WHY WE LOVE IT
- World-class beaches everywhere you turn.
- Haleakala, a.k.a. the House of the Sun, a volcano that lives up to its name with every sunrise.
- Thousands of humpback whales slashing through the winter waters.
- A crowded field of celebrity chefs trying their best to outdo one another with super-fresh local ingredients.
- Countless waterfalls, hundreds of switchbacks, and four dozen one-lane bridges on the long and winding road to Hana.
- A sybaritic spectrum of accommodations, from beach-resort pleasure palaces to cozy bed-and-breakfast love nests.
- The world’s best windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions, and surf that ain’t bad, either—from knee-high beginners’ breaks to the 40-plus-foot faces of Jaws.
WHEN TO GO
Maui is a year-round destination, with visitor numbers peaking around U.S. holidays, especially between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Oddly enough, most people come during Maui’s wet season, though wet is relative—there are still plenty of good beach days. Still, April through September is optimal for sunshine. Shop for deals mid-September to mid-November. To see the humpbacks, come from mid-December to mid-March. Winter is the big-wave season on the north shore. Summer is when gentler surf hits the south shore.
WHAT TO PACK
Smart casual works just about anywhere, from the ritziest resorts to the finest dining rooms—think silky Hawaiian prints rather than jacket and tie. Pack rain gear for hikes off the sometimes drizzly Hana Highway. Bring a warm blanket and lots of layers for catching the sunrise up on Haleakala. For the beach, it’s whatever you look best in—plus a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen, because nobody looks good in a sunburn.
WHAT TO BUY
Lavender honey, soaps, and body butter from the farm store at Ali'i Kula Lavender; hand-carved bowls, hand-blown glass, and fine art from Maui Hands; goat-cheese truffles from Surfing Goat Dairy; pineapple and passion-fruit wine from Tedeschi Vineyards; something fun and flirty from Enchantress Boutique.
For information, contact the Maui Visitors Bureau (1727 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku; 800-525-MAUI; visitmaui.com).
GETTING MARRIED ON MAUI
Most of the resort hotels have wedding coordinators who will be happy to handle all your arrangements from afar. If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer (and you want to cut costs), the Maui Wedding Association (mauiweddingassociation.com) has a directory of vendors handling everything from bridal gowns to videography. Wedding requirements are minimal: Present a marriage-license application, government-issued photo ID and $60 in cash to a licensed marriage agent (along with a divorce decree or death certificate if you’re divorced or widowed) and you’re in. Download applications at hawaii.gov/health. You can locate a licensed marriage agent on Maui by calling 808-984-8210.
127 Lahainaluna Rd.
Don't let the name fool you. This "grill" is the swankiest haute-cuisine joint on the island. One storefront from the ocean in the old whaling port of Lahaina, it's a warmly lit epicurean wonderworld of gleaming stemware, starched white tablecloths, and desert pastels beneath the high pressed-tin ceilings of an 1890s building. There's no view, and that's fine, because it would only distract from the exquisitely wrought New American cuisine. Tequila shrimp with firecracker rice, Kona-coffee-roasted rack of lamb, and kalua duck quesadillas are among the specialties. The service is so impeccable it's scary. For foodie couples seeking a serious splurge, Lahaina Grill should be at the top of the list.
MALA OCEAN TAVERN
1307 Front St.
The tiny outdoor lanai of this little bistro by the sea is prime real estate for sunset dining—but it's got just a handful of tables. Request it when you reserve (which you'll need to do anyway). After the sun slips into the Pacific, blazing tiki torches keep the deck awash in fiery hues that make everyone and everything look fabulous. Foodwise, Mala's thinking is lots of organics, lots of whole grains, and no hydrogenated oils or preservatives whatsoever. That goes for everything from the seared ahi bruschetta to the superb beet and Kula goat cheese salad to the Honsin-glazed baby back ribs to the Kobe cheeseburger. The tiny bar, which specializes in exotic martinis and cocktails, hops to life as the night wears on. A second Mala opened recently at the Wailea Beach Marriott (3700 Wailea Alanui Dr.; 808-875-9394).
