Maui Activities & Restaurants
Last updated January 4, 2024
Maui News and more: Maui Now. Maui Weather and surf forecast: Hawaii Weather Today. Paia Weather. We use this link to have a sense of where the rain is. And this page shows all the Webcams around the island.
Maui Vacation Equipment rents all kinds of beach products we might not have. For any activity browse on Tom Barefoot’s site the largest selection of Hawaii Activities, more convenient and cheaper than buying directly from each company.
You can drive to Hookipa Beach Park (2 miles from the cottage) and watch the surfer and windsurfers. It can get pretty spectacular. Also many turtles are coming out of the water and resting on the sand. While yellow taped and protected it is fun to watch them. But easier and more private to just walk from the cottage to next door Tavares Beach, you are guarantee to see from 1 to 20 turtles.
In the cottage we have printed the directions to Jaws, famous big waves surf spot. It is only 20mn from the cottage. Only worth going between September and March when a huge swell is coming.
Not far from the cottage if you want a short hike at Twin Falls.
Driving to Hana
It takes us about 2 hours to get to Hana if you do not stop. It is fun to stop at look outs, by waterfalls or food stands to buy banana breads, fresh coconuts or vegan ice cream at the mile marker 27.5. Drive carefully, pull over to let local pass, and obey the “where to” parking signs. As you drive to Hana, your first main stop would be at Waianapanapa Park (black sand beach). Entry and Parking Reservations are now required for all non-residents. For reservations go to gowaianapanapa. Just before Waianapanapa you could visit the Kahanu Garden, it takes about 1 1/2 hour.
Hana Town has one grocery store, one small restaurant and one gas station! One nice hotel with an art gallery too. Just a few miles after Hana there is a beautiful turquoise water beach called Hamoa Beach. Very nice for a lunch break and a swim. Continue Hana Hwy (330) to the Pipiwai Trail & Waimoku Falls, also the Seven Sacred Pools. Be brave and continue the loop around the island instead of turning around to come to the cottage (longer in distance but faster in driving). The road (31) is a little narrow and unpaved for a few miles (car rental companies discourage to drive it as there is no cell service back there) but once you make it around the lumpy bumpy there is a beautiful straight asphalt laid road. Make sure you stop at the only Kaupo Store. By the way, Kaupo is the start (or end, depending where you start) of the most challenging hike on Maui, Kaupo Gap Trail, taking you in and out of the Haleakala crater. You will finally arrive at the Ulupalakua Winery, you can visit and taste, there is also a little store across the road, the Ulupalakua Ranch Store. Keep driving now Hwy 37 and you will end up between Kahului and Paia.
Sunrise at Haleakala Crater National Park is often noted as a highlight of their Maui vacation experience for many of our guests. We love it too. It has gotten so popular that the National park Service is now taking reservations (for sunrise only) which, most likely will need to be made well in advance of your visit to be sure to get a space. Of course no one can guarantee the weather but if you are the least bit interested we suggest you make the booking. It requires an early departure so many of our guests make the journey the first morning of their arrival as they might be still a bit jet lagged and will wake up early anyway. We just heard that for those who like to decide at the last minute the Park releases a few tickets for sunrise a couple days before. “Another batch of tickets will also be available for reservation two days in advance, at 4:00 p.m. HST (Hawaii Standard Time) the day before arrival.”
We have a page in our welcome book in the cottage that gives you directions and times. It takes about 1h30mn to drive from Paia to the summit. Note that the sky is already spectacular and worth seeing before the sun peaks. Use the flash for portraits. And stay a little longer after the sunrise, the colors and shadows of the inside of the crater are wonderful.
From there you can hike Sliding Sands or drive down to hike down Switch Back called Halemau’u Trail. See all the Crater Hikes map. If you don’t want to commit to a big hike, Hosmer Grove Loop Trail is easy and short; it is not inside the crater but on the side in the midst of pine trees.
On the way down we like to stop afterwards for breakfast or lunch at the Kula Lodge. The view is incredible. And if it is lunch time we order brick oven pizzas.
