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Your Guide to Everything Other Than the Beach in Maui

Date

Jul 22, 2022

Publisher:

The Thrillist

The picture painted in most people’s minds when they think of Maui includes world-famous beaches, surfing, scouting sea turtles, hopping on a catamaran with an island drink, and basically anything that has to do with the water. It’s true, the beaches are paradise—it’s an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, after all. And you’d be remiss not to check out some of the pristine beaches like Ka’anapali, Kapalua, and Makena, to name a few. But there’s way more to Maui than beaches.

Nicknamed the Valley Isle, small towns with personalities of their own dot the central valley between Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. Most don’t think of towns like Wailuku, as it isn’t on the beach, but what does exist there is one of Hawaii’s coolest cocktail bars and a bento box spot that sells out on the regular. In Haiku, rent a 20-acre plantation with 20 of your closest friends without breaking the bank—or turn your phone off and practice wellness at an off-the-grid hotel.

If you’re craving tranquil views, outstanding oyster shooters and smash burgers, views spit out of a catalog, perfect weather year-round, and, okay, some of the world’s prettiest beaches, there’s never been a better time to plan a trip to Maui than now.

Hawaii is popular for good reason, but tourists would be at a huge loss to not engage with the local culture and at least hear about protecting the special land while visiting. An easy way to learn more while still experiencing all the beautiful nature is to head to Kipuka Olowalu and volunteer. The experience involves a trek around a Jurassic-Park-like plot of land in the Olowalu valley, where you’ll immerse yourself in Hawaiian farming techniques, the replanting of native species, and preserving culture. And then you can get back to checking off all of the below.

Try a non-oceanfront hotel

Oceanfront property is abundant and always in demand, but Maui has several more private best-kept secrets (that are still in close proximity to it all). Hotel Wailea in the exclusive Wailea Resort sits 300 feet above sea level with views of mountains, Hawaiian islands, and the sea. The 5-star Relais & Chateau property is decently close to shops, beaches, and luaus, but it feels worlds away from the action. It doesn’t get much better than seeing the sunrise and sunset from an ocean view suite—and being within walking distance to one of Maui’s best bars: Birdcage Bar, where creative cocktails flow and lovebirds make an appearance around sunset. The hotel remains the only luxury, adult-only digs, and this means you don’t have to worry about kids taking up prime pool space.