Tom and I understand the draw the Road to Hana has for travelers. Although there are beautiful sights along the Hana Highway, we purposefully chose to explore other areas of the island. At the end of our 10-day trip to Maui, we found many other fantastic places that are equally lovely and unique as the Road to Hana drive. We encourage you to explore some of these other great places.
Excursion #1: Northern Maui
Kapalua Bay Beach is the perfect place to start your day. This beach tops many “best beaches” lists for good reason. The beach is located within a protected cove on the northwest section of Maui. The calm and turquoise blue waters with abundant coral are perfect for a morning snorkel excursion.
Continue north along the highway to your next snorkeling destination: Honoloa Bay
Park along the side of the road and walk about 5 minutes on a dirt path to reach the rocky beach. This spot isn’t the greatest for relaxing as it is very rocky. However, the snorkeling is awesome. Just like Kapalua Bay Beach, the water here is protected and the clear waters are a beautiful tropical blue. During our excursion, we see literally thousands of fish swimming in a school. And sea turtles! The marine life is spectacular.
After snorkeling, Tom and I recommend enjoying the drive along the Northern coast of Maui. The roads are narrow and curve sharply with the cliffs. It is similar to the Road to Hana, but the scenery is different. The seawalls remind me a little of Ireland (strange, right?) Be sure to pull off at a scenic place to eat a picnic lunch or a treat from a roadside stand.
When the roads get a little too twisting, you will drive by Julia’s Banana Bread. It is a small roadside stand serving samples of everything that is sold. Be sure to pick up a loaf of the tasty treat to snack on during your drive. It is extremely moist and full of real banana goodness. Shortly after leaving Julia’s, reality sets in and you soon find yourself in the city of Kahului. After a day of sun and driving, treat yourself to a delicious meal on your way back to your hotel!
Excursion #2: Upcountry and Paia
In addition to gorgeous beaches and ocean views, Maui boasts a lovely mountain and agriculture scene. We recommend starting your drive in the morning to see all that the area has to offer.
On your way to the heart of Upcountry, stop in the quaint town of Makawao for provisions. First and foremost is breakfast. And the place to go is T. Komoda Store and Bakery. In operation since 1916, they are known for their delicious donuts on a stick, cream puffs, and malasadas. While you sample the sweets, walk around the lovely town and look around the eclectic stores and galleries. We unfortunately arrived when the bakery was closed. So we grabbed snacks and water at the deli across the street and went window shopping.
Next, drive toward Kula. Since the area is hugely agicultural, why not start off with a stop at a farm stand? Kula Country Farms is located just off Kula Highway. Situated on the slopes of Haleakala, this farm stand has amazing views of the island. The selection of goods is surprisingly small. The best part of stopping here is to stretch your legs and enjoy the landscape.
If you love cheese, check out Surfing Goat Dairy. It’s an option on the island. Unfortunately, it did not live up to our expectations. The farm is tiny and in order to try the cheeses, you need to pay a large price for a tasting tray. It’s a cute theme, but we wouldn’t go back.
A lovely tranquil spot to stop is Ali’I Kula Lavender. There is a $3 entry fee for the grounds. Once you pay this, feel free to explore the grounds on your own which is our favorite way to discover the lovely scenery. However, multiple tours are available to gain more in-depth information.
After spending the late morning and afternoon exploring the countryside, start heading north to Paia for the late afternoon and evening. Paia is a funky, eclectic town which boasts stores selling a wide array of clothing, jewelry, and sporting goods. The art galleries are lovely places to see the diverse artist scene.
For dinner, go ahead and splurge. We recommend Mama’s Fish House . Try to plan ahead and make a dinner reservation. Otherwise, you may have to try your luck for seating at the bar. The grounds are stunning. Take some time to walk around the beach. If your timing is right, you will be there to enjoy a spectacular sunset. Once you’re seated, the service is phenomenal. Since you are on vacation, we recommend starting the meal off with a Mai Tai. Everything on the menu is delicious. We started off with wild fish collar and it is simply the meatiest and tastiest collar we’ve had. For our main dinner, I had fish stuffed with crab and Tom selected the roasted rack of wild venison. With the amazing view, fantastic service, and delicious food, Mama’s Fish House is the perfect place to end your day in Maui.
Maui is diverse in its’ offerings. There are so many places to see, things to do, and foods and beverages to taste. Sure, you need to go to the typical tourist attractions. However, don’t feel you have to do everything. Take your time and explore Maui. Find your own favorite place. And most of all, enjoy yourself in paradise.
Going beyond the ordinary is what we do best when we travel. Contact us with your travel needs.