I've been back in Hawai'i for about two and a half weeks, and I leave next Friday. Being on Maui (my home island) is always fun, and there a few things that I do my best to hit up while I'm here (I don't always succeed, because work happens). Obviously, there are a ton of things to do on any of the Hawaiian islands. This blog post is just a small sampling of things that I absolutely love to do on Maui.
1. Shave Ice
This one is really easy to knock off your to-do list. Go to Front Street. Stop at either Ululani's or Local Boys West, and get some of the best shave ice you'll ever have. Those two are by far the best shave ice shops on the westside. If you are paying in cash, Local Boys includes their add-ons in the price, and they only deal with quarters and dollars (making life easy). On the other hand, Ululani's has a finer ice shave.
2. Take a hike.
Which hike depends on your level of stamina and personal preferences (jungle? Mountain? Forest? Oceanside?). There are plenty of gorgeous hikes on the Valley Isle. Pick one and go! Besides, this activity is free.
3. Visit Iao Valley.
Speaking of valleys, Iao Valley is gorgeous. There's a cutsie little plantation village (which is free) and a science center for kids (which is not). However, my favorite part is, of course, swimming in the river.
4. Sunset Chasing.
Simply put, this is just driving west along the coast around sunset. On the one hand, I'm glad this isn't a particularly big activity with tourists. On the other hand, I think it's an absolute blast to go find a great sunset view. The best thing to do is drive past Kapalua about an hour before the sun is supposed to set. You want to get a little ways up the northwest coast, and when you feel ready, turn the car around and drive back toward the sunset. You can stop at lookout points and take pictures; there are some great coastal views on the northwest shore as well as well. It's a great way to spend an hour in the evening, and if you stop at Napili coffee before leaving for the sunset, you'll be engaged and caffeinated.
5. Watch the Haleakala Sunrise.
This activity is everything it's cracked up to be; just keep in mind that it will actually be very cold. After watching the sunrise, hit up Kamoda's bakery in Makawao and get some donuts. Remember, if you do go see the sunrise, you'll be pretty exhausted that day. If you choose to go to the beach afterward, wear plenty of sunscreen, as you'll fall asleep.
6. Grindz (food). As a local, this is something I do without thinking, but if you are visiting the island, spend some time getting to know local foods. American-style food is mostly comfort-style food - simple ingredients, similar flavors, and a lot of home-cooked vibes. Hawaiian food is pretty much the same, except for our version of home-cooked, simple, and comforting. Once you've had a couple plates of shoyu chicken or loco moco, you'll be convinced. And just so you know, there really aren't many "sketchy" places, since food is such a huge cultural thing. Try the hole-in-the-wall places. They tend to be awesome.
7. Go to the beach - after doing something else. I strongly recommend having plans that do not involve the beach on most days, and going to the beach afterward. For example, I love going after a hike. Take advantage of the beaches, but don't miss out on everything else Maui has to offer.
Hana is not the only amazing destination on Maui that takes a long drive. Spend a day exploring Haiku, Kula, and the lava fields. Trust me, the views are amazing.
What else should people do when visiting Maui? Let me know in the comments!