Hawaii. What a magical, MAGICAL place. Gorgeous islands where you can lay out on the beach OR go hike a volcano, eat fresh cut pineapple or freshly caught seafood. Seriously, it is magic.
I just went to Maui for 6 days and here are my recommendations!
SO MUCH NATURE, so many pretty landscapes. Do them all.
Views from Waih’e Ridge Trail, the very first hike I did!
Waih’e Ridge Trail — 5ish miles, awesome views of the valley
Haleakala National Park (Summit District) — there's an 11 mile hike that starts at the top that's INCREDIBLE. Net elevation loss too, so that's nice :) You just have to park your car at a different trailhead and hitchhike up to the top of the crater (the rangers explain this and there's signage telling people to pick up hitchhikers too haha)
People also recommend watching the sunrise or sunset from the top. I didn’t do this, but I’m sure it’s amazing. If you are trying to see the sunrise, you need to make a reservation ($1/car) in advance!
Some of my fave shots from the Crater side of Haleakala National Park!
Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu side) — lots of little hikes here, but namely the biggest stuff is the hike to Waimoku Falls (4 miles RT) and the Seven Sacred Pools.
Waioka Pond (also known as Venus pond) on the road to Hana in Waioka. You'll see this tiny little bridge and on the other side (closer to the ocean), you'll see a makeshift fruit stand. On the other side of the bridge, there's this little cattle trail that leads into the trees. It's a little hard to find, but it leads to this AMAZING tucked away pool that is half salt half fresh water and deep enough to jump from some really high ledges into. It's wonderful.
AND if you need more hiking inspo, check out this blog post!
Hi hello, warm weather camping in tank and shorts. Amazing.
Camp Oluwalu — if you can book a tentalow here for a night, DO IT. I just booked a campsite, but the facilities are super nice and it's super frickin cute.
Waiʻanapanapa State Park is AWESOME. Black sand beaches and tide pools, gorgeous beach cove views from the campsite. Only about 10ish spots are available per night and everyone camps in the same general area, but it’s really lovely spot to watch the sunrise as well.
Other places on the island:
Hosmer Grove - this is in Haleakala National Park and pretty high up in altitude. It’s definitely a lot colder and windier here (since it’s so high). I didn’t stay here, but I imagine the sunset/sunrise and stargazing here is INCREDIBLE.
Views from Camp Oluwale (left) and Wai’anapanapa State Park (right)
When driving is equally as pleasant as hiking, you KNOW things are gorgeous.
Road to Hana -- DEFINITELY do this and stop at all the stands and hikes you see along the way. Tons of fresh fruit and banana bread!
TBH would skip the first couple big things (i.e. Twin Falls) and spend more time in Wainapanapa and Waioka if I could do it again
There's a little farm near Hana (Hana farms?), super cute and the plants there are insane
Instead of driving back the way you came, I HIGHLY recommend going the back way. There is about 5 miles of unpaved dirt road and they tell tourists not to go there with any rental cars, but it's REALLY not that bad (we had a Toyota Corolla and it was just fine). The back road is gorgeous and you get some crazy views of the backside of the volcano
Kaihalulu Beach — has beautiful Red Sand Beach with hidden cove that you hike to. Area has been damaged from mudslides, but the trail isn't that bad
Baby beach is near Lahaina and SUPER warm/shallow, very very chill
Lahaina area beaches are also lovely, lots of white sand and warm waters! You can also surf here
I LOVED Hana, Paia, and Haiku
I could have skipped Lahaina (just another overrated beach resort town)
Here are my favorites:
Anything poke. Here’s where the locals go for it:
Foodlands Grocery Store — salmon poke here is legit
Tamura’s Liquore and Wine Store -- sounds so strange to go to a liquor store, but it is 10/10
Safeway/Costco is also great bets for a quick option!
Thai food by Pranee was delicious in Hana!
Maui Coffee Attic in Kahului is a delightful, eclectic shop that has a ton of live music and events
Enjoying an acai bowl from Paia Bowls in Paia!
And additional food recs by area:
These were handed down by many people, the ones in bold are ones I went to/recommend!
Kimo’s or Lahaina Fish Co.
Paia Fish Market
KOA’s Seaside Grill
Mala Ocean Tavern
Spago (at the Four Seasons)
Poke: Foodlands Grocery and Tamura’s Liquor Store
All the food stands and trucks along the way!
Hana Ranch and Hana Farm
Hana General Store
Thai Food by Pranee
Koiso Sushi (reservation only, apparently it’s outstanding)
Maui Fish and Chips
Kihei Cafe (breakfast spot)
Maui Brewing Co
Kahale’s Dive (bar)
South Shore Tiki Lounge (bar)
Mana Grocery Store — the dessert and pie we got here were AMAZING
Mama’s Fish House
Paia Fish market
Island Fresh Cafe
Milagro’s Mexican — great HH prices and food
(Don’t go to the poke/shave ice place in downtown, it was overpriced!)
Poi by the Pound
Acevedos — Hawaii/Mexican
There’s also a Safeway and Whole Foods here if you need to get groceries!
**Last note: I did go to a luau at Feast of Lele. The food was REALLY good and open bar (yaaaas), but the cultural aspect of it (aka learning about Polynesian islands and cultures) felt a little…. like I was just gawking at people dancing half naked and not really actually learning about all the rich traditions and cultures of these beautiful people. It was fun, but I don’t know if I’d recommend it for everyone.
Well that’s it. Until next time, Hawai’i!