Destination Spotlight: Maui Travel Guide
Issue #21-23 features a Destination Spotlight travel guide on the island of Maui including a look at the best places to stay, where to eat and the top things to do and see when visiting the island
Destination Spotlight travel guides from The Family Travel Guy are delivered to your inbox on the last Friday of the month highlighting a new location each time that we have visited, as I previewed at the beginning of the year: Here's what you can expect in 2023 from The Family Travel Bulletin
The Ultimate Maui Family Travel Guide
Maui is beloved for its world famous beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and taking in spectacular sunrises and sunsets from Haleakala.
Maui, known as the 'Valley Isle', is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and has been voted "Best Island in the U.S." by Conde Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years - it's not surprising to see why!
Maui has something for everyone, from amazing resorts, adventure, waterfalls, and much more! On Maui, you'll find a variety of places to stay from luxury resorts, spacious condo rentals and everything in between.
Know Before You Go
Maui can be split up into 5 different regions: Central, East, South, West and Upcountry. Each area has a different feel to it and offers something a little different for visitors.
Kahului is home to the island’s main airport and interesting attractions. Head to Wailuku for mom-and-pop shops and eateries along the way to the Iao Valley State Park.
Visitors who brave the Hana Highway’s signature hairpin turns and narrow bridges are rewarded with out-of-this-world views of lush rainforests, gorgeous waterfalls and exotic beaches. Be sure to make stops all along the way, especially in Paia, home to great restaurants, shops and one of the hippest places on the island.
Once a retreat for Hawaiian royalty and the former capitol of the Hawaiian Kingdom, West Maui is home to spectacular resorts on Kaanapali Beach, shopping, restaurants, a variety of activities and some of the best sunsets in the world.
Watch the sunrise from the peak of Haleakala, see ancient Hawaii’s desert landscapes and discover unique, locally grown food.
Escape to the tropical beaches of Kihei, Makena and Wailea; relax and unwind at a world-class resort or tee off at one of the 13 world-renowned golf courses.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Maui largely depends on your priorities and preferences. The island experiences warm and tropical weather year-round, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit.
The peak tourist season on Maui typically falls between mid-December and mid-April, when the weather is drier and cooler, making it an ideal time to visit for those seeking a respite from colder climates. However, this is also the most expensive time to visit, with higher prices for flights, accommodations, and activities.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds and high prices, consider visiting Maui during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to mid-December. During these times, you'll typically find fewer tourists, pleasant weather, and lower prices.
How to Get There
The main airport on Maui is Kahului Airport (OGG) and is served by many major airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, Hawaiian Airlines, and many others, with direct flights available from many major cities in North America, as well as many inter-island flights.
If you are already in Hawaii or planning a trip to another island in the state, you can take an inter-island flight from airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Where to Stay
There are a variety of lodging options to choose from on Maui ranging from luxury to condominiums and everything in between. It is really hard to choose, but my favorites on Maui include these wonderful hotels. There are many other great hotels, but you can't go wrong choosing one of these fine resorts for your next Maui trip!
Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui
Exceptional oceanfront location on Maui's south coast, nestled between two award winning beaches featuring fifty-four holes of championship golf, eleven tennis courts, two restaurants & lounge.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
Situated on 40 spectacular oceanfront acres on Ka'anapali Beach, this resort offers elegant guestrooms with private lanais and panoramic views, oceanfront spa, half-acre pool, award-winning restaurants, brand new Regency Club, and Hawaiian cultural activities.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Overlooking the shimmering Pacific, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa on Kaanapali Beach is the perfect resort for an inspiring Hawaiian vacation with its beachfront setting and aquatic playground. The amenities, dining, and activities available here will appeal to honeymooners and families alike.
Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
The Fairmont Kea Lani is a luxury oceanfront all-suite and villa resort featuring spectacular ocean and sunset, tropical garden and mountain views located in Wailea, Maui, along sunny Polo Beach.
At the Fairmont Kea Lani, you'll be able to choose from one-bedroom suites with private lanais, or two- and three-bedroom villas with private plunge pools and gourmet kitchens.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Maui’s first and only Forbes Five-Star resort is nestled on 15 acres of the breathtaking Wailea coast. The 380-room oceanfront property is world-renowned for its comfortable opulence, impeccable service, luxurious amenities, and for living in harmony with its environment and community.
Montage Kapalua Bay
Montage Kapalua Bay is steps away from Kapalua Bay, voted one of America's favorite beaches, and features comfortable residential-style accommodations, with spacious living rooms, large private lanais, fully equipped kitchens, elegant master suites and luxurious bathrooms. This oceanfront accommodation is a premier Maui resort, the perfect place for family getaways.
Other great hotels include The Ritz Carlton Kapalua, Andaz Maui, Grand Wailea, the Sheraton Maui Resort and the Hyatt Residence Club Maui.
Things To Do
There is so much to do and explore when you visit Maui and whenever we visit, we love partaking in the following activities:
Soar above the ocean and Parasail
Parasailing is easy, fun, and an experience you won’t forget! If you’re looking for one of the best things to do while visiting Maui, be sure to add a parasailing trip to your travel plans.
I recommend UFO Parasail or West Maui Parasail, both located in Kaanapali Beach.
Hawaii's most awarded zipline company is Skyline Eco Adventures and they offer a convenient location in Lahaina with ziplines that soar above Ka'anapali’s remote coastal landscape with spectacular views. The tour guides are awesome and keep everything fun and down to Earth.
Take a boat ride out to Molokini crater to enjoy great snorkeling in calm, clear waters to set in a marine preserve or snorkel
Another great spot is Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach
Attend a Luau
Few things say Hawaii like a luau and there are many great luaus on Maui to choose from.
