Area Activities (Have a blast!)
First, we recommend a good guide book like MAUI REVEALED by Andrew Doughty as a companion to researching all these day trips.
And while at Puamana Nani, you’ll have the opportunity to check out the GUIDE BOOK that sits on the coffee table in the living room. This is our very personal collection of recommendations for all the island has to offer … there for you.
- SNORKEL/SURF FIESTA: Start with coffee from Paia Bay Coffee across our lane within the courtyard of Nalu Kai Lodge, then rent snorkel gear from the Maui Dive Shop in Kihei. Snorkel in the morning at Dumps, La Perouse (only if there is not a south swell), lunch at Pita Paradise (Wailea), Matteos, Monkey Pod or Coconuts fish tacos. If you kiteboard or windsurf then head to Kanaha, Sprecks, Sugar Cove, Kuau, Lanes or Hookipa for shred action, or if you are new to those sports, take a lesson with HST, then dinner in Paia at one of many fine establishments and listen to music. Before we dive too deep into further adventures that involve oceanic activities, let us just offer you this Maui water safety video to address the specific hazards that are particular to our island. More importantly, the site also offers an online brochure, “Maui Ocean Safety Guide”, that we like a lot, with great information, some eye opening metrics, maps, and everything you need to know. An ounce of prevention …
- SUNNY UPCOUNTRY HIKE: Breakfast at Grandma’s or visit the Lavender Farm near Poli Poli Park and eat lavender scones with tea while enjoying bicoastal views. Walk or bike two miles on Thompson Rd (park at Grandmas) and walk from there. From Grandma’s Coffee House drive to Ulupalakua Winery. Keep on going all the way to Kaupo, or even all the way to Hana! Otherwise, turn around and have lunch at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store (across from the winery) where they serve organic, local, grass-fed beef and elk burgers.
- THE MIGHTY VOLCANO! Upcountry breakfast at La Provence (must call to check when this place is open), then take the Crater Rd and check out one of earth’s natural wonders; Haleakala volcano (active, and the largest mountain on earth if you measure from the sea floor). It’s a spectacular 12 mile hike. Park your car below and hitch a ride to the top (friendly locals will take you to the top – seriously) and then hike down Sliding Sands Trail back to your car. On your way back to Paia take Haliimaile Rd to Baldwin Ave. Dine at Haliiamaile General Store or stop in Makawao for great shopping, then cocktails and music at Casanova’s.
- WEST SIDE SURF PARADISE: During summer south swell, breakfast at Café Des Amis in Paia, then take boards and go to Launiopoko or Puamana Park on the upper west side near Lahaina. Or if you are new to surfing take a lesson with The Maui Surfer Girls–for guys and girls. Eat lunch in Lahaina at Star Noodle, or Longhis (ocean view) or Leoda’s on the way back to Paia. Stop at Maalaea to tour the Maui Ocean Center. The shark tunnel is really cool! Kids will enjoy putt putt golf or the climbing wall. From Maalaea there is a five mile stretch of easy walking (Sugar Beach) that goes all the way to Kihei.
- SURF-TURF: Head toward Wailuku and then either surf at Sand Piles, or hike The Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Preserve, where you will find ancient Hawaiian ruins and a huge heiau, not to mention stunning ocean views and secret surf spots. After your hike, hit a few golf balls at a gorgeous public golf club, Waiehu. From Wailuku you can also swing by Iao Valley to see waterfalls, or walk through the botanical gardens on the way.
- GREET THE DAY IN KIHEI: What could be cooler, or more memorable, than slicing through the Pacific in one of the giant native outrigger canoes? Get to Kihei Canoe Club early (7am) in the morning, to sign in, do the ceremonial chant to greet the sun, and also learn about Hawaiian culture, with a little instruction in paddling technique and local sea life … then out into the big water from 8 – 9am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Afterwards, knock around the village there and stick around Kihei for a best-ever fish taco lunches at Coconut’s.
- WALK THROUGH PARADISE: For lower west end, hike to La Perouse and beyond on The King’s Trail (it’s full of huge lava stones – substantial hiking shoes needed) It goes for miles, then opens up into little marshy ponds that harbor endangered birds – plus super secret surf spots. Cool. Nearby spend the afternoon at the most beautiful beach on the island, Makena! (please please be careful of the lethal waves that rise up and slap people down right at the edge of the water – that’s known as shore pound – lots of injuries where one least expects it especially during summer south swells- DANGER).
