Maui Part 2 – Things to Do

Things to do:

  1. Snorkel
    • If you can even swim a little, you can snorkel. I can swim well enough to save myself and I love snorkeling. This is a little weird because I can’t stand water on my face which is part of why I’m not a great swimmer. It takes me a few minutes to get my brain to where I can relax enough to float face down in the water and hubby just hangs out until I relax. Once I do, I am ready to go. So if I can do it, you can do it.
    • The best snorkeling is early in the morning 8-9 am.
    • Rash shirts with sun protection are a nice to have.
    • Buy a cheap underwater camera and have fun taking pictures of the ocean life. It’s great fun to look back at your adventure.
    • Places to snorkel:
      1. Mile Marker 14 (Olowalu)
        • As you head south from Lahaina, you come to a beach at mile marker 14.
        • Very very calm water here. The books say you can go a mile out…I usually go until I don’t feel comfortable which is no where near a mile out.
        • The entry is easy. The beach is sandy. You can sit in very shallow water and put on your fins.
        • There is a spot where you will see a tiny wave coming in. Totally safe area and a lot of fun if you are snorkeling and don’t realize you are there and I assume it is a lot like a surfing feeling.
        • We have seen a turtle practically every time we gone here…we once saw 6 turtles of varying sizes. Please remember to keep a 10 foot distance.
        • 3Turtles

      2. Black Rock – Swim around
        • Make sure to check when the tide is going out and avoid that time. Otherwise, there will be a strong current getting to the Sheraton side. We’ve only encountered it once, but it was impressive.
        • Get in on the Royal Lahaina side and you will exit on the Sheraton side.
        • Most of the coral starts about halfway around.
        • We were there early enough once to see 3 manta rays near the Royal Lahaina side. Manta rays are very rare here, and always early in the morning.
        • MantaRays

        • Plenty of turtles go swimming by, but make sure you are looking down or you will miss them.
      3. Honolua Bay
        • A favorite of ours. Beautiful coral.
        • Check up at the lookout off the road to see how dirty the water is. There will always be some dirt in the water, but if the bay has too much dirty water, you run the risk of running into big fish like the 6 foot barracuda we saw once.
        • The big fish won’t be over at the coral, but the best way in is on the South side (left facing the water, but before the creek), but the coral is over on the North side.
        • The entry is very rocky. You can find a smooth rock to sit on in the water and put on your fins. Or if you are really talented, you could put them on in the water.
        • We’ve never seen any turtles here, but have enjoyed the Christmas Wrasse plus the plenty of other fish. Bonus points if you can find the rear axle of a Jeep in the water. 🙂 A great story goes with it if you ask the owner of the property.
      4. Redline Rafting trip
        • Takes you to Molokini Island.
        • It is a ton of fun and is on a boat where there are only about 18 other people. So more private.
        • The boat is like a pontoon speed boat. There are inflatable pontoons around the outside of the boat and when you get to the destination, you pop over the edge whenever you are ready.
        • The best thing is if you are there during whale season (Dec-May) and there is a whale on the way to wherever, they will detour to allow you to see them.
        • I highly recommend Redline Rafting
    • There are many other places to go snorkeling, so find a beach and have fun.
      • Note: A friend had his fuel line cut in overflow parking for Big Beach. We’ve never been there, but if you go there, try to park in the main parking area.
  2. Haleakala
    • Check the weather and find the clearest day you can and drive up.
    • An absolutely beautiful drive up to the volcano.
    • The volcano itself has no words to describe it.
    • Note: Take a jacket.
    • You can also bike down Haleakala. It’s a “watch the sunrise in the morning and then bike down” event. A friend did this and loved it. Note: this will require you to be up very early.
    • IMG 4284

  3. Drive to Hana
    • Plan on spending a day on the road.
    • Get the Road to Hana app…it will work off GPS even when you lose cell service and you will lose cell service.
    • The curves are a ton of fun.
    • We prefer driving counterclockwise around the east side. Less traffic that way and you get to see the desert area.
      The other reason is we end in Pa’ia and then we can eat at Flatbread Company for dinner. 🙂
    • Interesting things to see:
      1. There is the Garden of Eden arboretum (mile marker 10.3) on the road and they have a bathroom. Take quarters to feed the ducks. This is a nice break.
      2. Just past the arboretum heading east towards Hana is an area called Ke-Anae (mile marker 17). A great place to take pics of waves breaking. No swimming here though. The water is not friendly.
      3. Go see Lindbergh’s grave (mile marker 41). We finally found it last year. We kept missing the turn because the sign we were looking for is 10 feet off the road. It’s a somber stop, but very pretty.
    • Note: If you have someone hot your tail, they are probably a local and aren’t site seeing. Pull over at the nearest pull out and wave them on. You will make friends this way.
  4. Ioa Valley
    • This was closed a year ago due to damage from severe flooding. I’m not sure if it is open yet.
    • A great place to spend an hour walking around and not far from the Kahului airport.
  5. Poli Poli State Park
    • Note: You must have a Jeep to go here.
    • Poli Poli is up on Haleakala. Check the maps and you will see there is a separate entrance.
    • Where the road really starts is where a paragliding school is. It is kind of cool as you are driving up to see paragliders above you.
    • I am not going to sugar coat it, the road (once you get far enough) is rough, muddy, and full of potholes. But totally worth it.
      When you finally get to the little park at the end, it is beautiful.
    • There is a ton of hiking up there as well.
  6. Hiking
    • Tons of hiking everywhere…if you like to hike, Maui is the place to be.
      1. Poli Poli is fun
      2. IMG 8399