ALOHA MIX PLATE
1285 Front St.
A plate lunch is where protein, starch, and Hawaii's multiethnic history come together to stick to your ribs without emptying your wallet. There are plenty of plate-lunch joints on Maui—but not too many with daily drink specials and million-dollar oceanfront views. Mix and match local comfort foods like Hawaiian kalua pig, Japanese shoyu chicken, Chinese roast duck, and Korean kalbi ribs, which are served plate-lunch style with two scoops of rice and one of macaroni salad. In the traditional Hawaiian fashion, seating is all outdoors beneath big shade trees, tarps, and umbrellas. Sailboats bob at anchor just offshore. This is an excellent place to experience local food, watch the sunset, and sip a couple of sassy wahines.
HALI'IMAILE GENERAL STORE
900 Haliimaile Rd.
After spending the afternoon exploring the cool upcountry part of the island, stop for a memorable meal at the flagship restaurant of celebrated Hawaiian chef Bev Gannon, caterer to the stars (Jack Nicholson, Sharon Stone, yada yada). Surrounded by sugar-cane and pineapple fields, Gannon's elegant yet unpretentious place is in the old company store of a former plantation camp. Her Texas roots are all tangled up with Hawaiian regional cuisine in fare she describes as "eclectic American with Asian overtones." Try the lilikoi lemonade and the ahi Napoleon (layers of smoked salmon, ahi tartar, sashimi, and crispy won ton, with a wasabi vinaigrette), and be cool if you spot a big name at the table next to yours tucking into one of Gannon's kalua pork enchilada pies.
MAMA'S FISH HOUSE
799 Poho Place
Tavern on the Green meets Gilligan's Island at the priciest, hokiest, most romantic seafood restaurant on Maui. Tiki torches, servers with flowers behind their ears, flotsam and jetsam of all sorts, and the twisted roots of a live banyan tree come together in a South Seas castaway fantasy that's so over-the-top it's chic. Local fishermen deliver their catch to the kitchen each day and get credit for it on the menu. Sit by one of the enormous picture windows that perfectly frame the ocean waves and weigh the merits of, say, the opakapaka caught by Patrick Boteilho on the reef near Kahoolawe against, maybe, the deep-sea ono hooked by Kris Sakamoto in the Alenuihaha Channel. Mama's has a low-key luxury inn too (see Sleep).
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr.
The Hawaii outpost of the Wolfgang Puck empire bears all the celebrity chef's high-end trademarks: creative California cuisine with Asian edges, a high-caliber wine list, a healthy dose of hip, and—oh, yeah—sticker shock. The sleek, modern dining room balances panoramic sea views with backlit macroscopic photo murals of sea anemones, all psychedelic colors and alien tentacles. From the Hana hearts of palm salad to the pan-roasted uku with lobster sauce, everything on the menu is as carefully designed and as fun to look at as the decor. Reserve an outdoor table on the broad lanai, the best spot in the house for sunsets and stargazing (both kinds).
Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa
3850 Wailea Alanui Dr. Wailea
There are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet, but, boy, do the Hawaiians make the most of them. Take the little fish the Hawaiians named humuhumunukunukuapuaa, for instance. It's found swimming among reefs all around the islands. The restaurant of the same name is found at a resort hotel, in a thatched-roofed building that floats on a lagoon full of spiny lobsters. It's way over-the-top, so bring your camera or nobody will believe you. Order a flamboyant tropical cocktail and the signature ahi traps (chunks of seared ahi served with lemongrass). Or have a couple of lobsters fished from the lagoon and thrown on the grill for you.
A SAIGON CAFÉ
1792 Main St.
Finding this wonderful Vietnamese place on a dark back street of rainy Wailuku isn't easy, and the owner's refusal to put up a sign doesn't help. But it's crowded just about every night all the same. If you succeed in joining the in-the-know crowd, you'll be rewarded by a kitchen that turns out a dozen different types of pho (Vietnamese soup), heaps of hot and cold noodles, stacks of crispy shrimp, clay pots with baked chicken, platters of opakapaka steamed with garlic and ginger, and the best goi du du (green papaya salad) east of Ho Chi Minh City. All the waiters hail from Cambodia, Vietnam, or Laos, and some of them are stand-up comics at heart—especially the guy with the Elvis pompadour.
FOUR SEASONS RESORT MAUI AT WAILEA
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr.
This self-contained world of tall palms and white-curtained pool cabanas on a glorious stretch of sandy beach has first-rate service that stops just short of washing your feet. The three restaurants, including Wolfgang Puck’s Spago (see Eat), are among the island's best, and the spa is encyclopedic. The 305 guest rooms and 75 suites are spacious and loaded with amenities and luxury, down to the marble bathroom countertops and the extra-deep tubs for two. Try to book a room on one of the higher floors (there are eight stories) for the best sunset views and whale-watching vantage points. All the big bones at the Wailea are perfect, but it’s the small touches—the twin sinks, the cushy towels, the L’Occitane bath products—that really make it heaven.
THE FAIRMONT KEA LANI, MAUI
4100 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Tel: 808-875-4100, 800-441-1414
The palatial Moorish architecture of this 22-acre neighbor of the Four Seasons, with its stark white arches, cupolas, and minarets, is more Arabian Nights than Blue Hawaii. Imagine what fun it would be to have your own personal sultanate. The Kea Lani’s 413 suites and 37 villas—and they’re all either suites or villas—are tricked out with amenities galore, including entertainment centers, marble wet bars, and bathrooms bigger than some hotel rooms. The two- and three-bedroom villas are like oceanfront homes, with gourmet kitchens and private plunge pools. If you can manage to force yourselves out the door, the spa, the four restaurants, and the beach are some of the best on the island.
HOTEL HANA-MAUI AND HONUA SPA
5031 Hana Hwy.
Here's a far-flung getaway with no distractions for miles. Because it’s at the very end of the long and winding road to Hana, this low-rise, lushly landscaped retreat has a blissful old-Hawaii feel unlike any other resort on the island. The 47 Sea Ranch cottages, especially the ones with Jacuzzis and oceanfront decks, are the prizes. But any of the 69 cottages will do just fine. All are huge and have elegant bleached-wood flooring, kapa upholstery, and mini-refrigerators stocked with bottled water and soda and replenished daily. It’s the perfect place for some tropical nesting—unless you’re beach bums, since it’s on the rainy, rocky side of the island. The spa, though, is superb. And the hotel shuttle whisks guests to beautiful nearby Hamoa Beach.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, KAPALUA
One Ritz-Carlton Dr.
You could easily get lost here, what with a nearby pineapple plantation, two golf courses, a gigantic three-tiered pool, a big spa and gym, and six restaurants. (The Ritz is serious about food, and it hosts the annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival to prove it.) It’s like a self-contained city of luxury. A short stroll through the site of an ancient Hawaiian burial site (thick with bones and spirits) brings you to DT Fleming Beach, a long, golden crescent with plenty of privacy. The 321 rooms and 142 suites all have lanais, and the mountain and ocean views are unmistakably Hawaiian.
Pali Uli Estate
The 20-acre grounds of this Shangri-la by the sea include carefully tended gardens, lotus ponds, an organic farm, a 150-foot waterfall—and two luxurious private homes for rent, where you can hide away in Edenic splendor. Both are liberally trimmed in Javanese marble, teak, and glass, and both sit grandly on the edge of a 300-foot sea cliff. The architectural showpiece, Waterfall House, is perched right beside the thundering falls—which can be loud during the rainy season! The cozier Bali-chic Cliffhouse has a series of cliff-edge decks and an enormous built-in sofa facing a gaping marble fireplace. The views up the coastline to Hana are smashing from either house.
THE INN AT MAMA'S FISH HOUSE
799 Poho Place
Mama’s restaurant is legendary, but hardly anyone knows about the wonderful luxury cottages right next door. Snuggled into a coconut grove on the beach at Kuau Cove, these seven one- and two-bedroom hideaways seem to have materialized from an impossibly high-end fantasy of old Polynesia. They come with gourmet kitchens, laundries, gas grills on the private lanais, and up to 850 square feet filled with rattan, bamboo, carved woodwork, extravagant floral sprays, and warm sea breezes. It's a great place for those seeking seclusion within reason—you’re 15 minutes from big-city Kahului, five minutes from the windsurfer/hippie town of Pa'ia, and just steps away from the most fabulous seafood restaurant on the island.
KA'ANAPALI BEACH HOTEL
2525 Kaanapali Pkwy.
Tel: 800-262-8450, 808-661-0011
This laid-back, low-rise hotel may not have the glitz of its neighbors in the Kaanapali Beach Resort, but it’s got more aloha in its heart than any of them. And it’s got the same prime beachfront location without the sky-high prices. The staff members are as friendly as you’ll find anywhere. All of them—from the housekeepers on up—undergo Hawaiian cultural training four times a year. They somehow balance a thorough professionalism with a proclivity to drop whatever they're doing to burst into song or bust out an impromptu hula. The 432 motellike rooms and suites are spacious and filled with rattan furnishings, Hawaiian-quilt-style bedspreads, and original local art. Stay in either the Molokai or the Kauai wing for a lanai that looks directly out over the beach.
Dreaming of a zenlike alternative to the big hotels but still want to be close to lively Lahaina town and glorious Kaanapali Beach? This quiet Indonesian-chic bed-and-breakfast in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains is just a mile from the coast but a world away from the clamor. The sweeping ocean view says "Hawaii," but everything else about the place—from its symmetrical design to its teak chaise longues—says "Bali Hai." Exotic building materials like black pearl granite, ivory stone, and abalone shell add to the unusual elegance. Each of the half-dozen rooms is a one-of-a-kind love nest, with a huge bath and a private lanai, but our two favorites are the Nalu and the Kohola rooms, which have ocean views and gorgeous beds that deserve to be in a museum of Asian art.
THE PLANTATION INN
174 Lahainaluna Rd.
Tel: 808-433-6815, 808-667-9225
This plantation-style bed-and-breakfast in the heart of high-energy Lahaina appears to be a beautifully preserved Victorian building—but it’s actually a 1980s-built imposter. On the broad verandas, in the French doors, and all through the 15 rooms and four suites, the illusion of Old World tropical splendor is maintained. Every room has ceiling fans, antique furnishings, period wallpaper, and plush four-poster, wicker, or brass beds. Most have private lanais, and the suites are especially posh—a few have kitchenettes and whirlpool baths. All are perfectly soundproofed, a plus in noisy Lahaina. The in-house restaurant is the best French restaurant on the island (dinner only), and the poolside breakfasts it serves are complimentary for hotel guests.
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK
Visitor information: 808-572-4400
The crater atop the 10,023-foot-tall dormant volcano known as the House of the Sun is huge—nine miles by two miles—and so moonlike that the Apollo astronauts trained there. This is where the Hawaiian demigod Maui captured and held the sun in a fishing net until it agreed to slow its trip across the sky and lengthen the days. It’s still the best place in Hawaii to catch the sunrise—though the 3:30 a.m. wake-up call is rather brutal. (Temperatures can drop to the 40s, so bring a blanket and huddle close.) During the day you can take a long hike across the enormous bowl or, even better, go by horseback.
OLD LAHAINA LU'AU
1251 Front St.
If it doesn’t seem like a proper luau to you without a fire knife dancer, any of the Polynesian-review-style shows at the big hotels will do—just keep in mind that bare-chested dudes twirling flaming cutlery is a Samoan, not a Hawaiian, thing. For a bona fide cultural experience, this is the best luau in the state. Authentic Hawaiian dancers, male and female, tell the story of the islands in hula, both ancient and modern, after the sun slips into the ocean behind the stage. The one-acre grounds have been fitted as a Hawaiian village, with traditionally attired Hawaiians demonstrating everything from poi pounding to lauhala weaving. The food is several cuts above hotel luau fare. The topical drinks are generously portioned and included in the ticket price. And the staff is filled with aloha.
658 Front St., Studio 175
Tel: 800-548-6262, 808-667-2224
Explore Maui’s underwater world without getting wet aboard a 48-passenger submarine. You’ll see fish by the thousands through the big portholes as it slips beneath the waves off the coast of Lahaina and slowly descends through intricate coral gardens to a depth of 130 feet. You may also spot turtles, sharks, and rays; if you’re really lucky, you might even glimpse a curious whale or two. At about 90 feet the sub stops to examine the remains of a scuttled steel-hulled schooner. The tour lasts two hours; the 45-minute undersea excursion flies by all too quickly.
878 Front St.
Ancient hula meets modern choreography in an extravaganza that might remind you of Cirque du Soleil—which isn’t surprising because one of that Canadian troupe’s ex-producers is behind it. Without a word of dialogue, dancers, musicians, and acrobats cover the 1,500-year story of Hawaii, from its mythological origins to the arrival of Captain Cook to the current cultural renaissance. Performers sprint through the aisles, a goddess dances on the moon, a lusty half-swine seduces wild-haired Madam Pele, and a lava flow swallows the entire theater.
Pacific Whale Foundation
The Harbor Shops
After fattening up on small fish all summer in the waters around Alaska, thousands of humpback whales make their annual winter pilgrimage to Hawaii to mate, calve, and luxuriate in the sun. The protected waters off Maui’s southern and western shores are their favorite haunts. There’s nothing quite like bobbing among an amorous mob of males vying for the attention of a female with tail slaps and aerial acrobatics. And even at minivan size, the babies swimming by their mothers’ sides are unbearably cute. During peak season (February–mid-March), the Pacific Whale Foundation, one of many tour companies, offers a dozen whale-watching tours each day out of Lahaina and Maalaea Harbors, with marine naturalists on board to provide commentary.
MAUI OCEAN CENTER
192 Maalaea Rd.
A good aquarium can be an oddly romantic place, and this state-of-the-art $20 million complex is very good indeed. Go early in the day, before the crowds, and you’ll have the turtle tank, the hammerhead shark pool, and the hushed corridor spiraling past the shallow-reef, mid-reef, and deep-reef exhibits to yourselves. Among the oceanic wonders are garden eels, which look more like a patch of waving seagrass than a colony of plankton eaters, and the hermaphroditic rice coral, which breeds once a year in a big self-contained full-moon blowout. The marquee attraction is the 750,000-gallon tank in which divers feed sharks and rays by hand. Their diving masks have headsets and microphones, so you can chat with them while they’re at it.
Haleakala Skyline Tour
Highway 378 (Haleakala Highway)
Why hike through the forest when you can fly? This tour starts out as a quiet stroll through the eucalyptus trees—then turns into a screaming series of zipline rides (you’re suspended from a pulley on a long cable) back and forth across a deep, rocky gorge high on the slopes of Haleakala. Each trip across the chasm is longer, faster, and more exhilarating (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) than the last. If you’ve ever wanted to play Indiana Jones, this is your chance. The Haleakala course, which happens to be the first zipline run in the U.S., has a sister course in the mountains above Kaanapali. But we like the original best.
