Magnificient Maui

Maui is probably the most popular destination within the Hawaiian Islands and rightly so. There is no end of beaches to lay on, drinks to try and food to discover.

Hotels
2525 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
In an island area of West Maui that draws many transplants and seasonal employees, Dale Simonson’s longevity at 40 years behind a bar is amazing. But top that with his expertise at making tropical drinks and his friendly attitude and the Tiki Bar may just become your favorite Maui hang-out too. Dale is said to know all of his world-wide visitors by name and some will make certain he’ll be manning his tropical “ libation- station” before they book their Maui vacation at the very Hawaiian Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. Here is his recipe for the popular Blue Hawaii: · 14 oz. Hurricane glass · 3 oz. ice in hurricane glass · 1 ½ oz. Vodka · 2 oz. Sweet & Sour mix · 3 oz. Pineapple Juice · Top with 1 ½ oz. Blue Curacao Dont forget the umbrella and floating orchid!
799 Poho Pl, Paia, HI 96779, USA
Foodies from all over flock to Mama’s Fish House for ocean-to-plate dishes in a postcard-perfect setting. At this tiki bar meets restaurant, the fish is delivered daily by local anglers and many dishes showcase regional ingredients like Maui onions, Hawaiian chili pepper, and Hana ginger. As a young couple in California, owners Floyd and Doris Christenson fell in love with Maui while on vacation. In 1960, they sailed back across the Pacific, navigating only by sun and sextant, and anchored back on their dream island, where they eventually opened Mama’s. Today, the hot spot can be crowded and pricey, but few begrudge the premium for the fresh fare and stunning panoramas. Make a reservation well in advance for an ocean-view table.
651 Waipoli Rd, Kula, HI 96790, USA
Not all food indulgences have to be unhealthy, as the popular O’o Farm located in the Maui highlands proves daily. O’o Farm began in 2000 as the brainchild of two Maui restaurateurs who wanted to offer high-quality, Maui grown ingredients to their diners. In that time they’ve transformed eight-acres of Maui upcountry to a working model of sustainable farming and eating and a tourist destination in its own right. Visitors begin their healthy eating experience with a guided tour around the gardens, learning about the variety of vegetables, fruits and even flowers that will be on someone’s plate within a day or two. An unexpected thrill of visiting the farm are the amazing views. The farm sits high up in the mountains and enjoys sweeping panoramic views of the valley, beaches and of course ocean. There’s no such thing as a bad day on Maui and the experience is unlike any other on the island. After a comprehensive lesson in the importance of organic eating, the chef then prepares a robust lunch using products picked throughout the tour. I’m not what you would call a healthy eater normally, but even I wolfed down the expertly prepared salads, tofu and other fresh sides. If you want to see a new side of Maui and get a delicious lunch in the process, be sure to include a visit to O’o Farm.
Hawaii, USA
Haleakala, a huge and dormant shield volcano, forms more than 75 percent of Maui’s landmass. As such, it pretty much demands you ascend its slopes and peer into its crater—the island’s very soul. Legend claims the demigod Maui snared the sun here, freeing it only after it swore to inch more slowly across the sky.

The 38-mile, two-and-a-half-hour drive up Haleakala climbs from sea level to 10,023 feet through several different ecological zones. One of the most popular ways to experience the volcano remains cycling down from the summit at sunrise. Do it yourself if you’re confident, or join a guided tour (Skyline Eco-Adventures offers one that includes a zip-line ride). Once you’ve mastered the motion—and the 21 switchbacks along the road—effortless downhill freewheeling rewards you with unsurpassed views of the island. If you’d rather savor the vistas from a lofty perch, drive to the top for the sunset or book an overnight at one of the park’s wilderness cabins, accessible only by hiking trail.
Go for a swim at ‘O‘heo Gulch, just past the town of Hana near mile marker 42, then stop by this nearby farm stand (above). Strawberry papayas and lettuces from the 13-acre plot of land show up in baked goods, picked- to-order salads, and smoothies blended by bicycle power. This appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.
