Growing up on Maui, I hardheadedly thought there was nothing to do on the island (kids will be kids, right?), but I proved myself wrong on a recent trip home.
For both the adventurous traveler and the callous local like myself, Maui is the place to be. In just one day, cultural activities can be mixed with stops at favorite local eateries and coldwater streams, making for a great escape from the stresses of our daily routines.
From sunrise to sunset, living local on Maui is an experience that will have anyone falling in love—or back in love—with the Valley Isle.
Get Off to a Good Start:
Hidden on the curved slopes of Upcountry Maui in the historical plantation town of Haiku is Colleen’s At The Cannery. Open sharply at 6 a.m. daily, this restaurant’s menu offers a diverse list of contemporary American breakfast items such as eggs benedict, sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and healthy alternatives for vegetarian or vegan diners, perfect to get energized and begin the day’s adventures.
If you’re looking for lighter fare, try the lavender scones at the Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm, where clouds envelop the lavender landscape like a scene from a Twilight movie. The farm boasts more than 40 varieties of lavender and various plants such as protea flowers and succulents. Grab a cup of lavender tea or coffee at the shop before joining a tour through the fields and gardens. The relaxing scent of lavender will set a good mood for the rest of your trip.
Take a drive from one mountain to the next and enter ‘Iao Valley. Hiking to the nearby ‘Iao Needle peak, visitors will find extravagant views of West Maui’s uninhabited valleys and waterfalls. Take a quick dip in the ‘Iao Stream and cool off in the coldest fresh water on the island. Then, visit the Hawai‘i Nature Center within the park for more information about their nature walks and an in-depth history of Hawai‘i’s culture.
After the morning’s activities, venture into the town of Kīhei for lunch. Home to local markets, restaurants, and South Maui’s famous bar-hopping nightlife, Kīhei is filled with a melting pot of eateries. The best pick for lunch is Cafe O’Lei, which sits atop the Rainbow Mall and serves a wide variety of food options ranging from island-style cuisine and comfort food to a raw bar and the best sushi on the island.
The drive on the way to West Maui’s Kā‘anapali Beach traverses magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and is a wonderful short trip for sightseeing and taking pictures. Sometimes, whales can be spotted breaching out of the water, so have a camera handy and your eyes peeled. At the end of Kā‘anapali Beach is Black Rock, where locals often jump off into the water for fun. Stick around for the sunset, and let the warm tones in the sky help end the perfect day on Maui.
On the way back from the day’s spectacular events, stop by Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in the small town of Olowalu. Known for freshly baked goods, Leoda’s also cooks up drool-worthy fare inspired by grandma’s home cooking, like chicken potpie and juicy burgers. Try the seared ahi sandwich for a fresh taste of the islands, and celebrate the best ending of the perfect day with homemade banana cream pie.