A weekend in Maui, Hawaii's second-largest island, can truly be a life-changing experience. Its lush green interior and stunning coastline are opportune for exhilarating adventure and peaceful relaxation.
Where to Stay
Marriott's Maui Ocean Club
Located on Maui's desirable Ka'anapali Beach, the Marriott Maui Ocean Club is affordable luxury. The hotel sits along a one-mile stretch of gorgeous Hawaiian beach. The three and a half acre pool area, outfitted with slides, spas and a kids' shipwreck-themed play area, is ideal for families.
The Marriott offers great package deals year-round, so check before you book to save yourself some cash.
Four Seasons Maui
If your weekend in Maui is truly about indulgence and pampering, then the only place to stay is the Four Seasons Maui. Like all Four Seasons hotels, the amenities here are first-class: decadent dining, an elegant spa, kids' programs and an unparalleled level of customer service. Nearly all the rooms open onto spectacular ocean views and the grand bathrooms house deep marble tubs, showers for two and lighted French makeup vanities.
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel
For those on a more conservative budget, the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel embodies local style and Hawaiian warmth. The hotel is older and less high-tech than other Maui hotels, but the three low-rise wings border an immaculate beach and enclose a palm-tree-sprinkled lawn with a beautiful pool. The beachfront rooms are only separated from the sugary sand and blue Hawaiian waters by Ka'anapali's walking trail.
Each night the courtyard comes alive with tiki torches, hula dancing and Hawaiian music. It's a genuine Hawaiian experience that won't break the bank.
Where to Eat
Serving more than Hawaiian-style pizza, Matteo's is a casual open-air restaurant serving affordably delicious thin-crust pizza. Other tasty menu options include penne in vodka and handmade lasagna. Order at the counter, and then grab one of the outdoor tables overlooking the golf course. It's a great place to enjoy a little slice of home while mingling with the locals.
Mala Ocean Tavern
If you're only spending a few short days on Maui, you definitely want to enjoy brunch at Mala Ocean Tavern. Located in Lahaina, Mala sits right on the beach with stunning views of the surrounding beach and marine life. Owners Mark and Judy Ellman use healthy, organically grown food in their imaginative dishes. For brunch, the "killer French toast is unbeatable -- come early to enjoy this enticing menu at one of the oceanfront tables.
In the tiny Hawaiian village of Olowalu, chef Patrick Callarec (formerly of the Ritz-Carlton's Anuenue Room) has designed the delectable menu at Chez Paul. The signature crispy duck with local fruits or fresh island fish in a champagne and cream sauce keep this dining room full seven days a week. On Saturdays, a live jazz band wakes up sleepy Olowalu and entertains the hungry patrons of Chez Paul till after midnight.
What to See & Do
Road to Hana
This road trip is an all-day activity, but should not be missed. The Road to Hana is world-famous for its flawless natural beauty and cascading waterfalls; it's easy to see why this preserved natural sanctuary is referred to as the "land that time forgot. A rental car is necessary on this trip, and it's best to pack a lunch and bring plenty of water. You will pass a few road stands along the way -- definitely purchase the fresh Hana banana bread. You can also book a van or coach tour, like those offered by Hawaii Fun Tours.
There's no better way to spend a day on Maui than exploring this natural wonderland on horseback. Maui Stables offers two tours daily, led by the "Alaka'i and their apprentice, the "Kako'o, who will begin your journey with the traditional "pule prayer and "oli, a call to the island's ancient ancestors. Groups are kept small so that the guides can impart stories of Hawaii's native culture.
For under $200, you can explore the West Maui Mountains, Molokai and Hana regions of this breathtaking island. The price climbs just a bit for explorations of the entire island. Blue Hawaii Tours are hailed by National Geographic as the premier helicopter tour company in Hawaii. We recommend booking online to receive a discount.
Kahanu Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and offers self-guided tours of Hawaii's native flora and fauna on over 294 acres. Here you will find Pi`ilanihale, the largest ancient temple ruin in Hawaii. It exists today as a rock wall almost 300 yards long. Guided and self-guided tours are available through this stunning landscape that is home to one of Hawaii's last remaining native Pandanus forests.
If you find yourself in Ka'anapali at sunset, head to Leilani's or Hula Grill. Both are located on the sand and offer cheerful atmospheres. Hula Grill has a great appetizer menu, so order some snacks while you enjoy a mai tai or margarita. Additionally, both bars have live music during their happy hours.
In Lahaina, there are plenty of options for an energetic nightlife. For loud rock, head to Cheeseburger in Paradise, but for a slightly more laid-back environment, head a few doors down to Lahaina Fish Company or Kimo's where the decks get packed with revelers at sunset. At the southern end of Lahaina, head to Pacific'O where a raised bar, ocean-side seating and a view of the island of Lanai are the perfect complements to their extensive cocktail menu.
Travel Channel Insider's Tip:
Enjoy watching one of Maui's spectacular sunsets during the cliff-diving ceremony at Black Rock at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. Every night at sunset, a traditional event honoring the sun takes place, followed by a ceremonial cliff dive into the ocean from the dramatic, jagged Black Rock. For the best views and most relaxing experience, set up shop with a mai tai at the Sheraton's beachfront Sundowner Bar.