      3. Waihee Ridge Trail (aka the Mud Trail) – No kidding there is a ton of mud. A lot of fun though and if you are lucky and it is a clear day, there is a beautiful view at the top.
      4. IMG 9216

      5. Lahaina Pali Trail – To go up and see the windmills. Starting from the West, this trail seems to go up up and up. If you start from the East, it appears to be a more gradual ascent.
      6. Down at La Perouse Bay you can see lava fields and hike Kings trail. Lots of trails down there. Take sun screen and a hat. 🙂
      7. Haleakala has hiking on the sand trail. A lot of fun to go hiking into a volcano.
  7. Go visit Lorraine
    • The shaved ice lady.
    • She has what she calls coconut crack. Really good dried coconut. 🙂
    • Her banana bread is better than Julie’s and her banana creme pie is as good as Leoda’s restaurant (more to come on Leoda’s in my next Maui article).
    • It can be a bit disconcerting because you literally drive up to a lady’s house. But if her gate is open, she is open. All the bicyclists stop here.
    • Google Maps has her listed now as Lorraine Shave Ice in Kahakuloa.
    • To get to her place, drive the west side of Maui clockwise. The reason to drive clockwise is that the road is one lane in spots when you get close to Kahakuloa and clockwise, puts you next to the mountain instead of the side with the drop off. 🙂
    • IMG 0110

  8. Maui Vineyards
    • The vineyard is past Kula off of 37.
    • There is a good sandwich place across the street
    • If you like cats, there are usually some on the property to visit with
    • They have a bathroom.
    • And of course there is wine tasting
  9. Kite Surfing
    • Fun to watch even if you don’t want to do it. We spent an afternoon chatting with locals and watching the surfers. Take a high speed camera to get great shots.
    • Up at Kahului, take 36 until you see Kite Surfers. I can’t remember the beach name but you can’t miss them if they are out.
    • KiteSurfers

  10. Mele Ukulele
    • What’s a visit to Hawaii without buying a ukulele?
    • If you have an interest in a ukulele, this is the place to go.
    • They also have some very pretty ocarina’s. I got one that looks like a turtle.
  11. Front Street in Lahaina
    • This is the tourist place on Maui. There is parking at the South end that is free if you don’t mind walking.
    • There is a Banyan tree in the courtyard. Very cool to see.
    • There is also a Marina there. Check it out, lots of boats to go out on.
  12. Sport fishing
    • If you are interested in going out on a fishing charter, here is a place we used and loved: Luckey Strike
    • Tad is a great guy and we both caught a fish.
    • We got to eat mine, but my husband caught a barracuda which was too smelly and dangerous given it’s size to bring into the boat. We got a great pic of it though. 🙂
  13. Lanai
    • You can take a ferry from Front street to the island of Lanai.
    • Plenty of whales on this route during whale season.
    • There is snorkeling over there right off where the ferry lands.
    • There are vans to take you to the “city”. Very quaint place and nice and relaxing.
  14. Luau
    • I think a first trip to Hawaii in general requires a stop at a luau. They are fun shows to see. The food is pretty good and drinks are usually free.
    • The Royal Lahaina hotel has a luau that is pretty nice. We upgraded to get the tiki glasses to take home as a momento of our first trip.
    • Old Lahaina Luau is a luau we haven’t been to, but want to see. Please note that you need to buy your tickets for this luau as soon as you can. They sell like hotcakes!
    • There are many other luau’s I know at other hotels and resorts. Check them out and pick one. They are all well done.

There are many activities to do on Maui. Many more than I have listed here. So far, from all that we have done, you pretty much can’t go wrong with anything you try. At hotels and outside of some businesses are cards for things to do. Check them out and find something that interests you and go for it.

