“I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five. I never spent so pleasant a month before, or bade any place goodbye so regretfully. I have not once thought of business, or care or human toil or trouble or sorrow or weariness, and the memory of it will remain with me always.” ~Mark Twain
The Road to Hana: I couldn't stop taking pictures on the Road to Hana. Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise-the Road to Hana is a national treasure, and my favorite spot on Maui just might be the Black Sand Beach. It’s a long day but so worth it. There are over 600 hairpin turns and it’s about 50 miles from Paia to Hana, though we went beyond Hana. We weren't going to be doing any of the hiking due to time constraints but still loved stopping for heart-stopping views at the Keanae Peninsula and Wailua Overlook. It was fun to browse the Nahiki roadside boutiques (get the coconut candy!). The unforgettable moment for me was stopping at the black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park. I will dream of this beach. It was absolutely perfect. It is actually mostly smooth, small lava pebbles so bring a good pair of beach sandals. I felt so at peace and in the moment on this small beach Tip: Bring bug spray and good music for the road trip!
Travaasa Hana: Formerly Hotel Hana Maui, this is a stunningly gorgeous hotel (and one of Oprah’s faves). In Hana, SKIP lunch at Hana Ranch restaurant - one of the more disgusting lunches I've had in my life.
Laulima Farms: Fun little stop - you can ride a bike, which powers the blender to make your smoothie. About 12 miles past Hana.
Charles Lindbergh’s grave: I’m a history nut so wanted to stop here, which is before Laulima Farms, about 11 miles from Hana. Turn at the Maui Stables sign--there is no other sign for it. He is buried in the graveyard of the Palapala Ho'omau church. Lindbergh spent a lot of time at his home in Maui with his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Read The Aviator’s Wife for an incredible fictionalized account of their (shaky) marriage told from her point of view - Charles does not come as the greatest guy in the world.
Sunrise on Haleakala: Plan on dragging yourself out of bed at 2 a.m. on one of your Maui days (and catch up on sleep at the beach later). You absolutely have to see the sunrise on Haleakala and it requires an early wake-up call to drive the two hours to the top. I recommend bike riding down with 360 degree views of Maui on the way down. It’s one of the most exhilarating bike rides in the world (and 28 miles downhill!!).
Maui Undersea Adventures: This is the company we used to go scuba diving and stand-up paddleboarding - great guides!
Old Lahaina Luau: If it's your first time on Maui, the Old Lahaina Luau is a fun way to spend an early evening, followed by wandering Lahaina's main street. It’s SUPER touristy but I still loved it.
Four Seasons Resort Maui: One of my favorite resorts anywhere!
- Brunch at DUO - The DUO brunch buffet is one to be savored-made-to order omelettes, pancakes & waffles, fresh fruit, croissants, muffins, granola, yogurt, eggs, Asian-inspired rice, and even a gluten-free selection. Like all food at the resort, it spoiled us for what we have to eat when we leave.
- Spago at the Four Seasons: I still compare every piece of bread to the one I had at Spago. The Maui Onion Foccacia Bread is divine bites of sweet caramelized Kula onions enveloped in warm, chewy bread. Sigh.
- The Serenity Pool - I have never been convinced of the value of a cabana until I tried a cabana here. I still miss my cabana boy. Fresh fruit, champagne, a flat-screen TV, doors to shut the world out and front-row seats to a magazine-cover (Conde Nast Traveler, June 2011) view. It's adults-only, which is a nice change of pace from the many families at the main pool.
Mama’s Fish House: Our last dinner was at the famous Mama's Fish House just outside of Paia town, worth every bit of praise it's given. If you're going to Maui, chances are someone (or ten someones) have told you about it. Fish is caught twice a day and that's what's served. Mine was Ono "caught by Alan Cadiz near the towering cliffs of Molokai," served with caramlized Maui onions, avocado and jasmine rice. You have to get a table facing the ocean for sunset views. I know you won't miss Mama's if you're on Maui!
Hali’Imaile General Store: Great spot for lunch and browsing the colorful dishes and kitchen items for sale. Check out cute cowboy town Makawao nearby for art galleries and funky shops.
Kapalua: Maui has many micro-climates and Kapaula feels a world apart from Wailea, where the Four Seasons and other resorts are. It’s lush and reminded me of Colorado or Lake Tahoe with the pine trees, but it is true Hawaii with deep blue water hugging the coastline. Kapalua means "Arms embracing the sea." It's cooler too, with a light breeze and million-dollar views of the island of Molokai.