Ok, I know this is just another Maui post but I’m hoping this one will be the most helpful. I love taking nice pictures from my ‘nice’ camera but I honestly love scrolling through the pictures from the phone because those images reflect in-the-moment highlights. It makes me think about all the happy times that were had on vacation each day. This itinerary is great if you plan on staying in Wailea.
I wouldn’t change a thing from our itinerary as it offers a nice mix of activity and lounging around time. Although there are a few restaurants I would pass on next time. The two pieces of advice I would give you is to skip the pricey restaurants and to definitely rent a car. The best food we had (in my opinion) were pretty simple and on the cheaper side. Of course you’ll want to get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant but I found the food too pricey for what it is. Just my opinion…On another note, having a rental car will allow you the freedom to venture off the beaten path on your own schedule. We used our car everyday! Without further ado here is our full itinerary with a few tips along the way!
How Long to Stay on Maui – at least 10 days! Especially if you are coming in from the east coast. It is a long trip but honestly I didn’t think the flight there was that bad. I’ve had far worse experiences getting to traveling to Europe. If you can stay longer, then I’d definitely try to swing 2 weeks! I thought 10 days was enough time for us but I obviously would have found plenty to do for a few extra days there. I probably would have explored more of the west side.
Where to Stay on Maui
Kaanapali and Wailea are the two major resort areas we visited. We stayed in Wailea but did a day trip to Kaanapali which was enough to get a feel for the area. I hands down loved Wailea way better because the overall hotel set-up is nicer and more upscale. Although I really did like the unique town of Lehaina better than the shopping mall in Wailea which was more filled with more corporate chains (something I try to avoid!). There is also Kapalua which is north of Kaanapali. We didn’t visit but we heard it is more secluded but is gorgeous non-the-less with the Ritz Carlton right there. You could also stay in Paia Town which has a more bohemian/local vibe or Hana which is in the countryside of Maui. You will likely experience more rain in these areas.
We stayed at The Marriott Beach Resort in Wailea which we both loved and would stay again. It is a gorgeous newly renovated property located right on the water. The hotel is located amongst a lineup of other top resorts. I would also recommend The Four Seasons or the Andaz which are both gorgeous properties with great restaurants and views. The Fairmont looked a little dated to me and the Grand Wailea seemed too big and crowded with people for my taste.!
What to Do on Maui (when staying in Wailea)
Day 1 | Relax at the Hotel
Chances are you will get to Maui in the late afternoon/early evening. Take the time to relax and explore your hotel. We opted to grab a Mai Tai at the pool bar and caught our first amazing sunset while listening to live music with a gorgeous view. Try to stay up as late as you can to adjust to the timezone. I think we lasted until 8:30/9.
Day 2 | Explore Wailea
Jet lag got us up really early the first few days. We headed to the grocery store to pick up water, snacks, and booze at 5am! We took a walk on the Wailea Beach Path in the morning to explore the hotels and the beautiful views along the beach. I ran and walked on this path pretty much everyday. The view is stunning!
We spent most of the day lounging at the pool, sipping on drinks, and getting settled on island time. At night we walked to the Fairmont to first grab drinks at Luana Bar and later ate dinner at Ko Restaurant which are both in the hotel. We enjoyed the drinks at Luana and the bartender was awesome. While we did enjoy the food at Ko, we probably wouldn’t go back as the prices were pretty steep and the service was just ok. I’d skip this spot if I were you.
Day 3 | Do: Le Perouse Bay & Makena State Park | Eat: Humble Kitchen Happy Hour and MisoPhat Sushi for Dinner
We were ready to get out and explore on this day! This would also be a good day to do the Haleakala Sunrise since you will likely still be jet-lagged and you typically have to get up at 1 or 2AM to do the sunrise/bike ride. We did the sunset which I would recommend too but more on that later.
Le Perouse Bay is very close drive to Wailea (about 30 min drive). You can read more about our experience here. We spent about 2-3 hours here and later drove up to Big Beach in Makena State Park for a few hours to get some beach time in. They have food trucks located in and around the State Park so we grabbed some fish tacos before we headed to the beach. Big Beach was amazing and I definitely recommend checking out. It was my favorite beach we visited outside of Wailea.
At night we got a really great happy hour at our hotel restaurant Humble Kitchen which also has an amazing view of the water! Whether you’re staying at this hotel or not I’d definitely recommend coming here. We caught the best sunset of our trip while sitting at the bar. For dinner we headed to Miso Phat Sushi which is hands down the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life. We went here again before we headed to the airport on our last day. You need to go if you’re a sushi fan.
Day 4 | Do: Paia Town & Hoopika Beach | Eat: Mama’s Fish House
We went to the Maluaka Beach on this day. It was a nice beach but wasn’t necessarily worth it in my opinion. We had a great time regardless. I think it is well known for snorkeling because there were many people out snorkeling here. We decided to ditch the rays a little early and head to Paia Town to check out the shops and later head to the infamous Mama’s Fish House. We thought Paia was really cute and I loved browsing around the boutiques for an hour or so. You definitely get more of a local feel here.
After we were shopped out we headed to Ho’opika Beach which is awesome! You should definitely come here even just to people watch and take in the view. We even got a glimpse of our first rainbow in Hawaii here. There are usually sea turtles washed up on the shore here which is cool. You can view more pictures from this beach here.
