Travel Koncierge Maui Guide Page Three
Published May 24, 2008
Generally, the only reason, besides the I’ao Needle and Valley
that you would do in the Isthmus is drive to or from
The I’ao Valley is about 5 miles from Kahalui (where the
airport is). There are a couple of things to do there that are
Hike: The I'ao Needle is a large rock outcropping in a
beautiful lush tropical valley. It is a rain forest, so you will get
wet. Still, the trails are not challenging and thus suitable for
all ages and there is a lot for a family to see and do as they
walk around. The kids can also play in the stream down
Play The Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens are a great place for
your kids to blow off steam. There are a lot of things to explore
and climb around. This park is adjacent to the I’ao Needle
The Resort Area (Kihei/Wailea/Makena)
Things to do
This is not a pitch for the Grand Wailea, but I must say they
have one of the best family beaches on Maui. We stay in a
condo in Kihei and regularly make the trip to the Grand Wailea
beach for a day outing. The beach offers a fairly gradual drop
into the water, light break in the shallow areas, and excellent
sand for castles. The atmosphere is comfortable for both
parents and kids. Public access to the Grand Wailea beach is
via a park entrance just past the hotel. There are showers and
restrooms at the parking area. If you have not been there
before, plan some time to walk the Grand Wailea grounds.
They have a large fish pool near the restaurant, and a
spectacular hotel pool with slides, rope swings, caves and
Jacuzzis. Unfortunately if you are not staying at the hotel, pool
access is only permitted with a $300 "day room" reservation. I
have heard, however, that some kids have played in the water
feature with no room key. Just don’t expect towel service.
Similarly, the Fairmont Kea Lani has a cool water park for its
guests and is known to have a kids program at their Activity
Center. Like the Ritz and the Kapalua Villas, they have a full
program with a full schedule of activities. In general, if you
plan to do anything like golf or tennis, check into these options
when you book your hotel.
If you go to the beach in Wailea, you will know what we are
talking about. This path basically goes from one end of the
region to the other and is a pleasant walk with lots to see. If
you look at the ocean carefully, you might see sea turtles or
dolphins. At dawn or sunset, it is a beautiful walk.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine
Sanctuary Education Center. Kihei http:
html FREE. The education center helps to acquaint visitors
with the fragile and unique ecosystem surrounding the
Hawaiian Islands. There is not a ton to do here, but it is a
great place to get questions answered and there are a few
activities to engage the kids. December to April is Humpback
viewing season. Go to http://www.visitmaui.com/ for a
complete list of whale watching outfitters.
Snorkeling. See our discussion above. Most snorkeling
tours will leave from the Kihei boat launch.
Places to stay
Again, there are sooooo many places to stay, you can’t go
wrong. There are two standouts that are worth noting,
however, we stayed at the Kamaole Sands Condos and the
Diamond Hawaii Resort and Spa. The Diamond http://www.
diamondresort.com/ is cheaper because it is not on the
beach, but the beach is so close, it doesn’t really matter. This
is really a bargain for how beautiful the place is. Most people
who stay here, by the way, are more interested in the golf, and
so the amenities can be geared towards the Japanese, but
that’s OK and definitely refreshing..
Da Kitchen, Rainbow Mall, 2439 S. Kihei Road, Kihei, Tel.
(808) 875-7782. This place is notable for enormous portions
and low prices. The food is very good if you like the local
“plate lunch” style food with rice and grilled meats. It is very
tasty and a quick walk from the Kamaole Sands Condos.
There is also an ABC store nearby.
The Four Seasons Wailea http://www.fourseasons.
com/maui/dining/duo.html has a great brunch/breakfast. Not
only is the food varied and excellent, but they also have a kids
buffet and have a basket of toys that they lend to the child for
the meal (you can buy any part of that at the gift shop). It isn’t
cheap, but the value is pretty much up there.
If you like Bev Gannon’s work at Halliimaile General Store, you
will love Joes. Joe’s is decidedly California and down home
in its palette, but there are more than a few nods to the local
flavors. Located at the Wailea Tennis Center, it is a whole lot
easier to get to than Haliimaile.
Roys is one of our favorites. Some people say it is getting
long in the tooth, but they are consistent and provide a great
experience. Roys http://www.roysrestaurant.com/ is a family
friendly yet elegant dining spot. We have been to Roy’s in
Hawaii Kai (there are 3 on O’ahu alone), Spanish Bay
(Monterey), and San Francisco and have had perfectly
delightful adult and family dinners. Their cuisine is Asian
Fusion/Pacific Rim and everything is thoughtfully prepared in
the French tradition. Their house wines are among the best,
made especially for Roy’s by Lynn Penner Ash at Rex Hill
(Pinot Gris), Chardonnays by Jim Clendenen at Au Bon
Climat, and Cab Francs from Babcock Vineyards and a
Cabernet Sauvignon from Laurel Glen. This is in addition to
their award-winning wine list.
Up Country (Makawao, Haleakala, etc.)
Driving to the upcountry locations can take a fair amount of
time so these locations should only be attempted if your kids
travel well. The upcountry area truly transports you to a
different world than the touristy beach areas. The area is rich
with farms, vineyards, cattle, and horses. And, of course, the
“up” refers to the slopes of the Haleakala Crater.
Things to do
OK, let’s get the usual out of the way, watch the sunrise (dress
REALLY warmly) and bike down Haleakala. You can find other
sites to help you with that. These aren’t really things that you
would want to do with children anyway. A more complete
description of things to do upcountry can be found here http:
Upcountry is artsy and ag. It is hard to believe that this is the
same island as that which contains Hana and Wailea. If you
do the drive, make a point of visiting Kula, Makawao, and
Kula Botanical Gardens provides another location for parents
and kids to explore. The gardens are located off Highway 377
at an elevation of 3300 feet. http://www.101thingstodo.
But if you really want a fun activity, visit the Surfing Goat Dairy,
3661 Omaopio Rd., Kula (808) 878-2870; www.
surfinggoatdairy.com. 140 dairy goats graze the 42 acres and
provide the milk for 24 cheeses made daily. Kids will love the
2-hour Grand Dairy Tour, where they can herd and milk goats
and play with the (goat) kids. Admission price is $15. The
Grand Dairy Tours are scheduled several times each month;
call for information.
The real attraction is Haleakala Crater. During the day, it is
just a big crater. It comes alive with the dawn. Still, it is worth
packing water and snacks and hiking into the crater to
examine the cinder cones. If you are hardy, the entire crater
can be hiked and you will be exposed to all the microclimates
of Maui in one place.
Places to stay
Most of the places to stay in upcountry are bed and
breakfasts. There are vacation rentals, but you’d be better off
and warmer at the beaches.
There is one notable place to eat in Upcountry.
Haliimaile General Store http://www.haliimailegeneralstore.
com/ is a beautiful place that, if you can navigate there, is a
lovely place to eat. The place is consistently rated among
Maui’s best restaurants and boasts open, airy surroundings
with local artwork, and has a definite plantation feel to it. It is a
restaurant, by the way, name notwithstanding. The food is
thoughtful, well prepared, and family friendly on one end and
elegant at the other. http://www.bevgannonrestaurants.
North Shore (catch all goes from Northwest Maui past
Kahalui all the way East to Hana)
Things to do
http://www.paiamaui.com/ Just outside of Kahalui, is Paia on
your way to Hana. Paia is a plantation town that is fun to walk
around and explore. For a more local taste of the island. Paia
has Baldwin Beach referenced earlier and Hookipa Beach,
famous for windsurfing.
Hana is a hike. Count on two hours to get there. You will
literally see hundreds of waterfalls as you wind your way from
Kahalui East along the Northern edge of the island. It is worth
seeing just for its natural beauty. There are a number of great
beaches and natural wonders to take in (http://www.hanamaui.
com/attractions.html). As mentioned earlier, treat the area
with respect as there are strong currents, dangerous cliffs and
Take in the beauty, for sure, just hold on to your child. The
Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple, can be viewed at Kahanu
Garden. Heiaus are not much to see now, but they have a rich
history that can be obtained in a visit. You can get lunch at
Hasegawa General Store or the Hotel Hana Maui. You can
also do a self guided tour of some cool lava tube caverns
(kids 5 and under are free) http://www.mauicave.com/ The
tours are self guided Mon-Sat from 10:30am to 3:30pm. 808-
248-7308. Lastly, there are a number of outfitters who offer
horseback riding along the coast for some breathtaking rides.
Drive from Kaanapali to Kahalui going clockwise.
This is a two hour drive. The views are amazing. The roads
are treacherous (1 car width in a lot of areas). Grab a lunch at
Honolua General Store in Kapalua and find a spot to park
(there are a few (especially on the Kahalui side of Kahakuloa
once the road widens again. A detailed description of the
drive is here http://adventuremaui.com/west_maui.htm
That's it for now!
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