Insider Guide to Maui: Local Tips, Hangouts and Sites

Known as the Magic Isle, Maui’s natural beauty and blend of chic luxury and bohemian funkiness have earned this tropical paradise the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award for the Best Island in the U.S. Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is considered the friendliest and most welcoming by vacationers. Islanders are noted for their warm hospitality, while this tropical paradise offers memorable experiences for those willing to search out its hidden gems. Get the scoop with out insider guide to Maui.

6 Vacation Tips: Your Insider Guide to Maui

Walk Around Wailuku

After visiting the banyan tree in historic Lahaina, head inland to funky Wailuku in the Iao Valley. This town has grown into a hot spot for family-owned businesses, boutiques and restaurants. Stop by the Wailuku Coffee Co. to sample the best cup of coffee on the island.

Relax on Hamoa

Kapalua Beach on the Kannapali Coast ranks among the most popular beaches in Maui. However, secluded Hamoa Beach — just past Hasegawa’s General Store on Hana Highway — offers a remote escape surrounded by cliffs. Due to its open-ocean location, this spot also welcomes surfers.

Stroll Through Bamboo

On the road to Hana, stop by the Bamboo Forest for an Old Hawaii feel. Located between mile markers 6 and 7, find an outdoor oasis with bamboo trees, waterfalls and swimming holes. Make sure to bring water, bug spray, sunscreen and snacks.

Go Bodysurfing

Bodysurf on Kaplua Beach or nearby D.T. Fleming Beach. Other beaches with ideal bodysurfing waves include Baldwin Beach outside Paia, Mokuleia Beach just past Kapalua Resort on the Honoapiilani Highway, Oneloa Beach in Makena, and Ulua Beach in Kihei. Bodysurfing takes more practice than skill, but visitors will find plenty of locals happy to give tips.

Try the Burgers

Enjoy a ranch-grilled burger, a Maui specialty. For some of the best burgers on the island, stop at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store in upcountry. It’s the perfect place to stop for local art, music, and juicy beef, lamb or Elk burgers. Sit outside under shade trees for the perfect picnic.

Book a Rental Instead of Room

Maui has some beautiful hotels and resorts, but Maui vacation rentals provide better value and many offer the same level of luxury. No matter what size the group, visitors will find rentals with one, two and three bedrooms. In addition, many of the spacious homes have full kitchens, private patios, ocean views and all the comforts of home.

Need a new hiking spot? Read about the top Maui waterfalls and where to find them.