Here it is… (drumroll please)…. a clockwise route around Maui, discovering waterfalls, red and black sand beaches, bicycle-powered smoothie bars, swim up bars and swanky resorts, ocean-rafting and America’s Cup sailing, and – of course – the mystical 68-mile, hair-pinned Hana highway along Maui’s east coast! Put on your seatbelt, because here we go…
MAUI ROADTRIP PART 1: Airport to Surfing Goat Dairy
Only minutes from the Kahului airport in eastern Maui, you can find a charming goat farm where you can feed and pet the 4-legged creatures, then sample their udderly delicious products — goat cheeses like Purple Rain and Ole!, and even goat cheese truffles. Have a snack on the farm but also buy a tub and some crackers to go, because the Red Sand beach is right down Maui’s Hana highway, and you’ll enjoy a special picnic there!
If you’re still hungry, make a quick stop at Sam Sotos in Kahului for a bowl of noodles and a teriyaki strip! Or grab some authentic Maui BBQ to go, from the food trucks by the waterfront.
Then you’re off to Paia for the evening.
MAUI ROADTRIP PART 2: Paia through Hana
An overnight in Paia is key, to soak up Maui’s surf culture, experience the very special Fish Market, and get a good night’s sleep before you tackle Hana.
Where to overnight? If you can get a room at the Green Tile Beach House, you’ll fall asleep with the sound of the surf over your pillow and you’ll awake to your own stretch of Maui beach below your porch!
The next morning, head south on Maui’s cliff-hanger known as the Hana Highway. Highlights start with a waterfall (which some crazy people think is jump-able), the Heulo Lookout fruit stand, and even the well-loved Maui roadside institution, the Bird Man.
Will you stay in a treehouse tonight? Or in a cabin at the state park? Or is a posh resort?
Which ever you choose, you must overnight, because you should really soak in some Maui ambience… the hippy Hasegawa general store, the organic pick-you-own garden, and the RED sand beach in Hana before heading further south, to…
MAUI ROADTRIP PART 3: Beyond Hana
Ohe’o Gulch! Allot 1/2 a day to hike up through the tinkling bamboo forests to the pools — higher and higher up into the jungle crevasse, from waterfall to plunging waterfall — until you find your perfect Maui spot. It’s called the 7 Sacred Pools!
MAUI ROADTRIP PART 4: the decadent southwest coast
Savour your last snippet of this idyllic haven by stopping at the local smoothie shop, west of Ohe’o Gulch (here’s the bicycle-powered blender) but save some daylight because your final stretch of today’s drive is along Maui’s remote, cliff-hugging gravel road that’ll lead you back to civilization of Wailea, where a night of fancy resorts, swim-up bars, water slides (and water elevators!) awaits!
MAUI ROADTRIP PART 5: Lahaina
Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom in the 1800s and most of the whaling ships of the Pacific came through this port town on Maui’s northwest coast, including the ship that carried Herman Melville. Many of his tales for Moby Dick originated in this very village.
I suggest you finish up in Lahiana, Maui. You can go on a sunset sail on an America’s Cup Sailboat, or snorkel with the whale sharks of Molokini crater, or even ocean raft with the dolphins over to Lanai, Maui’s next door island neighbor! There are delectable dinner spots (disguising themselves as hidden shacks) for 5*+, $100pp dinners, and the best shaved ice on Maui. No need to splurge on lodging here. The Pioneer Inn does the job and it’s RIGHT on the main drag and by the marina.