Troy and I had the most amazing time in Maui. We will never forget it. We basically felt like locals after our five week stay.
I don’t think any time is long enough in Maui. I could have stayed another month for sure. There is just so much to do and see and every single sunset is memorable.
We broke down our Maui trip week by week in these posts:
(didn’t do a week 5 post but will add anything note-worthy to this guide!)
But we know that a lot of people don’t get to just up and leave their homes, jobs, kids, etc and spend five weeks on the island.
This Best of Maui Guide is for those of you staying for one week- 7 days. I would recommend really trying to do 8 days total since the flights take a toll, but this guide is for 7 days since at least one day out of 8 will be a travel day for you guys.
I recommend booking the earliest flight you can! You can always sleep on the plane! You will want to get there in time to run to the grocery store, get to know the area where you are staying, and get settled!
Is round-trip worth the splurge? NOT on the way there. It takes much longer to get there than get back. 8 1/2 hours direct from Dallas. We actually enjoyed breaking up the flight with a quick layover in LAX!
I definitely recommend trying to get an overnight, non-stop flight on the way back!
Definitely rent a car guys. Rent it TODAY if you haven’t yet. The prices go up every day. I recommend Priceline. It will find the cheapest option for you. Consider your luggage. Mustangs are fun but if you have more than 2 people you will not be able to fit luggage in there! A car and/or Jeep Compass will work best!
If there are only two of you, then get a Mustang for sure! Totally worth the extra $!
Where to Stay:
Troy and I stayed on both the West Side and the South Side of Maui. Both are great locations. Both are completely different from each other. It is too hard to compare them, so I am going to break them down for you so that you can make the decision.
Are you coming as a group or with kids? If they answer is yes, then I would stay on the South Side.
The South Side consists of Kihei and Wailea. These towns are right next to each other, 20 minutes from the airport, and are definitely closest to Hana (will cut almost an hour off of our Hana drive each way.)
Kihea and Wailea are so great for families and big groups. There are tons of different beaches, and ALL OF THE BEACHES in Maui are public! You can basically go to a different beach a day on that side of the island. They are all very family friendly, offer amazing snorkeling right off the beach, and are all great for sea turtle and humpback whale sightings!
You can also find less expensive food options on this side and most of the condos come with full-size kitchens. You can walk down the street to the grocery store and stock up for your trip and save soooo much money!
Is this a romantic getaway, honeymoon, or BFF trip? If your answer is yes, I would recommend staying on the West Side.
The West Side is gorgeous! It consists of Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua (and many more small towns when you go even further past Kapalua.)
We stayed at Ka’anapali Beach Club and loved the location but it doesn’t have a beach. You will need to walk down the boardwalk and use one of the public beaches there. The pool was pretty big but very crowded. There was one day when we didn’t even get a chair by the time we came downstairs.
We also stayed at the Ritz Carlton for a night. If you can splurge on that- DO IT! So perfect for a honeymoon! You can see more about the hotel HERE.
I do think the South Side is better for kids because there is more for them to do and see and you don’t have to work hard to find a beach, but the West Side is much more of a private feeling, less busy, and has a lot of fun things for adults to do!
What to Do:
I know 7 days on the beach doesn’t seem like a lot. Most people could just spend every day on the beach. Here are a few things I think that are worth doing if you can:
- Road to Hana- do this on the second or third day, before you are acclimated to the time difference. You will have to get up super early to start your trek. See the detailed Road to Hana post HERE.
- Nakalele Blowhole- make the drive past Kapalua to the Nakalele Blowhole. You can sit, each a picnic lunch and watch the blowhole. This is also where you will find the famous heart rock. Walk down towards the blowhole. Once you are on even ground with the blowhole look to your right. The heart is the size of a person’s head so you will have to look closely. Ask someone else if you can’t find it!
- Snorkeling- Make sure you go snorkeling at least once. You do not even need to spend the money and go on an excursion. Snorkel right off the beach at Kamaole Sands in Kihei. You can rent snorkel gear there in Kihei for $40 a week! We saw an octopus, soooo many sea turtles, various pretty fish, etc!
- Visit Lahaina- we looooove this town. In fact, we will probably try to book a place in this town next time we come. It is just a great town with so much to do/eat/drink! Definitely worth a half day visit to walk around! It is also a great place to take some surf lessons since the surf is small and breaks further from shore! Also, if you are a football fan, they have so many fun bars where you can watch football on the beach!
