Tropical Maui offers adventure, scenic beauty & amazing food. Here are some key things to do in Maui, the best places to stay and where to eat when visiting.
Note: For this post, I’m focusing on the Wailea region of South Maui. The island experienced devastating wildfires in August 2023. The most affected area was the historic town of Lahaina, located on the west coast of Maui. If you’re planning a trip to Maui, it’s wise to research the current situation and choose accommodations outside of Lahaina. Consider alternative areas like Kihei, Wailea, or Upcountry Maui to enjoy your vacation while respecting the ongoing recovery efforts in Lahaina.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Grand Wailea, a sprawling resort nestled amidst emerald palms and sapphire waters. There’s plenty of pools for the kids, but also an “adults only” pool if you’re looking for something a little quieter.
Centrally located, it’s easy to walk into the village for lunch, dinner or shopping.
Step into a world of sophisticated Hawaiian charm at the Andaz Maui. Nestled on 15 beachfront acres in Wailea, this contemporary resort seamlessly blends Polynesian influences with modern design.
They also have four on site restaurants. Savor farm-to-table Hawaiian cuisine with a modern twist at Ka’ana Kitchen, indulge in award-winning Japanese fusion at Morimoto Maui, experience an interactive luau complete with storytelling and a three-course meal at Feast at Mokapu, or grab a casual bite by the pool at Lehua Grill.
Open-air spaces, cascading waterfalls, and handcrafted lava rock walls blend seamlessly with modern elegance, creating a sophisticated yet authentic Hawaiian atmosphere. Fun Fact: The White Lotus was filmed here.
More Affordable Options
Finding a more affordable hotel in Wailea is definitely possible! While Wailea is known for its luxurious resorts, there are still some great options that won’t break the bank. Here are a few suggestions, all with their own unique appeal:
- Wailea Ekahi Village: This condo complex offers spacious one- and two-bedroom units with full kitchens and private lanais, many with ocean views. The location is fantastic, just steps from Keawakapu Beach and close to other Wailea attractions. Prices start around $300 per night.
- Mana Kai Maui: This resort features condo-style accommodations with kitchens, plus access to amenities like multiple pools, a spa, and tennis courts. Rates vary depending on unit size and season, but you can often find deals starting around $350 per night.
- Maui Coast Hotel: Located in Kihei, just outside of Wailea, this hotel offers modern rooms and suites at more affordable prices. You’ll still have access to beautiful beaches and plenty of on-site amenities, including a pool, restaurant, and fitness center. Rates start around $250 per night.
- Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui: This beachfront resort offers a variety of room types, including some more budget-friendly options, while still providing access to its pools, waterslides, and other amenities. Rates start around $450 per night.
Tips for Finding Deals on Hotels
- Travel during the off-season: May-June and September-October tend to be less expensive times to visit Maui. We’ve also been told that the first couple weeks in December are a good time to visit. When we visited the Big Island during this time, it was definitely way less crowded!
- Be flexible with your dates: If you’re not tied to specific dates, you can often find better deals by traveling during the week or avoiding holidays.
- Book in advance: Many hotels offer early booking discounts, so planning your trip ahead can save you money.
- Consider deals and packages: Look for hotels offering special deals or packages that include amenities like breakfast or activities.
- Consider an Airbnb: Vacation rentals on VRBO or Airbnb seem to be considerably less expensive.
Where to Eat
A fusion of Korean and Hawaiian flavors, Lineage tantalized my taste buds. The short ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, and the Korean fried chicken was crispy, spicy heaven.
Bustling with energy, Monkey Pod offered a taste of local favorites. The potstickers were bursting with juicy goodness, and the Special Mai Tai was a potent tropical concoction.
Craving the delicate artistry of sushi? OAO is your answer. The freshest fish, expertly prepared, and melt-in-your-mouth nigiri will leave you speechless.
For a touch of classic indulgence, Ruth Chris never fails. The sizzling steaks, decadent sides, and impeccable service are pure dining bliss.
This legendary spot is worth the hype (and the months-long reservation wait!). The macadamia nut crusted mahi-mahi is a must-try, and the oceanfront setting adds to the magic.
This oceanfront gem lives up to its hype. The freshest seafood and breathtaking ocean views – perfection!
Rick & I loved stopping here for lunch and breakfast. They have an amazing deli counter with local specialties like kimchi fried rice, musubi, loco moco, poke. The prices are amazing too! You can also grab a bottle of wine or spirits to take back to your room. Hotel drinks can get very pricey ($25/cocktail average)!
For a taste of Polynesian fun, Tikehau Tiki Lounge was the place to be. The thatched-roof bar, tiki torches, and fruity cocktails transported me to a tropical paradise. Sipping on a mai tai while listening to live ukulele music was the perfect way to wind down after a day of adventures.
For a taste of island chic, Tommy Bahama’s restaurant and bar is the perfect spot. The frozen mai tai is legendary, and their happy hour is a great way to unwind after a day of exploring.
Botero Lounge (Located inside the Grand Wailea)
Enjoy an inspired selection of craft cocktails and savor fresh sushi and a range of inventive dishes amid nine larger-than-life sculptures by renowned artist Fernando Botero. Sip on an expertly crafted cocktail, a refreshing mix of island flavors and top-shelf spirits. Choose from classics like mai tais and margaritas. But also, be sure to ask about the “Botero Signature Cocktails,” each inspired by the sculptures themselves.
Things to Do
Maui’s natural beauty extends beyond the beaches. The hike to La Perouse Bay was a revelation. Rugged lava fields, dramatic cliffs, and the endless Pacific painted a breathtaking landscape. Spotting humpback whales breaching in the distance was an unforgettable experience.
The path, paved but with a natural feel, begins near the Andaz Maui resort and stretches for about 1.5 miles one way. It hugs the coastline, winding past luxurious resorts, manicured gardens, and hidden coves. With each bend, a new vista unfolds, unveiling pristine beaches, dramatic lava cliffs, and the vast Pacific Ocean stretching towards the horizon.
Wailea caters to snorkelers of all levels. For beginners, calm bays like Keawakapu Beach and Ulua Beach provide gentle waters and shallow reefs, perfect for exploring with confidence. More experienced snorkelers can venture further out to Molokini Crater, a submerged volcanic cone offering deeper, more diverse reefs. Kayaking tours to Molokini allow you to drift along the crater rim, witnessing even more underwater life.
Whales migrate to Maui’s warm waters from November to May to breed, calve, and nurse their young. During this time, you’ll see them breaching, spyhopping, tail-slapping, and playing with their calves – it’s truly awe-inspiring. You can see them from the beach (Keawakapu Beach, Ulua Beach, and Mokapu Point are popular options) or consider a boat tour.
Tips for Visiting Maui
- Rent a car to explore the island’s hidden gems. We found that it was best to rent a car directly from the hotel and just use it for the day. This is because parking at the hotel was $65/day. But renting a car just for the day turned out to be about that price.
- Pack for all kinds of weather – Maui can be sunny one minute and rainy the next.
- Don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen to protect the coral reefs. It’s required.
- Be respectful of the local culture and environment.
- Aloha means more than just hello – it’s a way of life. Embrace the spirit of aloha and spread kindness wherever you go.
I hope this blog post inspires you to plan your own Maui adventure. And remember, this is just a taste of what the Valley Isle has to offer. So grab your swimsuit, your sense of adventure, and get ready to create your own Maui memories!