O/Z Lifestyle Brands is about more than looking great. We’re about adventure. In this edition of the O/Z Adventure Series, we're highlighting Maui.
Maui is the second largest island of Hawaii, formed over millions of years by two overlapping volcanoes and is known for the diverse geology and climates. While the northern part of the island can be a bit windy, the western and southern parts of the island tend to be warmer and sunnier. Rainfall is quite common, but the showers are typically light and brief. If you’re lucky, you may even see double rainbows!
Getting to Maui is quite simple. While some airlines require a stopover in Honolulu, many airlines, including United and Hawaiian fly directly into Kahului Airport (OGG), Maui’s largest airport. The airport is small and easily navigated, with on-site rental cars available. We recommend renting a car so you can experience everything the island has to offer at your own leisure.
Now that you’ve made it to the island, it’s time to get moving! Just remember - you’re on island time, so sit back, relax, take it easy and go with the flow. Are you ready? Here is our short list of O/Z Maui Adventures:
Road to Hana
Find the joy in the journey with an iconic drive on the road to the famed community of Hana, a full day’s adventure. Most tour companies begin around 7am, so beat the crowds and start your drive early with a stop at the legendary Komoda Store & Bakery.
Located right on Baldwin Ave, Komoda Bakery has stood as a staple since 1916. The donuts and baked goods are famous among locals and tourists alike. Try the famous donut on a stick! Stocked with pastries and donuts, you are now ready to make your way to Hana. The road has quite a few twists and turns, and without any stops the drive is about 2 hours each way. But, you’ll find all sorts of fun stops along the way, including natural waterfalls and swimming pools, refreshments served out of trucks, huts and everything in between. As you make your way to Hana, you’ll find the following main attractions:
Twin Falls at Wailele Farm (Mile Marker ~2): Look for the Twin Falls Farm Stand, and you’ll know you’ve arrived. Hop out of your car for a short walk through the grounds, and you’ll soon pass the first waterfall, the smaller of the two falls. Keep walking down the trail, and after about 10 minutes or so, you’ll come to a fork; take the left pathway and make your way to the larger of the two falls, knows as “Caveman.” Here you can take a dip in the refreshing and picturesque pool while enjoying the splash of the amazing waterfall. Make sure to bring your camera, as you will definitely want to take some photos. After your brief dip, make your way back down the pathway to your car to continue your journey to Hana.Booking.com
Garden of Eden Arboretum (Mile Marker ~10): this is a popular stopping point early in the journey to Hana to see some unique plants and flowers in a tranquil setting. While the arboretum boasts an amazing cliff-side view of the ocean, we recommend skipping this stop unless you really need to stretch your legs. The entrance cost is $15 per person.
Halfway to Hana Store (Mile Marker ~17): As the name suggests, about halfway to Hana you will find the Halfway to Hana roadside store. The store is more of a snack stand, known for their famous banana bread and Hawaiian shaved ice. Vacationers line up by the dozens to enjoy a quick snack. The line moves relatively fast, and there is covered seating to enjoy your treat before you hop back on the road.
Wai’anapanapa State Park (Mile Marker ~32): This stop is a must. The name Waianapanapa means “glistening water,” and the main attraction here is the unique and breathtaking black sand beach.
The “sand” is actually made up of lava rocks that have been ground down into small (and some not-so-small) pieces of rock. There is also a small lava-tube cave right off the main beach. You’ll have to squat down to fit through the entrance to the cave, but once inside the experience is amazing. You’ll see water crashing off the black rocks, as the sound reverberates throughout the cave. Additionally, above the main beach is a relaxing picnic area on a grassy field. We recommend brining a picnic lunch and enjoying the cool breeze under the shade of trees before continuing your adventure to Hana.
Hana Lava Tube (Mile Marker ~31): Here you will grab some flashlights for a self-guided tour as you make your way into a long, underground tunnel. The “tunnel” is actually a lava tube, formed almost a thousand years ago by hot lava running towards the ocean. Along your journey, you will see magnificent chocolate-looking formations. Imagine the largest Hershey’s Kiss you’ve ever seen! The entrance fee for this self-guided tour is $11.95 for adults and free for children under 5. This is indeed a unique experience and worth the stop. The estimated time for this stop is 30-45 minutes.
Hana Bay (Mile Marker ~32): You made it! The beach here is beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. Find a spot in the sun or under the shade of trees, set down your beach towels, enjoy the white sand beach, and take in the ocean breeze.
Hali’imaile General Store: On your way back from Hana, not too far from where you started at Komoda bakery, you will find the Hali’imaile General store, famous for the fish tacos and pineapple upside down cake. Stopping here for the upside down cake is an absolute must! Note, the restaurant opens for dinner at 5pm and serves lunch Mon-Fri from 11-2:30pm.
What to bring on your Road to Hana Adventure:
- Water / Drinks
- Picnic Lunch (if desired)
- Cash (or credit card) for roadside snacks
- Water shoes, if available (not required), for walking on the black sand beach
While Maui offers all the conveniences and amenities of a luxury island, just a short distance from the Maui coastline is the small island of Lanai, known for its pristine and exclusive beaches. We recommend booking this adventure in advance with one of the sailing companies that offers a snorkel and beach picnic combination package. Sail Maui is a great option. You’ll set sail on an hour long sailing catamaran ride across the Au'au Channel, complete with drinks, a light breakfast and striking views of the Lanai cliffs. Along the way, you can stop to snorkel the many reefs just off of Lanai, where brightly colored fish and sea turtles are swimming just below.
Once you arrive at the Lanai Harbor, take the short 10 minute walk to the untouched Hulopo’e beach where, even in peak season, you won’t find huge crowds. The sand is soft and fine, and the water boasts unique blues and turquoises. Often, dolphins can be seen jumping and playing just off the shore. Enjoy your picnic lunch at one of the many shaded picnic tables, and then take a swim in the clear water or explore the many vibrant tidal pools. After the sail back to Maui, refresh with a Dole Whip while strolling the quaint boutiques of Front Street in downtown Lahaina.
What to bring on your Lanai adventure:
- Water & Snacks
Sunrise at Haleakala Park
Haleakala National Park is home to the dormant Haleakala volcano, and the Haleakala summit boasts the highest point on all of Maui at over 10,000 feet above sea level. Take the morning trip to the summit to witness the sunrise from a vantage point above the clouds. Before the sun rises, you’ll witness a starry sky unmatched by anything you’ve ever seen. As fluffy cotton-like clouds fill the sky beneath you, beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow begin to peek through, illuminating the sky in slow motion.
This sunrise experience is breathtaking and takes some planning. You must secure a reservation with the National Park, and reservations fill up weeks if not months in advance. One option is to book this adventure with a tour company, however we suggest you make the drive yourself. Just note - the drive is not for the faint of heart, as the road up the mountain is quite windy with no lighting, and most stretches have no guardrails.
The drive from your hotel to the top of the mountain is likely 2 to 2.5 hours, and you will want to arrive about an hour before sunrise. In the summer months, this means you could be leaving your hotel before 2 in the morning! And, the mountaintop is very cold, even in summer, so make sure you bundle up! All of this may seem like a lot of effort for a sunrise, but we assure you - the experience is well worth it!
Makena Beach and Shopping in Wailea
Journey down to Wailea, and continue south to Makena Beach, our favorite beach on the island. With white sand as far as the eye can see, the beach here is glorious, the water is crystal clear and the weather on this part of the island is typically warmer (and less windy) than other parts of the island. We suggest bringing your beach towels, some snorkel gear and a picnic lunch. If your prefer to skip the picnic lunch, a fish taco truck is usually stationed in the beach parking lot.
On your way back to your hotel, complete your journey with a trip to The Shops At Wailea. Adjacent to some of the most luxurious hotels on the island, here you will find a variety of high shops such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Prada and more. You’ll also find well-known shops such as Lululemon, Tommy Bahama, and Banana Republic among others.
We hope we’ve inspired you to experience this amazing adventure. We’ve also included below some helpful resources, suggestions and links. Make sure to sign up for our email list to be notified of the next Adventure Series and much more fun stuff to come, and checkout our recommended links below! Happy Adventures!