Top 10 "Must Dos" With One Week on Maui

With one week on Maui there is so much to do, see and eat! If this is your first trip out, you may not even know where to begin. We have narrowed down our top 10 “must dos” for those wishing to experience the most out of their time in paradise

Spend the day on Kapalua Bay. Relax, snorkel, take in a sunset and swim with turtles

Spend the day on Kapalua Bay. Relax, snorkel, take in a sunset and swim with turtles

If you only get the chance to visit one beach on your trip, Kapalua Bay should be the one. Kapalua Bay has won numerous awards, including "Best Beach in the World," by Conde Nast. Kapalua Bay truly has it all! Because the bay is so well protected, some of the very best snorkeling on Maui can be found right here. Gentle waves, soft white sand and breathtaking beauty are what continually keep this beach on the list of top beaches in the world. Honus (turtles) and Hawaiian Monk Seals frequent this beach and are commonly found taking a rest on the sandy shores. If you are snorkeling, do not be surprised to find yourself side by side with one of these giant Honus! Be sure to visit the bay for a sunset; it will be one like you have never experienced before! Kapalua Bay is truly heaven on earth!

The Kapalua® Coastal Trail begins and ends at Kapalua Beach. We suggest finishing your walk at the Kapalua Bay and taking in a spectacular sunset. If you are too tired to walk home, do not forget to call the free shuttle; they will be happy to pick you up and drop you off at your door!

A public restroom and showers are available for use.

Visit the best luau in Hawaii- the Old Lahaina Luau

Visit the best luau in Hawaii- the Old Lahaina Luau

Hands down, the best luau in all of Maui (and all of Hawaii for that matter) is the Old Lahaina Luau. The Old Lahaina Luau has received numerous awards, and is considered to be unrivaled by tourist and locals alike. The show`s fame and talent even put them in the Macy`s Day parade.

This luau sells out very quickly! When you book your vacation, the next step should be to call and make a reservation for a night you will never forget.

The Old Lahaina Luau has it all! Situated on gorgeous, lush tropical grounds next to the water in Lahaina, guests will enjoy views Lanai, Molokai`, and, breathtaking sunsets.

Guests are greeting with fresh floral leis and island cocktails upon entering the luau. Before the entertainment begins, take a walk around the beautiful grounds; enjoy the Hawaii arts and crafts that are available for purchase. Be sure to stand near the imu as the Kalua Pig is dug up for the night`s main course!

The Old Lahaina Luau features an open bar, award winning food, and, the best traditional luau you will ever see! If there is just one activity you take in during your vacation, this should be it!

Enjoy morning walks on the Kapalua Coastal Trail, followed by coffee and breakfast at the Honolua Store

Enjoy morning walks on the Kapalua Coastal Trail, followed by coffee and breakfast at the Honolua Store

One of the perks of staying at The Ridge Villas is the easy access to the Kapalua® Coastal Trail. This 3.5 mile trail winds its way along some of the most stunning coastline in all Maui.

The trail can be accessed from several different locations. However, we suggest beginning at either the Oneloa Beach access at Kapalua Bay, or, at Fleming beach. There is free parking at both locations; however, it is a pretty easy walk from your front door.

Finish your walk off with a stop at the Honolua Store before you head back to your villa. Originally built in 1929, the Honolua Store served workers on the plantation that once occupied the Kapalua grounds. This historic building is now home to one of, if not the most beloved landmark on all Maui.

Today, you can find gifts, wine, gourmet food, groceries, cosmetics, apparel, an espresso bar and bakery, a full service deli, and more.

What draws locals and returning visitors to the Honolua Store each and everyday, is the large variety of delicious food served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you see the line of locals, you know the food must be good.

We recommend taking a stroll down to the Honolua Store in the morning, grabbing some items for breakfast, and enjoying those on their beautiful lanai. This is also a good time to pick some Spam Musubi. Their Spam Musubi sells out by lunchtime, and is a local favorite! You have to try this at least once on your vacation.

The traditional lunches are also fantastic; part of the menu changes daily. A local Friday favorite is their Kalua Pork and Cabbage.

Dine at Merriman’s Kapalua for fabulous food, views and the BEST mai tais out there

Dine at Merriman’s Kapalua for fabulous food, views and the BEST mai tais out there

One of the most romantic and breathtaking locations to eat dinner is at Merriman’s, located at the point, on Kapalua Bay. Merriman`s was recently named one of the "Top 10 Travelers Choice Restaurants" in the United States by Tripadvisor.

Merriman’s award winning restaurant has a farm-to-table concept, with over 90% of what you see on your plate being locally sourced.

Sunday brunch is served from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and live music starts at 10 am. Merriman’s opens for dinner at 5 pm. You can enjoy a hand crafted cocktail and “pupus” by the fire-pit on the point. There is no finer view on Maui! Look out over Kapalua Bay and enjoy what rarely fails to be a stunning sunset.

Do not forget to finish the night with their signature dessert, the Waialua Chocolate Purse!

Walk to the Sea House in Napili for

Walk to the Sea House in Napili for "old Hawaii" vibes, happy hour, poke nachos and sunset views!

The Sea House Restaurant is located on Napili Beach, just a short walk from The Ridge Villas. Here, you will find one of the last “old Hawaiian” restaurants. The Sea House sits on the beach of Napili Bay, and provides an ambiance that cannot be found anywhere else on the island.

This charming and exotic open-air restaurant, features one of the best Happy Hours on the island, from 2 to 5 pm.

Spend the day at Kapalua or Napili Bay, then head to the Sea House for some tropical drinks, pupus and live Hawaiian music. The Sea House is one of the best kept secrets on Maui.

Explore Front Street in Lahaina and stop at Ululani’s Shave Ice

Explore Front Street in Lahaina and stop at Ululani’s Shave Ice

Front Street is located in historic Old Lahaina Town, and is to be found right on the water front. Lahaina was once home to Hawaiian royalty. It was also a bustling whaling town, the sailors having a heyday while on shore leave. Front street was in the center of all of this. It is now a fabulous mixture of restaurants, fine art, shopping, bars and everything in between. Charm oozes out of this place! This is a "must do" for Maui visitors.

Come and enjoy an oceanfront meal at one of the many top rated restaurants; spend the balance of the day exploring the historical sights, the harbor and stores.

Free parking is available on most streets. You can also park at The Outlets just nearby.

Let us state the simple truth – there is no better shave ice in the world than that at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. You have had a snow cone on the mainland?  Sorry, no competition. Nothing compares.

Ululani’s awards are endless. Year after year, Ululani continues to win the title of, “best shaved ice on the island.” Their homemade syrups and creative add-ons are nothing short of heavenly. With dozens of flavors, and premium island made ice cream to add to the bottom, it is tough to refrain from that second helping!

Grab an award-winning pie and eats at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Grab an award-winning pie and eats at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Award winning Leoda’s Pie Shop offers some of the most decadent, housemade pies on the island. Their heavenly pies include Coconut Cream, Macnut Chocolate, Banana Cream Pie, Olowalu Lime, and Apple Crumb.

Leoda’s Kitchen also offers breakfast and lunch, including such dishes as Chicken Pot Pie, Reubens and Baked Mac & Cheese.

Be sure to stop by Leoda’s on your way home from the other side of the island. Grab a bite, and take a pie home for later on!

Take the Road to Hana and experience another side of Maui

Take the Road to Hana and experience another side of Maui

No visit to Maui is complete without a road trip to Hana. This lovely jaunt will take you along the coastline, and, some of most stunning views you will ever see in your lifetime. This winding, narrow road takes you around 620 curves and fifty-nine beautiful bridges. Cascading waterfalls and a lush tropical rainforest will have you feeling like you are in another world.

When beginning your trip, know that the objective is not to just get to the town of Hana, it is about the experience of the whole drive!

You will find endless opportunities to explore. One of the most popular attractions are the quaint stands on the side of the road that employ the honor system to sell their goods. Here you can find some of the best banana bread in the world, plus fresh floral leis, tropical fruits and other varieties of goodies.

It may be best to obtain a guide book, considering the variety of opportunities on this trip. Black and red sand beaches, gorgeous hiking trails, historic sites and tropical waterfalls are just a small sample of some of the adventures waiting for you.

We recommend taking a break from your day and having lunch at the Travaasa Hotel. Here you will find a most tranquil space to enjoy a quiet lunch, just outside on the patio.

Before you begin your journey to Hana, be sure you have a full tank of gas, a change of clothes, a towel, bathing suit, sunscreen, food, water, camera and medicine if you get car sick. This is a whole day adventure, so plan on making this your only activity for the day.

Most people turn around once they reach Hana. However, the road continues all the way around the island and offers a complete change in scenery. Car companies usually do not allow you to take their cars on this route, as it can be dangerous and in some places it is not paved. Use caution if you decide to go all the way around and know that cell phone service is nonexistent in some areas.

Catch a sunrise or sunset on Haleakala

Catch a sunrise or sunset on Haleakala

The name Haleakala translated into Hawaiian means, "house of the rising sun." A trip to the summit of Haleakala National Park will give you a deep understanding of the power this sacred place evokes over those who visit.

At 10,023 feet in elevation, Haleakala towers over the island of Maui. During winter, it is not unusual for the summit to receive a blanket of snow! It is a tad discombobulating to be sure, to stand with wet and frozen feet on the snowy summit, while gazing down at the warm Pacific, palm trees and white sandy beaches lining its shores.

Those who dare to rise in the early am to begin their journey to the summit, will experience a sunrise like no other. It is captivating to be sure, to see the sun come up over Maui, as the crater`s colors, and the vistas below, change with the rising sun.

The only event which may rival a sunrise from the summit, is a sunset! Any annoyance with the long drive up disappears instantly, once you have arrived for the show. Bring dinner and some hot chocolate to be ready for that soon-to-appear galaxy of lights, that starry canopy just overhead. There is a reason why Haleakala is home to some of the most powerful telescopes in the world. The clarity of the night sky is one that is perfect for astronomers to explore the depths of our universe.

When visiting Haleakala National Park, you will find two visitor centers, hiking trails, cabins and camp grounds.

Be sure to take a jacket and warm clothes when visiting Haleakala. The temperature can drop, and quickly! Also, be sure your gas tank is filled before heading up to the summit.

Indulge in Hawaii’s noodle love affair at legendary Sam Sados or Star Noodle

Indulge in Hawaii’s noodle love affair at legendary Sam Sados or Star Noodle

Sam Sato’s is located in Wailuku, but is well worth the drive! Sam Sato’s is an institution on Maui, and is probably one of the most popular restaurants for locals. Sam Sato’s is not fancy by any means; they do not serve a giant menu but they do serve the BEST “Dry Noodles” you will ever have! If you have never tried Dry Noodles, now is the time. Sam Sato’s serves up their house made noodles, fried with char siu, been sprouts, green onions and a bowl of dashi on the side. Sometimes it is the simple things that prove to be the most memorable. This spot is one of them.

This counter-service restaurant serves both breakfast and lunch, but it is the lunch that you should not miss.  While on that side of the island, be sure to reserve a bit of your day for Sam Sato’s.  The hours are from 7 am to 2 pm.

Star Noodle is located on the water in Lahaina, and is a “must do” while vacationing on Maui. This award winning noodle house has a huge following, with both locals and visitors. Their homemade noodles and creative Asian dishes will succeed in exciting all your senses!

Star Noodle is open for lunch and dinner from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm.

We recommend the Hapa ramen, their famous garlic noodles, Vietnamese Crepe and Malasadas with decadent dipping sauces for dessert. However, you cannot go wrong with anything on the menu.

(Winter Months Bonus) Go on a whale watching trip with either the Pacific Whale Foundation or Ultimate Whale Watch

(Winter Months Bonus) Go on a whale watching trip with either the Pacific Whale Foundation or Ultimate Whale Watch

Our number one recommendation for whale watch cruises, is the Pacific Whale Foundation. Notwithstanding the competition, the Pacific Whale Foundation continues to be #1 in whale watching trips. No other company understand whales as they do. The Pacific Whale Foundation has been in existence for over thirty-five years; its main mission is to "protect our oceans through science and research."

The Pacific Whale Foundation knows the importance of having the public involved in their efforts; that is why they began to offer whale watching trips to the public many years ago. Each trip is led by a team of certified Marine Naturalists who are there to teach you about the whales and also read the whales behavior.

One of the most exciting parts of the cruise is when the staff lowers a microphone under the water, giving those onboard a chance to actually hear the whales singing!

During certain months of the season, if you do not spot a whale, you are guaranteed your money back.

Another company we love is Ultimate Whale Watch. One of the perks in booking with Ultimate Whale Watch, is that there are only eighteen people allowed on their whale watching cruises. Instead of an over-crowded boat, on which it can be difficult to get a good view, these smaller crafts offer guests the opportunity to have a more intimate and thrilling adventure!

All captains and crew members are certified marine specialists, and are just as passionate about the whales as they are their jobs.

Ultimate Whale Watch offers snorkeling and whale watch cruises, and their fast and safe vessels will get you where you need to be in no time