Best Mountain and Road Biking on Maui – HOP to it

Whether you bring or rent a bike, there are many options for those looking to bicycle on Maui. For the best mountain biking, you’ll want to head upcountry. For road biking, you’ll find plenty of bike paths or roads with wide shoulders to accommodate you. In this article, we will recommend three road and three mountain bike rides that you can do without going through an activity service. Click here to download a (slightly outdated) PDF map of Maui with bicycle paths highlighted. The map is only a photo of a map, so it’s not all that clear, but it’s fine for an overview. Stop by a bicycle shop to pick up an actual map.

MOUNTAIN BIKING
Maui has some outstanding mountain bike paths, but if you want to ride on the best, you’re going to need to head upcountry.

Kahakapao Loop (Makawao Forest Reserve)
Drive just past Makawao Town (be sure to visit Komoda’s for some tasty baked treats in Makawao before or after your ride) and you’ll find this popular mountain bike trail. It’s roughly six miles long with around a 1000′ elevation gain. Unless it’s wet, which creates a sloppy terrain, it’s a good trail for all levels, from strong children to adults. If you have kids, we recommend doing the trail counter-clockwise. Otherwise, go clockwise, the descent will be a little more fun. (Kahakapao Loop)

Polipoli Springs Loop (Kula)
Located in Kula, the Polipoli Springs Loop is one of several mountain bike trails in the Polipoli Spring State recreational area. This loop covers the popular Mamane trail, which many consider to be the most fun part of the Skyline Trail (listed below). This ride can get technical, with some areas of rocks and boulders, so make sure you’re prepared. The Polipoli Springs area is generally quite nice before 10:00 AM, but after 10, it is almost always covered with clouds. So we recommend waking up early and hitting the trail first thing in the morning. (Polipoli Springs Loop)

Skyline Trail (Haleakala Summit)
The crown jewel of mountain bike rides on Maui, the Skyline trail up at the summit of Haleakala is a once-in-a-lifetime ride so fulfilling you may do it twice. You start at the summit, where it’s freezing (literally) cold, then you head down. As such, unless you plan on riding back up, you’ll need to park one car at the summit and another at the Rice Memorial Park pick-up point in Kula. You’ll encounter different terrains on the ride including loose volcanic cinder, forest, grass and gravel. One of the nice things about this trail is that tour operators are not allowed to go up there. So you won’t find yourself behind a large group when the trail turns to single-track. Before you do this one, make sure you do your research. It can be tricky at spots, but it’s so worth it! The views are simply breathtaking. (Skyline Trail)

ROAD BIKING
Some people don’t like road biking on Maui because dedicated bike lanes are rare. But, most of the roads do have wide shoulders and biking is legal on highways.

Haleakala (Paia to the Haleakala Summit)
Amazingly, Haleakala is not considered a steep climb by avid bikers. We’ve only done this ride once (once is enough!), but we think it’s pretty darn steep. With that in mind, even experienced bikers say the climb is relentless. If you’re going to do this ride, know that roads are well paved and drivers are on the lookout for riders (mostly going downhill) so it’s fairly safe from a traffic perspective. One issue is the weather. If you start in Paia, you’re basically starting at sea level and ending up at 10,000 feet. Along the way, you may encounter heavy winds and even sleet, especially in the winter months. The ride from Paia is about 35 miles to the summit. (Haleakala Summit Ride)

Maui North Shore Greenway Trail (Kahului to Paia)
Compared to the other two rides in the “road” section of this article, this one is a piece of cake, but it’s also quite cool. The ride from Kahului to Paia is only about 7 miles. You can stay on the trail, which takes you behind the airport, if you want to beeline to Paia, but we recommend you veer off the trail into the neighborhoods along the ocean. Spreckelsville and Baldwin Beach are amongst the stops you can make. This ride is flat the entire way and is safely tucked away from the highway, save for about a 100 meter stretch just prior to hitting Paia, making it a great family ride. The way Paia traffic is nowadays from Kahului, riding a bike may actually be faster than driving a car! (Maui North Shore Greenway Trail)

West Maui Loop
You can start this loop, really, anywhere between Kapalua and Kahului. Even from out in Kihei/Wailea, though from there it isn’t technically a loop. The ride essentially goes around the West Maui Mountains, affording you incredible views of the ocean and the mountains. In total, the loop is about 60 miles. Outside of the mountain part of the ride, it’s relatively flat. If you do it, the folks at West Maui Cycles recommend you start early in the morning and go clockwise from Lahaina and counter-clockwise from Kahului so you’ll avoid the heavy afternoon winds.

Do you have a favorite bike ride on Maui? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Five Romantic Activities on Maui – HOP to it

Maui is a featured destination for weddings and honeymoons. But its beauty and romantic settings aren’t just for newlyweds. One doesn’t need to be married to explore Maui like a newlywed. Sure, a romantic sunset dinner on an outdoor patio is always nice. But here are some other fun and romantic things to do on Maui with a loved one that will set your hearts aflutter.

Couples Massage
It may be a bit of a cliche, but a couples massage is really romantic. Add in an the allure of Maui and your massage gets taken to the next level. We polled a couple of massage therapists who are NOT affiliated with any these locations and they recommended the following:

Full Moon Hike
If you have an adventurous streak, this might be the one for you. Obviously, you’ll need perfect timing to do this hike, as in, there needs to be a full moon and the skies need to be clear of clouds. OK, if both of those are in play, then we highly recommend giving the 5-mile roundtrip (if you’re doing it as up and back) Pali Trail hike up to the windmills a shot. You’ll still want to bring a headlamp or flashlight with you, but the moon does a great job illuminating the trail. Once you’ve reached the windmills, the view of of the stars is a sight to behold. It takes about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace to reach the windmills (both from the Lahaina and the Ma’alaea side).

Full Moon Tide Pools
If a 3.0 hour hike in the dark isn’t your thing, then maybe exploring tide pools by the light of the moon is more in your wheelhouse. Here’s a list of our favorite tide pools. All of them, except the Olivine Pools would be fantastic with a full moon. The creatures that come out at night are fascinating. Combined with a sunset stroll and some light snacks and you have a uniquely Maui night of romance.

Haleakala Sunrise
Waking up at 3:00 and driving for nearly 1.5 hours to stand in the freezing cold is no one’s idea of fun or romantic. But once you reach the summit of Haleakala and see the first glimpses of light peaking out over the horizon, you’ll be so thankful you did. Hold your sweetie tight and take in one of nature’s true beauties. Two things to note. Most days, it’s literally freezing. You’ll see ice up there from late fall to early spring, so dress appropriately. Second, you need to make reservations with the National Parks Service or you’ll be turned away at the summit. Follow this link to make reservations.

Sunset Dinner Cruise
A romantic three-course meal with table side service and cocktails is just the start of a sunset dinner cruise with Hawaii Ocean Project. With guaranteed deck-top seating, you won’t miss a second of the Maui’s famed sunset. Add in live music and dancing, and you’re sure to spend a romantic evening at sea with the one you love. Book a trip here and save 10%

Sunset Walk
Both Wailea (Wailea Coastal Walk) and Kapalua (Kapalua Coastal Trail) have wonderful paths for a nice sunset (or sunrise) walk along the shore. Both paths are roughly 1.5 miles in length. So if you head out at sunset, make sure you’ll be back before the sun completely sets or you bring a flashlight (or use your phone’s flashlight app). As a bonus, during the winter months, you may see whales from both locations.

What do you like to do for romance on Maui? Leave us a comment below!

Getting Around Maui: Rental Cars, Shuttles, Busses, Cabs and Ride Sharing Options

(Complete listing of all forms of Maui transportation is at the bottom of the article)

Often the first thing a person does when landing on Maui is head to the car rental station and hop on a shuttle to pick up a car. This part of the rental car journey is fairly seamless. It’s once you get to the agency where troubles can pop up. For whatever reason, the larger agencies seem to be continually understaffed. Waits of two hours to get your car have been known to happen. It’s a real bummer of a way to start your vacation. That said, most of the time the waits are not that extreme and unless you wish to go carless, you really have no choice but to bite the bullet.

But good news is on the way. A new rental car facility, housing all of the rental car agencies, is being built on the airport grounds, complete with an electric train to carry passengers to and from the main terminal and baggage claim areas. It is scheduled to be up and running in the Fall/Winter of 2019. Hopefully by then the agencies will have their acts together.

