maui · Uncategorized

8 Days on Maui

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Planning a trip to Maui? That’s a great idea! I’m sharing our itinerary with you. We went to Maui from Saturday-Saturday, and I think we did a pretty good job of combining relaxation with excursions and activities. Feel free to use this itinerary for your own trip, or just take the parts you like best!

Day 1: Travel Day

Arrival

We landed at Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui ahead of schedule–always a treat! We were de-planing by 1:25 pm and were headed out to make our way to the hotel. We thought we’d walk the three miles to the hotel to get out blood pumping and help us stay awake, but we quickly realized that was not the best plan. Just when I was about to suggest we call an Uber or get a cab, a sweet lady by the name of Leona offered us a ride. We became fast friends, and in fact, she and her husband were celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary that day! She kindly dropped us off and offered to help us out if we needed anything while we were on Maui. I love the people of Hawaii.

Groceries

After checking in, our next stop was the grocery story. We walked to Safeway for supplies to get us through supper, breakfast, and possibly lunch the next day while driving the Road to Hana. And then we went to bed!

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Supplies for the next 24 hours!

Days 2 and 3: Road to Hana

We took a cab to the airport car rental location and picked up our rental car for the week. Then it was off to Hana! We took on much of the road from the beginning to just past Hana Town on Day 2. We started at the other end of the Road on Day 3, giving us the opportunity to have the Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo Forest largely to ourselves! We had to pay $25 for a three-day pass to Haleakala National Park on Day 3, and you will, too. Hold on to that ticket for Day 5 below!

Check out our 3-Day Road to Hana Itinerary for all the details, and What to Know Before Driving the Road to Hana to be as prepared as possible!

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Bamboo Forest at the end of the Road to Hana

Day 4: Road to Kihei

Stop 1, 11:00am: On Day 4 we finished up the Road to Hana and stopped for lunch in Paia Town. The Paia Fish Market was an excellent choice!

Stop 2, Noon: We had a few hours to spend between lunch and time to check into our vacation rental in Kihei, so we made our way to the I’ao Valley. Parking was $5, and it was well worth the charge. The views from every angle were stunning, and the hiking was easy. Don’t forget to walk up to the top for this iconic shot with the Needle in the background:

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Lovers in the sacred I’ao Valley

Stop 3, 3:00pm: After hiking around and getting some fun photos in the jungle that is the I’ao Valley, we made our way to our vacation rental’s management company to pick up our keys and get settled. After stashing our luggage and walking a few blocks inland for supper,  we took in the incredible view from our HomeAway rental’s balcony in Kihei and dined on sushi.

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Beautiful view with no people? Sign me up!
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SUSHI with a view!

Day 5: Haleakala National Park and Maverick Helicopter Tour

Confession: this is not exactly how we spent our day. However, this is how I wish we’d spent our day and how I recommend you spend your Day 5 on Maui.

Stop 1, Sunrise: If you fancy a sunrise at Haleakala’s summit, I hope you reserved your spot for $1.50 two months early! If not, you can log on to that same link two days before at 4:00pm HST to try for a last-minute reservation. You’ll want to be leaving your accommodation around 3:00am, to get in your spot and take in the full sunrise. Map your travel time from your accommodation location to the Haleakala Summit the day before to make sure you get the timing right. Bring warm clothes because it’s cold up there, especially in the dark! Bring a picnic breakfast to have at the top, too.

Stop 2, between 7:00-9:00am start time: Now is your time to explore Haleakala National Park! Utilize that park admission ticket you picked up on Day 3 because this will be your last chance to use it. Go hiking, explore the crater, visit the visitor center, really take advantage of your time at the park. Spend as long as you want here. If you’re interested, stop off at the Ali’i Lavender Farm to explore the grounds and have brunch or lunch at Grandma’s Coffee House. Just be sure you’re showered and ready for your next commitment: a Helicopter tour with a check-in time of 5:30pm.

Stop 3, 5:30pm: Head to the Kahului Heliport for your tour with Maverick Helicopters! This is a very special experience you won’t soon forget. Book in advance, and read about our experience here!

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Up-close with one of the tallest waterfalls in the world
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Helicopter tour with our friends!

Day 6: Beach and Snorkeling Day

If you’re staying at an accommodation with a beach, take full advantage of that! If not, spend this day exploring the many beach parks on the south Maui coastline from the Central Valley to the end of Makena Road. You’ll have an excellent chance of seeing and swimming with sea turtles at Makena Landing Park; see huge waves at Big Beach (but mostly for looking and soaking up the sun, not so safe for swimming as the waves break right on shore); and if you’re into water sports like windsurfing or kayaking, settle into Sugar Beach for the day. Not really a beach-goer but still want to snorkel and see natural beauty? Schedule a tour out to Molokini Crater with one of the many companies offering tours!

