When booking a trip to Maui, one thing people often consider is a luau. But which luau is best for you? Luaus on Maui are often ginormous parties with hundreds of people. For those looking for a large party, these luaus are perfect. Others prefer something more romantic or intimate. Thankfully, Maui has this type of luau, as well. Here is our list of favorite luaus on Maui.

  1. Old Lahaina Luau (Lahaina)
    Generally considered the best luau in all of Hawaii, the Old Lahaina Luau, located behind the Cannery Mall in Lahaina, is pretty much sold out seven days a week. Not only serving great food, the show is also authentic and fun. The downside of this luau, if there is one, is the sheer enormity of it. You’ll be sharing your evening with nearly 500 other people (it holds 496, to be exact). That said, if you choose one luau to attend while on Maui, and you had the foresight to book it in advance, you will be greatly rewarded at the Old Lahaina Luau. (Old Lahaina Luau)
  2. Feast at Lele (Lahaina)
    More of a fine dining experience with entertainment than a traditional luau, go to Feast at Lele if quality of food is your first priority. Rather than serving a buffet-style meal, this is a sit-down a five course meal at your own table, featuring cuisine inspired by Tahiti, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Samoa and Hawaii. The meal is prepared by the same folks that operate three of the most popular restaurants on Maui – Star Noodle, Leoda’s Kitchen and Aloha Mixed Plate. After each course, you’ll see eye-popping dancing and entertainment from each locale. (Feast at Lele)
  3. Migrations: Luau Show Kihei
    Unlike the massive luau’s in the more touristy areas of Maui, this one is limited to just 50 guests (reservations are required). It’s billed as Maui’s only interactive luau. During the evening, you’ll work with a master lei maker to create your own head lei, choosing from a variety of flowers, shells and other traditional elements. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform the ‘awa drinking ceremony, where you’ll share a drink of coconut water and ‘awa root. The dancers don’t perform on a stage, rather they are table-side. The food is all locally sourced with table service, not a buffet. The night concludes around a fire pit where the performers and guests share thoughts and gratitudes. If you’re looking for an intimate, romantic luau, this is a great option. The event takes place on the last Wednesday of every month. (Migrations: Luau Show)
  4. Royal Lahaina Luau (Lahaina)
    Maui’s longest running luau, the Royal Lahaina Luau is located right on Ka’anapali Beach at the Royal Lahaina Resort. Unlike other luaus, all seating is reserved, so you don’t need to worry about lining up an hour before the event to secure seating. This luau is the least expensive of the “big” shows and gives you the most bang for the buck. It doesn’t have the best food or show, but it’s very satisfying. For families on a budget, this is our top choice. (Royal Lahaina Luau)
  5. Drums of the Pacific Luau (Lahaina) Located in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa on Ka’anapali Beach, the Drums of the Pacific Luau has many things going for it. The food for a large luau is good. Considering it’s a large buffet, they also keep things quite orderly. You never feel rushed or like they’re going to run out of food. The show is fun, taking you on a “tour” of the Pacific islands, with stops in Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga and of course, Hawaii. It finishes with a lively fire-knife dance. The one downside to this luau is that it doesn’t take place on the beach, instead it’s indoors in a large hall. (Drums of the Pacific Luau)

RELATED: A Brief History of the Luau

Have you been to a luau on Maui? Tell us your favorite in the comments below, on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Facebook @hawaiioceanproject, or send us a picture on Instagram @hawaiioceanproject.

Maui has a vibrant live music scene featuring many different types of music. From Lahaina to Upcountry, you’re bound to find live music on Maui every night of the week. Here are our favorite places to watch live performers.

  1. Charley’s (Paia)
    With the Hard Rock closing its doors on Maui in late 2016, Charley’s is the best place to see indie rock bands, local bands and touring club acts on Maui. While most venues on Maui seem to cater to, shall we say “older” visitors Charley’s is going after younger music fans. With a lively, fun atmosphere, a great bar and good food, Charley’s is a good time for locals and visitors alike. (Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon)
  2. Fleetwood’s on Front Street (Lahaina)
    Owned by legendary Fleetwood Mac founder Mick Fleetwood, you would expect to Fleetwood’s on Front Street to be a live music mecca. Good news… it is! Even though there are plenty of recurring acts on the schedule, Mick Fleetwood himself does take the stage. Check out their monthly calendar at the following link to find out who’s playing. (Fleetwood’s on Front Street)
  3. Mulligans on the Blue (Wailea)
    On the south shore, from Kihei to Wailea, there are many live music options. But we’re zeroing in on Mulligans for their consistently great artists. While the “triangle” in Maui has live music at places like Life’s a Beach and the South Shore Tiki Lounge (live music daily from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM) it mostly focuses on DJ’s and dance music. At Mulligans, live music is its major form of entertainment. If you choose one night to visit, make it a Wednesday when Hawaii legend, Willie K. is performing. (Mulligans on the Blue)
  4. Casanova (Makawao)
    Located upcountry in the fun little town of Makawao, Casanova is primarily known for serving some of the best Italian food on Maui. But, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, they host music events. While artists like Willie Nelson, Kool and the Gang, Taj Mahal and Los Lobos have played at Casanova, the focus is on established contemporary Hawaiian bands, as well as and reggae artists. Casanova mixes in “club” nights featuring DJ’s with live performers, so make sure to check the schedule at this link to find out who’s playing. (Casanova)
  5. Cool Cat Cafe (Lahaina)
    With a rotating cast of regulars and music ranging from contemporary Hawai’ian to classic rock, Cool Cat Cafe is always a fun hang. Along with the music, Cool Cat serves up award-winning burgers and build-your-own milkshakes. With a convenient location on Front Street, you can stand outside and listen to music. If you like it, walk on up and join the fun. (Cool Cat Cafe)

Tell us your favorite live music venue in the comments below, or on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Facebook @hawaiioceanproject or send us a picture on Instagram @hawaiioceanproject.

Sure, you can easily spend your entire family vacation at the pool or at the beach. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if your kids are like ours, they will be perfectly happy with that. But if you want to shake things up a bit, here are five more family activities to keep the family engaged and off the tablets and phones!

Whale Watching
In season, December 1 – April 30, nothing beats a whale watching tour. Two hours on a nice boat, learning about whales and the ocean, while taking in gorgeous views of Maui and surrounding islands. Out of season, snorkel trips out to Lana’i almost always take you through pods of active spinner dolphins. While dolphins aren’t as spectacular as giant whales, they are loads of fun and love to play next to the boat. Click here to learn more about our whale watch tours and our Lana’i snorkel adventure.

Maui Ocean Center
Should the weather forecast look iffy, schedule the Maui Ocean Center for a rainy day. Nearly all of the activities are indoors, and oh what activities they are! The highlight of any trip to this aquarium is the stunning glass tunnel through the middle of a tank full of sharks and rays. It’s just beautiful. Maui Ocean Center is ultra-eco-friendly. They keep no mammals, nor do they serve drinks in plastic bottles or offer plastic straws (they use paper straws). Overall, it’s a very impressive aquarium and is a highlight of any trip to Maui. (Maui Ocean Center)

Surf Lessons
Depending on the age of your kids, this can be a fun for the family. Generally speaking, you’ll find friendly, knowledgable instructors who will get both you and children up and riding waves. A morning of surfing creates memories to last a lifetime. It may even create a lifelong surfer, and just as importantly, your children will learn respect for the ocean. You can find surf lessons all over Maui.

Ziplining
Ziplining is a fun and exhilarating way to see Maui. You can find various zipline adventures all over the island. We recommend googling it. But, for this article, we’ll call out three that are located near visitor hotels and condos and that are family-friendly.
Lahaina Zipline Adventure Tour: Soar over the Maui Dragon Fruit Farm on Lahaina’s only zipline tour. Though only 450 ft. long, this zipline tour allows you to go up to four times! The minimum age is 5 years old, with a max weight limit of 250 pounds.
Maui Ziplining at Maui Tropical Plantation: With five zipline adventures, ranging from 300 – 900 feet, Maui Ziplining has something for everyone aged 5 and up. Must be between 45 and 250 pounds.
Skyline Eco-Adventures Ka’anapali: For ages 10 and up (minimum weight 80 pounds,) this tour encompasses either an 8-line or 11-line tour with views of the Pacific Ocean and takes 2.5 – 3.5 hours.

Roller Skating
Take your kids roller skating at the Kalama Park roller rink. Every Wednesday from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM and Friday and Saturday from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Skating is free, but if you need to rent skates, they are available for just $5 a pair. FYI, this is not the skate park, which is located near the rink. The skate park, for those a little more adventurous, is for skateboarders, roller skaters and scooter riders who prefer ramps and tubes.

One bonus listing: Toddler story time at the Kihei Public Library on Thursday mornings from 10:30 – 11:o0 AM, with crafts from 11:00 – 11:30. Children’s librarian Miss Kathleen leads a raucous story time for toddlers with reading, singing and dancing. It’s a truly interactive experience for toddlers and parents, alike. On Fridays, there’s an additional 10:30 AM story time for children 4 and up, though kids of all ages are welcome.

Please let us know if you have other family recommendations for visitors of Maui by commenting below or hitting us up on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

On a day trip to Hana, you will probably be on the road for at least 10 hours. During this time, you’ll probably want to stop for at least one “big” meal, as well as for snacks. Here are our recommendations on where to eat on the Road to Hana.

Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: What to pack
Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: 12 scenic spots to visit

Huelo Lookout (Midway between mile markers 4 and 5)
Huelo Town is called “the little Hawaiian village forgotten by time.” A former sugar plantation community, it is now a quiet town with cattle ranches and smaller farms dedicated to growing fruit and vegetables. But the reason to stop here is for the Huelo Lookout fruit and smoothie stand. If you skip Twin Falls, it’s the first place to get drinks and snacks for the road.

Ka Haku Smoke Shack (Just past mile marker 10)
The shack, basically a tarp, serves up some mean barbecue. We wish we could recommend something, but the menu changes depending on what fresh produce and meats the owner, Chef Chewie, has on hand. Everything is farm to table, served on natural plates (bamboo plates lined with banana leaves.) Only open Monday – Friday until late afternoon or when Chef Chewie runs out of food.

Garden Gourmet (Halfway between mile markers 10 and 11, at the entrance to Garden of Eden) A food truck with picnic table seating, Garden Gourmet serves fresh, farm-to-table meals, with much of the produce grown nearby. All the food is prepared made-to-order, so if you’re in a hurry, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you go, we think you’ll be happy with your meal. You do NOT have to pay to enter the Garden of Eden to eat here.

Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread (Between mile markers 16 and 17)
If there’s one food item you can buy on the Road to Hana, it’s banana bread. But if you want the best banana bread, stop by Aunt Sandy’s. It’s moist on the inside and somewhat crisp on the outside, creating a really nice texture for which your mouth will thank you. The grilled hot dogs also hit the mark. If your car mates won’t mind, we also recommend the chili dog. But, again, you should ask the other folks in the car if this is OK!

Nahiku Marketplace (Mile marker 28)
Whether you want fresh juices, coconut water, snacks or souvenirs, this little marketplace has grown from its original two vendors to now offering more places to eat than Hana Town. You’ll find food trucks and stalls of all kinds, from Thai to barbecue and everything in between. You will also find vendors selling the world famous coconut candy.

Thai Food by Pranee (Hana)
A little shack in Hana, Thai Food by Pranee serves authentic Thai cuisine. The food tends to fall on the “sweet” side, rather than spicy, but don’t despair, if you order it spicy, it’s definitely, spicy. The other thing to note is you’re eating outdoors. In Hana, this means there will be flies and mosquitos. But, since you read our What to pack for Hana guide you’re set with the bug repellent, right? Back to the food. Thai Food by Pranee is in the running for best Thai food on Maui. People seem to be aware of this because the lines can get long, and it can take, literally, an hour to get your food when it’s busy. We recommend you ask how long it will take, so you can set your expectations.

Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill (Hana)
It’s unfortunate for those of us who don’t live in Hana that the best barbecue on Maui is in Hana. Whether you’re craving barbecued chicken, pulled pork, ribs, steak or even fish tacos, Braddah Hutts has you covered. The portions are big and prices are reasonable, for Maui, anyway. Don’t be scared off by the lines, unlike most things around these parts, it actually moves pretty quick.

Hasegawawa General Store (Hana)
Take a step back in time and enter the Hasegawa General Store to load up on snacks and drinks for the long drive back. Here you’ll find a little of everything, from locally grown vegetables to fishing gear to clothing. This is a mom and pop store that would make your mom and pop proud.

Hana Burger Food Truck (Hana)
The Hana Ranch runs the Hana Burger Food Truck. So obviously, the burgers are fresh and about as local as you can get. Beyond the burgers, though, all the veggies are also grown on location, and the fish is all caught locally. Even the ketchup is made on location using ingredients from their organic farm. Generally speaking we prefer Heinz ketchup above all others, but this ketchup is actually really good. Service is fast and there are plenty of covered picnic tables. The house-made ginger beer (non-alcoholic) is a real treat. As a bonus, as you’re enjoying your meal, you’ll be staring out at the Pacific Ocean. Hana Burger Food Truck is only open Monday – Friday from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: What to pack
Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: 12 scenic spots to visit

Planning a trip to Hana takes, well, some planning. What follows is a simple list of recommended items you’ll want to bring along for drive on the Road to Hana.

Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: 12 scenic spots to visit
Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: Where to eat

What to pack for the car:
* Gas up! Remember to fill your tank. Gas stations are few and far between.

* A map. If you have a phone with GPS, as long the map can be accessed while off-line, it will be sufficient. But having an actual paper map handy is always a good idea. You can most likely pick up a free map at your hotel or condo.

* Something to listen to. It’s optional, but music is always fun. There are also plenty of “audio tours” available on CD or even as apps for your phone. If you use a phone app, make sure to bring a car charger as you’ll be listening to it for a few hours. The Hawaii Public Libraries (Lahaina, Kihei, Wailuku, Kahului, Makawao and Hana) have audio tours available to check-out. You can also check out guide books. If you’re not a resident, you can get a 3-month temporary library card. With the card, you also receive wi-fi and computer access, in case you want to download or print out maps. You can also print out boarding passes when the time comes to fly away.

* A small cooler. Another optional item, but a cheap, small cooler with some ice to keep drinks and snacks (fresh poke, anyone?) cold is nice to have.

* A garbage bag. Along the way, you’ll accumulate trash.

What to pack for the body:
* Sunscreen. Sure, you’ll be spending most of your time in the car, but you will be stepping out, eventually. At least, we hope you will!

* Mosquito repellent. If you want to explore the beautiful forests, you’ll probably want to spray. The mosquitos are often vicious out there.

* Itch cream. For all of those mosquitos bites that happen after you jump in a river or tide pool that washes off your bug repellent.

* Hand sanitizer

* Something to alleviate motion sickness. You can purchase dramamine over the counter. Or, there are other natural remedies that may work for you. Of course, if you’re not prone to motion sickness, you can ignore this. But the road is windy, and you’re spending plenty of time gawking out the windows, so motion sickness is quite common.

What to wear:
* Hat and sunglasses. Again, you’ll be in the car for most of the trip, but once you get out of car, you want to keep yourself protected from the sun.

* Comfy clothes to hike in. Shorts are fine. T-shirts and tank tops are fine. For most people, whatever you wear to the beach will be OK. The caveat being, if you’re going out with the sole intention of doing some of the bigger hikes, well, you probably already know what to bring on a long hike.

* A change of clothes. If you swim or go on a particularly muddy hike, it might be nice to have dry, clean clothes to change into for the long drive back. You may not need them, but better safe than sorry.

* Hiking shoes or sneakers. The trails can get slick. For most of the hikes near the highway, flip-flops should be OK. But you’ll probably feel a lot better in actual shoes.

* Day pack. A light backpack to carry water, a towel, your camera, etc.

What else to bring:
* A towel. One towel for the entire car will probably suffice. If you go to swimming hole, you may want to dry your feet before you get back into your shoes, but everything else will dry naturally. A towel is also nice in case you spill something in your car.

* Plastic bags. Not for garbage, but rather for wet and/or muddy clothes and shoes.

* A camera. OK, most people just use their phones, but if you have a nice camera, bring it (and a spare battery and memory card). Word of caution, though. If you leave it in your car, hide it. There are break-ins. Don’t make it easy for criminals.

* Water. Water. Water. If there’s one thing to bring with you, it’s water. The road is long and hot. There aren’t too many places to purchase water and you’ll want to stay hydrated.

* Snacks. There are actually great fruit and snack stands along the way. The banana bread stands are always popular. However, they’re not always open or they run out of food. So, to be safe, you should bring along chips, veggies, candy, spam musubis, etc. to munch on. Best case scenario, you won’t need it. But, it’s a long ride. We’re guessing you’ll eat everything you bring.

* Cash. Most of the fruit and snack stands only accept cash

Continue reading our Hana Guides:
Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: 12 scenic spots to visit
Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: Where to eat

When driving to Hana and following directions, it’s all about the mile markers. For most of us, mile markers are nearly always looked over. For this trip, though, keep an eye out for them!

Before you begin your trip, make sure you check out our What to Pack Guide  to make sure you bring everything you’ll need for a successful journey.

Starting from Paia…

Twin Falls (Mile marker 2)
We know some people don’t stop here because it feels like the trip just started. Because it’s so close to Paia, it’s the single most crowded destination on the trip. But it’s well worth battling the crowds. The falls are gorgeous and less than a mile from the highway. There is also outstanding hiking beyond the falls. If you decide to drive past it, we highly recommend you visit it another day. Or, if you’re doing an out-and-back to Hana, hit it on your return. Afternoons are far less crowded. You can also pick up fruit and drinks at the Twin Falls Farm Stand.

Waikamoi Nature Trail (Midway between mile markers 9 and 10)
A quick hike, but we enjoy it. It takes you through an old forest with plenty of greenery and some scenic views. It’s not spectacular, but it’s a nice stop to stretch your legs.

Garden of Eden (Midway between mile markers 10 and 11)
You will probably pull in, see that they charge $15 per adult, and get back on the road. But, if you have the means, the Garden of Eden is really pretty spectacular. A little earlier this year, we named it the best tropical garden on Maui. For the price of admission, you will see 26 acres of lush greenery and every tropical flower you can imagine. You’ll also see where they shot the opening sequence of “Jurassic Park” and take in some of the best views of Puohokamoa Falls.

Ke’anae Arboretum (Just past midway between mile markers 16 and 17)
A smallish, six acre, state-owned arboretum that provides free walking trails through a well maintained nature park. This is an excellent place to get out of the car and stretch your legs if you haven’t stopped anywhere yet on your trip. There are about 150 specimens of trees, each well marked. Included amongst these trees are numerous fruit trees you won’t find anywhere but Hawai’i.

Ching’s Pond (Just before mile marker 17)
This is a quick one. Ching’s Pond (AKA Blue Sapphire Pools) is a small swimming hole popular amongst locals. The brave (or maybe it’s the foolhardy) will make the 25-foot cliff leap. If you decide to jump, research it first. There’s a target you need to aim for or you’ll be crushed.

Wailua Valley State Wayside (Just past the halfway point between mile marker 18 and 19)
Another quick stop, just take the small set of stairs on the right and you’ll be awarded with some amazing views of the Ke’anae Valley, Wailua Village and the ocean. On a clear day, you can even see waterfalls. You can’t get the view from inside your car, so definitely get out and stretch your legs if you stop here.

Upper Waikani Falls (Just past midway between mile markers 19 and 20)
Many people snap photos of this waterfall (AKA Three Bears) from the car. But, if you want to stop, continue driving less than a quarter mile and you’ll find parking. It’s a short hike down to the falls, and most of the year, it’s a comfortable swimming hole.

Kahanu Garden (Just past mile marker 31)
This spectacular 294-acre tropical botanical garden is another of our favorite tropical gardens on Maui. There’s a $10 fee for adults, children under 12 are free. For your admission fee, you will see plants, trees and flowers from the Pacific Islands, as well as National Historic Landmark, Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a massive lava rock structure, and the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia.

Waianapanapa State Park (Mile marker 32)
With its black sand beaches, views, blowhole, hiking and caves, Waianapanapa is always a favorite stop. Most people park, quickly snap a photo, and get on their way. But, if you decide to walk down to the beach, you’re in for a treat. The black sand feels nice running between your toes and there’s small cave just as you enter the beach that provides excellent Instagram opportunities. Because people are in such a hurry, though the parking may appear full, it tends to have a steady flow of people leaving. We highly recommend spending an hour or two exploring.

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach (In Hana Town, trail begins just past the Travaasa Hotel)
While it’s somewhat difficult to get down to the beach due to a crumbling trail (the drop is steep), if you decide to go for it, the red sand beaches are a memory you won’t soon forget. That said, if you’re somewhat squeamish about heights, or you have little ones with you, we don’t recommend this stop. Because of the inherent dangers, the beach itself is fairly empty. If you do see anyone here, chances are they will be naked as this is a clothing optional beach.

Wailua Falls (Mile marker 45. FYI, the mile markers go in reverse from Hana, counting down from 51)
You can see these 80-foot falls from the side of road, where there is plenty of parking and usually a street vendor or two. It’s an easy hike down to the water and most people do Wailua Falls from the road, so if you have the time, we definitely recommend heading down and maybe even going for a quick swim. Due to its beauty and roadside location, it’s the most photographed waterfall on Maui.

