Journeys: Maui Upcountry

Are you looking to unwind in Maui’s lush and untouched beauty? See the stunning sights from Haleakala or the quaint town of Paia? This journey takes you to Maui’s most worthwhile spots within this valley isle’s interior. While we realize our recommendations will make for more than just one day of exploration, we’re including everything into this journey so you can pick and choose what works best for you. Enjoy the countrysides of Maui and take your time with this relaxing adventure.

Breakfast at Mala Wailea
We choose this place for its buffet breakfast option, partly because it’s a great way to feed the kids but mostly because we just love a good buffet along the beach! With a fabulous view of the water, this restaurant serves up organic, fresh, and healthy menu selections and the prices are affordable. With extensive breakfast buffet foods plus a “healthy start” option and a la carte choices, Mala Wailea is a great breakfast place for everyone.
Beach day at Makena
With easy parking, lots of space, and beautiful swimming conditions, Makena (a.k.a. Big Beach) is known as the best beach on Maui. Powder-soft sand and clear waters, this spot generates some good-sized waves during a south or southwest swell. While there is a lifeguard on duty at this beach, make sure to use caution with little kids in the water if the waves appear rough. Big Beach is the ideal spot to lay back and enjoy some south shore sunshine during your vacation.
Lunch at Café Mambo
A traditional café lunch spot, this cute restaurant offers vegetarian food, fresh salads, burgers, sandwiches, even fajitas! A little something for everyone, Café Mambo has a great interior ambiance with wide-open windows that expose the lively streets outside. Casual and quick, this lunch restaurant is the perfect place to stop off during your journey through upcountry Maui.
Shop the streets of Paia
The heart of Maui’s north shore, Paia is a cute little beach town that reflects the history of the island’s sugar cane and plantation industry. With plenty of boutiques and shops to peruse, Paia offers art galleries, surf shops, wining and dining spots, and a festive afternoon for visitors.
Sightseeing in Makawao
If you didn’t get your fill of shopping yet (or prefer to visit Makawao over Paia), this paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town has a thriving art community to keep you entertained. Boutiques, art galleries, and live glass blowing demonstrations are a great way to spend your day passing through Makawao. And for a real local experience, try a famous cream puff from T. Komoda Store.
Lavender Farm
Traditionally know as Ali’i Kula Lavender (AKL) Farm, you can visit this mountain sanctuary and take a guided walking tour, golf cart tour, or plan a day at the farm with the family. They offer craft classes and treasure hunts for the kids, while parents can enjoy a stroll through the gorgeous fields or enjoy a picnic lunch. General admission is $3 per person, but kids 12 and under are free! Don’t forget to pick up one of the AKL lavender products; it will be a scent that will remind you of this day for years to come.
Haleakala National Park
The most impressionable way to view Haleakala is during the sunrise hours. You can plan this with a guided biking or hiking tour or, explore the national park on your own time in your own way. If you’re following this journey from start to finish, we recommend starting out at the Visitor’s Center, where you can speak with a naturalist and learn more about what makes this mountain so culturally prominent. From here you can hike or explore the surrounding area, just be sure to bring your warmest clothes. Mt. Haleakala is literally amongst the clouds!
Dinner at Kula Bistro
On your way back home from Haleakala, be sure to stop off at the Kula Bistro. With great homemade menu options, a BYOB liquor policy, and delicious dessert options that change daily, Kula Bistro is a gem nestled within a quaint Kula neighborhood. A great way to end the journey, this restaurant is perfect for the whole family, as their menu options range from burgers to pasta to pizza to local favorites and more!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher