I’m excited to announce that here at Maui Hacks we recently acquired Maui My Way, a website long known for its dedication to sharing information about everything there is to know about Maui. The site prided itself, much the same way I do, on providing “Best of Maui” guides for vacationers.
What I like about the site is how personalized it was. If Scot, the previous domain owner, didn’t like something he didn’t share it, and I fully understand why.
I appreciate the personal approach Maui My Way took, having been geared towards friends and family of the site’s owner. But, here at Maui Hacks, I want to provide information about everything there is to know about Maui. Because there just is so much to know, and do, and see, and experience on my favorite place on earth (maybe the stars hold something new!).
I hope that Maui Hacks fills the hole left vacant by Maui My Ways closure, and can live up to the standards set by a site that wanted to be the “friend” that told you what was worth doing during a visit to Hawaii’s most exciting island.
For those who may be landing here because they were searching for Maui My Way, I want to use the space below to help show them the kinds of information I offer here at Maui Hacks, to help them navigate and find what they’re looking for.
Here is where Maui shines. You’ve just exited the jet bridge and stepped onto the island to soak up sand, sun, and memories. Where do you start? What’s worth doing?
Ultimately ,there’s always too much to do on Maui to take it all in at one go—which is why one trip to the island is never enough, though the more days on Maui, the better—even if you decide to travel solo so that it’s just you making the decisions (everyone should try a solo travel at least once in their life!).
Instead of detailing just what I would do (and I would be happy just staring at the Pacific for two weeks) I’ve been documenting everything there is to do, here at Maui Hacks. My goal is to create a kind of vacation-encyclopedia for the island, kind of like Baedeker Guides—for the old timers who remember.
But for the sake of being a little personal I’ve kicked the site off by sharing my favorites.
There are too many beaches to visit in, say, just seven days. (I know from experience, I’ve tried.)
Although Kapalua Bay, may deserve to be near the top of visitor’s lists, as America’s best beach (as voted by Conde Nast Traveler, among others). Although you wouldn’t go wrong by visiting Baldwin Beach either. Not to mention Maui’s famous black sand beach in Waianapanapa State Park.
Napili Bay is also a great place to lay out the towel in the summer, when the waters are calm. Watch out for rip tides though when the seas start churning. Really, you could visit Maui and do a kind of safari of its beaches, sampling one here, one there, experiencing Maui from the shore alone.
(Just make sure to see Lahaina Noon, at least once if you can plan your trip around the uncanny phenomenon. There’s nothing quite like watching shadows disappear off the face of the earth from the shore, even though it’s momentary.)
Which Maui Beach is Right For Me?
I also try to offer something new on Maui Hacks, by comparing beaches, so that indecisive beach goers can figure out which beach works for them, such as whether Kapalua or Napili beach is right for them. The plan is to match each beach against every other so that no one is trapped by indecision again—myself included!
There are a few general rules about Maui’s waters that make the decision between one beach and another difficult:
- While Maui isn’t great for experienced surfers, beginners may prefer finding their balance with the gentler waves of Maui’s beaches.
- There are plenty of places where beginner snorkelers can safely dip their toes in the water. (Not exactly helpful, since no matter what beach you go to you’re bound to find good snorkeling.)
- It’s also good to know that it’s perfectly safe to swim in the Pacific waters surrounding Maui, even with the occasional shark patrolling the island.
- You may want to bring water shoes with you when going to any of Maui’s beaches.
Hiking & Exploration
Sometimes I even need a change from sitting in the sun and sand. Considering Hawaii’s jungle climate, Maui is great for hiking and exploration, with lava shelves, coastal views, and colorful tropical plants galore.
That includes the Pipiwai trail, which visitors should prepare themselves for before venturing into the jungle along the Seven Sacred Pools. Or, take the heavily trafficked Waihee Ridge Trail, which isn’t easy but worth the effort.
There’s also the Hoapili Trail and, for the beginners who prefer not to wear themselves out, the Kapalua Coastal Trail.
Unfortunately, not every trail is open—such as the bamboo forest—due to tourist congestion. Too many people hiking the same trail wears the trail itself, thereby making it unsafe. And hikers who violate “Do Not Enter” signs typically pay a fine, so heed the rules. Hopefully, at some future date, the trail will reopen for explorers.
Maui, being a volcanic island, is also littered with caves to hike, from lava tubes to sea caves. There’s nothing quite like a cave carved from magma flow boiling just beneath the earth’s surface.
Planning a Trip
How is someone supposed to plan a trip to Maui? Is there a bad time to visit Maui? As someone who’s been visiting the island all her life, I always catch myself overwhelming friends with information who ask me, “How do I prepare for my vacation?” (Especially when it comes to honeymooners.) Preparation is key to success no matter what you’re undertaking, even vacations. It’s always best to know a little something ahead of time.
That’s why here at Maui Hacks one of my missions is to make the site into a kind of checklist, so would-be vacationers know exactly what they’re getting themselves into on a trip to Maui. Because one question always leads to another, and my goal is to make it so all those questions are answered one after another.
(That way I never get asked again whether or not December is a good time to travel to Maui!)
How comfortable should you dress on your flight to Maui? It’s a long plane ride from the mainland United States, even longer if you’re traveling from afar. Comfort is the, but you also need to remember that you may be shifting climates. Pack appropriately for both the plane’s AC and the humid winds of Hawaii.
Know that, unfortunately, no one gets a lei when they land on the island anymore—there’s too many people and not enough garland to go around—but that doesn’t mean travelers can’t arrange to have one draped around their necks if they plan ahead.
How much money should you bring with you on your trip? Dreams aren’t cheap, and costs on Maui are quite high even for seven days, and especially if you choose to say, “The sky is the limit.” And I’m not just talking about the flight (although some months are cheaper for plane tickets than others). Because Maui is an island, most goods are imported and that means even white pineapple is purchased at a premium (despite its rich historical symbolism in Hawaiian culture).
Where should you stay? At Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort? North, South, inbetween? And know how you’re going to shower on your return trip, after you’ve checked out of your hotel or Airbnb or resort.
So, what if you fall in love with the island and want to know how much money you need to live on Maui, comfortably? That, of course, is a subjective question, since it ultimately depends on your level of comfort. Some people are comfortable bumming in a hammock on the beach, others need Oprah-levels of luxury to survive.
And then there’s the practical questions: how much DEET bug spray will you need? Well, Maui is a tropical island so mosquitos thrive, but at least there are no snakes hiding in the brush beneath your feet; they’re even illegal as pets. (There’s also no seagulls on Maui, so no pesky bird will be begging for a french fry on the beach!)
Maui isn’t exactly known for its pizza, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t places that can’t bake up a pizza pie on the island. So, if you’re hungry for something quick and simple you’re still in luck.
But maybe it’s still too early in the day. So, where’s the best breakfast on Maui? Hint: they’re all over, you can’t really go wrong with breakfast near the beach.
Or take in Wailuku’s restaurants for the day. Indulge yourself, be a gourmand—I wont tell. You’re on vacation so why not put take your taste buds on vacation too?
Here at Maui Hacks I’ve organized all of our entertainment options under “Do”, and there is a lot to do.
Besides the beaches, Maui’s luaus are a point of pride for the island—and yes you should definitely go to a luau—an iconic tradition with roots that stretch all the way to Polynesia.
Maui My Way was particularly fond of the Old Lahaina Luau, which we’ve also highlighted as our first choice for best luaus on Maui. (Know that the cost of luaus vary depending on what activities are included, and what audience a particular luau caters to.)
The Long Road to Hana
You can always choose to kick back in the car and drive around Maui in a day, although the Road to Hana has much to see, so make sure to fill up the tank and start at dawn to get the most out of the long, twisting road.
That’s because to experience the highway in its entirety really does require a full day, despite being only 65 miles long. The time it takes is due not only to the twists and turns of the highway, but the attractions which lie along its path. It’s best to pick and choose what you want to do before hitting the road. Otherwise, you’ll either zip by all the sights worth seeing, or you’ll stop to see so many you’ll never exit the Road to Hana.
And you will need your own rental car as Uber is unlikely to ferry you from one destination to the next. (just be prepared for tough parking in some towns, such as Paia.)
My goal at Maui Hacks, in the same vein as Maui My way, is to map the island in its entirety, from Kahana airport to Kipahulu, and every stop inbetween, including lesser known beaches—like Spreckelsville Beach and Secret Beach—and all the best places to swim with turtles, like Ho’okipa beach.
I aim for our readers to be in the know, so that they know what Kaanapali is known for, what Kapalua is known for, what Haleakala is known for, what Wailuku is known for; everywhere and everything else.
I want you to know what’s worth doing and seeing, because time is limited, and it’s best to prioritize. Although it’s hard to say what isn’t worth doing at least once, on Maui.
I hope that serves as an adequate enough introduction for all those readers who visited and learned from Maui My Way over the years. I know its tough to recreate a treasure trove of knowledge that has helped people over the years, but I’m hoping, through the site, to live up to the expectations of would-be vacationers, and those returning, to Maui.
At Maui Hacks I hope to make your trip to Maui at least just a little better.