More good news? There is healthy competition for car rentals and the prices for rentals by the week are actually quite comparable to mainland pricing, depending on the time of year you visit. If you come during the winter months, expect to pay more. We’ve found the best deal vs. hassle incurred to be at Costco. If you’re a Costco member, you can save significant amount from four of the larger rental car agencies: Alamo, Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

If you’re not a Costco member and you aren’t picky about the agency you use, Hotwire.com and Priceline.com both offer “blind” pricing, meaning it will quote you a price, but not tell you which rental agency the car is from until after you book it. The pricing at these two places tends to be non-refundable. So, if price isn’t your ultimate decision factor or you have “member” status at a particular rental car company, you may be better off spending a few extra bucks and booking directly with the company of your choice.

Another option for low cost cars is to go through one of the smaller, local car companies. Where the larger car companies tend to rent “like new” cars that glisten with the sun, the local companies tend to rent used cars that have a bit of a rundown feeling. That said, these cars also don’t scream “tourist,” so the cars are safer from prowlers. There’s also an option for eco-friendly electric cars and Prius models (see list below).

The final option for renting a car on Maui is to not rent a car on Maui. If you’re staying out in Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua, this may not be a good option. Generally speaking, getting to grocery stores or leaving your resort can be quite a hike. If you’re staying in Kihei, not having a car is definitely doable.

No matter where you are, though, Uber and Lyft have a much better presence than they did even a year ago. Cabs are also readily available, though you’ll often need to book them in advance. You don’t often see cabs just driving the streets looking for rides. The bus system on Maui is OK. You can generally get anywhere you need to go by bus, but be prepared to wait. They don’t run often and it can be maddening trying to find a bus stop.

Here’s a guide to all of your transportation needs on Maui…

RENTAL CAR AGGREGATOR WEBSITES
Costco Travel
Expedia
Hotwire
Kayak
Priceline

NATIONAL CAR RENTAL AGENCIES
Alamo
Avis
Budget
Enterprise
Hertz
National

LOCAL DISCOUNT WEBSITES
Cheap Maui Car Rental
Discount Hawaii Car Rental
Hawaii Car Rentals

LOCAL CAR RENTAL COMPANIES
Aloha Rental Car
Bio-Beetle Rent-A-Car (eco-friendly cars)
Frank’s Friendly Cars
Kimo’s Rent-A-Car
Manaloha Rent-A-Car
Maui Car Rentals, Inc.
Maui Cruisers
Maui Rent-A-Car

MAUI BUS SYSTEM
Route Maps and Bus Tracker
Bus Schedules
Rider app for IOS and Android (real-time bus updates)

RIDE SHARING
Lyft
Uber

TAXI CABS
CB Maui Taxi Service
Maui Airport Taxi and Shuttle
West Maui Taxi

SHUTTLES AND CAR SERVICE
Aloha Share Express
Christopher Luxury Sedan Service
ExecuCar
Go Airport Shuttle
Hawaii Executive Transportation
King’s Transportation Services
Maui Pleasant Taxi
Roberts Hawaii (The largest bus/shuttle on Maui)
Speedi-Shuttle

Do you have a Maui car rental horror or success story? Please share with us in the comments below…

Best Waterfalls on Maui – HOP to it

There’s really no such thing as a bad waterfall. And choosing the “best” waterfall is completely subjective. How does one rate a waterfall? For this article, we’re going to judge the waterfalls based on beauty (again, subjective) and ease of access. Just know that to see the best waterfalls on Maui, you’re probably going to need to jump in a car. There are few waterfalls near the larger towns on Maui.

Wailua Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 44)
Located directly off the Road to Hana at mile marker 44, Wailua Falls is thought to be the most widely photographed waterfall on Maui. Of course, ease of access is one reason. There’s ample parking and you can easily view the falls from the side of the highway. But the other reason Wailua Falls is considered a top waterfall is its sheer beauty. The falls flow strongly year-round and are surrounded by lush greenery. Climbing into the pool beneath the falls is also quite easy. You can even snap a photo as you’re driving by if you’re feeling rushed on your way to Hana Town.

Twin Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 2)
If Wailua Falls is the most photographed waterfall, Twin Falls may be the busiest. Or at least, they seem to be. Twin Falls is generally the first stop on the Road to Hana, located just a couple of miles outside of Paia Town. Though because they’re so close to Paia, many people will just visit Twin Falls without continuing on to Hana. Once you’re parked, to get to Twin Falls, there’s a simple one mile hike, really more of a walk, on a well kept trail. Once at the falls, you’ll be greeted by a large swimming hole into which you can easily swim behind and under the waterfall. Scenic in its own right, it’s probably not photographed as often as Wailua Falls because you will rarely snap a photo without other people in the picture. If you keep hiking beyond the Twin Falls, you’ll be treated to more waterfalls and swimming holes.

Waimoku Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 41)
On the two-mile (each way) hike to Waimoku Falls, you’ll have a few different spots to view the waterfall, so no need to go the full route. But if you do complete the hike, standing beneath the 400-ft falls is breathtaking. The only issue with being so close to the massive waterfall is that it’s nearly impossible to fit the entire waterfall in one picture. But, about 50 yards from the falls, there’s a nice location for a perfect picture. A bonus for Waimoku Falls is the hike itself. Walking through the bamboo forest is a treat unto itself.

Hanawi Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 24)
This is another waterfall located right off the highway. There is street parking available just prior to and just beyond the small bridge from which you’ll have the best view of the waterfall. It’s also possible to hike down to the falls basin. Because most people tend to snap photos from the bridge and move on, you generally won’t come across too many people swimming here. We recommend it! The water is absolutely pristine. Cold. But very clean and refreshing.

Makamaka’ole Falls (Waihe’e Ridge Trail)
The last waterfall on our list is the only one you do not need to drive the Road to Hana to see. Centrally located on Maui, you can get to Makamaka’ole Falls by driving counter-clockwise along the highway from Lahaina or from Kahului in the other direction. If you go from Lahaina, take note the “highway” becomes single-lane against a scary cliff at points. It makes the Hana Highway seem like a 10-lane highway through Nebraska. Going from Kahului is a safer, easier drive. OK, so you survived the drive and made it to the falls. You can catch a view from the highway, but the best way to photograph the falls are while hiking the Waihe’e Ridge trail. The trail itself is roughly 5 miles roundtrip, but if you just want to see the waterfall, the best viewing point is about a mile in. Unlike the other waterfalls on this list, you will not get up close and personal to the Makama’ole Falls. In fact, unless you have a zoom lens, your pictures will not do the waterfall justice. But beyond the waterfall, the Waihe’e Ridge Trail is worth the hike for its views of the valley and the ocean.

Do you have a favorite waterfall on Maui? Leave us a comment below!

Five Easy Nature Walks on Maui

One of the true pleasures of being on Maui is being able to go on early morning walks surrounded by nature and beautiful views. Unlike hikes, which require some planning and frankly, some endurance, these walks are all relatively short and simple, with no altitude gains, and can be done with children. With the exception of the first one, these all feature paved or partially paved paths and can be completed wearing flip-flops. Here are five easy nature walks, listed alphabetically, we recommend to all visitors and residents of Maui.

Hanomanioa Lighthouse on the King’s Highway Trail (Makena)
This is an easy walk in that it’s only about 1.5 miles to the lighthouse. What makes it somewhat difficult, though, is the terrain. The trail is flat, but the entire walk is on volcanic rock. As long as you’re wearing proper footwear, not flip-flops or open-toed shoes, you’ll be fine and will be able to enjoy the Mars-like surroundings on the walk. The trail follows the ocean coast, so the views can be stunning. The lighthouse itself is a bit of dud. The only thing that could live in that house is a tiny bird. It’s more accurate to call it a light beacon. But again, from the lighthouse location, you’ll have incredible views of the ocean and the shoreline. To get to the trail head, drive out past Wailea and Makena until the road stops. The trail starts there.

