park and fly.”  see doubletree and crowne plaza links in our website. should be ~$150.  doubletree is the better hotel.  shuttles run to lax all the time.  otherwise good luck driving up to LA for a 9am flight!!!!  ha ha!!

Rental Cars:
I always book Alamo rental cars with the Costco discounts. http://www.costcotravel.com/#11_rentalCars
That always gets me the best prices.  Book your car right away and then check back and reprice your trip to see if the price goes down.  We usually get a full-size car because it is usually only a couple of dollars more than a compact.
You’ll want a car on Maui for at least some of the time.  If you’re only going to rent a car for a duration shorter than your stay it would probably be a better idea to rent at a location near your hotel rather than at the airport. Conceivably you could do multiple one-day rentals and avoid the overnight parking fee, but cost of a single-day rental (or even a 2-3 day rental) is usually so high it becomes non-competitive.

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