Head up to Haleakala (“House of the Sun”) Crater for sunrise. Be sure to plan ahead and leave early, as you won’t be getting this sunrise exclusively to yourselves. Parking lots tend to fill up quickly here—especially during peak seasons and holidays. Also, bear in mind that while you’re on a tropical island, it can get pretty chilly awaiting the sun’s arrival at 10,000 feet. Bring a blanket big enough for two.
Alternatively, you can always head to Haleakala on a guided tour. We recommend three that each have their own unique way to see it best: 1) An all-day tour that starts with breakfast and a climb and ends with a visit to a lavender farm along with a winery; 2) A Haleakala bicycling and winery tour; and 3) A fascinating zip line adventure nearby. We’re sure there’s something that’ll strike your fancy.
Conquering the “Road to Hana
” is a must for any Maui vacationer looking to add some excitement to their romantic getaway. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, guidebooks often devote large sections to traveling the highway that leads from Kahului to Hana (on the eastern side of Maui). This 2 ½-hour adventure covers 68 miles of highway full of narrow hairpin twists and turns that pass over 59 bridges—46 of which are just one lane. The thrills of the drive are wonderfully offset by the chills of numerous waterfalls and beautiful sights along the way. If renting a car and doing this trek on your own feels a little too far outside of your comfort zone, don’t worry. Book our recommended small group luxury-van/helicopter tour instead.
Great beaches aren’t in short supply on Maui, but one that is not on most people’s radars is “Secret Beach
,” located in Makena. Marked only by an opening in a rock wall along the long, narrow road that winds through Makena’s mansions and beachfront homes, the isolated beach certainly lives up to its name. A wall separates you from the outside world and a rocky outcropping separates you from the next beach over. It will feel like your own private slice of paradise.
709 Poho Place, Paia
This is the destination restaurant on Maui and is a great place to stop on the way back from the “Road to Hana” as it’s on the way to most resorts. The freshly caught seafood and locally-grown produce are simply delectable. The sashimi is phenomenal and the desserts are luxurious. No matter where you sit, all tables provide breathtaking views of the ocean below. Our tip? Take a stroll either before or after dinner on the restaurant’s private beach area below.
127 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina
Reviews from regular patrons matter and the Lahaina Grill has been voted Maui’s “Best Restaurant” for 19 years in a row (1994-2012) in a Honolulu Magazine readers’ poll. Order the Kona Coffee Roasted Rack of Lamb. Top it off with a sinfully delicious dessert called the Road to Hana, Maui – layers of Hawaiian vintage chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream mousse, and macadamia nut caramel. It pairs well with a 10-year-old tawny Smith Woodhouse.
1 Bay Club Place, Lahaina
All roads lead to Merriman’s if you’re seeking a fabulous farm-to-table restaurant on Maui. About 90 percent of all food featured on the menu is locally-sourced. Order the wok-charred Ahi—it’s to die for. Plus, while the food here is phenomenal, this restaurant also has stand-out views of the ocean.
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea
At the Four Seasons Maui in Wailea, Master Chef Wolfgang Puck’s menu at Spago embraces Hawaiian culinary techniques and still manages to serve up up his classic dishes that made him famous. Order the grilled mahi-mahi with pineapple and sip on a fruity Hawaiian cocktail as an aperitif.
2435 Kannapali Parkway Building J, Kannapali
Looking for a place just for dessert? Order the Hula Pie at Leilani’s. Just one slice will do – it's enormous - and certainly big enough for two. This oceanfront restaurant is located within the Whaler’s Village and is made with Kimo’s famous macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts.