Travel Guide

Maui Travel Resources

Want to explore Maui like a local and fully embrace our culture and way of life? This Maui guide should get you started on the right path with fun things locals like to do and how to let go of the wikiwiki life and live on island time.

Lifestyle

Our sandy beaches, tropical breezes, and island style makes Maui a top destination for a relaxing vacation and a relaxing life. Most would express this as the aloha spirit, the sharing of life energy in the present and becoming attuned to mana, but it's more than a philosophy. It's an actual law in Hawaii! The Aloha Spirit Law states: "'Aloha Spirit' is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others."

Couple wearing leis

One way we express the aloha spirit is with our greetings. You may be presented with a lei on your arrival or at a luau, please keep your lei on as it's disrespectful to remove your lei in the presence of a person that gave it to you and you might get a kiss on the cheek when it's presented to you.

Another fun, floral custom is having women put flowers behind their ears, but pay attention to which side it's put on! The right side signals that you're available, the left signifies your relationship status. Just remember, "Right side, right on. Left side, better left alone."

Finally, if you're visiting friends or a home in Hawaii, please take your slippers (flip-flops) off before entering. It's common courtesy and helps keep sand and dirt outside where it belongs.

As you explore Maui, don't be rigid with your routine or schedules, slow down, and embrace the island and our people. You might want to try your hand at giving a local a shaka!

Getting Around

Having a rental car and your own transportation can be one of the easiest ways to travel like a local around the island. Though, there are public transportation options if you want an eco- and budget-friendly alternative.

Breakfast

Dining

It's easy to want to find chain restaurants you're familiar with or visit highly rated Maui restaurants, which you should still do, but for a local experience, ask one of our staff members or your tour guide on where they go for a recommendation.

For breakfast or lunch, you're swinging by 808 Grindz Café, a popular and family-owned Hawaiian café. Everything on their menu can be classified under "onolicious" and is very well priced.

Another breakfast spot that locals love, and tourists, is The Gazebo! They only serve breakfast and lunch from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and sometimes the waiting time to get in is 45 minutes. But once you sink your teeth into the ono banana pancakes with macadamia nuts, you'll forget about that waiting – plus the ocean view outside the restaurant makes the wait time easier.

Spam

Another local favorite is Dollies Pub and Café for great happy hour specials and delicious pizza!

For the freshest fish and amazing cocktails, you're off to Mama's Fish House! The menu consists of fish brought in that day (and you'll get to see the name of your fisherman!) as well as appetizers and mouthwatering desserts.

On another note, eat SPAM. More than 7 million cans of it are sold in Hawaii each year and has become a common staple in our food since its introduction to the island in World War II.

Activities

Visit other islands – Visiting other islands over the weekend or for a day is popular among locals, especially using ferry services to the islands of Molokai and Lanai. Find new and less crowded beaches.

Explore off-site – Our major attractions and areas of sightseeing aren't just for tourists, especially the Road to Hana. Most visitors will drive the stretch without stopping and exploring what's next to the highway, such as trails or hidden beaches. This is where the locals will go.

Catch a show or listen to live music – There's no shortage of bars and restaurants that feature live music and entertainment. There are also many karaoke nights if you want to provide the music, or you can just join the crowd on the dance floor and show off your skills.

Playing a guitar

Get down on Friday – Every Friday on Maui means there's a party that you need to get to! Thanks to the Maui County Office of Economic Development, there's a Maui Friday Town Party spread out across the island. First Fridays happen at Wailuku, second Fridays at Lahaina, third Fridays at Makawao, fourth Fridays at Kihei, and fifth Fridays at Lanai. Food, music, and shopping set the stage for this town party.

End the weekend at the beach – A unique way to end the weekend is heading out to Makena's Little Beach on Sunday nights for a party with fire spinning and drum circles. Please note that there are nudists at this beach, though it's not legal to be nude it's not heavily enforced.

Go to the spa – Visiting Maui might feel like you're already at a spa, but it never hurts to pamper yourself with a rejuvenating spa treatment or massage.

Take a hula or lei making lesson – No, not every local knows how to hula or make a lei, but these classes are very fun and a great way to continue to learn about our history and thriving culture.

Hike local trails – See Hawaii by foot as you trek along our local trail systems in Kapalua. Get your exercise the old fashioned way instead of looking for a gym to swing by during your time on the island.

Festivals

There are many festivals on Maui and nearby Hawaiian Islands that celebrate our culture and heritage and many locals make the trek to join in on the festivities! Attending a festival can be a great way to experience our lifestyle, explore our history, and try new Hawaiian foods you haven't had before. Some of the bigger festivals on Maui or close-by include:

  • World Whale Day
  • Merrie Monarch Festival
  • East Maui Taro Festival
  • Maui Agricultural Festival
  • Maui Film Festival
  • King Kamehameha Day
  • Kapalua Wine & Food Festival
  • Maui Obon Festival
  • Festivals of Aloha
  • Lahaina Halloween
  • Made in Maui Festival

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