We are back from a great trip to Maui! It was my first trip to Hawaii, and I’m officially hooked. Today, I’m sharing my favorite things about Maui and also a few notes about things we didn’t get to that I’m hoping we can do next time we go.
My first favorite was our condo. We rented a condo through HomeAway, and I’m so glad we did. I liked the fact that we were in a ground floor unit literally steps away from the ocean. I also really enjoyed having a full kitchen and the ability to eat breakfast and have snacks and cocktails on hand at the condo. The condo was fully stocked with snorkel gear, boogie boards, and beach towels, which meant we didn’t have to rent any of that stuff separately. The beach right outside our condo was a favorite for sea turtles, so the opportunity to watch them AND swim with them every day was very cool.
Here are some pictures of the condo property.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely something to be said for the gorgeous beachfront resorts in Maui. The resorts offer awesome amenities with gorgeous pools and great restaurants. Next time we go, I’m honestly not sure which I would choose – we’d have to weigh the benefits of both and decide on the type of trip we hope for.
For this trip, we were looking for relaxed evenings after a day of excursions, so the condo was perfect. Some of my favorite sunset views from our lanai…
My next favorite was the amazing food we had on the trip. I always like to try local places when I travel, and I knew Maui would offer some great options for delicious food.
My favorite restaurants were:
Hula Grill: This restaurant was beachfront and our table was in the sand which created a truly Hawaiian-vibe, especially with the Hawaii-inspired dishes. We dined as the sun was setting on our first night, so it was the perfect spot to be welcomed to the island.
Lahaina Pizza Company: One word for this place. YUM. I’m definitely a pizza girl, and this place did not disappoint. It’s on the main drag among all the cute shops in Lahaina, and it’s upstairs so you have views of the water. We split a salad and pizza, and that was perfect.
Sea House: This restaurant sits steps away from a beach on a calm bay, which makes it the perfect spot for lunch in between snorkel sessions. It’s got a casual vibe, and the food is good, so it’s a nice spot for a relaxed lunch.
Star Noodle: This restaurant was created by Sheldon Simeon from Top Chef. The dishes are served family style, so you can try a bunch of different things. It’s in an industrial part of town, so you definitely don’t go here for the views, but the food is worth the trip.
Hula Girl Dinner Cruise: This was so much fun! I really enjoyed getting to sail on a catamaran up the Maui cost while sipping on cocktails and enjoying dinner. The food was really good, and considering it was all cooked on the boat, that was a pleasant surprise! And to top it all off, our sunset included an amazing rainbow!
Merriman’s: The views here are amazing! And the dining experience is top notch. I had macadamia nut-crusted Mahi Mahi, which was delicious. That, coupled with dining on the lanai, made for a truly Hawaiian experience.
The delicious Mai Tais are my next favorite from Maui. One thing I like to do when traveling is pick a local cocktail and stick to that for the entire trip so I can compare them all. For this trip, the obvious choice was a Mai Tai. Here’s a collection of my Mai Tais.
Merriman’s Mai Tai was my favorite!
Parasailing was another favorite! We went with West Maui Parasail, and they were so great. We were able to book online in advance, and everything ran right on schedule when we arrived – the planner in me really appreciated that! The views were unbeatable and it was surprisingly peaceful and quiet up in the air. It was my first experience parasailing, and I loved it!
My final favorite was our trip to Haleakala National Park for sunrise. We went on our second full day in Maui, so our internal clocks hadn’t fully adjusted to the time change. I definitely recommend this day trip, and I also recommend doing it early in your trip. If mornings aren’t your thing – you could go for sunset instead.
We woke up at 3:45 and hit the road by 4:00. Our condo was about a 90-minute drive to the park entrance, and then it was another 30 minutes to the overlook.
We got to the overlook at 6:00 for the 6:30 sunrise, and I felt like we were late. All the parking spots were gone, so we parked on the road. If this is something you’re going to do, plan accordingly, because I’ve heard a rumor that at a certain point they turn people away. Also, pack warm clothes because IT. IS. FREEZING. up there…well, in Maui terms anyway – it was 42 degrees.
These pictures are from when we arrived, as the sun rose, and when we left. We spent about 2 hours in the park watching the sunrise, exploring the Visitor’s Centers, and driving through the park. We only scratched the surface. You could easily spend multiple days here with plenty to do.
Next time we go to Maui, I really want to explore the coastal section of the national park and drive the Road to Hana. I would also love to spend more time in Wailea (we only drove through) and check out more of the beaches. In addition to the beach at our condo, we only visited one other beach, Oneuli Beach (a black sand beach) and it was really cool! Any other must-dos/must-sees in Maui??
Just like with any trip to a new place, I highly recommend planning what you want to do in advance. There’s so much to do and see, so it’s nice to have it all mapped out before you go. One thing that we didn’t do that I wish we would’ve is have one day of just being at our condo, relaxing on the beach. Next time I count that as a must do. When I leave a place already planning my return visit, I count the trip as a success, and this was definitely one of those trips.
Aloha and party on!