- Go to a Luau! If you have never been to a luau then definitely put this on your list! The Feast at Lele was great but I heard the Old Lahaina Luau is the most authentic. You will need to book either wayyy in advance (like today if you can!) Most let you cancel up to within 24 hours!
- See allll of the beaches you can! Definitely try to visit at least one different beach a day! This is especially fun over on the South Side of the island. Every beach is so gorgeous and so unique! Definitely don’t just find one beach and stick with it all week! They would be a travesty! Every beach is worth exploring!!
- Optional: Whale Watching. If you are coming between Jan 15-Feb 7 then you should definitely do a whale watching excursion! You can also just bring binoculars and whale watch off any of the beaches in Wailea!
- Optional: Take a two day trip to Kona or Oahu. If going to Kona, make sure to stop at Kona Brewing Co, Kona Coffee, the Green Sand Beach, and MAKE SURE to book the night snorkel excursion with the Manta Rays! Supposed to be the most amazing thing EVER! Troy and I didn’t get to go either night because the swells were too large. Book your flight for that asap to get a better deal! It is a 45 min flight. If you want to see Pearl Harbor, book a quick trip to Oahu!
- Optional- Surf lessons! Troy and I wish we had done this! See #4 for best place to get these lessons!
What to Eat/Drink
The MUST EAT AT places are starred, but this list is 7 of our very favorite places to eat on the island, so each is worth visiting if you have time.
Before I get started. Make sure you book a reservation in advance for these places and try to book around 5:30-5:45. You will be able to watch the sunset while you eat!
- Monkeypod Kitchen*- there is one on either side of the island so no matter where you decide to stay you will have one close to you. The one in Whaler’s Village is newer and our absolute favorite. It is right on the beach so you can watch the sunset. It also has happy hour specials & live musicians every day from 4-6! The Tuna Steak is the best thing I have ever eaten. The Mai Tais there are the best on the island (served with a passion fruit foam on top), and the Strawberry Pie is something that you will be dreaming about long after you leave Maui!
- Mama’s Fish House*- Book this today if you can. They book up SUPER SUPER SUPER FAST. If you wait until you get there you will be left with really bad times. Make sure you have the amount in your party right. Troy and I tried to eat there for the second time with his parents and made the reservation on Open Table for two instead of four and they couldn’t change it for us so we had to cancel. Anything containing the fish of the day is excellent! This is also a great spot for family photos!
- Ululani’s Shaved Ice- Could seriously get shaved ice every day of my life if it was from Ululani’s! Go there as much as you can! There is one in Lahaina and one in Kihei! The strawberry, coconut, and tiger’s blood are all great flavors! Troy also always added a scoop of coconut ice cream on the bottom!
- Eat Maui Pineapples!!! Grab one at the grocery store for sure to cut up in home! The sweetest pineapples ever!
- Mill House- This plantation is amazing! Come an hour before your meal so you can explore everything. There is a gorgeous sunflower field, things for kids to do, shops, etc! Make sure to book dinner around 4:30 or so because it is much more enjoyable to eat there when you can see the surroundings!
- Star Noodle- This place is EXCELLENT! Maybe the best noodle house I have been to. They have such a huge variety and a lot more than just noodles! Troy and I sat at the bar the first time and just asked the bartender to pick the items for us! Definitely recommend making a reservation here!
- Make sure to try a Mai Tai everywhere you go!
- Make sure to get at least ONE Hula Pie! If you make it over to Duke’s for breakfast or lunch grab a Hula Pie there! Soooo good!!! It is a huge ice cream pie with chocolate sauce with an oreo crust!
- Optional*- Food is very expensive in Maui! If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen I would recommend getting groceries for breakfast and lunch and then eating your dinners out! That is what Troy and I did! We also brought our Yeti tumblers and filled them with drinks each day before we went to the pool!
That’s all! Make sure to catch every single sunset you can!
Do you have any specific questions about Maui? If you have seen something about it, we probably know about it or have done it! Please comment below and I will answer right away! That way you can see and everyone else who may have the same question can see as well!
PS- need ideas on what to pack? Here is some inspo for your trip: