“Let us truly live aloha in our actions, in our words and in our hearts.”
– Tulsi Gabbard
Black, red and glittering white sand beaches, otherworldly volcanic landscapes, endless rainbows, and the friendly Aloha Spirit are just a few show-stopping reasons to make Maui your next destination.
Hawaii’s second largest island has been a world-famous vacation spot for years, and while it’s not exactly under-the-radar these days, our local photographers have come together to curate the ultimate itinerary of unmissable spots just for you. From making your very own Haku Lei to sampling the best local brews to watching a fiery sunrise on top of a crater, there are countless ways to make your trip to Maui one-of-a-kind.
Where do the locals eat on Maui?
- Sale Pepe: This family-run Italian spot with owners hailing from New York and Milan (yes, they’re the real deal) boasts a warm and social atmosphere. Enjoy fresh pasta and pizza all made in-house with a refreshing glass of wine. – Taena
- Ichiban Okazuya: This unassuming, counter-service spot for local Japanese food is nestled in Wailuku, and it’s notorious for selling out fast. What it lacks in seating, it makes up for with incredible dishes and an ultra-friendly staff. My recommendation? Arrive early and be sure to order the chicken katsu curry. – Marie
- Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop: As you drive the winding road connecting Lahaina to central Maui, Leoda’s is a tried and true pit stop along the way known for their many sweet and savoury pies. Grab a handheld pie for snackage on-the-go or sit and stay a while, and don’t forget to stock up on fresh fruits at the neighbouring market. – Natalie
- Coconut’s Fish Cafe: You can find fresh fish in nearly every restaurant on Maui – this is an island, after all! – but the best fish tacos on the island can be found here in Kihei. It’s great for a quick lunch if your goal is maximizing beach time! – Wendy
- Tin Roof: This mom & pop shop is the perfect place for incredible takeout food. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but my favorite is to check their unique specials of the day on Instagram. – Taena
Honourable mentions: Kamoda Store & Bakery for malasadas, Ululanis Hawaiian Shave Ice, Paia Bowls, Mama’s Fish House
Photo: Flytographer Taena in Maui
“Our Flytographer shoot was a highlight – we had so much fun and got to be all romantic on the beach! We also loved exploring all of the delicious food Maui has to offer – we were particularly impressed by Paia, for both food and cute local vibes.” – Jessica
Where do the locals drink on Maui?
- Monkeypod Kitchen: Your trip to Hawaii isn’t complete without ordering the best mai tai on island, with a side of live, local music during their popular happy hour. Tasty, refreshing and Instagrammable? Count us in. – Nicole
- Maui Brewing Co.: Hawaii’s largest craft brewery serves 8 unique ales & lagers, plus a slew of limited release brews you need to enjoy before they’re gone! For beer-enthusiasts, definitely take a tour of the brewery to see their process from start to finish. – Taena
- Maui Wine: If we could bottle up Maui into a single drink, a bottle of Maui Blanc pineapple wine would be it. This scenic winery on a hillside overlooks the open ocean, and a tasting in their historic buildings, where King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi’olani came to relax over 150 years ago, is a one-of-a-kind experience. – Wendy
- Wow Wow Lemonade: Is there anything more refreshing after a day in the sun than fresh pressed lemonade? Located conveniently in Kihei, it’s a daily staple for the whole family, and my personal favourite is the Li Hing Mui Lemonade. – Marie
- Paia Bay Coffee: This quirky spot in the charming town of Paia is the epitome of “good vibes.” Come in the afternoon for a honey lavender coffee and fresh baked banana bread, and return in the evenings for live music and entertainment during happy hour. – Natalie
Honourable mentions: Sip Me, Cafe Cafe Maui, The Pint & Cork, Maui Kombucha
Where to take the best vacation photos on Maui
What are the top things to see & do on Maui?
- Trilogy Snorkeling Tour: With some of the clearest waters and most vibrant underwater landscapes in the world, snorkeling is a bucket list activity that you can enjoy around the island. However, snorkeling around Molokini, a partially submerged caldera just off the coast, is world-famous. We recommend booking a tour with the family owned and operated Sail Trilogy for a perfect experience, above and below the water. – Natalie
- Road to Hana: This adventure is more than just a winding drive around Maui’s east side; as you make your way through jungles, around black sand beaches and past towering waterfalls, you’ll feel transported back in time where the legendary tales about how the islands came to be feel absolutely real. We recommend spending the night in Hana so you can take your time, and cell service is limited so download an audio guide beforehand. – Kevin
- Haleakala Crater Bike Ride: Watching sunrise break over the top of Haleakala crater is unforgettable, and the best way to experience the stunning Maui countryside is cruising on a bike at your own pace down to the bottom afterwards (almost no pedaling required!). While the 3am check in time is less than ideal, we promise the views are worth the early wake up call. – Natalie
- Hiking: Idyllic valleys, picturesque waterfalls, and beautiful fauna & flora make the various hikes around Maui the best way to get up close and personal with the beauty of the island. The Seven Sacred Pools (‘Ohe’o Gulch), the Bamboo Forest, and Iao Valley are my top three spots to explore. – Taena
- Ali’i Kula Lavender Fields: Overlooking the stunning Upcountry region of Maui is this unique lavender farm on the slopes of Haleakaela. Wander the grounds to find panoramic views over Maui and be sure to shop from their unique array of souvenirs – lavender liliko’i jelly, lavender essential oil, lavender rose soap and even lavender-flavored coffee to name a few. – Natalie
Honourable mentions: watch the surfers at Ho’okipa Beach, browse art galleries in Lahaina, explore our favorite beaches
Where to shop on Maui?
- Maui Swap Meet: A crowd favourite for locals and visitors alike, the Maui Swap Meet has been a staple nearly 40 years. From hunting for bargains to sampling your way through the food trucks to chatting with the vendors, it’s the best place to pick up unique souvenirs for everyone while supporting local businesses. – Wendy
- Haku Maui: Tucked away in the quiet town of Makawao, this tiny shop is the best place to find handcrafted and custom-made floral crowns, called Lei Po’o, and they’re our favourite accessory for a Flytographer shoot! You can even take a workshop for a traditional Haku Lei-making experience using flowers and greenery sourced from the surrounding Upcountry. – Natalie
- Farmer’s Markets: It’s no surprise that in a place as lush as Hawaii, delicious, farm fresh produce can be found daily across the island. Homemade banana bread, fresh coconuts and even exotic fruits like starfruit, lilikoi, breadfruit and strawberry guavas are just a few of the many tasty foods to sample. – Vicky
- Native Intelligence: This eclectic storefront celebrates Native Hawaiian culture, craftsmanship and design by only showcasing local artisans and creatives. Handmade products, as well as fresh lei can be found here, and while shopping, you can learn more about traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian culture for an authentic experience. – Natalie
- Lahaina Front Street: Wandering in and out of the many storefronts, grabbing a shaved ice along the way, and resting under the expansive banyan tree are all parts of experiencing the adorable town of Lahaina. Shop for a custom piece of art from many of the art galleries dotting the town while chatting with the artist themselves. You could easily spend the day exploring every corner, and with the ocean just across the street, Lahaina is well-loved by locals and visitors alike. – Natalie
Honourable mentions: Heart in Paia, Kula Gold Co., Request Music
Are you ready to experience the Aloha Spirit, feel the Hawaiian sun on your shoulders and enjoy the trip of a lifetime? We love sharing insider tips gathered from our local photographers so you can make the most of your adventure. We can’t wait to capture your beautiful memories on Maui.