Later we went to Mama’s because it is a well-known restaurant in the area. We thought the food was good but not worth the money. It’s very expensive. I might come back for lunch the next time we are here. It is a must-do if you are in Maui for the first time. If they have the shashimi on the menu, get it! It was my favorite dish. The ambiance is really cute and very Hawaii. Be sure to make your reservation ahead of time. It is a longer drive for most tourists because it is in upcountry so make sure you don’t waste your time and get a reservation!
Day 5 | Do: Haleakala for Sunrise or Sunset | Eat: Nutcharees Thai Food for Dinner
Doing the Haleakala sunrise or sunset is a very popular item to check off your list when in Maui. Is it worth it? Yes! I was hesitant at first because the drive can be nerve wracking but it was well worth it. The more popular time to go up there is at sunrise but you have to wake up SO early. We opted to do the sunset and we are so glad we did. For more pictures and info about our time at Haleakala check out this post. If you plan to do the sunrise AND bike ride plan to spend most of your day out here (another reason why we opted to do the sunset).
We got back relatively late but just in time to grab a quick dinner at Nucharee’s Thai Restaurant which was SO good. The curry dishes were out of this world and after spending the day hiking it was such a good call to come here! I don’t even consider myself into Thai food that much but this place was delicious. I got the pumpkin curry and Brett got the pineapple curry. Both were amazing!
Day 6 | Do: Pool Day | Eat: Tamura’s Poke Bowls for Lunch and Paia Fish Market for Dinner
The weather was so good on this day! We spent most of our day poolside but managed to grab some really good food too. Tamura’s is a liquor store that has amazing poke bowls. So good! You have to go here if you want a great poke bowl in Hawaii. Be sure to ask them for samples because there are a lot options to choose from. We were debating coming back here again but didn’t have enough time. For dinner we went to Paia Fish Market which was another really great casual restaurant option! Prepare to wait in line during peak meal times…but it is worth it! We went back here on our last day it was so good. Get the snapper 🙂
Day 7 | Do: Road to Hana | Eat: Bruddah’s BBQ (in Hana) for Lunch and Humble Kitchen for Dinner
I wrote a full post on our trip to Hana here so be sure to check out the major details on what we loved and how to prepare for your day here. Not everyone wants to spend the day driving for 4ish hours but it is worth it at least one time when you’re in Maui. It is hard to put into words just how stunning the drive is and the landmarks along the way. You truly have to see it to believe it. It is an all day excursion so be sure to get up and out early (we left around 6AM and got back at 5:30). Also please go to Braddah’s BBQ for the best BBQ pork of your life. You’ll thank be later. I’d also recommend driving yourself and opting out of the tour to save time.
We were pretty exhausted by the time we got back from the Road to Hana so we grabbed dinner at the bar at our hotel Humble Kitchen. I’m pretty sure we went to this happy hour 3 times while we were in Maui. Once we find a good happy hour that is convenient for us, we go back over and over.
Day 8 | Do: Pool Day & Maui Brewery | Eat: Monkeypod
After the Road to Hana you’ll want to spend a day relaxing. At least we did! If you are in Wailea then you have to go to Maui Brewing Co for some beers. There is usually music going on and a restaurant if you want to eat here. Brett loved this place and we went here twice on our trip. It’s a nice post pool or beach activity. For dinner we went to Monkeypod which is a bustling place in Wailea and gets a lot of hotel traffic. I thought this place was good and very convenient to where the hotels are located. Be sure to make a reservation here too because it can get pretty slammed.
Day 9 | Kaanapali & Lehaina | Eat: Fleetwoods for Happy Hour
We drove up to Kaanapali to check out the area since it is another spot with a lot of hotels. We laid out on the beach for a little and then headed to Lehaina to walk around. We were recommended to go to Fleetwood’s on Front Street which was such a great experience! Their happy hour specials were fantastic and the live music was phenomenal. Go there right at 2 so you can get a good spot with a water view. I loved this day so much. We also went to Kohola Brewery after happy hour for a flight of beer. You should definitely swing by here for an hour or so to taste some really great beer that you can only get in Maui.
Day 10 | Sunrise at Secret Cove & Relax
You can honestly do a sunrise on any day here but we waited until this day to do it. Even though it wasn’t the best sunrise it was worth heading to Secret Beach to do it since it’s so close to Wailea. Other than catching the sunrise we were pretty lazy since it was our last full day in Hawaii. We were pretty stuffed from all the good food we had been eating so we went to Three’s Bar and Grill and I personally wasn’t a fan but it is a close drive from Wailea.
Day 11 | Go Back to Your Favorite Restaurant
We had a late red-eye flight back so we went back to our favorite spots: Paia Fish House and MisoPhat Sushi.
Hope this was helpful for you if you are planning a trip to Maui anytime soon! We skipped doing a luau because we didn’t want to spend the money slash kind of thought it was a cheesy thing that families do. If I ever bring a family back to Maui I’d probably do one. The Old Lahaina Luau was recommend to us so you’ll have to check that one out if your heart is set on a luau. We also never made it to Iao Valley which is the only other thing I wanted to see that we didn’t make the time for.