The best snorkeling on Maui is three miles offshore, at a half-collapsed volcanic crater that’s now a perfect half moon of an island. The barren island’s broad crescent bay has an exquisite coral reef, just about every type of reef fish in Hawaii and 150-foot visibility on a good day (which is most days). Scuba divers drift-dive along the back of the crater, which plunges straight down to 300 feet. More than a dozen boats take snorkelers on excursions to Molokini; the Cadillac of companies is Trilogy Excursions (808-874-5649, 888-MAUI-800; sailtrilogy.com), whose two catamarans are the most stable and least crowded of all. A breakfast of sticky buns and fresh fruit is served on the way out; you get a barbecue lunch on the way back to port.
THE ROAD TO HANA
The old adage about the journey mattering more than the destination nails the lure of Hana perfectly. There’s next to nothing to do in this sleepy Hawaiian community on Maui’s rainy northeast shore. But the waterfalls, rain forest, black-sand beaches, scenic overlooks, and hiking trails you’ll pass on the way make the trip more than worth it. Thanks to all the switchbacks and the four dozen one-lane bridges, it takes about three hours to drive the 54 miles from Kahului to Hana, but you should devote the whole day and spend the night in Hana—the more unhurried the journey, the better.
12 Baldwin Ave.
With some 4,000 mix-and-match separates on its well-stocked racks, the odds of finding the perfectly fitting suit here are excellent. The selection of one-pieces and cover-ups is equally dazzling, along with the array of hats, bags, and stylin’ beach accessories. Cuts range from modest to just barely there. Brazilian surfer girls who migrate to Maui’s north shore for the winter waves bring suitcases packed with the latest styles out of Rio de Janeiro, which end up on the racks. Maui Girl offers the most popular styles under its own label. The laid-back island ambience and genuinely helpful sales staff make shopping a pleasure.
84 Hana Hwy., Paia
3620 Baldwin Ave., Makawao
612 Front St., Lahaina
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali
For genuine Hawaiian-made souvenirs, there’s simply no better place to shop. All four locations are filled with the handiwork of more than 300 local painters, sculptors, jewelers, glassblowers, potters, printmakers, woodworkers, and other Hawaiian artists and artisans. Besides the rich array of fine arts and crafts, you’ll find home furnishings, garden art, handmade furniture, and accessories for kitchen and bath. Each of the galleries has its own inventory. All are lovely spaces to linger in, with salespeople who are fun to talk with. And because everything is sold on consignment, the prices aren’t as sky-high as you might assume.
16 Baldwin Ave.
Hemp isn’t just for stoners anymore. The sensible, eco-friendly fiber is now made into everything from clothing to body-care potions to pet products. And if it’s made of hemp and you can buy it legally on Maui, there’s a good chance it’s sold here. The selection of casual summer clothing includes lounge pants; linenlike dresses, trousers, and shirts; and warm his-and-hers hemp hoodies. All of it lasts and lasts, because hemp is as durable (it doesn’t wear out, it wears in) as it is versatile. Among the hemp body-care products are soaps, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, lip balms, and massage oils. For the green-minded pet in your life, check out the hemp collars, leashes, and cat toys.
Tel: 877-878-6058, 808-878-6058
High up the slopes of Haleakala volcano, on a ranch where Hawaiian royalty once went to rejuvenate, the island’s only winery produces both traditional and exotic varieties. They include a blush, a red, two sparkling wines, and three pineapple wines. The top seller is the light and fruity Maui Splash, made from pineapple and passion fruit. You can try all of them in the tasting room, which was originally a guesthouse for King Kalakaua. Time your visit to take advantage of a free tour of the grounds, given daily at 10:30, 1:30 and 3. The winery is a splendid spot for a picnic, so bring food; you can pick up the wine here.
ALI'I KULA LAVENDER
1100 Waipoli Rd.
It’s said that lavender soothes the soul, elevates the spirit, and arouses passion. See for yourselves at this upcountry Maui lavender farm, which grows 45 varieties of that flowering member of the mint family. The gift shop is chock-full of all things lavender, including lavender honey, jelly, shortbread cookies, coffee, tea, candles, body butter, bath gel, body spritzer, scented note cards, incense, aromatherapy oils, and even aromatic satin eye pillows. Take one of the five daily walking tours of the grounds, or better yet grab a map and take a self-guided tour, allowing yourselves time to relax in one of the hidden nooks along the way. The private, wide-open farm, with its sweeping view and lovely gazebo, is a great place for a wedding.
