Maui from Sunrise to Sunset
Most long weekends are spent catching up on back burner projects with work, running errands, a stay-cation, or maybe even a quick getaway trip a short distance from home. Sometimes those fateful accidents, like, having some mileage expiring (ex: canceled ski vacation) turn into a spontaneous trip that shines. From sun up to sun down, even a brief vacation to Maui radiates with activity in the off-season.
Shop and Go
Once your flight arrives at Kahului Airport, the town of Kahului has all the convenience of suburbia, with markets, sporting goods stores, etc. Stock up on those basic necessities, like: breakfast and snack or anything you left behind (such as rain gear).
Maui Swap Meet (only on Saturday)
In Kahului, there is an old-fashioned, Farmer’s Market that you can easily spend a few hours walking around and engaging with the vendors who bring island fruit (Dragon Fruit and Lychee), artisan foods, crafts, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. It is highly unlikely that you will leave empty-handed: http://www.mauiexposition.com/MAUISWAPMEET.html.
Kihei, a Key Spot in Maui
Kihei, a centrally located spot in the southwest shore of Maui is about 20-30 minutes drive to or from the airport. With breathtaking views of neighboring islands of Kahoolawe, Molokini, and Lanai, it is a dreamy backdrop for those sunsets from paradise.
Home Away Home
Located a few minute walk from Kamaole Beach Park II is Aston at Maui Banyon. It is not the most luxurious place, but it offers suites with a full kitchen and all the same amenities found at the finest neighboring resorts. The price is right for a limited budget (for Hawaiian vacation) plus the convenience to many activities are a shorter distance (surfing and paddle boarding) compared to some of the more touristy parts of Maui: http://bit.ly/astnmaui.
A short drive or long walk away is Kihei Caffe. A “hole in the wall” local destination, which has portions that are best suited for a Sumo Wrestler’s appetite. Their food captures island flavors with breakfast/brunch dishes, like: their French Toast topped with Bananas and Coconut Syrup. Along with the filling breakfast, brunch, or lunch, you can find gorgeous views of Kalama Beach. It is also a destination for surfing and paddle boarding, plus offers a plethora of places to rent equipment and sign up for lessons: http://www.kiheicaffe.net.
Just 15 minutes away from Kihei is an upscale resort area called Wailea. Monkey Pod sources many of their foods locally (in Maui). A must-try is their fresh off-the-boat Ahi Tuna. Make sure to save some room for their house-made desserts, like a light tasty Strawberry Cheesecake. Make a reservation (a must) before sunset for an unforgettable dining experience! http://www.monkeypodkitchen.com
Enjoy this glutenous dinner from Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar. Surf n’ turf is the specialty of the house with plenty more locally-sourced food and fresh fish to reel you in. Reservations are highly recommended at this popular destination! http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/Stores_Restaurants/Wailea.jsp
About a 25-30 minute drive from Kihei, the road dead ends at a parking lot at Ahihi Cove (http://bit.ly/ahihicve). Its spartan and rustic conditions include an outhouse, a sandy walking path which leads to a beach filled with Lava Rocks. Once you get in the water, you will feel like you entered into an aquarium. Venture out over your head, and you’ll catch a glimpse of a wide array of fishy companions. Remember to stop by Snorkel Bobs beforehand to get outfitted with low priced and high quality gear: http://bit.ly/snklbob.
For a relaxing and casual beach experience head to Big Beach (about 20-25 minutes from Kihei and on the way to Ahihi Cove). Also, a fine place to snorkel. Big Beach has beautiful views of neighboring islands, gentle waves, and is less touristy than other parts of Maui. Bring food and snacks because the nearest place to eat is about 15 minutes away in Wailea. You could easily spend your whole vacation beach bumming at Big Beach: http://bit.ly/1GFpXHw.
Haleakala (Hawaiian Highlight)
Spend the wee hours and day at Haleakala National Park. Check ahead for the clearest day of your vacation and be prepared to trip out at 10,000 feet. It’s about an 1 ½ – 2 hours drive from Kihei, and you’ll want to arrive at least ½ hour before the sun comes up. With limited space, secure a spot to view the sun erupting through the volcanic landscape.
This is not your typical warm-weathered Hawaiian excursion, so layers are essential (beanies, gloves, down jacket, rain gear, scarves, head lamp, hiking shoes, etc.). Bring a backpack filled with breakfast, lunch, snacks, camera, toilet paper, hand-sanitizer, and lots of water. The trails are easy to find. You can descend toward the bottom and return back the same way you came whenever it suits you. If you are in reasonably good shape, plan on spending 4-6 hours. Restrooms are at the Visitor Center, but there are none on the trail: http://bit.ly/halklavlcno.
Waihee Ridge Trail
About a 35 minutes drive from Kihei is the Waihee Ridge Trail. A 5 mile hike will seem like a 10 mile hike. It is wet, slippery, steep, challenging, yet well worth the trek! Bring lunch, snacks, rain gear, good hiking shoes, and get started before 10 am. There are no restrooms on the way, so bring the basic bathroom necessities. There are so many photographic moments along the way with the local fauna, the panoramic views, and rainbows; hence, this is why the hike takes so long. The trail ends at the ridge, and there is a picnic table at the top with a 360 degree view of waterfalls, lush greenery, and untouched mountains.
You will park across the street from where the trail begins and see cattle on your left. For added stability and better balance, there are walking sticks near the fence to further assist you up the slippery rocks, mud, and the protruding roots as you head there and back: http://bit.ly/waheetrl.
Nightlife (Elvis Lives on, in Maui)
Whether you are an Elvis fan or not, “Burn’n Love”, a Las Vegas-style show is well worth a trip to the touristy town of Lahaina. The impersonation is done right: from the uncanny resemblance, wardrobe, music, and hip shaking, you will turn into an Elvis fan. Darron Lee, Maui’s Elvis Presley, along with his band and dancers brings back the shake, rattle, and roll in their heart pounding performance: http://www.burnnlove.com/home.
More time in Maui
Head to the northeast parts of the island, and you can spend more than a few days overdosing on paradise.
Upcountry region is rustic, untamed, and is a reminders of what Hawaii was like before tourist descended onto paradise. There are lots of interesting tours like:
- Alii Kula Lavender Tour: http://www.aliikulalavender.com
- Surfing Goat Dairy Farm: http://surfinggoatdairy.com
- Ocean Organic Vodka Tour: http://oceanvodka.com/our-farm/our-farm-tours/
- Oo Gourmet Lunch and Farm Tours: http://www.oofarm.com
- Wineries along the way
Located in close proximity to the airport, Paia is a fun and a delicious place to stop. For fresh fish, Mama’s Fish House (http://www.mamasfishhouse.com) is a standout restaurant in Paia and Maui. Stroll through town and pop in and out of the quaint, little shops. You can spend hours watching surfers ride the waves at the neighboring beach: http://paiamaui.com.
A trip to Hana is a haul with its long, windy roads, jaw-dropping views of waterfalls, hikes, but the memories will last a lifetime. It is remote and has breathtaking views wherever you go! http://www.hanamaui.com
There is nothing like turning a daydream into reality with a trip to Maui off season. Between the off season rates and fewer tourist, a long weekend in Maui is well worth the trek. From sunrise to sunset, get a taste of Maui as it shines during the many things to see, do, and eat.