Here's everything you need to know about the Pacific Ocean hotspot.
Photography: Natalie Watson Photography
Maui, Hawaii's second-largest island, is known for diverse topography, white-sand beaches, and killer food culture—which is exactly why writer Sarah Firshein and her husband, Eric, chose it to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Luckily, she documented her and her spouse's adventures diary-style, sharing where they stayed, where (and what!) they ate, and what they did to pass the time in paradise. The result of her toils? A comprehensive and curated travel guide to one of the Pacific's most sought-out islands.
If you're considering the island for a honeymoon or vacation, this Maui manual is sure to help you determine—or convince you—to book. With next-level accommodation recommendations (check out the Wailea Resort!), tips on finding the best ahi poké in the area, and tricks to exploring the picture-perfect beaches and volcanic terrain, there's something here for every couple, regardless of your vacation style. Are you both daring adventurers? Keep an eye out for Firshein's recount of the Road to Hana, a 64-mile drive through rain forest and volcanic turf. No worries, though, if you're main object is pure relaxation. With beaches and infinity pools that go on for, well, infinity, you're sure to find something (or nothing at all) to do.
Whether you're in the planning stages or just getting amped up for your Maui trip, let the following travel guide get you in the honeymoon (or an anniversary getaway!) state of mind. Click through for a personal account of Pacific paradise.
Photography: Courtesy of Andaz Maui2 of 10
Day 1, 9 a.m.
Breakfast of Champions
We landed in Maui last night, so waking up at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is amazing. As we dig in to a breakfast of passion fruit, omelets, and blended-to-order juices, we eye the view of terraced infinity pools and the gleaming Pacific beyond.
Photography: Courtesy of Hawaii State Parks3 of 10
Day 1, 2 p.m.
Finding Our Beach
We climb into our rental car and fire up the GyPSy Guide roadtrip app for a virtual tour that offers tips, facts about local culture, and route suggestions. Our first stop is South Maui Fish Company, a food truck in the town of Kihei, where we order enormous bowls of ahi poke, a typical Hawaiian dish of marinated raw fish. Then it's on to Makena Beach State Park, known as "Big Beach" for its long stretch of near-white sand. The treacherous shore breaks and lack of amenities deter crowds of tourists, and the quiet is just what these two beach bums are looking for.
Photography: Courtesy of Huelo Lookout4 of 10
Day 2, 6 a.m.
A Long and Winding Road
Eric's determined to get an early start on the Road to Hana, a 64-mile drive through rain forests and volcanic terrain. Me? I just want to survive as he mans the wheel through 600 hairpin turns and 45-plus one-lane covered bridges. I also want to soak in as much greenery as possible: We hike through bamboo forests at Na'ili'ili Haele and marvel at the Seussian painted eucalyptus trees at the Ke'anae Arboretum. I jump 15 feet from Waikamoi Falls into the pool below, and celebrate having lived to tell about it with a coconut, pineapple, and passion-fruit shave ice at Huelo Lookout, a roadside kiosk known for the classic dessert.
Photography: Courtesy of Mama's Fish House Restaurant & Inn5 of 10
Day 3, 6 p.m.
Catch of the Day
We nab a reservation at Mama's Fish House Restaurant & Inn, a perennially packed seafood restaurant. It takes locavorism to the next level, listing fishermen's names next to their catch. The mahi-mahi ("caught by Mark Kamaka near our deep-ocean buoys") and ono crudo (marinated in lime and coconut milk and served in a halved coconut shell) are stellar, but the Polynesian black pearl—a "scallop" of chocolate-covered passion-fruit mousse in a wafer-cookie "shell"—is unforgettable.
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Photography: Courtesy of Kimo's6 of 10
Day 4, 11 a.m.
Cruising the Coast
As we head up Highway 30 along Maui's western edge, the landscape shifts from flat-lying wildlife refuges and unsullied beaches to the jagged hills and valleys of the West Maui Mountains. We stroll the picturesque Ka'anapali Beach Walk, then drive to lunch at Star Noodle, a popular ramen-ya known for its fresh housemade noodles. After we lap up deliciously salty pork ramen and charbroiled miso salmon, it's off to the town of Lahaina. The historic center is charming but touristy, so we seek cover at the bar Kimo's, where I down a mai tai the size of a soccer ball.
Photography: Courtesy of Feast at Lele7 of 10
Day 4, 7 p.m.
Luau to Remember
A luau was on Eric's list, so tonight we've got tickets to Feast at Lele, which takes place on a small sliver of beach at the southernmost edge of Lahaina. This one is less of spectacle than many others on the island—plus, it's the only one with noncommunal tables and a prix-fixe menu instead of a buffet. Each of the five courses is paired with a performance that draws influences from Hawaii's history: New Zealand–inspired braised short ribs accompany a New Zealand war dance; Samoan shellfish stew, an energetic Samoan number; and so on. The setting is gorgeous, but the showstopper is the fire-knife dance that caps the show.
Photography: Courtesy of Brekkie Bowls8 of 10
Day 5, 8 a.m.
A Hawaiian Start
I drag Eric to Brekkie Bowls, a food cart specializing in fresh handmade açai bowls, hidden next to a gym inside an office park. The setting may not be photogenic, but our bowls—deep-purple purée adorned with blueberries, sliced banana, granola, and coconut shavings—are just that. It's the perfect start to a day of beach and pool—and not much else.
Photography: Courtesy of AQUA Montserrat9 of 10
Day 6, 10 a.m.
The island's crystalline water makes for top-notch snorkeling. On a tour arranged through the Andaz hotel's Beach Crew, we and two other couples load into an outrigger canoe—a long, multiperson vessel native to Hawaii—and paddle down the coast of Wailea to a cove. Our guide points out sea turtles and an octopus, among other creatures.
Photography: Courtesy of Paia Fishmarket10 of 10
Day 6, 5 p.m.
Life of Paia
On our last night, we explore the town of Paia, about 30 minutes north: After mahi-mahi tacos at the no-frills Paia Fishmarket, we sip Maui Brewing Co. Bikini Blondes at Charley's Saloon, an institution since 1969. As luck would have it, Questlove is DJing a show. And as we sway to a hip-hop mashup of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," I feel a million miles from home. If that's not the mark of a stellar vacation, I'm not sure what is.
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