Some of my favorites include:
Wailele Polynesian Luau at the Westin Maui
Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt Regency Maui
Te Au Moana at the Marriott Wailea Beach
Drive the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is more than just a great drive through a beautiful area of Maui.
While most visitors tend to zip to and from Hana with a checklist of sights to photograph, I prefer researching great stops along the way and enjoying the beautiful scenery and sights along the way.
If you have small kids or the thought of driving on winding roads makes you queasy, you can still enjoy stops in Paia and Twin Falls!
Visit Haleakala for Sunrise (or Sunset)
Towering over the island of Maui and visible from just about any point, Haleakala Crater is a force of nature in every sense. At 10,023 feet above sea level, this dormant volcano is the stage for a breathtaking range of landscapes and skyscapes.
Haleakala means "house of the sun" in Hawaiian, and legend goes that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer.
If you plan on going for Sunrise, be sure to grab a reservation into the National Park.
If you don't want to go for Sunrise, visiting later in the day and watching Sunset is just as spectacular - be sure to bring your jacket as well, as it gets cold at the summit.
Explore the Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center is home to one of world's largest collections of live Pacific corals and features marine life found only in Hawaii including sea turtles, sharks, rays, and much more.
The Maui Ocean Center is a great aquarium for families looking to spend an afternoon exploring Hawaiian marine life.
Take a day trip to Lanai
The ride from Lahaina to Manele Harbor on Expeditions Ferry costs $30, is an hour long and offers spectacular views of Lāna‘i’s rugged southern coastline.
In winter it’s common to spot Humpback whales while seated on the outdoor deck, and pods of Hawaiian Spinner dolphins can often be spotted year round.
If you do go, I highly recommend booking a tour and seeing the island's highlights including Lana'i City, the Munro Trail, Maunalei Gulch, Shipwreck Beach, the Po`aiwa Petroglyphs, the Kanepu`u Forest Preserve, and the Garden of the Gods, as well as the amazing Four Seasons Lanai.
Book a Photo Session
Most resorts offer on-site portrait sessions and sometimes special offers like a free photoshoot or a printed picture
Another great option to consider is using Flytographer to capture priceless memories. Flytographer works with professional photographers in over 300 cities across the globe and offers fun photo shoots that are short, fun and natural in style.
Relax poolside and enjoy the resort pools and water activities in Maui (or beachside if you prefer!)
Where to Eat
There are so many great places to eat in Maui that it’s best to pack your appetite and make meals a big part of your trip. Maui offers some of the best dining choices in all of Hawaii and many different options, ranging from trendy food trucks to amazing 5-Star dining locales.
Some of our favorite places to eat include:
Mamas Fish House
Quite possibly the best restaurant on all of Maui, let alone in Hawaii, Mama's Fish House is a must do when visiting Maui! The family-owned restaurant has been a island institution since 1973 and its relaxed and casual ambiance is perfect for a romantic dinner or a leisurely lunch.
Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui
Hyatt Regency's eatery & lounge offers Pacific Rim fare & sushi, plus views of waterfalls & sunsets.
Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman
Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman is a place where foodies, beer lovers, and families can enjoy a great meal.
Two locations on Maui - one in Wailea and the other restaurant on Kaanapali Beach at Whaler's Village.
Down the Hatch
Located in Lahaina and is open for Breakfast, Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner, & Late Night - 'Down the Hatch - A Place to Eat Fish' has the best seafood around, featuring locally sourced Fresh Fish and other island favorites.
Ka'ana Kitchen at Andaz Maui
Farm to Table style restaurant open for breakfast and dinner. It is located on the fourth floor, one floor under the lobby level at the Andaz Maui.
The cuisine features local and seasonal ingredients sourced locally from Ka'ana Farms and Maui. You can sit inside or outside on the patio and take in pool and ocean views during your meal.
Morimoto Maui at Andaz Maui
The restaurant is named after highly acclaimed celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, who is best known for Iron Chef and Iron Chef America.
The food here is also locally sourced and features fresh ingredients with a fusion blend of Western and Japanese food.
Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop
The menu here features hand crafted specialties made fresh daily using only Maui’s freshest ingredients from sandwiches, salads, specials and homemade sweet & savory pies.
Ululani's Shave Ice
Be sure to try Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice - you won't be disappointed!
Maui Brewing Company
The largest craft brewery in Hawaii, Maui Brewing Company has two restaurants on Maui, including its flagship restaurant and brewery in Kihei and another location in Lahaina.
Cafe Des Amis
Located in Paia, Cafe Des AMis is a small, relaxed eatery featuring a Mediterranean & Indian menu, with an ice cream shop next door.
The Lahaina Fish Co.
Features a local variety of fresh fish and seafood, along with tender certified angus beef selections, all prepared with an island influence.
Paia Fish Market
Two locations on Maui in Paia and Lahaina; serving up fresh fish with Aloha
Waicoco at the Westin Maui
Prime views of three Hawaiian islands meet an expansive open-air oceanfront oasis. Waicoco seamlessly transitions between oceanside breakfast & dinner
Humble Market Kitchen at the Wailea Beach Resort
Humble Market Kitchin By Roy Yamaguchi features Hawaiian-inspired cuisine with fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors.
Maui is a beautiful and captivating island that is worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. If you're considering a trip to Maui, I hope some of the information here can help you plan out your next trip.
I hope this destination spotlight guide helps you plan out your next trip to Maui and gives you a glimpse into highlights of the island, as well as a look the best places to stay and things to do and see in while visiting the Valley Isle.
All of the Hawaiian Islands offer a different travel experience, but personally, I love Kaanapali Beach and we have stayed on that side of the island many times over the years. It is safe to say that Maui is my favorite island destination and we try to visit at least once every year.
The Family Travel Guy
I hope this email helped spark some travel inspiration!
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