A Quick Guide To Maui
Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island, famous for it's stunning beaches, surfing hot spots and breath-taking scenery. Here we give you The Saltlife Family's guide to this magical island.
WHERE TO STAY
Our favorite place to stay when visiting Maui is Mahina Surf Condos. This condonminium complex is located on 2 acres of oceanfront property on the West Shore of Maui, between Lahaina and Kapalua, hidden is a small-secluded cluster of private condos, with views of Lanai and Molokai.
You can get up close and personal with sea turtles which visit this beach daily, whale watch whilst grilling outdoors and take a prime seat for the most magical fiery sunsets we've ever seen.
All condos have front facing pool and ocean views and are just steps away from the ocean.
There is a beautiful pool and oceanfront BBQ grills and the property is surrounded by stunning landscaping and gorgeous hibiscus flowers.
We really did not want to leave. We loved this paradise place!
It is the perfect vacation rental for couples, families with young children and groups of friends wanting to enjoy a laid back Maui vacation just minutes from beautiful beaches, Ka’anapali and Kapalua golf courses and the shopping and nightlife of Lahaina.
WHEN TO VISIT
We recommend visiting Maui during whale season, December 15th through May 15th. We visited there in March and they were averaging 300 plus breaches a day!
Our family was treated to a wonderful (and close up) whale show off the Maui coast with Hawaii Ocean Rafting. The highlight was watching a cow and calf swim right under our boat. Plus the girls being photo bombed by a breaching whale was priceless.
A smaller boat is recommended as they are faster and able to get from one spout to another quickly, this maximizes your opportunities of spotting these majestic creatures.
The staff was amazing and very knowledgeable about rules and regulations on whale watching. They also know how to position their boat to provide the best and most amazing views.
WHERE TO EAT
The food on Maui is as exciting and diverse as the island itself. From trendy food trucks to fabulous 5-star restaurants, Maui has some of the most delicious dining options in all of Hawaii. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Gazebo: Skip the long line and order breakfast to take-out, then sit on the beach and enjoy!
Frida’s: Serves the most amazing Mexican food.
Leilani’s: For fantastic seafood and dinner with a gorgeous ocean view.
Hula Grill: Still our absolute favorite place to have dinner for over 20 years.
Slappy Cakes: Make your own pancakes at your table. So fun & delicious!
Paia Bowls: For the best acai bowl on the island.
Ululani’s: You can’t come to Hawaii without getting some famous local style shaved ice.
Monkey Pod Kitchen: Wonderful place, especially at happy hour.
Flatbread Company: Best pizza on island. Located in Paia.
The Mill House: The most beautiful restaurant on the island.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Garden of Eden Arboretum
Just beyond mile marker 10 on the Hana Highway is the Garden of Eden Arboretum.
Twenty-six acres of trails alive with brilliant colors, unique flowers, rare trees, 100 year old mango tree & a bamboo forest. Take in some of Maui’s most breathtaking ocean views and photo opportunities. You can see the opening sequence of the film, Jurassic Park. Plus the most colorful and extensive collections of Ti plants on the island.
In addition to the gardens, you’ll also see exotic birds roaming around the gardens. We saw several peacocks prancing around on the grounds.
The Garden is normally open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has a $15 admission fee for adults. Tickets for children between the ages of 5 and 16 cost $5, while toddlers can visit for free.
Rainbow Eucalyptus Grove
Between mile marker 6 and 7, you’ll find a grove of rainbow eucalyptus trees. We love these stunning trees! These trees may look like they’ve been painted on, but these colors are all natural.
These trees can quickly grow to more than 6-feet-wide and 200-feet-tall. The bark sheds annually, exposing a bright green inner bark that changes to blue, purple, orange and maroon as the bark matures. The best time to visit is right after a rain when wood has the deepest version of its colors.
We really liked this stop, a short easy walk. When parking you’ll need to park past them and walk back. These are a must see up close!
This incredible waterfall is visible from the Hana Highway and easily accessible. Regarded as one of the most scenic waterfalls along the Hana Highway, Wailua Falls is located just past mile marker 45.
This is one of the most photographed waterfalls on Maui. It’s a short walk to a plunge pool at the bottom, but be cautious of the slippery rocks. The falls are approximately 80 feet high.
Near mile marker 42, twelve miles past Hana, in the Kipahulu district, is our favorite hike on Maui, the Pipiwai Trail.
This 4 mile round trip hike takes you above the Seven Sacred Pools of Oheo Gulch, past the famous banyan tree, through a magical bamboo forest, and ends with the 400ft waterfall, Waimoku Falls. This incredible hike will take approximately 3 hours.
The power of water is so incredible. The resulting mass of waves crashing on the shore, breaking into a billion water droplets creates amazing rainbows.
Located in Poelua Bay on the NW part of Maui. It’s slick in spots but walk the trek down and back to feel the spray (from a safe distance) of the spouts that can reach 100 feet plus in the air.
A scenic and beautiful drive winding through hill and valleys take you to Poelua Bay. There are some spectacular views and great photo spots along the way.
OUR FAVORITE WAY TO SEE MAUI
There are moments in life when you realize that you have experienced the PERFECT moment with your family!!!! This was THAT day! A bucket list dream come true.
A Maui helicopter tour is the BEST way to see the island. Did you know that almost ¾ of the island can’t be reached by a car?
We decided to take the Hana Rainforest Experience with Maverick Helicopter Tours. Viewing the Maui northern coast, majestic waterfalls, iconic JAWS Jurassic Rock and rainforest from above is out of this world.
Our pilot Jake was incredible and expertly put down the helicopter in the middle of the Hana Rainforest on a former taro plantation in the Wailua Valley. Once landed, he provided us with a tour of the remote lush area & a champagne toast.
Most of you know I am terrified to fly. Our pilot made all our fears go away from the moment he took off. I can’t explain the peace I felt the entire trip. This helicopter is rated one of the safest and most comfortable in the world. A bonus was the wraparound glass which provides superior visibility.
While most helicopter tours only offer aerial views, this combo tour includes an intimate on-the-ground experience. It was incredible and we highly recommend it!
Stay tuned for more MAUI inspired travel guides coming soon...
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