- WATERFALLS & BAMBOO FORESTS: Head EAST to Haiku on the magnificent Hana Hwy, to Twin Falls. From there, hike to numerous waterfalls. Be amazed. Jump off those waterfalls. Past Twin Falls hike to The Bamboo Forest. Listen to gigantic bamboos clacking in the wind. Stop in Haiku to eat dinner at Nuka (780 Haiku Rd) and go crazy for their fresh sushi. Now that’s a day!
- WEST SIDE PLEASURE CRUISE: Take the quintessential upper west side drive along the beautiful coast from Honopiilani Hwy all the way to Honolua. Surf at Kahana, or snorkel Honolua or hike from Honolua to Wind Mills (stunning hike – not well known). Another great hike is from Kapalua Golf Course up the mountain and through fields of monarch butterflies. A gorgeous beach to relax on in this area is called Iron Woods. Places that we eat along the way are Longhis, Star Noodle and Leodas.
Right out the door in Paia are all these within-walking-distance places: Need COFFEE? There are a few, but we go to Paia Bay Coffee a few steps away from the Paia Surf for a more traditional, high-caliber café experience, with plenty of breakfast options, and will even put together a picnic lunch for you.
When it’s serious meal time, one of our all time favorites is Café Des Amis (42 Baldwin Rd) for their French, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisine. Tiny place, inexpensive, and very tasty. Curries and crêpes after surfing works just fine. Down the street a little is Milagro’s (3 Baldwin Rd) for outstanding mexican/margaritas/fish tacos. A stone’s throw from there is Paia Fishmarket (100 Hana Hway) for outstanding fish sandwiches (their ahi burger is the best fish sando on the island). They have all matter of seafood, large portions, and reasonable prices. #1 cure for jet lag, so they say. Nearby is Flatbread (89 Hana Hway) for organic, locally-grown ingredients in great salads and pizzas. Always good. Also nearby is Café Mambo (30 Baldwin Rd) for island style breakfast (plus lunch & dinner). Omelettes, burritos, french toast, smoothies, just to start. The best dishes here are the duck fajita, duck burger and duck salad. We love it. A little further down the road (149 Hana Hwy) is Thai Spice. We recommend.
And for that once-in-a-lifetime, fine dining experience, take a short drive east on the Hana Hway to Mama’s Fish House (799 Poho Place) for some of the most memorable seafood dishes you’ll ever encounter. Watch windsurfers, kitesurfers, surfers and stand up paddlers shred waves while you’re dining. It’s more expensive than the other places, but in this case, it’s totally worth it.
For dessert just make it Ono Gelato Co. (99 Hana Hwy), a place that manages to combine the best gelato with the exploding fruit goodness and variety of the islands.
Event Planning, etc.
We love Sugar Beach for getting the right kind of pro help to make weddings, graduations, reunions, or any kind of big gathering you can think of extra special. Our friend Lee is the chef and she’s spectacular. And if Paia Surf is filled up, or not exactly what you’re looking for, our friends Don and Joy Nelson run Nellie’s On Maui Vacation Rentals, with some great coastal rentals on the south, and north, shore (they’re our neighbors).
Couple Of One Stops For Water Sport Gear
Need to get your vacation water gear ASAP? And all in one place? Top notch in this category is HiTech (425 Koloa St, Kahului). Ask for Kim Ball or Alex while you’re there. Another great one stop shop is Adventure Sports Maui (400 Hana Hwy) for apparel, wetsuits, rash guards, sunglasses, footwear of all stripes, all types of boards (kite, SUP, surf, paddle, body), lessons, rentals, and anything else you’d want. Yet another great shop is Second Wind (111 Hana Hwy #110) and another Hawaiian Island Surf N Sports (415 Dairy Rd / ask for Leo). For snorkel gear you will be driving to the other side of the island. Any Maui Dive Shop (shops in Kihei and Lahaina) will have anything you need and advise as to where the best spot to snorkel is that day. All these shops are wonderful and full of great people who want to help make your experience on Maui the very best. We know because we live here and see these guys and gals in the water!