Seven Sacred Pools and the Pipiwai Trail (Mile marker 42)
Generally the last stop on a one-day excursion to Hana, Seven Sacred Pools (Ohe’o Gulch) often times gets skipped because people run out of time. The easiest way to get to see the pools is to pay to enter Haleakala State Park. If you time a Hana trip on back-to-back days to the summit to see the sunrise, you can use the same receipt to get in. Once parked, there’s a short .5 mile hiking loop to see the pools. Depending on the time of year, you’ll be able to enter the pools for quick dip. Regardless of whether you’re allowed to swim, the pools are beautiful. The other thing to do at this stop is to hike the Pipiwai Trail, a well-maintained, 2-mile trail that leads you to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls. Before reaching the falls, you’ll see a massive banyan tree and walk through a lush, bamboo forest. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and our single favorite location on the entire trip. Don’t miss this!

Finally, if your car is up for it, we recommend driving around the backside of Haleakala, rather than circling back and returning to the Road to Hana. The road get narrow and, in fact, there is no road in parts of it, but the trails are well-driven, so you don’t need an SUV. The backside is mostly all driving with very few stops, but the desert-like terrain and the lava fields are beautiful and a nice change of pace from the jungle you just drove through. You’ll end up in Kula, near the winery if you could use a calming drink after 10 hours on the road. This is where you should change drivers, as the person who drove this far deserves a break!

PRO TIP: Start at the aforementioned “back way” to get to Hana. Going in the reverse direction, you’ll hit the best parts of the trip, before they become crowded later in the day, then you’ll hit spots like Twin Falls after everyone else has already left. Rarely do people do the Road to Hana in this direction.

Hana Day Trip Planning Guide: Where to eat

The state of Hawai’i imports roughly 85% – 90% (by most estimates) of its food. This leaves Maui in a somewhat precarious situation. First, if for some reason we were cut off from the mainland, it wouldn’t take long for there to be massive food shortages. Second, when the cost of shipping is factored in, the food here is really expensive. Well, this is where Maui’s burgeoning organic, local farm industry is stepping in. Maui’s fertile soils produces amazing fruits and vegetables. While most of it can be found in local grocery stores and shops, the best way to access it is by the old standby, farmers markets. Thankfully, Maui has a robust farmers market scene. Every town has their own version. No matter where you are on Maui, you aren’t too far from a farmers market. Here is a list of our favorite markets.

Maui Swap Meet (Wailuku)
Saturday, 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM
University of Hawaii Maui

Since 1981, the Maui Swap Meet has been the biggest and most celebrated farmers market on the island. With over 200 vendors selling fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, baked goods and just about every knickknack you can imagine, if you visit just one farmers market on Maui, this is the one. There are also plenty of food trucks and vendors serving hot food, too, if you don’t want to wait to get home to cook up the fresh veggies you just purchased. There’s a nominal $.50 fee to enter. Children under 12 are free. [Maui Swap Meet]

Upcountry Farmers Market (Kula)
Saturday, 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Kula Malu Shopping Center

The most refined farmers market on Maui, here you’ll find the freshest vegetables you’re likely to come across. With all of the farming upcountry, it’s no surprise that the market is laden with vegetables, fruits, flowers and craftier items like honey, kombucha, pickles and food vendors selling raw and vegan items. [Upcountry Farmers Market]

Napili Farmers Market (Napili)
Wednesday and Saturday, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
4900 Honoapiilani Highway

Usually sporting 15 – 20 vendors, you can find a little bit of everything, but the focus is on locally grown, non-GMO produce and locally made products. Among the more interesting vendors you may see are Lahaina Organics, who make reef safe sunscreens and freshly made kimchi by Napili Flo Farm. [Napili Farmers Market]

Kumu Farms Market (Waikapu)
Monday – Saturday, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Maui Tropical Plantation

A true farmers market, everything sold at this stand was grown on the Kumu Farms. The fully organic, non-GMO farm, sits on 60 acres of fertile land in the shadow of the West Maui Mountains. Depending on the season, you’re likely to find everything from parsley and mint to macadamia nuts and pineapples to avocados and apple bananas. There are 35 different crops in all. If you’re hunting for bargains, on Saturdays many of the prices are reduced. [Kumu Farms Market]

Hana Fresh Farm Stand (Hana)
Daily, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Hana Highway between mile markers 34 and 35

Everything sold from this stand is from the Hana Fresh Farm. Hana Fresh is a key component to the Hana Health initiative, a health and wellness center in Hana dedicated to helping the local community, in particular native Hawai’ians who may not otherwise be offered healthcare due to financial, cultural and/or geographical reasons. The farm is seven acres and organically grows over 100 different crops. Proceeds from the sales go towards supporting Hana Health programs and services. [Hana Fresh Farm Stand]

Do you have a favorite farmers market on Maui? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject

Maui is home to many fine golf courses, far more than the five listed here. With the exception of one, all of the courses here are public. The one club that is private offers one-day guest memberships for visitors. From courses that double as PGA stops to municipal courses with stunning views, if you’re a golfer, there’s much to love about Maui’s golf courses.

