48 hours on Maui
For its small size and laid-back style, Maui has quite a bit to offer to tourists and locals.
The “Valley Isle” has a variety of activities, which makes a shorter trip harder to plan, however you can still experience Hawaii to the fullest as long as you spend your time (and money!) wisely. Let’s say your plane lands at noon on Friday and you have to return home Sunday at 2 p.m., what will you do? Don’t worry, it’s already all planned out for you.
1PM: After your plane lands, it’s going to be very hot and humid. Luckily, just down the road from the Kahului airport is one of Maui’s most popular shave ice stands, Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice stand is the best way to cool off and kick-start your short Hawaiian getaway. While you can find a shave ice stand on nearly every corner in Hawaii, not all of them make their own syrups, use local ingredients and shave the ice by hand. Plus, at only $5 per bowl, it’s more than worth it.
2PM: Once you finish Instagramming your shave ice, make your drive to your hotel in Lahaina. This scenic drive along the Pali is the perfect time for you to whale watch and listen to some local music on the radio (Tune in to 93.5!). The best thing about this drive is that you can see Molokini and Kaho’olawe across the water, and when you get off the Pali, you’ll see hundreds of surfers in the water.
3PM: After you’ve checked into your hotel, head to the ABC Store (There’s more ABC Stores than Starbucks on Maui!). This store is a favorite among tourists and locals for their great deals and unique finds. Whether you want to buy souvenirs, a pair of flip flops (we call them slippers!), or if you want a snack, you can get almost anything here.
4PM: The most popular attraction in Lahaina is the Banyan Tree and Front Street. The Banyan tree is one of the largest, and most interesting trees on Maui. Plus, there are often artists selling their craft under the tree! Paintings, puka shell necklaces, painted coconuts? You can find that here. You should also walk down Front Street, which is the oceanfront street in Lahaina full of little shops.
6PM: While you’re in Hawaii you have to go to a Luau, even if it may be cliché as the typical “touristy” thing to do. Although I live here, I still love going to Luaus and here’s why: there is an array of traditional Hawaiian food (oftentimes it’s a buffet), while you eat you’ll watch a Hula and/or Tahitian show with cultural dance, chants and fire dances, and lastly most of the Luaus are on the beach during times when the sun is setting over the water. In other words, you can essentially get the entire Hawaii experience in one night.
11AM: After having breakfast at your hotel, head over to Makena, which is the Southern-most area on Maui. Specifically, La Perouse, this area is covered in lava rock and free to hike and explore at your disposal. Particularly interesting is the amount of ancient burial grounds located in this area. There is a lot of history and photo opportunities, so charge your cameras and bring sturdy hiking shoes.
1PM: In Kihei there is a restaurant called “Da Kitchen,” which is a local favorite. Here you can find local Hawaiian plates including, kalua pork, saimin and spam musubis!
4PM: Since you won’t have time to drive all the way up to the Haleakala crater during your trip, visit the Kula Lavender Farm. I know what you’re thinking… lavender in Hawaii? Maui is actually pretty famous for their lavender farm, so you don’t want to miss it! It’s near the top of the mountain and there are breathtaking views of the entire island. The lavender farm has tours, samples of their lavender products and there are many restaurants nearby.
6PM: Also in Kula is the island’s favorite upcountry restaurant: Kula Lodge. If you enjoyed the views at the Kula Lavender Farm, you’ll love the views while you eat dinner at the Kula Lodge. There is an array of outdoor seating that allows you to eat dinner while watching the sun set behind Maui’s west mountains. This restaurant offers worldwide dishes using only local ingredients, and it’s absolutely delicious. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time though, because they’re usually very busy.
9AM: The road to Hana is beautiful, but takes too long to complete, especially if you only have a short amount of time to explore the island. Visit Iao Valley instead. It has many of the same features as Hana (ie., waterfalls, lush greenery, caves, bridges, hiking, etc.), but without the carsick drive.
11AM: Not too far from Iao is a town called Paia, where you can browse unique shops, walk along the beaches of Spreckelsville and watch kite surfers. Also, if you’re an avid surfing fan, this is where Jaws is located, and you won’t want to miss this!
12PM: One of Maui’s best pizza restaurants is Paia Flatbread. Flatbread restaurants are all over the U.S., but the restaurant in Paia isn’t just any Flatbread, they hand-toss all their pies and load each one up with local ingredients like sweet Maui onions and kalua pork!
1PM: After you finish eating, it’s already time to head back to the airport, but before you leave don’t forget to pick up a case of pineapples on the road to the airport! They’re cheap, delicious and sure to bring your short Maui vacation full circle.