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14 Oct

Maui Travel Guide: where to stay, eat, shop, and do!

we recently traveled to Maui for Robbie’s birthday and brought along his brother Ryan, sister-in-law Shannon, and our seven month old nephew. we go to Oahu pretty often, but this was our first time on Maui! needless to say, i totally get why people choose Maui over other islands now. it’s much less touristy and so relaxing! we had a blast and used a lot of your recommendations to plan our trip. i always get travel questions when we go somewhere new, so i put together a Maui Travel Guide below. enjoy and feel free to email me with any further questions about traveling to Maui! stay tuned for my post rounding up everything i wore in Maui later this week!

how to get there

we traveled with our Alaska Airlines fam to Maui! it was a quick 4.5 hour direct flight out of SFO.  Alaska averages 29 flights a day from California to Hawaii, so you have your pick of convenient times! the crew on both flights were so friendly and decked out in their best Aloha gear. robbie and i only fly Alaska Airlines because they truly are that amazing. we’ve never had a bad experience with them. it’s an company run by good people that genuinely value their customers. in fact, on the flight back home my sis-in-law Shannon helped a passenger who wasn’t feeling well (she’s an amazing ER nurse), and the crew was so appreciative. they emailed her the next day with a flight coupon and thanked her again for her help. so nice. it’s that type of service that make us love Alaska Air so much!

where to stay

Honua Kai Resort & Spa

this resort is on the west side of Maui and we stayed here the majority of our trip! we loved it for a few reasons. the resort is new and modern, but also very inviting and family-friendly. we stayed in a two bedroom suite, which was perfect for our situation. it had two spacious bedrooms with king beds that included their own spacious bathrooms as well. then there was a common area and full kitchen! we loved it because then we got to hang out, watch movies, make snacks, etc. all together while still having our separate space for privacy as well. the property itself is soooo beautiful! several pools, a lazy river, a water slide, a running path, and it had the restaurant Duke’s on property {which many of you recommended anyways!} that we ate brunch at a few times. the property leads right out to the beach, and we loved the convenience of going from pool-to-beach. robbie and i also enjoyed the amazing Ho’ola Spa for his birthday! we got a couple’s massage and felt so relaxed. the resort was about 45 minutes from the airport.

Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott

we stayed here one night and absolutely loved the resort. this one is on the south side of Maui and only a half hour from the airport. it’s right next to the Fairmont and Four Seasons, so I would definitely say it’s located in the more luxurious area of Maui. in fact, the luxury stores i shopped at are a mere five minute walk from the Marriott {Shops at Wailea}. we seriously could not get over the service at this resort! we were given leis and guava juice upon arrival, taken by golf cart to our rooms, and overall it was an incredible relaxing vibe here. we definitely want to come back and stay much longer at this property! we talked to several employees who have worked here for over a decade and they love their job! apparently, it’s one of the creme de la creme Marriotts!

where to eat

i specifically asked all my followers for their food recs before we left and you all did not disappoint, so thank you!

here’s where we ate:

Monkeypod Kitchen: we ate here twice! the Whaler’s Village location in Ka’anapali is right on the beach and such a good vibe. everything we tried was delicious! get the Mai Tai {virgin for us!}.

Mama’s Fish House: best meal of the entire trip! it’s pricey, but well worth it. make your reservations in advance and get the Mama’s stuffed mahi-mahi!

Sansei: great sushi! we went here for robbie’s birthday dinner. my favorite was the ramen!

Star Noodle: loved this meal so much we wish we would have gone twice! the steamed pork buns and garlic noodles are to die for.

Duke’s Beach House: located on the Honua Kai property, so we ate here twice for brunch! so delicious. get anything you can put the count syrup on.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice: go as many times as you can! it’s so, so smooth here and there’s several locations all over Maui.

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop: great lunch spot off the side of the highway! the banana cream pie was to die for.

more recs that were on my list that we didn’t get to:

Ka’ana Kitchen
Longhis {Italian}
Gazebo {for brunch}
Merriman’s {book a sunset table}
Lahaina Grill
Coconut {best fish tacos}

what to do

Road to Hana: you’ll need to carve out an entire day for this! we left around 8am and didn’t get back until 11pm {but we did eat dinner at Mama’s Fish House on the way back}. it’s such a fun drive! we made several stops including two waterfalls, the black sand beach, banana bread/shave ice, look out points, etc. we made it to Hana, but we didn’t get to the seven sacred pools at the very end. next trip! download the Gypsy app for a guided tour while you drive. you won’t have any cell service the entire time. i would also suggest bringing a couple changes of swimsuits/clothes because you’ll stop a ton and want a variety of photos! bring snacks, pack a lunch, and wear tennis shoes if you plan on hiking down to the waterfall!

shopping: Maui has a lot of really great shopping {although my favorite was the mall in Waikiki… we made a quick day trip over to Oahu!}. most luxury brands are cheaper in Hawaii AND tax is only 4%! we stocked up on Louis Vuitton {shopping haul coming soon to my YouTube channel}. both the Shops at Wailea and Whaler Village have a LV, but Wailea carries Gucci, too, which is even cheaper. the Shops at Wailea are in a more luxe part of Maui, so it just feels a little more elevated.

eat: as i’ve gotten older, i really enjoy finding the best foodie spots wherever we go! even more so than lounging poolside. we ate a TON of good food… so be sure to check out my food recs!

beach hop: you really can’t go wrong with any of the beaches in Maui. i would suggest making a sunrise AND sunset beach stop a must on your trip. the lighting was always so magical and beautiful, which made for the best photos and memories!

some of the best beaches:

Makena Beach {in Wailea, also known as Big Beach}
Nakalele Point {blow whole and heart shaped rock}
Baldwin Beach {see sea turtles}
Baby Beach {more sea turtles}
Napili Bay Beach {great for snorkeling}

and here’s a few recommendations of activities that didn’t fit into our schedule:

Atlantic Submarine Adventure
Haleakala Summit at sunrise {tour guide takes you up, then you bike down past lavender fields}
Ali’i Kyla Lavender Farm