Maui is an absolutely beautiful place! Forested mountains and rich green plains meet the crystal blue ocean. I’ve been a few times over the last 15 years and it’s one of my favorite places on earth. There is a lot to do while you visit this stunning island and I have a few recommendations to help you plan an awesome trip based on my travels there.
1. Snorkeling in Molokini
Though there are a ton of tourists that frequent this partially submerged volcanic crater, it is an absolutely beautiful experience. The boat ride out there is relatively short and there is a lot of sea life waiting to be explored. The coral is vivid and beautiful and so are the fish. We got VERY lucky on our trip and a school of dolphin swam by while we were snorkeling. It was a totally unforgettable experience.
If you decide to book this day trip, there are some cruises that include a stop at Turtle Town on your way back from Molokini. This is a trip that I think is totally worth tacking onto your snorkel experience in Molokini. While I probably wouldn’t just got there, I would absolutely do both in the same day. I’ve been on this trip a few times and I have always seen sea turtles, which is pretty awesome. They are graceful and beautiful creatures and it’s everything you can do to keep from pestering them while you’re out there :-).
2. The Road to Hana
This trip is not for the faint of heart, but absolutely worth taking. It will be a long day of driving through about 65 miles of winding highway loaded with switchbacks. But the sights you will get to see while you make this long treck will stay with you forever. This is where you will see the Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach and the Pools of ‘OHe’o (The Seven Sacred Pools), along with numerous hikes to other incredible locations. Bring your suit and be ready to swim in both locations, as long as your comfortable with a little rip tide at the beach. The pools, however, are fresh water and a nice, easy swim for anyone.
Outside of the specific stopping points, the scenery as you drive through the forest is stunning. When you actually arrive in Hana, it’s like taking a step into the past. The village is remote enough that it remains relatively untouched by the outside world. If you make this trip, it’s wise to break it up by choosing great stopping points along the way.
3. Snorkel in Kapalua Bay Beach
If you’re looking for a great way to spend an inexpensive day, then this is your ticket! One morning, we asked our resort concierge where we could snorkel locally without taking a day trip and they recommended Kapalua Bay Beach. So, we rented some snorkels and fins for $15 and then drove over there from Ka’anapoli Shores Resort. It’s only two towns over and the ride was about 10-15 minutes total. The beach was beautiful, easy to swim and had pretty awesome snorkeling very close to shore. We whiled away the day between sunning ourselves on the sand and heading back to snorkel different spots around bay.
4. Shore Dive in Ka’anapali
Admittedly, I haven’t done a ton of diving in Hawaii since I wasn’t certified when I last took the trip. But, this is the first place I ever dove and it was an awesome experience. If you have any interest in Scuba, this is a very easy dive that is conducted right off of the shore and is only about 30 feet deep. We took a discover scuba course at Ka’anapali Shores Resort at the time, though other dive shops offered similar dives nearby. There is a small reef right off the shoreline that you get to explore and there is also a good amount of sea life.
The coolest thing I’ve ever experienced was holding the octopus, which is pictured in the album above. Our instructor spotted it and caught it for us during the dive. This particular octopus actually suctioned onto your skin and then changed colors to match whoever was holding it. It felt like the softest velvet you could possibly imagine and every time I dive, I pray that I get to replicate the experience. It hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can dream!
5. Hyatt Drums of the Pacific Luau
For some reason, I can’t seem to bring myself to go to Hawaii without attending a Luau! The Hyatt Drums of the Pacific Luau is the best one I’ve been to by far, from both a performance and food standpoint (and I’ve attended a few). The fire dancing is pretty incredible to watch and the show covers cultures from all over the pacific islands. So, if you’re looking for that true Hawaii tourist experience, this will complete your trip!
The most memorable meal we had the entire time we were in Maui was at Mama’s Fish House. The food there is absolutely incredible, as is the ambiance. We stopped on our way back to Lahaina from the road to Hana and that worked out perfectly. This restaurant is a little pricey, so it was our one big splurge while we were there. But, it was definitely worth it! My general rule in Maui is to eat as much seafood as possible while I am there and this is definitely the place to do it!
We hope that this helps you plan out your vacation and gives you a good idea of some of the prime locations to spend your time. There are also some pretty awesome volcanic drives/hikes, specifically Haleakala National Park, which is on my personal to-do list for my next trip. As you can probably tell from any research you may have already done, there is a ton to do in Hawaii. Maui is an incredible place and no matter what you choose to do while you’re there, the energy and the island will make it a wonderful experience!