‘Iao Valley State Monument (Wailuku)
This half-mile loop around the base of the park is a plant lover’s dream. The botanical garden is host to numerous plant and flower species, all clearly marked. From the park, you have perfect views of the iconic Iao Needle, a 1200-foot rock formation that seems to rise out of the valley like a tree. The Iao Valley is also a place of great cultural significance to the Hawaiian people. It is a sacred burial place of past chiefs. It was also the final battle site on Maui when Kamehameha the Great defeated the Maui army in his quest to unify the Hawaiian islands. You can learn about this and more on the park grounds. Parking is $5, free with Hawaii ID. (‘Iao Valley State Monument)

Kapalua Coastal Trail
Following a partially paved, but never too rough trail, the Kapalua Coastal Trail is a simple path that runs from Kapalua Beach to D.T. Fleming Beach. The walk is 1.5 miles each way. One of the great things about this walk, besides gawking at the amazing views, is that it takes you past the relatively empty Oneloa Beach. This “hidden” cove sports a nice reef with plenty of turtles. If you bring snorkel gear, you’ll be in for a treat. On days with large surf, it’s also great for body surfing. Because of its location, the Kapalua Coastal Trail can get congested, but we think you should pack some snacks, take your time and check it out.

Waikamoi Nature Trail (Road to Hana)
The most difficult part of this hike is getting there. But if you’re on the Road to Hana, it’s a nice stop to get out of the car and stretch your legs. While there’s no waterfalls, there’s only a slight incline and very little mud. The trail is a nice dirt path that runs in a simple loop and takes about 20 minutes to compete. Along the way you’ll see many plant varieties including trees that are over 600-years old. Bamboo and the multi-colored bark of the Instagram-favorite rainbow eucalyptus tree are two standouts. The trail is located just past mile marker 9 on the Road to Hana.

Wailea Coastal Walk
This mostly paved, 1.5 mile path takes you along the Wailea shore from Ulua Beach to Polo Beach. In between, if you start at Ulua Beach, you’ll be passing in front of Wailea’s gorgeous resorts on your left and some of the nicest beaches on Maui on your right. You’ll see three islands– Molokini, Molokai and Kahoolawe, and you can leave the path for a quick round of shopping or snacking at the Shops at Wailea. The beaches along the path are teeming with fish and turtles making for excellent snorkeling, especially at Ulua Beach. During the winter months, it’s not unusual to see whales. Once the trail ends, if you continue along the rocky beach on a day with decent sized surf and wind, the beach literally whistles. It’s a really neat phenomenon.

Do you have a favorite walk on Maui? Leave us a comment below!

Best Maui Guidebooks – HOP to it

Coming to Maui and need to do a little research? The guidebooks presented here are all fantastic. For some visitors, a general guidebook is perfect, for others a specialized guidebook focusing on hiking or beaches might be better. We’ll include a little of each in this article. At the bottom of the list, we’ll also include a link to an online guide “book” that we think is outstanding. In fact, we use it more than the books currently lining our bookshelves. Just remember, the public libraries on Maui are stocked with guidebooks. For $10, you can get a 3-month visitors card and check out all of these books!

Fodor’s Maui
Fodor’s has a long history of producing excellent travel guides. Fodor’s Maui does a great job of covering the basics: where to stay, where to eat, what to do. But the really nice thing about this book is a series of sections that gives historical backgrounds on such things as hulas and luaus, as well a nice fauna guide for plants and a mini-fish guide for what to expect to see while snorkeling. For a complete fish guide, we posted one here. Fodor’s guides always have excellent maps and photos. Fodor’s Maui is no exception.

Frommer’s Maui
Our preference for a place like Maui is to have the guidebook broken out first by area/region, for example Lahaina, then show the lodging, restaurants and activities fall in that particular area. Frommer’s Maui, though, divides their book by the activity, meaning you’ll see the header “Lodging,” then under that header it’s broken down by region. Still, everyone has their own preferences. The information Frommer’s does provide is deep. The maps and photos are nice. The section on the history of Maui is excellent, in fact it’s the best of all of the books listed here. The “movies made in Hawaii” is a fun list.

Hiking Maui: The Valley Isle
This one is a classic. If hiking is your sole reason for coming to Maui, it’s a no brainer that Hiking Maui: The Valley Isle should be your book of choice. It’s easily the most in-depth and well researched Maui hiking book. That said, if you use this one, confirm your hike on Google first as it’s been a few years since the last update.