You have many choices to whale watch from Tours boats or you can choose to have a private outrigger tour but you have to paddle!!! Snorkeling on the South Shore, our favorite beach is Maluaka Beach next to the Makena Golf & Beach Club (ex Prince Hotel). I find some shells and the water is pretty clear. Paako Cove or Secret Cove is this adorable little beach, famous for wedding pictures. In winter, beautiful beach with turquoise water is Big Beach, everybody’s favorite. In summer, beware the surf is monstrous and dangerous but spectacular for watching body boarders.
Now that you have gone around one side of the island through Hana, you might want to try to drive around the West Maui Mountains: the way to do it is from Paia, Lahaina, Kapalua, Wailuku. It is better to do it clockwise as at some point the road is narrow and you want to be the one against the mountain and not the one on the edge of the cliff! Some guests say it is scary due to the narrowness of the road.
Also here is a website about road work and lane closures, it matters when you plan to drive around the West Maui and suddenly you are stopped half way and have to turn around!!!:
Upcountry Farmers Market in Lower Kula is very very nice. We buy organic veggies, fruits, coffee, honey…. and a great variety of prepared food. Go early… 7am to get first choice. Jamie is the only one selling the freshest fish you have ever eaten, usually mahi or ahi (tuna), sold out by 8! There is another market on Wednesday at 17 Omaopio Rd at Waipuna Chapel and the same day at Po’okela Church in Makawao.
Luaus and More
You can compare the different Luaus and reserve directly on Tom’s Barefoot. Luaus are very touristic but also very appreciated. The most famous one is: the Old Lahaina Luau (Hawaiian) which will reopen in 2024.
You have children with you (or not) and want to see the sea creatures, go to the Maui Ocean Center, very nice aquariums. And next to the aquarium is the Maui Golf Sports Park. Visit the Lavender Farm, Surfing Goat Dairy, Flower Farm, also a Farm Stand, fun to go at pumpkin time!!! And you can learn more about bees, pick your own organic vegetables and buy the best cow and goat yogurts and eggs in Kula at mauibees. Get a tour and Luncheon at the O’o Farm, pick your salad, visit the coffee farm while your lunch is prepared (recommended by guests).
Visit the Haliimaile Distilling Company and next to it Makai Glass Maui. If you go upstairs you can watch from the balcony some glass art work being done as well as ask questions to the artist. Other option: rent a 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster Convertible, why not!
And no, our house is not for sale 😉 (we have been asked before) but if you are interested in a Maui property or have questions about real estate, we recommend Angelynn Bair Realtor (S) at The Maui Real Estate Team, 808-268-8320.
We have some guests’ left over equipment in a box in the garage. If you cannot find your fit most rentals are in Kihei. From May to September, when the surf is down on the North Shore you can easily snorkel in front of the property (access from the little beach next door) and at Hookipa (right side looking at ocean). There you will not only see lots of turtles sleeping on the sand but you will be able to swim with them while they are feeding. But you will see nicer coral and a wider variety of fish if you go to the West and South sides. Napili Bay and Kapalua Bay are small and accessible bays, easy for snorkeling. Honolua Bay is beautiful. Also in between Kihei and Makena I like to go to Maluaka Beach, on the left side when you look at the ocean. If you continue down the coast of Makena you will arrive at the Ahihi Kinau Reserve. And the ultimate experience is to go on a Snorkeling Tours.
And why not you can participate and discover canoe. Our guests just went to the Kihei Canoe Club and said it was a lot of fun.
Surfing, SUP, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Now in summer most of the surfing is done in Kihei (20-30 mn from here) and towards Lahaina. Hookipa (2mn from here) has some small waves too.
GOLF CLUBS RENTAL: Maui Golf Shop
NEARBY GOLF COURSES: Maui Country Club is the closest one, 5mn from the cottage. Private course (9 holes) but open to public on Mondays only. Maui Country Club
Pukalani Country Club is the next closest to the cottage – 20mn – and no wind. And a great view over the island. Pukalani Country Club
Waiehu public golf course. Probably the cheapest one. 35mn from the cottage. Windy. Waiehu Golf Course
The Dunes is in Kahului, 20mn from the cottage. The Dunes at Maui Lani
If you like to hike we have a book in the cottage with all the different hikes. Here are the top 10 Hikes in Maui. Here is a hike on paved road with spectacular view, on a dead end road with barely any cars: Thompson Road. You park at Grandma’s coffee place (nice muffins and drinks) and walk up 100 meters towards the hospital and on your right you will see Thompson Road. I found this video on youtube to give you an idea of the place. Another trail close to the cottage is in the Makawao Forest, shaded hike, great for walking or mountain biking. My favorite thing to do is to walk Baldwin Beach which is 5 minutes from the cottage. Two miles beach, walk to the end, Baby beach, you can swim laps in flat water. Also the little beach next door is walking distance and great to go dip to help you wake up or later in the day to cool down. Turtles are sleeping on the sand, and about as many as 30 show up at night.
Camping and cabin rental: how to get a permit, location of authorized camping sites.
Dog Walking, Cat Cafe and Bird Watching
Missing your pet, you can go to the Maui Humane Society offers a program that allows visitors to take a shelter dog out for a day of fun. New to Maui is the Cat Cafe located in at the Kaahumanu Shopping Center, reservation online. Here are the birds you can find in Hawaii. First in the yard we have the adorable Majiro, they come in group and you hear them before you can see them. They are so small but they constantly sing and talk to each other!! I hear them regularly. We also have Cardinals, Egret, the Golden Plover and the loud Mynah bird. There is also the Pond in Kahului And the Board Walk in Kihei . Also up on the mountain, Hosmer’s Grove
Yoga, Somatics, Massage & Chiropractor
Yoga is everywhere, especially in Paia. There is Iyengar Yoga Maui. Also the Maui Yoga Shala. What I would recommend if you have any sore body part is Somatics with Lisa Cary. She teaches every Friday at 3pm and on zoom once a month, and also sells her class videos and audios. Check out her website, few people know about Somatics.
And if you are in need of a sports massage: Twila will come to the cottage where she can set up the table inside the cottage, or on the covered lanai (808-575-2801). Or you can go to Ashiatsu Maui in Paia and get a fabulous ashiatsu (barefoot massage). Need a Chiropractor: Robert Gonzalez is in Kahului at (808) 877-1534 Maui Chiro
The Maui by the Sea cottage is 1/2 mile from Paia Town. Paia has over a dozen restaurants: Maui’s North Shore, (Fish, Crêperie, Argentinian, Mexican, Peruvian, Japanese, Pizza, Vegan, Raw, Thai) and 1/2 mile in the other direction you have the famous Mama’s Fish House restaurant, fine dining. We prefer lunch time as it is not as crowded and you can enjoy the view, reservation recommended many months in advance. In Paia also a health food store and deli (which I prefer to Whole Foods) called Mana Foods, they close at 8:30pm. Kuau Store (closest store to the cottage, located btw cottage and Mama’s fish House) is a small deli store with smoothies, coffee, juice, poke and lunch plates. Open from 6:30am to 7:30pm. If you are looking for a bigger variety of poke (raw fish prepared local way) to take out you will find some at Foodland and Safeway. In the list below we have tried most of these restaurants. Some were recommended by friends.
Belle Surf Cafe For morning coffee. My favorite lately, great crepes. Cozy, private space. Not easy to find they are located in the middle of Paia behind the San Lorenzo store.
Paia Bay Coffee and Bar For morning coffee and breakfast as well.
Fish Market, Craig’s favorite, great fish tacos, you order, they call your name, you eat at a big wood table, closes at 9:30pm.
Flat Bread Pizza closes at 10pm.
Wabisabi offers some Soba noodle dish and sushi. Cool location.
Vana Paia dinner only. Sushi menu.
Before you get to Haiku, on your right is Aloha Aina bbq with all kind of smoked meat and music after 5pm. You can eat outside on table or even phone order.
A sushi bar: Nuka, very very nice, busy at night.
