Photo by Neora Aylon on Unsplash
Photo by Neora Aylon on Unsplash

9 Ways to Enjoy Maui That You May Not Have Tried Before

A Maui To-Do Guide for First-Time and Experienced Visitors

A year of Zoom calls, virtual game nights and eating takeout had our entire family yearning for a real vacation. After researching extensively, we felt like an escape to the Hawaiian island of Maui would be exactly what we needed. We have traveled to Maui as a family before and wanted to share our favorite things to do on the island—including experiences from this most recent trip. Maui Guide


1 | Eat Some Kind Grind Maui Guide

Grandma’s Coffee House

Must Order: French Toast (made with homemade cinnamon raisin bread)

This mountain cafe has been making coffee since 1918. They serve their grandma’s recipes in generous portions at this quaint spot. We love the patio seating where you can experience the crisp mountain air. Try a homemade pie, a traditional breakfast with Portuguese sausage, a Moco Loco or if you’re there on a weekend, the eggs Benedict with Kalua pork.

Grandma’s Coffee House
9232 Kula Hwy
Kula, HI 96790


2 | Dine at Gazebo Restaurant

Napili Shores Maui

Must Order: Banana Macadamia and Pineapple Pancakes

Situated near the pool of the Napili Shores hotel, you will feel like you might be the only one that knows about this place as you find streetside parking and weave through the property to find it. You will quickly realize that it isn’t such a big secret when you arrive at 7 a.m. and find yourself 10th in line. Don’t leave, however, because it moves fast, and it’s worth the wait. The staff is friendly, the portions are massive and the views are amazing.

Gazebo Restaurant at Napili Shores Maui
5315 Lower Honoapiilani Rd
Lahaina, HI 96761

EXP 5/9


3 | Stay and Play Maui Guide

Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Must Order: Poke Nachos

The Grand Wailea Maui is an iconic fixture on the coast of Maui. If you are traveling with family, this is an ideal launching point for all of the stops mentioned in this story. The best part of our stay was renting a cabana and enjoying the incredible pool. The pool includes water slides, a rope swing, volleyball court, grotto and a kids pool with beach sand entry. We spent an entire day laying out and playing in the pool; it was one of the best days of our trip! The highlight of the day was the mid-afternoon frozen fruit delivery to our cabana.

Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
3850 Wailea Alanui Dr
Wailea, HI 96753


4 | Experience Local Culture Maui Guide

A Grand Wailea Luau

Must Order: Try everything they serve!

We have been to a few luaus on different islands in the past, but this was by far our favorite. The beachside location at sunset put us in an aloha state of mind even before we were escorted to our private table. Of course, interactive shows like this depend on the audience’s desire to participate. The story they told was fantastic and so were the performers. We even learned a few Hawaiian phrases and some dance moves (the open bar definitely helped). We especially loved the fire dancers at the end of the show—the fire-walking was scary but impressive. The food was served family-style, and the portions were overly generous. We got to try poi for the first time; we all agreed it must be an acquired taste. Our favorites were the ahi poke, mahi-mahi and the sweet rolls with lilikoi butter. We can’t forget to mention the kind, courteous and thoughtful staff. The server kept saying how happy she was to see people back on the island and at their luau.  

Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
3850 Wailea Alanui Dr
Wailea, HI 96753


5 | Take a Dip Maui Guide

Twin Falls Maui Waterfall

If driving the entire “Road to Hana” seems a little daunting, then we highly suggest visiting Twin Falls, which is the first and closest falls on this trip. Only about 20 minutes from Paia, you will find parking at a fruit stand at the entrance that often looks crowded. Don’t let that deter you, however, as this seldom means that the falls themselves will be crowded. Many people only visit the stand and don’t make the 30-minute hike to the falls. We love the hike back to the falls—you will definitely need water shoes or flip-flops, as some of the hike is through a stream. The hike dead ends at the falls where it flows into a beautiful pond that’s perfect for taking a dip and cooling off.

Twin Falls Maui Waterfall
6300 Hana Hwy
Haiku, HI 96708


6 | Learn a Skill

Punakea Palms (Coconut Farm)

This small coconut farm in Lahaina is a great way to spend an afternoon with your family. The 2.5-hour tour is informative and interactive. You learn about the lifecycle of the tree as well as the vast number of uses for the tree and coconut, all while touring the farm and taking in the beautiful ocean and island views. We finished by making coconut milk and have even tried making it at home.

Punakea Palms (Coconut Farm)
225 Punakea Loop
Lahaina, HI 96761

7 | Best Poke Ever? Maui Guide

South Maui Fish Company

Must Order: Spicy Poke and Coleslaw

There are plenty of great options for poke on Maui, but our favorite by far is at a food wagon hidden inside a small shopping center in Kihei. They source their fish from local fishermen’s catches each morning. They put their own take on traditional items, such as adding pineapple to their coleslaw. You just might find yourself eating here every day of your vacation.

South Maui Fish Company
1794 S Kihei Rd
Kihei, HI 96753


8 | Take a Beach Day Maui Guide

Makena Cove (or Secret Beach)

This not-so-secret beach is our favorite in Maui. Just next door to the more popular Makena Beach is this beautiful white-sand beach framed with black lava rock and swaying palm trees. We took a cooler of beverages and poke, brought some good books and truly enjoyed our beach day.

Makena Cove
6925 Makena Rd
Kihei, HI 96753


9 | Explore Another Planet

Haleakala National Park 

This two- to three-hour drive is a great way to spend a day in Maui. A Martian-like landscape is different from what you will see anywhere else on Maui. The sunrise visits have become so popular that you now need to make a reservation a week in advance, and they can be hard to come by. We went to the top of these 10,000 volcanoes at sunset. The views are amazing, as you are often above any cloud cover and can see for miles. Make sure to take your camera, a jacket and fill up your tank before you leave because there are no stations in the state park.

Haleakala National Park
Mile Marker 41 Hana Hwy
Hana, HI 96713

About the author

Erik Hale is the visionary and publisher behind LOCALE Magazine. He launched the magazine in 2010, wanting to give the community of OC a premiere lifestyle magazine that knew all the native knowledge behind OC. “Six years ago Ashley and I sat at a table scratching the name LOCALE (among some other names) onto a sheet of paper,” says Erik, “coming up with story ideas and basically dreaming. Everything we imagined has happened and we have been blessed with so much more. I am so grateful as we start another year for my family, my two wonderful children, my health, our amazing writers, designers and photographers, our advertising partners and you.”


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