Speckling the Pacific Ocean lies the idyllic island of Maui. Despite its longtime popularity with Canadian tourists, the devastating fires in Lahaina have left many frequent visitors wondering if Maui is ready for them to visit once again. Maui’s community and culture is stronger than ever, as they band together to rebuild the historic town. Maui is ready for you, so here is a guide to experiencing the best of the island, complete with must-visit restaurants, hotels, and shopping spots. —Maddie Clerides
Where To Eat In Maui
Maui’s culinary scene incorporates a variety of flavours, drawing inspiration from Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Rim cuisines. From freshly caught seafood to farm-to-table dishes, here are some of our favourite restaurants for your next trip.
For an unparalleled dining experience that is incredibly romantic, Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons cannot be missed. Situated right on the water within one of Maui’s most famous properties (White Lotus, anyone?), Ferraro’s is the island’s premier dinner destination touting a heavenly ambiance to match. Ferraro’s recently overhauled its menu to reflect a lighter and fresher take on Italian cuisine, that now incorporates more seafood. We recommend making a reservation right before sunset, as you will have a panoramic view of the sun disappearing into the sea. If the local pink snapper Opakapaka is available as a fresh catch that day, be sure to order it! Other standout dishes include the Tonno Tonnato Crudo and Squid Ink Pasta.
The Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman blends Hawaiian ingredients with contemporary American flare. They are most famous for their signature Mai Tai with lilikoi foam, a formidable happy hour menu, and frequent live music. Delicious menu options include the Vegan Tortilla Soup, fresh-caught Fish Tacos, and the Roasted Chicken Wings with yoghurt-feta dip.
For an upscale culinary experience that is less formal than Ferraro’s, be sure to visit the Ka’Ana Kitchen at the Andaz Hotel. This recently renovated property is contemporary and vibrant, with an expansive pool complex and layered outdoor decks that you can see from the restaurant. The menu at the Ka’Ana Kitchen was quite experimental; the restaurant’s concept blends traditional Hawaiian fare with a modern twist. Their take on a Caesar Salad was totally unexpected with brioche croutons and pickled mustard seeds but was undoubtedly our favourite. Other memorable dishes were the Coconut Clams, with kaffir lime and tomato butter, as well as their Popcorn Cheesecake with gold flakes.
What To See In Maui
Beyond its culinary delights, Maui boasts an array of natural wonders. From cascading waterfalls to pristine beaches, the island offers endless opportunities for outdoor sightseeing.
The Road to Hana is a scenic drive where you’ll encounter lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking coastal vistas. Be sure to stop at iconic landmarks such as the Seven Sacred Pools and Wai’anapanapa State Park, home to a world-renowned black sand beach. The Road to Hana is a quintessential Maui activity, however, it is a full day commitment with winding roads and requires ample preparations.
To witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Maui’s highest peak, embark on a shorter road trip to Haleakalā National Park. Walk through otherworldly landscapes, stargaze from the summit, or embark on a sunrise or sunset adventure. Beware that it is extremely cold at the top of the summit, and winds and temperatures will change depending on the time of year and conditions.
If you’re traveling with little ones, the Maui Ocean Center is a magical experience in a central part of the island. It’s the perfect reprieve to break up a beach day, or perhaps escape some tropical rain, but still enjoy Maui’s most beautiful creatures.
Be sure not to miss the small town of Paia. Paia has beautiful galleries and boutiques, plus is home to the famous Paia Fish Market where you get to pick your fresh local fish and choose how it is prepared. There is usually a wait here, but it’s worth it and the food is prepared quickly. Our favourite boutique with some Mediterranean influence was Lele by Adelina a Mare, and Maui Girl Swimwear for custom bikinis that are handmade on the island.
Where To Shop In Maui
No vacation is complete without a bit of retail therapy. Need we say more?
The Bikini Market in Wailea has an expansive selection of trendy swimwear and accessories, perfect for soaking up the sun on Maui’s pristine beaches or lounging by the pool. Our favourite items from this shop are a local favourite, the ALOHA Collection Bags. This Hawaiian brand creates adorable, wipeable, and waterproof bags that are perfect for the pool and beach. They can double as packing cubes or a toiletry case. They have a wide array of prints and sizes to choose from, for him, her, and children. With the help of their community, the brand has donated over 3,000 bags to the people of Maui in-need after the fires and are matching donations on their website. Other local organizations and businesses on Maui helped lead the distribution of supplies inside these versatile bags.
Where To Stay In Maui
There are many ways to experience staying on Maui, from world-class resorts (Four Seasons Resort, Fairmont Kea-Lani, Montage Kapalua Bay) to apartment rentals for those who would like to stay a little longer. There are plenty of apartment complexes that allow families to continue their routines within walking distance from the beach. Regardless of your choice, we recommend renting a car at least for a few days to maximize your experience on the island of Maui. Our favourite areas to stay are Kihei and Wailea.
Despite the upscale hotels, Maui is truly a laid-back destination. Unless you are embarking on formidable outdoor adventures (or shopping a lot), you could likely pack a carry-on for a week. We traveled with the Herschel Heritage Hardshell Carry-On Luggage, in their new colour Moonbeam. We paired it with the ultra-roomy BÉIS Sport Carryall bag that slides over the handle. For the plane, sport a light Aviator Nation tracksuit, that you may also want to wear at night due to the strong AC. Be sure to stash some famous Honolulu Cookie Company treats in your bag home. For something unique to Maui, The Maui Cookie Lady based in the small town of Makawao makes delicious, handmade, and huge cookies in unique flavours. She does sell out, so be sure to go early!
As you explore the enchanting island of Maui, you’ll encounter the true essence of aloha – a spirit of warmth, peace, and harmony. Embrace the laid-back pace of island life, immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Whether you’re indulging in culinary delights, exploring natural wonders, or shopping for souvenirs, Maui offers a slice of paradise that will capture your heart and soul.