Lonely Planet: Maui / Discover Maui
We always appreciate Lonely Planet guidebooks. To a book, they are easy to follow and the way they break down their sections makes sense. For Maui, they have two distinct guides. First is their complete Maui guidebook simply titled Maui. It covers what you expect in a multi-purpose guidebook… hotels/restaurants/activities. Like all Lonely Planet books, the pictures are vibrant and the content is well written. While their other book, Discover Maui, does cover lodging and restaurants, it’s to a much lesser extent. Instead, it focuses on activities and adventures. If you already know where you’re staying, we recommend this one. You can’t go wrong with either book, though.

Maui Trailblazer
For a general “adventure” guide, this is our favorite book. When we first moved to Oahu, the Oahu edition is the book we chose. When we eventually moved here to Maui, it was again the first (and only) book we purchased. Maui Trailblazer is easy to read and well organized. It gives clear directions for hiking, surfing and general road trips. It also includes day-trip guides for Molokai and Lanai.

MauiGuidebook.com
Easily our favorite online Maui resource, this website is informative, well written and fun. If you’re looking an interesting hike or a “hidden” beach, mauiguidebook.com will point you in the right direction. Being online, it’s able to stay current. The photos are excellent. (MauiGuidebook.com)

You may be asking, “Where is Maui Revealed?” For the uninitiated, Maui Revealed is probably the most popular Maui Guidebook. It IS excellent, to a point. But it does things we just can’t condone. Sure it points to “secret” places, but often at the cost of crossing private and sacred lands. If you use this book, please be respectful of your surroundings.

Did we miss one? Do have a favorite Maui guidebook? Let us know in the comments below. Mahalo!

Ocean Cafe in Lahaina

Did you know Hawaii Ocean Project also owns a cafe on Front Street in Lahaina? It’s called Ocean Cafe and it sits across the street from Banyan Tree Court Park. We chose this location because it’s perfect if you’re riding on a boat docked at Lahaina Harbor.

At the Ocean Cafe, they serve coffee from Maui Coffee Roasters, which, if you’re not familiar, is roasted daily on Maui in small batches. Whether you like it hot or cold, black or with cream and sugar, or whipped up and frothed, the Ocean Cafe has your coffee needs covered. In addition to coffee, the cafe serves breakfast sandwiches, danishes and muffins for breakfast. For lunch, they offer sandwiches, hot dogs, and our favorite, chili dogs. Of course there’s also chips, cookies, sodas, smoothies, water and more. You’re allowed to take snacks on our boats, so fill up before your trip.

The Ocean Cafe also offers rentals for the beach, snorkel gear and even bicycle rentals. We recommend the tandem bike for just $25 a day. You can also book any of our ocean activities– snorkel adventures, whale watch tours and sunset dinner cruises directly at the cafe, skipping the middleman.

So next time you’re in Lahaina, swing by and say “aloha”!

Best Rainy Day Activities on Maui – HOP to it

While Wailea, Kihei and Lahaina tend to be dry pretty much year-round, there are still days when it rains. Normally, the rains come in the form of showers that last less than 10 minutes. But if you happen to be here during those rare times when the rain clouds park over your hotel or condo, you still have plenty of options besides a soggy afternoon at the pool or beach. Here are five fantastic options for a rainy Maui day.

Maui Ocean Center
The best aquarium in Hawaii is also the most environmentally friendly. Eschewing popular mammal attractions like dolphin and penguin shows, Maui Ocean Center instead focuses on the fish, turtles and crustaceans that inhabit Hawaii’s oceans. The highlight of every trip to the MOC is the water tunnel that allows you to walk through a shark tank. Both kids and adults are in awe when they watch sharks, rays and fish swim above, below and all around them. (Maui Ocean Center)

Escape Rooms
For the uninitiated, an escape room is an immersive, interactive “puzzle/game” in which groups of people must work together to try to solve a mystery. On Maui, there are escape rooms in Lahaina, Kihei and Kahului. Each has their own themes. At the time of this writing, in January, 2018, the themes breakdown as follows…

Lahaina: Prison Break, Pirate Ship, Ka Puka Bunker and Tesla’s Escape
Kihei: The Curse, Mafia Bomb Squad and The Heist
Kahului: Save Sherlock

To book an escape room or find out what the current themes are, click on the city name above. Escape rooms are great for groups of friends, families or corporate events. They usually last about an hour and provide entertainment you’ll be talking about for weeks to come.