  1. Kapulua Golf (Kapalua)
    Let’s face it, if you’re a golfer arriving on Maui, you probably have your heart set on playing the Plantation Course at Kapulua (7,411 yards/Slope 144.) This track is home to the PGA’s Tournament of Champions every January and it is long, but a few downhill holes help mitigate the length. With wide fairways and forgiving greens, the course is actually accessible for most golfers with even limited experience. The Bay Course (6,600 yards/Slope 135,) though shorter than the hilly Plantation Course, plays roughly equal in length. Both courses offer gorgeous views. But really, given the option, play the Plantation Course. It should be on every golfer’s bucket list.

    Plantation: From $225 – $325
    Bay: From $165 – $225
    (Kapalua Golf)

  2. Wailea Golf Club (Wailea)
    With three courses (Gold, Emerald and Old Blue), Wailea has something for every golfer. The Gold course (7078 yards/Slope 138) was once the home of the Champions Skins Game. With four-to-six tee boxes on every hole, the Gold course is playable for everyone. The Emerald course (6,825 yards/Slope 135) is a seven-time recipient of Golf for Women magazine’s Top Fairways Award for the country’s most female-friendly golf clubs. Finally, the Blue course (6,545 yards/Slope 129) affectionately called Old Blue, is the oldest of the three, but still gorgeous and in excellent condition. All three courses offer stunning views and are challenging, but extremely playable by golfers of all skill level.

    Gold: From $145 – $250
    Emerald: From $145 – $250
    Old Blue: From $120 – $190
    (Wailea Golf Club)

  3. Kahili Golf Course (Wailuku)
    Known for their friendly staff and great views, Kahili Golf Course (6,554 yards/Slope 135) is a sneaky favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. The winds can be challenging, but the course plays fair and somewhat long. Whether you’re facing the Pacific, gazing out towards the Haleakala summit or scanning across the local sugar cane fields, the Kahili views are amazing. As an added bonus, the restaurant features the best buffet on the island.

    Standard rates run from $79 – $99. Book online to save.
    (Kahili Golf Course)

  4. King Kamehameha Golf Club (Wailuku)
    King Kamehameha (7060 yards/Slope 139) is the only private course on Maui, but they do offer one-day memberships, which is perfect for visitors. You might want to channel your inner-Dustin Johnson because King Kamehameha plays long and is certainly challenging, with a whopping 580-yard first hole. The views of the West Maui Mountains are memorable, but the crown jewel of the course may be the incredible Frank Lloyd Wright-designed clubhouse.

    Call or email for one-day memberships: 808-249-0033, info@kamehamehagolf.com
    (King Kamehameha Golf Club)

  5. Maui Nui Golf Club (Kihei)
    The Maui Nui Golf Club (6,801 yards/Slope 135) has been called a fair, yet challenging course. The difficulty increases, though, in the late morning and afternoons if the tradewinds are blowing. The course offers amazing views of the Pacific, Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. The restaurant has one of the best happy hours on Maui, so try to finish between 2:30 – 6:00.

    Standard rate: $119. Many packages offered. Book online to save.
    (Maui Nui Golf Club)

While it seems odd to spend money to see plants and flowers on Maui when they are so prevalent for free, sometimes it’s helpful to see all the different types of flora in one location. For you Instagrammers, tropical gardens present excellent flower photo and selfie opportunities. Here are our choices for the five best tropical gardens on Maui.