5031 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713, USA
An antidote to hectic modern life, Travaasa Hana, on Maui’s remote eastern coast, feels like a step back in time. There are no televisions, radios, clocks, or air-conditioning (ceiling fans and panoramic sliding doors capture ocean breezes) in nearly all of the 70 cottages and suites, but you won’t miss them. Your days will be spent soaking up Hawaiian culture, whether that means fishing with throw nets, making traditional ti leaf leis, or enjoying an open-air ukulele lesson. Of course, no visit to these parts is complete without a journey along the legendary Road to Hana, which lies to the north and west and promises primordial views of waterfalls, gardens, and secluded swimming holes. Upon your return to the resort, savor the fresh-caught specialties at the Preserve Kitchen & Bar, overlooking Hana Bay.
345 Keawe St # 304, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Poke (pronounced POH-kay) is not only a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, it’s also a favorite of diners needing a meal on the run. These bite-sized chunks of raw fish are seasoned with everything from soy sauce to seaweed, and you won’t find a luau or community potluck that doesn’t have at least one type on the table. For those craving poke on the West Side of Maui, Foodland Farms supermarket is consistently voted as the best place for poke in the islands. At a small deli counter in the back of the store, you can choose from a selection of more than a dozen different varieties which boast seasonings from spicy to savory. The fish of choice is yellowfin tuna (ahi), and one variety—the “Flyin’ Hawaiian"—is part of a charity set up by Shane Victorino, a professional baseball player who was raised on the island. While the poke itself can fluctuate somewhere between $12-$15 a pound, budget diners can enjoy a “poke bowl” in which a third pound of fish is served over rice for a wallet-friendly $7. Can’t decide? Try the ahi avocado poke bowl served over a bed of brown rice. Want to blend in? Eat it with chopsticks.
658 Front St #160, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Front Street, Lahaina, is home to two famous burger joints. One has an oceanfront location and the name of a Jimmy Buffet song, and the other simply has the island’s best burgers. While there’s no denying the popularity of famously-named “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, island locals and visitors in-the-know opt instead for Cool Cat Cafe. The title, really, isn’t all that subjective; Cool Cats has been recognized as having the “best burger on Maui” for an astounding 10 years in a row. This airy diner looking out over the Banyan Tree uses a trademark blend of seasonings and spices in their belt-loosening selection of burgers, and the bar is a colorful collection of boat crew who are cheerily drinking away their tips. For a Hawaiian-themed burger, spring for the “Don Ho” which is covered in a tasty teriyaki and pineapple. For a burger with avocado, the “Luna” features bacon, avocado, and melted Jack cheese, or test your taste buds with a spicy “La Bamba” where the burger is topped with chili, cheddar, and sweet Maui onions. The restaurant has live music seven nights a week and donates to the local community, so if you’re walking down Front Street and get a carnivorous craving, climb the stairs of the Wharf Cinema Center for a taste of what is officially the best burger on Maui.
2435 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Located along the Kāʻanapali Boardwalk, this breezy, open-air beach bar celebrates all that’s authentically Hawaiian. The menu is full of freshly caught Hawaii fish, chicken and pork from local ranchers, and produce grown on more than 40 family-owned Maui farms, while the drink list features regional beers and even Lokelani sparkling rosé, made on the slopes of Haleakala at Maui’s only winery. If you’re more of a cocktail person, Leilani’s has those, too, including a mai tai made with freshly squeezed juice and a Paloma with house-made hibiscus syrup. Whatever you choose, don’t leave without trying the original hula pie—a chocolate cookie crust topped with macadamia nut ice cream.
1285 Front Street
In the mid-1800s, as Maui’s sugar industry flourished, it became apparent that more laborers would be needed to meet the demand for sugar. To solve the shortage, thousands of immigrants from across the Pacific were brought to work in the fields. When these field hands from Japan, Korea, China, and the Philippines all descended on Hawaii, they also brought with them their traditional customs and various types of food. Even though plantation camps were separated by ethnicity, workers in the field would often trade food with workers from other camps. A Japanese worker might offer some mochi, while a Korean worker might offer kalbi ribs. What emerged from this system of swapping foods was a combination of ethnic cuisines that eventually morphed into the “mixed plate” lunch that’s so popular in the islands today. For the best plate lunch on the West Side of the island, Aloha Mixed Plate is a local favorite set right on the water in Lahaina. Located across from the Lahaina Cannery, Aloha Mixed Plate serves heaping portions at prices that won’t break the bank. Sure, the plates are made of paper, but they’re topped with filling cuisine and served on the Lahaina waterfront. They’re also connected to the history of Maui. Most plates are accompanied by macaroni salad and two scoops of sticky white rice and include a meat dish such as chicken katsu or tasty teriyaki beef.
605 Lipoa Pkwy, Kihei, HI 96753, USA
At Maui Brewing Co. in Kihei, visitors can take hour-long tours of the brewhouse, cellar, and packaging line, then adjourn to the tasting room with views of Haleakala and Molokini. There, they can sample beers, ciders, wines, and specialty cocktails while playing board games or simply taking in the vistas. Also on-site at the brewery is a restaurant with 36 craft and specialty beers on tap, plus a menu of burgers, fish tacos, and pizzas with MBC’s Bikini Blonde lager in the crust. Go for the live entertainment or the twice-daily happy hours, when you can enjoy steep discounts on house beers, classic cocktails, pizzas, and select appetizers.
600 Office Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Sansei offers what just might be Maui’s best sushi—a hotly contested title on an island with such rich Japanese roots. Housed in a plantation-style building, the restaurant lands on the contemporary side of things, offering creative sushi like panko-crusted ahi sashimi and the famous Kapalua Butterfly roll with salmon, crab, shiromi, and fresh vegetables. Also on offer are entrée-style dishes like shrimp dynamite, crab ramen, and the perenially popular Asian shrimp cake, crusted with crispy Chinese noodles and served with ginger-chili-lime butter and cilantro pesto. It’s food like this that led Bon Appétit to declare Sansei among its favorite Asian restaurants as well as one of the top sushi bars in America.
624 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
In the native Hawaiian language, the word “Lahaina” literally translates as “cruel, merciless sun.” Given the name, it should come as little surprise that not only is Lahaina the hottest place on the island, but it can be five degrees warmer than neighboring Ka’anapali, just three miles down the road. When walking around town, one of the best ways to beat the heat is to cool off with a syrupy shave ice. This sweet treat has become synonymous with Hawaii, and its origins date to Japanese plantation workers who would combat the heat by shaving ice off of blocks. Today, no visit to Maui is complete without enjoying a refreshing shave ice, and the best shave ice on the west side of the island can be found at Local Boys West. Conveniently situated across from the Banyan Tree, Local Boys is an island favorite for all of the free add-ons which accompany each serving. In addition to the soft, melt-in-your-mouth ice flakes that can be flavored with multiple syrups, Local Boys includes ice cream on the bottom and Kauaʽi Cream on top, completely free of charge. For those traveling with kids, you can even top the treat with gummy bears for exactly the same price. While waiting in line for your syrupy treat, take a moment to watch the surf films or shop for locally-made merchandise. This store was opened by a man and his young son who humbly sold snacks on the street, and it’s grown into arguably the best place in Lahaina to enjoy the island flavor.
1087 Limahana Pl, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
Much more than just a restaurant or smoothie stop, Choice Health Bar is a culinary fusion of food, lifestyle, and positivity. This small restaurant in the Lahaina industrial park serves fresh kale salads and heaping acai bowls. The place is a favorite hangout for island locals from surfers and paddlers to vegans. Just because it’s healthy, don’t think the food will taste like cardboard. Creative concoctions pepper a menu that is constantly being reinvented, and you’d never expect that a quinoa quiche could possibly taste so good. Locals also love Choice for the laid-back atmosphere and powerful, positive vibes. A sign on the door informs all patrons that this is officially a “bummer free zone,” and instead of simply “super-sizing” your meal, you can “make it epic” with ‘superfoods’ like kale and cacao. Consistently voted as the island’s top pick for healthy, vegan cuisine, Choice is the absolute best spot on the West Side for infusing your body with nutrients.
15200 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790, USA
Getting up early to view the sunrise on Haleakala - then make sure you have some fuel. Get coffee on the way up…it’s a necessity at that time of morning. Mike at Crater Coffee stand will great you with a big smile and cup of Joe. You can’t miss him – he’s the only thing open at 3:30AM. His coffee cart is located in the Kula Lodge parking lot. Hours are 2:30 to 7:30am daily. He was extremely chipper for being up in the middle of the night every night.