Museums and Galleries
While there’s nothing as large as Oahu’s Bishop Museum or the Honolulu Art Museum, Maui does have some beautiful and informative museums and galleries. Here are five that we recommend, listed alphabetically.

Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum(Puunene): Though they no longer commercially grow sugar cane at this location, the A&B Sugar Museum keeps Maui’s rich sugar cane history alive at this award-winning museum.
Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House (Wailuku): The home of the Maui Historical Society, Hale Ho’ike’ike showcases and preserves the largest collection of Hawaiian antiquities on Maui.
Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center (Makawao): Located upcountry, the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center showcases local artists in a gorgeous, century old home that’s been converted into an art gallery and offering workshops and classes.
Maui Arts and Cultural Center Gallery(Kahului): With rotating exhibits, the MACC showcases local and internationally renowned artists. Check the schedule to see what’s being exhibited.
Wo Hing Temple Museum (Lahaina): Located in the heart of Front Street in Lahaina, the Wo Hing Temple Museum, while small in size, gives visitors a full and detailed history of Chinese immigrants on Maui. Especially popular is the Thomas Edison Hawaii film archives.

Reading
Maui has six public libraries located in Lahaina, Kihei, Wailuku, Kahului, Makawao and Hana. If you’re not a resident, you can acquire a 3-month visitors card for $10. If you’re someone who visits annually, you can get a five-year card for just $25. With a card, you have computer access (even if it’s sunny every day of your holiday, you may consider this if you like to print out boarding passes or maps,) you can use wi-fi, and of course, check out books and magazines. Rather than paying $15 for a guidebook, you can visit the library and check a few out, then return them at the end of your vacation. Another reading option is a bookstore. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many around. Lahaina has a nice Barnes and Noble, but the only other “major” bookstores are the Friends of Library stores, located in the Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall, Puunene and Lahaina. At Friends of Library, the books are either new or gently used, with proceeds going back to the Maui libraries to purchase new books and supplies. (Hawaii Public Library, Barnes and Noble, Maui Friends of Library)

Shopping/Movies
There are only three movie theaters on Maui, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center and Maui Mall in Kahului and the Wharf Cinemas in Lahaina, and the crowds tend to be somewhat, let’s say, talkative. So, the movie-going experience here isn’t all that great. That said, on a rainy day, you can always count on a good movie. The theaters here are all built around shopping destinations so, after your movie you can get your souvenir shopping done, pick up a raincoat or sit down for a nice meal.

What do you like to do on a rainy day on Maui? Let us know in the commments.

Maui Gyms That Accommodate Visitors

Did you eat a little too much over the holidays? Maybe you want to hit the new year running. With ample swimming and hiking options, staying active on Maui is easy. But sometimes you might want to visit a gym. Here are three gyms around Lahaina and three around Kihei that allow daily/weekly guest passes.

Valley Isle Fitness (Lahaina and Kihei)
A full-service gym, Valley Isle Fitness offers classes, child care, personal training, locker rooms and of course, weights and cardio equipment. The prices vary between the two locations, with Kihei being slightly less expensive. (Valley Isle Fitness)

Kaanapali Fitness Center (Kaanapali)
Located in the Aston Kaanapali Shores, a day/week/month pass to the Kaanapali Fitness Center gives you access to the resort fitness center. It a simple gym with cardio equipment, weight machines and some free weights. At $10 a day, it’s one of the better bargains. (Kaanapali Fitness Center)

Enjoy the Ride (Lahaina)
If weights aren’t your thing, Enjoy the Ride offers spin classes, yoga and spin/yoga classes. The spin classes are in a candle-lit studio with pumping music and a ginormous virtual screen connecting you with riders around the world. For a unique use of that screen, sign up for a “ride down Haleakala.” It’s like riding down the mountain on a bike… without the stress of the trip up the mountain or the fear of crashing! You can drop in for single classes, or sign up for longer packages. (Enjoy the Ride)

The Gym Maui (Kihei)
For those who want a no-frills place to pump some iron, The Gym Maui is the place. It’s a large warehouse-like space with racks and racks of free weights and weight and cardio machines. The Gym also offers personal training and has locker rooms. Visitor rates run from $10 a day to $55 a month. (The Gym Maui)

