We've been to Maui so many times, we've lost count. While we LOVE all the Hawaiian islands, the Valley Isle is where we visit most often because it's got everything we crave in paradise -- incredible beaches, dramatic mountains, wonderful hiking, amazing restaurants, plus a sweet family tie. (Our niece, Nicha, and her kiddos, live there.)
While most visitors head to the sprawling resorts, we prefer to keep it chill and low key, and on our most recent trip, we found the perfect combinations of places to stay while we play.
Aptly described as the island's most Hawaiian hotel, this old school charmer was one of the first built on this magnificent stretch of sandy beach, way back in the 1970s. The rooms are comfy, and have large decks, many with Instagram-worthy ocean views. But it's the friendly, outgoing staff that makes this spot extra special. There are daily demos and classes that focus on the rich history of the area, including nightly hula shows and a spectacular luau every Monday. Or, pull up a stool at the outdoor Tiki Bar and sip a Mai Tai mixed by the legendary local bartender, Uncle Dale.
This town is a day trip for many travelers, some who stop for lunch on the way down from a sunrise viewing on the top of Haleakala National Park, but it really deserves a deeper dive, especially if you're fortunate enough to snag one of the rooms at this beautifully restored historic hostelry. We stayed in a peaceful suite off the busy street that had its own private garden, and a screened porch that was pure bliss, allowing us to enjoy the warm evening air before heading the air-conditioned bedroom. There are small rooms, too, and a gorgeous three-bedroom house. All have access to a private beach area, where we had a memorable sunset dinner on our final night.
On Haleakala's Hana side, we scored one of the best campsites ever, a private spot tucked up against the verdant jungle. Good thing we had rented a cozy 1975 VW camper van named Gypsea so we could sleep tight! Hanging here for several nights gave us the opportunity to hike through a bamboo forest, visit the nearby grave of pioneering aviator, Charles Lindberg, and enjoy some of the freshest fruit we ate on the trip, including a tart treat called a mountain apple. There are no reservations taken, and it's usually packed on weekends, but if you arrive early in the afternoon on a weekday, you should be able to score a spot.
Want more aloha? Read John's story on Maui's outdoor adventures.