  1. Maui’s Garden of Eden (Hana)
    As seen in the opening sequence of “Jurassic Park,” the Garden of Eden, while on the pricey side, is one of the more beautiful places on Maui. That’s saying a lot! With scenic views of waterfalls, the ocean and, of course, acres and acres of plants and flowers, it’s easy to spend a couple of hours here just roaming around.
    Adults: $15
    Children: $5
    Infants: free
    (Maui’s Garden of Eden)
  2. Kula Botanical Gardens (Kula)
    Featuring colorful plants and flowers, a koi pond, an aviary, a rock formation and more, the Kula Botanical Garden, is located on the slopes of Haleakala. The plants are labeled for easy identification. Short of heading out to Hana, there isn’t a better place to see native plants on Maui.
    Adults: $10
    Children 6 – 12 years old: $3
    Children under 6 are free
    (Kula Botanical Gardens)
  3. Kahanu Garden (Hana)
    Located on the Hana coast, Kahanu Garden resides in one of the largest hala forests on the Islands. The gardens feature plants of value for Hawaiian, Polynesian, Micronesian and Melanesian peoples. Beyond the lush plant-life, Kahanu Garden is also home to the massive man-made lava rock structure, Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a registered National Historic Landmark. If you’re driving the Road to Hana, Kahanu Garden is worth a stop.
    Adults (13 and up): $10
    Children (12 and under): Free
    (Kahanu Garden)
  4. Iao Valley State Monument (Wailuku)
    Popular for its clear views of the Iao Needle, the park also includes a half-mile, paved path through a botanical garden with clear signs that introduce visitors to numerous plants and flowers that grow on Maui. If you park down the hill from the entrance, you can skip the parking fee. The park was closed for most of 2017, but as of November 22, it’s once again open to the public.
    Parking: $5.00 (free for residents)
    (Iao Valley State Monument)
  5. Maui Tropical Plantation (Wailuku)
    Free to walk around, this is one of Maui’s hidden gems for a cheap family outing. The grounds are gorgeous with native Hawai’ian plants and flowers and a pretty lagoon. The world-class restaurant Mill House is on the premises, serving up some of the best meals on Maui. The gift shop is loaded and there’s an ice cream shop to satisfy your sweet tooth. Monday – Saturday they feature a farmers market with fruits and veggies grown on their farm. For an even bigger adventure, visitors can try the family-friendly (ages 5 and up) zipline tour.
    Free to walk around
    Tram tour: Adults: $20/Children 3 – 12: $10
    (Maui Tropical Plantation)

Do you have a favorite tropical garden on Maui? Or a favorite nature spot? Tell us on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject or leave a us a comment below.

Let’s be clear, this is not a Best Beach Movies list. Nope. Not even close. This list is all about fun. None of these movies will make you use your brain, but when you sit down to watch them, you’ll probably keep a stupid grin plastered on your face. If you’re planning a trip to Maui, these movies will get you in the mood for some fun. Listed alphabetically…

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, “Beach Blanket Bingo” is the fifth of seven in the “Beach Party” series of movies, and the last one to star Frankie Avalon. This one features the beach, duh, singing, dancing and a mermaid(!). Of the seven movies, “Beach Blanket Bingo” is probably the best known and most popular of the series.

Blue Crush (2002)
Think of it as “Rocky” set on Oahu’s North Shore. A young surfer, recovering from a gnarly wipeout must stare down her demons and get back on her board and compete. While the story is predictable, the surf scenes are cool and well shot. “Blue Crush” features appearances by some of the greatest surfers the world has ever seen, including Keala Kennely, Coco Ho, Layne Beachley, Jamie O’Brien and Bruce Irons, to name a few.

Blue Hawaii (1961)
The first of three movies Elvis Presley shot here in Hawaii, the plot revolves around Chadwick Gates’ (Presley) reluctance, after returning to Hawaii following a stint in the Army, to join the family business (a Hawaiian fruit company) and instead finds work as a tour guide. Yep, that’s it. Much of the film is shot on location at Kauai’s famed Coco Palms resort, with additional scenes shot in and around Waikiki.

Gidget (1959)
Often cited as the movie that brought surf culture to the mainstream, “Gidget” stars Sandra Dee as the title character. Her name in the film is actually Frances, but is nicknamed Gidget, a combination of Girl and Midget. Instead of chasing boys, like all of her friends, she focuses on learning how to surf. In the course of learning how to surf, though, she ends up in a bizarre love triangle. “Gidget” is the film that kicked off the “beach” movie craze of the 1960s. Oscar-winning actress Sally Field took over the role of Gidget for the TV series based on the movie.

Point Break (1991)
An FBI officer, the awesomely named Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), goes undercover in an attempt to bust a group of surfers led by the also awesomely named Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), who double as bank robbers. “The Fast and the Furious” pretty much took the movie’s storyline and swapped in cars for surf boards. “Point Break” features great action sequences and both really bad and kind of awesome surfing. Director Katheryn Bigelow later went on to win the Best Director Oscar for “The Hurt Locker”.

Right now you’re asking, where’s “Jaws”? Where’s “The Endless Summer”? What about “Splash”? We know. All are better than these five. But hey, it’s our list, and these movies make us giggle and relax and think about how we should be at the beach, not inside watching movies.

What are your favorite beach movies? Leave us a comment below or tell us on Twitter @HIOceanProject and Instagram @hawaiioceanproject