By the Beach

Hawaiian Islands – Maui

Hawaiian Islands Maui Confessions of a Travaholic

Maui is a rugged island paradise with 30 miles of pristine white, black, and red sand beaches. With some of the most beautiful and expensive luxury resorts in the world, it’s no wonder why Maui is a top destination for honeymooners and nature lovers alike.  In this second of a four-part series about the Hawaiian Islands, I’ll share what makes Maui special.

Maui Must Do’s

Day 1

Drive to the Southwestern coast of Maui and enjoy an afternoon visiting the deep blue waters and fine white sand at Big Beach in Makena State Park

Big Beach


Hike over the small cliff on the North end of Big Beach to access Little Beach. Caution: Clothing is optional.

We offered to help someone carry a cooler over the cliff, and were surprised to find a beautiful little beach filled with happy naked Hawaiians on the other side.

Stop for Lunch or Dinner at Ko, inside the Fairmont Hotel.  We stopped for lunch after a morning at the beach and were delighted with a delicious, healthy, and fresh meal.

Hawaiian Islands Maui Confessions of a Travaholic

Cool down with delicious ice cream or shaved ice at Banyan Treats.  We went in looking for a traditional shaved ice, but the smell of fresh baked cookies caused a shift in plans. The ice cream was delicious, especially topped with a warm chocolate chip cookie. Yum!

Day 2

Drive the winding and scenic cliff’s edge road along the Northern coast of Maui.  You’ll enjoy panoramic views at every turn and can stop to visit the Nakalele Blowhole near the peak. In winter you’ll spy the spouts of humpback whales in the distance.

Hike the Waihee Ridge Trail.  We grabbed some fresh fruit and bread from a local stand and made our way up the 4+ mile out and back trail.  The steep trail offers picturesque views of the mountains and the ocean and gorges.  Unfortunately for us, clouds rolling in spoiled the view from the top. We couldn’t see anything but mist from the peak.  Thankfully the trail was beautiful coming and going, so it was still worth the climb.

Waihee Ridge Trail View


Where to stay in Maui

When choosing a place to stay in Maui, you’ll be overloaded with options.  The island is lined with more than 50 beautiful resorts.  While there are a couple of different regions to choose from, you’ll find that to make the most of a visit to Maui, you’ll want to rent a convertible and drive to a new area each day.


Many hotels are situated in the Northwestern part of Maui, in Lahaina and Kaanapali.  You’ll find that the resorts in this region offer both onsite dining and entertainment and are in close proximity to a wide variety of non-resort restaurants and shopping.


There are several luxury hotels on the Southwestern coast of Maui in Wailea. The Wailea area is more remote and the high scale resorts here offer more dining and entertainment options to keep you on-property for meals.  Resorts are more spread out and there are less local shopping and dining options to try nearby.


Hawaiian Islands Maui Confessions of a Travaholic

Panoramic view of Maui from Wailea

Both Lahaina and Wailea are great areas.  Both will require a bit of a drive to visit the Haleakala Crater, the many waterfalls of the road to Hana, and much of the other natural beauty that Maui has to offer.

If you are trying to stick to a budget, I would suggest Lahaina so that you can save money on meals and shopping.

If you are less cost-conscious and prefer a high-end luxury resort where you stay quietly tucked in on-site, I would suggest staying in Wailea.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – Lahaina

We enjoyed our stay at the Hyatt Regency with beautiful golf-course views and beach breezes. Oddly enough, the hotel has an atrium of exotic plants and birds in the lobby.  The main feature is a colony of African Black-Footed Penguins.  Did you know that, on land, a group of penguins is called a waddle?

Hawaiian Islands Maui Confessions of a Travaholic

View from the Hyatt Regency

Maui Travel Tips

  • Visit in mid-January, spring, or fall to take advantage of off-season pricing on hotels, airfare, and rental cars.
  • Weather is great year-round, but the whales only visit in the winter. Visit mid-December to early-May for whale watching.
  • Bring a jacket if you plan to visit Haleakala Crater. While it may be warm at the beach, it is always cold at the crater.
  • Rent a car. The island is big and you’ll want to explore a lot more than just your resort.
  • Bring your patience.  There is only one road around Maui and with loads of tourists and curvy roads, it can take a long time to drive from place to place.

While we enjoyed our weekend in Maui, we did not have enough time to see and do everything.  I look forward to planning another trip soon so that we can watch the sunrise at Haleakala Crater, ride bicycles down the volcano, and drive the road to Hana with a stop to hike the Waimoku Falls.

For more Hawaiian adventures check out Hawaiian Islands – Oahu and subscribe to receive future posts on Kauai and the big island of Hawaii.

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