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Spolier alert: the locals at Makena Beach Park are super chill!

Day 7: Lahaina Town

We were coming from Kihei, east of Lahaina, so the order below is most convenient and efficient for that setup. If you’re coming from Kaanapali, feel free to do this in the opposite order if you think that will work best for you! All times are approximate; no pressure, no rush!

Stop 1, 9:00am (or earlier to really beat the crowds): Stop for breakfast at Leoda’s Pie Shop. It’s far more than just pie! The options are many, the service is fast, and the food is delicious!

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Veggie Fritatta and Monkey Bread from Leoda’s Pie Shop

Stop 2, 10:15am: Head up the road into Historic Lahaina Town and find a parking place. There is a great public parking lot at Front Street between Prison Street and Mokuhina Place where you can park FREE for three hours.

Stop 3, 10:30am: Head up Front Street to Lahaina Banyan Court to wonder at the huge banyan tree in front of the Old Court House (now a visitor center).

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Lahaina Banyan Tree Court

Stop 4, 10:45am: Keep walking up Front Street until you reach the Baldwin Museum. You can pay $7 per person, or you can buy the Passport book for $10 and visit the four included museums: Baldwin House, Wo Hing Temple Museum, Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, and the Bailey House. Each on its own is $7, so you’re saving money even if you only visit two! The Baldwin Museum is the home of the Reverend Dwight Baldwin and his family. The house was built in 1834, and it’s full of pieces from the time the family lived there and then some. But the best part in my opinion? Seeing Baldwin’s official passport!

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19th Century Passport

Stop 5, 11:30am: Keep walking up the street to the Wo Hing Temple Museum. It’s all about the Chinese community in Hawaii, with an impressive collection of artifacts on display. There are also home movies all about Hawaii made by Thomas Edison available for viewing in the accompanying building!

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Wo Hing Museum

Stop 6, Noon: Head back to your car and stop into any of the shops that interest you along the way. When you get back to your car, head toward the Kaanapali Coast for some beautiful lookouts and views of Molokai across the channel! There are many pull-off spots along the way, so stop at all of them and take a look.

Stop 7, Afternoon: Spend your afternoon hiking, swimming, or laying on the beach with a good book! Missed something on your list earlier this week? This is your opportunity to make up for it!

Day 8: Museum Day and Mama’s Fish House

Our last day on Maui we had to check out by 11:00am, then fill up our time until time for our dinner reservation at 6:15pm. Since we would not have a place to shower and change before dinner, we decided to make it a museum day! So grab some breakfast, enjoy your last hours at your accommodation, and get ready to learn about Maui’s history and culture.

Stop 1, 11:00am: Bring your passport from your day in Lahaina and visit the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum! This museum is delightfully interesting, and I enjoyed learning about the former sugar plantation (only recently closed in 2016). Maui’s economy depended on it for so long, and many communities were formed here for the workers at the sugar plantation. You can even see the old sugar refinery from the window:

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Maui Sugar Refinery

Stop 2, Noon: Make your way over to the Bailey House Museum to see the largest collection of Hawaiian antiquities on Maui, and the second largest collection in the state of Hawaii. They even have one of Duke Kahanamoku’s surf boards on display! We found it fascinating, and there is a very informative video about the annexation of Hawaii to the United States upstairs.

Stop 3, 1:00pm: When you finish up there, get some lunch and head over to the Maui Tropical Plantation. If you thought Hawaii’s fruit plantation days were done, you’re wrong! This is a fully functioning plantation where they grow coffee, coconut, pineapple, papaya, strawberries, guava, and much more! Interested in zip lining? You can do that here! We chose to get some fresh-made ice cream and a smoothie to tide us over until dinner, then take the hourly plantation tour for $20. We rode around on a little trolley and learned all about the items that are grown here, as well as some of the history of the plantation. Afterward we sampled some of the fruits, shopped at the farm stand on the property, and explored the lovely grounds there!

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We learned how to husk and open a coconut!

Stop 4, 5:30pm: Hop in your car and head over to Mama’s Fish House for dinner. We took our time before checking in for our 6:15 reservation and took pictures around the property. For the full (and I do mean full) dinner story, check out What I Ate: Mama’s Fish House!

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Sweet photo op before dinner!

What part of the trip sounds best to you? Comment below!

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