Colleen’s great for breakfast and lemon bars! and lots more small organic restaurants and food trucks across the street and around the parking lot.
Further down Hana Hwy on West Kuiaha at the Pauwela Cannery there is another restaurant opened for breakfast and lunch, Baked on Maui.
On the way to Makawao this restaurant has a nice menu (room is a little loud for us): Haliimaile General Store.
In Makawao town, for diner and brunch Casanova is a delicious Italian restaurant.
Satori is a Farm to Table Food Truck Sushi.
Komoda Bakery for cream puffs, donuts on a stick, butter rolls & other pastries (opens at 7am until 4pm, closed every Sunday and Wednesday).
On the way to Kula you can dine outside sitting on lawn chairs or picnic tables, with a great view at Ocean Vodka beautiful at sunset time.
Another pizza place specialized in Neapolitan-style sourdough pizzas is Marlow.
And next to it is a new brewery Mahalo Aleworks.
Tun’s Kojima: sushi and Japanese cuisine.
La Provence,(cash or check only) French pastries.
Kula Bistro, we like to sit outside under the treillis.
Kula Lodge (nice to stop there coming down from your sunrise watch, beware you might not be alone and there might a long line of tourists!)
Kahului & Wailuku Restaurants
Very popular, there is always a line. Take out only. Tin Roof.
Restaurant Matsu: local Japanese and Sushi Bar.
Fuego Steak House, an Argentinian Restaurant with dining outdoor.
A Saigon Cafe as some guests mentioned it and loved it, I like it too.
Sixtytwo Marcket, farm fresh cuisine.
The Empanada Lady, Caribbean food in a private little courtyard.
Tiffany’s Maui, very local food.
Sam Sato’s, local food, popular simians. Breakfast and lunch.
And in the same neighborhood in Kahului, there is a bakery with French looking desserts that I just discovered : Stillwell’s Bakery & Cafe .
Another bakery that just opened by some Argentinians and closer to Whole Foods: Momona Bakery and Coffee Shop.
Cafe O’Lei offers the Mill, decorated by the same person who decorated Mama’s Fish House.
Food trucks are more and more popular: I have heard many good things about Geste Shrimp along the harbor road and a dozen food trucks are across the street from Costco. And La Poblana an authentic Mexican food truck on Lowe’s parking lot.
South Maui Gardens has food trucks, bakery, artisans etc…
For beer lovers Kihei has the Maui Brewing Co
Quick sushi at Miso Phat.
5 Palms restaurant which is at the end of Keawakapu Beach.
Fancier cuisine, more expensive restaurants: Humble Market Kitchin at the Wailea Beach Resort, Ka’ana Kitchen at Andaz Wailea Resort, Ko Restaurant at Fairmont Kea Lani, Nick’s Fish Market at Fairmont Kea Lani, Gather in Maui in Makena.
West Side Restaurants
At Maalaea Harbor, where the Ocean Center is If you go down the stairs next to the Ocean Center you will find the Seascape Restaurant, seated outdoor under a covered deck overviewing the harbor and Haleakala crater, great before sunset.
Down the stairs on the right the Beach Bum’s Bar & Grill, always packed, Maui’s premier Barbecue restaurant, live music.
At the end of the bypass Moku Roots is on your right, a vegetarian restaurant.
If you prefer simpler, not as touristy and away from the crowd then drive down Front Street to Honu and Mala, and Frida’s Beach House (mexican). Not as fancy setting but right by the ocean and easy parking. (reopening soon)
Right next to them is Star Noodle a combination of Hawaiian, Japanese, Thai… noodles. (reopening soon)
Across the street from those 4 restaurants is Duckine, Asian Fusion. (reopening soon)
In Kaanapali, Leilani’s on the Beach, next to the beach, usually always live music around sunset.
Also for some filipino/local food Joey’s Kitchen.
I am adding this one in Kapalua that I really like for the view, it is right on a beach with turquoise water, the Sea House.
Let me know if there are other things you are thinking about and I will be happy to help. And when you get here and experience some great activities or restaurants, please share them with us so we can pass on the information.