786 Front St., Lahaina
215 Piikea Ave., Kihei
261 Dairy Rd., Kahului
The surf shops of Maui, like surf shops from Memphis to Montreal, make a heck of a lot more money selling surf apparel than surfboards. This one stands out for its Maui Built line of T-shirts. With their bold Hawaiian graphics and sometimes pointed slogans—"My Island," "Maui Built: This Ain’t the Mainland"—Maui Tropix shirts are wildly popular with locals. Some, like "Hana: Keep It Hawaiian," may be too inside-baseball to play back home. But everyone everywhere will get "It’s All About Me." You can, by the way, buy surfboards here too.
SURFING GOAT DAIRY
2651 Omaopio Rd.
German immigrants Thomas and Eva Kafsack brought the know-how of Old World cheese makers, along with a herd of 80 pampered goats from the Big Island, to the green pastures of upcountry Maui. You’ll find the results crumbled atop salads, melted into cream sauces, and sitting on postprandial cheese trays in restaurants all over the island. Or you can pick some up right at the source, at the 42-acre farm on the slopes of Haleakala. Stop by the rustic thatched-roof pavilion and sample some of the 25-plus cheeses. Some of the more exotic varieties are flavored with jalapeños, Thai dragon chilies, Malabar peppercorns, or Buddha’s Hand citron—and any of them would make a lovely late-night snack.
2435 Kaanapali Pkwy.
Maui’s premier beachfront shopping mall has more than 90 shops, ranging from sunglass and T-shirt vendors to upscale retailers like Louis Vuitton, Coach, and luxury jeweler Baron & Leeds. Set among the Kaanapali resort hotels just steps from Kaanapali Beach, the mall is also home to the Whalers Village Museum, which has the 40-foot skeleton of a sperm whale and a rich collection of artifacts that shed light on the heyday of whaling and whalers in Lahaina. After you’ve shopped enough to drop, there are two open-air beachfront restaurants to kick your feet up in—or you can just stretch out beneath a shady palm tree along the beach. There are also evening hula performances on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
MAUI SWAP MEET
South Puunene Avenue (next to Kahului Post Office)
Just 50 cents gets you into this bustling flea market of produce, kitsch, and possibly the best bargains on unique souvenirs on the island. The gate opens at 7 a.m. Saturday and closes at noon, and you’d best show up early or the good stuff will be gone. Among all the crystals, coconuts, and cut-rate sarongs, there’s no telling what kind of treasures you’ll happen upon. Every type of fruit and vegetable grown on the island is on sale at bargain prices. Stock up on mangoes and papayas, and experiment with a sweet but seed-riddled lilikoi or with a rambutan, which is like a giant seeded grape on the inside and a red-tentacled space alien on the outside. In autumn 2008 the Maui Swap Meet is planning a move to Maui Community College (310 W. Kaahumanu Hwy.).
The Shops at Wailea
3750 Wailea Alanui Dr.
"What on earth will I wear?" There’s no better place in the North Pacific to find answers to that question than among the racks of sexy little skirts and dresses, fun and flirty tops and bottoms, and glamorous gowns at this "romantic goddess boutique." Specializing in trend-driven, one-of-a-kind, and simply unusual clothing, Enchantress represents more than 600 designers, including its own Hot Couture label, which features delightful things with 3-D flowers and loads of Swarovski crystal. It also has an elegant selection of nontraditional wedding dresses and beach wedding dresses, in satin, lace, and chiffon. The store’s adjacent Fifi & Bootzie Boutique (808-875-1121) is filled with accessories: bling-bling, candles, crystals, art deco this, art nouveau that, dressing mirrors trimmed with seashells.