South Maui Fitness (Kihei)
If you’re looking for a no-frills, inexpensive gym that’s open 24 hours, South Maui Fitness might be the gym you’re looking for. The unique thing about this gym is the employees are only there for about eight hours a day. The rest of the time, you use a key fob that gives you 24-hour access. Initial sign-up for a weekly/monthly pass needs to be completed while it’s staffed. Once you’ve signed up, you can come and go as you please. It’s a simple gym with no locker rooms or personal training. But if you know what you’re doing, it has plenty of cardio equipment and simple free weights and machines for you to jump onto. (South Maui Fitness)

Have you tried any gyms on Maui? Do you have a favorite? Leave us a comment below!

Top Wedding Venues on Maui – HOP to it

So you want to get married on Maui? First, let us say a hearty congratulations! Finding the love of your life is no small feat. Maui is a lovely place for a wedding. While we aren’t wedding experts, we are frequent guests to weddings and can help you out by pointing you in the direction of some of the coolest and prettiest wedding locations on Maui. From there, you may want to enlist the help of a professional. If you google it, you’ll find plenty of Maui wedding planners. OK, we’re going to put this list in alphabetical order and we’ll include links on where to do further research. We tried to choose different types of venues… beach, nature, chapel, old school charm and combos of everything.

Grand Wailea
For a full-service wedding in a chapel, there’s no more romantic setting than the Wailea Seaside Chapel on the grounds of the Grand Wailea resort. Covering everything from clergy to perform the event, a musician, a photographer and a wedding planner, the Grand Wailea takes some of the stress out of your big day. The package also includes a complimentary room for the marrying couple and spa treatment on the day after the wedding. The photo above is of the chapel. (Grand Wailea)

Haiku Mill
If you’re looking for a Maui wedding that doesn’t scream “MAUI WEDDING,” the Haiku Mill may be your answer. Located upcountry, so not near the ocean, on a lush, green, 150-year old plantation, Haiku Mill provides old world charm in a gorgeous setting. Entering Haiku Mill’s property is like walking into a garden oasis. Step away from society and into a setting where there’s only one thing happening in the world, your wedding. The pictures have to be seen to believed. (Haiku Mill)

Hale O Aloha (The House of Aloha) on Sugar Beach
Built specifically for weddings and events on Kihei’s Sugar Beach, Hale O Aloha may be new to the wedding scene, but it’s quickly built an outstanding reputation. The venue includes a grand ballroom that holds up to 200 guests, a restaurant quality kitchen and even a private bridal suite. The outdoor area is large enough for a tent and an additional 150 guests. Sugar Beach itself is 2.5 miles of sandy beach. So a nice sunset stroll with your family and friends is a nice built-in getaway if things get stressful. That never happens at weddings, right? One other aspect of this location that can’t be overlooked is its proximity to all of Kihei’s rental condos. The venue is a short Uber or Lyft ride away. (Sugar Beach Events)

Olowalu Plantation House
Conveniently located on beautiful ocean front property in Lahaina, across the street from Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop (convenient!), the Olowalu Plantation House has everything you need for a dream wedding/reception. The house itself provides full rooms for changing clothes, plus bathroom and kitchen facilities. You’ll still need a caterer as the kitchen is not licensed for commercial cooking, but your caterer can use it to warm up foods and keep things chilled in the refrigerator. Outside, the house has a beautiful, covered lanai overlooking the ocean. There’s room on the grounds for a tent. The Olowalu Plantation House is one of the most popular wedding venues on Maui. (Olowalu Plantation House)

Twin Falls
This one will take a little work for all involved, but as far as exchanging vows in a unique location, Twin Falls is a great place to do it! It requires a mile-long walk/hike to the Twin Falls, but once there, you have a beautiful cove with a pretty incredible backdrop for photos. The water is shallow, so saying “I do’s” knee deep in the water is not only incredibly romantic, but something no one in your wedding party will ever forget. Twin Falls is technically on the Road to Hana, but it’s only a couple of miles outside of Paia Town. So, exchanging vows at the waterfall, then returning to town for drinks at Charley’s or Rock and Brews makes for a fun and memorable Maui wedding day! (Twin Falls)

Did you get married on Maui or attend a wedding on Maui? Leave us a message in the comments below.