Anyone who believes “Maui is for lovers” is just wrong. Sure, it’s romantic, but it is also full of adventure and fun. So much so, that I once went to Maui by myself for Valentine’s Day weekend and crashed a wedding. True story. Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands so there’s a lot to see and do – there’s seriously something for everyone. Sorry honeymooners!
...where to chow down and then unbutton the top button
Located at the Plantation Golf Course in Kapalua, this scenic restaurant is dining at its finest. The Plantation House serves innovative, delectable cuisine in a pristine setting which gives a whole new meaning to the word “panaromic.” The expansive view of the ocean and the surrounding mountains pairs perfectly with your Sauvignon Blanc.
This world-renowned restaurant on the North Shore of Maui lives up to the hype. Wildly popular to both tourists and locals alike, this establishment showcases the best in Polynesian food and fish. Mama’s sits on a beautiful coconut grove right on the beach. Paradise!
They had me at Pie House. Just 15 minutes outside of Lahaina in Olowahu, this casual, charming, farmhouse-chic spot offers fresh, and sustainable focused sandwiches, salads, and baked goods made with local ingredients. The Ahi Benedict and Olowahu Lime Pie are signature favorites.
Flatbread Company sits on the tiny main strip in Paia, a soulful little town on the North Shore that feels equal parts hippie and surfer cool. Their salads and wood-fired flatbreads are made with organic, fresh local ingredients- everything is amazing. Love the bar seating too- cozy and conducive to drinking wine and chatting with your neighbor.
… where to drink up and get down
Any bar frequented by Willie Nelson is a bar I want to frequent. This divey, but charming saloon in Paia has great down-home cooking and is always a good time. They often have live music and/or DJs, and Willie himself has even played a few shows here.
I mean, who doesn’t want to drink at a bar in a cave? Grotto Bar is actually located at the Hyatt in Kaanapali, with a swim lagoon and just a few seats.
The best, and only, rooftop bar in Lahaina. This cool spot, owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, has a lively musical vibe. They always have a great calendar of entertainment with solid food and drinks.
This beachfront bar and restaurant in Lahaina boasts an awesome “farm to bar” menu, patio, and popular happy hour. An ideal spot to listen to live jazz and enjoy one of the best views in town.
…where to crash and get some R&R
This tiny boutique hotel just steps from a lush private beach is a refreshing respite from Maui’s countless sprawling chain hotels and resorts. Stylish and charming, upscale, but not stuffy, Paia Inn was voted a favorite by Travel & Leisure, Sunset, and NY Times, among others.
Set on 15 acres overlooking the ocean, Hotel Wailea is barefoot luxury at its best. It’s modern and plush, with just 72 private suites and an award-winning restaurant, and was voted “#2 Best Hotel in Hawaii” by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards, yet it still feels undiscovered (ie not over crowded) and exclusive.
Located on the upscale resort community of Wailea, Andaz is a relatively new addition to Maui, and a very welcome one at that. It’s not your typical Hawaiian resort – its sophisticated and cool, while also offering all the comforts and luxuries you could imagine.
Popular and lively Kaanapali is home to this beachfront favorite. Located on what is arguably the best beach on this part of the island, Sheraton Kaanapali sits in front of Black Rock, a cliff from where every night a torch-carrying diver ceremoniously jumps into the ocean.
ANTS IN YOUR PANTS
…what to do when you can't sit still
If you’re looking for something different to do that still feels like you’re in Hawaii, try this on for size. Surfing Goat Dairy is located on the lush slopes of Haleakala crater and offers fun tours of the farm where you feed goats, learn how the goat cheese is made, and do a cheese tasting.
If you’re a Magnum PI fan like yours truly, a chopper ride in Hawaii is a must. Maui is a stunning island with a dynamic landscape that is best seen from the air.
December thru April is whale watching season in Maui, and there’s nothing quite like floating on a catamaran with a cocktail in hand to find humpback whales.