If you did something on Maui that was fun and you don’t see above. Please leave a comment. We are always looking for new things to try.

Maui Part 1 – Airline, Hotel, and Car

Hubby and I love Maui. For those who know us well, this is an understatement. We would move to Maui if we could. We have been on Maui every year since our honeymoon and we moved to the West coast to be closer to the island.

It started out as the cliche honeymoon: I had never been to a beach and hubby had never been to Hawaii, we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon. We took two weeks and spent one week on Maui and one week on Oahu. As our Maui friend Lorraine said regarding Oahu when she heard how long we were staying “Too long”. To say the least, we didn’t like Oahu. The Pearl Harbor museum was definitely worth our trip there and we broke that up into 3 separate days. Otherwise, Oahu is too busy. I likened the main thoroughfare to Michigan Avenue in Chicago. :/

We have also been to the islands of Lana’i (day trip) and Hawaii (The Big Island). If you want some chill time, Lana’i seems like the place to go. We liked the vibe we got there during our brief visit.

The Big Island we did not like as much. The one thing on The Big Island that is worth going to see would be the lava flow. Unfortunately, the lava moved right before we visited and we couldn’t see it. :/ If you are a big resort person, The Big Island would probably be a place you would like. We aren’t, so eh.

I think the big reason we like Maui so much is it is very laid back. Plus other than the road going up the middle, the ocean is pretty much always visible while driving. There might be spots where you aren’t as close, but wait 5 minutes and you will see the ocean again. We also like that there is so much to do on Maui. I’ll get into some of those items in future posts, but let’s just say snorkeling is a ton of fun.

So let’s start with the big three things you need to book before heading to Maui:

Airline:

  1. Hawaiian Airlines is our favorite by far.
    • They do flying right and their stewards/stewardesses earn their money. Unlike other airlines, they are always busy and don’t just sit in the back after serving drinks.
    • Everyone is so friendly. From the check-in, to the boarding, to the stewards/stewardesses, to the pilots, and to the people on the plane. I guess people are going to paradise, so everybody is happy.
    • The stewards/stewardesses are constantly bringing you something be it drinks, snacks, or [gasp] you get dinner in coach. 😀
  2. Alaskan is our second favorite.
  3. Delta
  4. American Airlines

Car Rental:

Yes, you will need a car. We use Dollar rental which is pretty big on Maui. They are ok…it’s a rental company, so whichever you like is probably fine.

Note: Sometimes you can get a deal with the hotel for a reduced rate on a car. So, shop around.

We HIGHLY recommend a Jeep. I mean…seriously…get a Jeep. If you want to get a convertible, go to Oahu. Maui is a place to have fun seeing and doing things. A Jeep puts you up higher than a car and if you need to park on the side of a road, a Jeep is the vehicle to do it. No, I don’t own a Jeep or know anyone who works for them. It’s just a very practical vehicle for Maui.

Hotel/Place to stay:

First time: Stay in or near Lahaina, HI it’s where most people stay. Leave staying in Hana for your next visit. Napili, HI is just down the road from Lahaina, so that would work as well, but stay on the West side of Maui.

A lot of people stay in Kihei, HI. Personally, I don’t like it. I don’t like even just driving through it. Why? Well, the vibe just isn’t right over in Kihei. It’s just not our jam. If it’s yours, bully to you. Note: There is good snorkeling and hiking past Kihei.

  1. Our preferred place to stay is actually a VRBO. I’m not going to give it out because it’s already hard to book as it is. I am self-serving here.
  2. But seriously, if you want to have a more private experience than a hotel, VRBO is the way to go. There are a lot of them out there.

    Things to watch for:

    • Great reviews
    • Pictures of the unit
    • Additional Parking costs
    • Towel service or at least a washer/dryer
    • Other fees added onto the hotel room cost
  3. Our second preferred place to stay is a hotel: Royal Lahaina
    • We stayed here two years in a row when we first started going to Maui. Our first year we stayed in the hotel which was very very nice inside. Our second year we stayed in the cottages. They are not as fancy, but are still nice and perfect for cleaning snorkeling equipment.
    • The best part about Royal Lahaina is that it is near Black Rock and is the side where you enter the water to snorkel around Black Rock.
    • Another cool thing is eating breakfast outside and watching the whales during whale season. There are also lots of Myna birds around and they are smart. We enjoyed watching them.
    • Sometimes there is a special where you can include breakfast and a car rental with your hotel.
    • Note: You will have to pay extra (like most hotels) to park your car.

    We have stayed other places, but I wouldn’t recommend them and I’m not going to mention them here because well you know how lawyers are.

    This ends Part 1 of Maui things to know. Keep an eye out for future episodes.