Explore the hidden secrets of Maui Island. Here is a day itinerary for you to plan a perfect trip to Maui
Most Maui visitors stay on the leeward side of the island—Lahaina to the Kapalua area in the west, or Kihei–Wailea in the south. It’s hard to decide which leeward side of the island to stay on: West or South. Shopping is better in West Maui, and its backdrop is more scenic, but it is also more densely developed. Food is better and more varied in West Maui, but South Maui has some of the most kickin’ resorts. Each area has advantages and disadvantages that sway us back and forth. Consider the pros and cons listed above, and the answer may become obvious to you.
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A Day in Maui
Resorts aren’t actually rated 5 or 4 stars in Hawaii per se. We’ll call them the “Top Resorts on Maui” which are:
- Four Seasons Resort Maui
- Fairmont Kea Lani
- Montage at Kapalua Bay
Where to stay in Maui
This list may assist you in planning what to bring. Obviously, you won’t bring everything on the list, but it might make you think of a few things you may otherwise overlook:
If you’re looking to spend the day at a beach, don’t feel compelled to bring everything with you from the mainland. Hawai‘i Beach Time (808-585-1474) rents everything beachy you can think of—from umbrellas to kayaks, beach chairs, surfboards, hammocks, etc. And their prices are fairly reasonable. Spend $50 or more and they’ll deliver it all to you anywhere on the island, for free.
What to Bring
Hiking sticks (carbide-tipped ones are good for boulder-hopping hikes)
Shoes—flip-flops, trashable sneakers, water shoes, hiking shoes
Shorts and other cool clothing
Camera with lots of storage
Light rain jacket
Junk clothes for bikes, hiking, etc.
Mosquito repellent for some hikes. (Those with DEET seem to work the longest).
Mask, snorkel and fins
Cheap, simple backpack—handy even if you’re not backpacking
Small flashlight for the Haleakala sunrise
Reef-safe and water-resistant sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
Hat or cap for sun protection
A Day in Maui - Maui Itinerary
Now that you’re at your ideal resort and have everything you need for a day on Maui, including the Hawaii Revealed app, it’s time to get started! Your day begins at 7am with a quick bite of breakfast, before exploring the best of what the Maui has to offer.
2. Road to Hana
The road to Hana is without question the most famous and desired drive in all Hawai‘i, the crown jewel of driving. It’s been compared to driving through the garden of Eden: a slow, winding road through a lush paradise that you always knew existed—somewhere.
If you’re a one-dayer, we suggest you look through our app and prioritize the things that interest you most. Maybe you want to do some bodysurfing at the best beach on the island for it. Then Hamoa Beach is what you want. If you want to see a drop-dead gorgeous view of the coast, make sure you take Nahiku Road. If you want to dig your toes in a genuine volcanic black sand beach, then Wai‘anapanapa is a must-see. Want to see crazy fools make daring leaps into the water? Want to take a powered hang gliding flight along the coast? You need to see Armin. This is just a small portion of what’s available. The point is, you can’t do it all, so decide which adventure is most important to you.
3. Lunch at Kahaku’s Smoke Shack (cash only)
Do yourself a favor: Stop and eat here. This is the place you dreamed of when planning to drive the Hana Highway. The roadside stand in the jungle might not be much to look at, but that’s part of its charm. The selection is simple: a BBQ platter for two. You get chicken and pork on top of coconut rice, pohole (a local fern) salad, and sweet, caramelized plantains topped with whipped cream. It’s served on a freshly harvested bamboo plate (more like half a tube, really).
The only utensils are bamboo chopsticks. Everything is locally sourced and basically zero waste (there’s no trash, only compost). Water, juices and coconuts are available for drinks.
4. Afternoon at Hamoa Beach
A great beach! Tons and tons of fine salt and pepper sand, some shade, showers, clear water and the best bodysurfing on the island make this one of the island’s primo beaches. The thickness of the sand toward the middle is so great that you don’t have to worry as much about stubbing your toe on rocks as at most north- or east-facing Hawai‘i beaches (though it’s always possible).
Toward the center of the beach the sand drops abruptly a little way offshore, meaning that the waves tend to break at the same spot each time—exactly what you want for bodysurfing. If you’ve never done this before, be really careful and only do it on small waves. The ocean is unprotected here—no reef to break things up—so the waves have more power here and can drill you into the sand if you’re not cautious.
5. Dinner at Mama’s Fish House
This is where we come when we want to treat ourselves, so let’s cut to the chase: diabolically satisfying food and an extremely pleasing ambiance.
They are right next to a beautiful beach and tide-pool; the only things between you and the sand are picturesque palm trees. Food, service, ambiance—all top notch. We like early dinners best. You know as soon as you walk up the gecko walkway and through the banyan tree root archway (which got that shape when it crushed a building) that this will be special.
The mostly seafood recipes are very imaginative and change daily, so it doesn’t make much sense to mention specific ones. But we’ve never had a bad meal here. They even give credit on the menu to the fishing boat or fisherman who caught each fish. Polish it off with a Polynesian Black Pearl dessert and a chocolate martini.
This is a well-oiled machine that serves 1,000 meals a day and is often listed as one of the top 10 restaurants in the U.S. Other than the price, complaints are hard to think of.
Hawaii Revealed App
That’s a lot of activities to choose from on Maui! But we didn’t stop at simply reviewing the resorts, restaurants and activities. We’ve organized them based on prices, regions, and loads of other unique filters in one app. If you wanted to know more information, such as which resorts have an outdoor lanai, which restaurants have live music, and which activities need half a day or more, we’ve catalogued all of that information on our app, which you can filter through.
We have the same custom maps found in the book on our app, only now you can zoom in and quickly see what’s nearby, then tap on the activity to read more. The maps will also show you the distance between a resort and an attraction, making it easy to plan your Hawaii trip.
You can also find the following in our app:
- Sights information including their locations, pricing, and contact details
- Adventure activities and their reviews
- A planner to save your favourites spots
- Maps to view nearby activities, resorts, restaurants and more.
Download the Hawaii Revealed app to see all the real gems and not to be missed sights on the islands.
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Plan your Maui Vacation with our Hawaii Revealed App
Check out our new Hawaii Revealed app with everything you need to know about where to stay, including unbiased reviews, restaurants, and activities. Download the app for free on iOS to get previews of the best-selling Hawaii travel guides in the palm of your hand. Choose in-app purchases for full access to details on each island.
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