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd
When the paniolos - the Big Island (Portuguese) cowboys left Hawaii they forgot to teach the locals how to tune their guitars so they loosened up the strings (let out the slack) and this form of traditional Hawaiian guitar was born. These days Grammy-award winning George Kahumoku Jr. Is keeping the tradition alive at twice weekly show at Napili Kai Beach Resort in a show that is not to be missed. Wednesday and Thursday nights (Thursdays are a recent addition, go that night to beat the crowds) George invites guest to play along with him for an evening of slack key music and hula. You can get tickets to the show on site and the hotel that hosts the show, the Napili Kai Beach Resort also offers a dinner package.
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
What a different hotel resort experience! To stay at the Napili Kai Beach Resort is like staying with extended family. Some may be strangers but you would never know it by the way you are treated. With many employees working here for decades, this small resort is like one large family. Everyone I met and interacted with was friendly, not just that, happy, to help you, serve you, guide you in any way to make sure you were satisfied with your stay. The property is not corporate owned, its stakeholders are long time guests who invested into the hotel in the 60’s. The property is on the very calm Napili Bay which is perfect for paddle boarding and snorkling. There is plenty of wildlife - beautiful fish, turtles, occasional seals and whales. The rooms are spectacular, clean, well appointed - there are no fees - no resort fees, internet, parking, who does that?! Some building have their own private pools only shared with six units - very appealing to families and childfree couples alike. The restaurant is over 50 years old going strong and they offer the magical Slack Key House show every week on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. A truly magical place.
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
When eating at the Sea House Restaurant, it’s hard to decide what is actually better: the view of Molokaʽi across the water, or the Molokaʽi sweet potatoes used in the frittata. Either way, both combine for a memorable breakfast on the island’s northwestern corner. Opened in 1963 when tourists were just discovering Maui, the Sea House restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013—thereby making it one of the oldest restaurants in West Maui. Even with the history, fame, and ocean views, it’s one of the island’s most affordable restaurants. Most items on the breakfast menu will cost you $12 or less, and when you’re done with your meal, you can splash in the waters of protected Napili Bay. The Sea House sources many of their ingredients from local Hawaiian farmers (such as the Molokaʽi sweet potatoes), and they also follow traditional fishing calendars when choosing their fish for the menu. This is a great option for beginning the day on the island’s northwestern coastline and is a filling starting point for later adventures toward Honolua Bay and beyond. Or, just relax on the sands of Napili beneath the shade of a rustling palm. After all, there are only three hours between the end of breakfast and the start of the Sea House happy hour—an affordable menu that starts at 2 p.m. and has been voted one of the best on Maui.
1100 Waipoli Rd, Kula, HI 96790, USA
In Maui’s Upland country on the slopes of Haleakala is the Alii Kula Lavender Farm, a great spot for an adventurous morning or afternoon among the clouds. There are a dozen varieties of lavender harvested through out the year as well as a multitude of other fruits and plants. You can take a formal tour or a self-guided walk to explore, taste and smell the magnificent gardens of a former returned florist who planted a sprig of lavender he received as a house-warming gift when you bought his retirement property. It is great for kids - there is a free scavenger hunt they can do with a prize at the end for their participation. What kid doesn’t love that. Another game to play with kids is trying to spot the chameleons that live on property - not an easy task. There is a lovely store with a multitude of lavender scented, infused or laced products. Do not miss the lavender scone made by a local baker served with lillikoi-lavender honey and a cup of lavender infused honey. On hot day enjoy a lavender lemonade or ice tea - delicious! They do private events and catering so it is perfect spot for a small event or picnic with a spectacular view.
4051 Omaopio Rd #1, Kula, HI 96790, USA
A really fun experience! Located in the Kula area of Maui, the Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery is a really interesting place to visit. There are 30 different organically grown sugar cane grown on the farm - there is also a heritage plot where they are gathering many of the original Polynesian varieties brought over as canoe crops - all used as a base for their product, as opposed to the traditional potato or wheat. They also hand-pick as opposed to the burning most of the sugar canes farms do. They do that by planting highly organized plots with lots of space in between that allows them the maneuverability to get in there with a machete. They use very special water from the Big Island - probably the most expensive water in the world from 3000 feet below the water surface. These natural and organic products come together to make Ocean Vodka. Bottle are put together with minimal machinery and made to order quantities. The farm has started doing events like weddings, private parties and even concerts. It is a fun place to visit - even for the kids, although samples are off-limits for them ;-) And if the kids get bored you can promise them they can feed the goats at the goat farm next door!
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