In Wailuku, meet the locals over a hearty breakfast or noodle lunch at staple Sam Sato’s. For sophisticated New American farm-to-fork, go to The Mill House, surrounded by farmland and lush valley landscape on the Maui Tropical Plantation grounds. Take a seat at the counter of Hawaiian comfort food master Chef Sheldon Simeon. At his always-full Tin Roof, you’ll want to join the other enthusiasts diving into the garlic noodles, poke or pork belly bowls. Also in Kahului, Geste Shrimp Truck beside the harbor serves line-ups of adoring fans what they call “the tastiest shrimp on Maui.”
Explore ‘Iao Valley State Park
See Maui’s famous landmark, the ‘Iao Needle, at this lush 4,000-acre park and historic site, just west of Wailuku. Back in 1790, the Maui army used the 1,200-foot-high green-carpeted rock outcropping as a strategic lookout point in a fierce battle against King Kamehameha I. Even so, the king succeeded in his bid to unite the islands, and his pivotal victory changed the course of Hawaiian history. Hike the walking paths past the dramatic landscape of streams and deep ravines. Start early to get the best views of the valley and stream below.
Hike Waihe‘e Ridge
This is one of Maui’s most scenic hikes, taking you way up into the clouds with 360-degree panoramas of sea, sky, valleys, mountains and neighboring islands in the distance. Gain elevation — and spectacular vistas — quickly on this five-mile round-trip trail that climbs 1,500 feet past waterfalls and through tropical forest of guava, kukui (candlenut tree), ʻōhiʻa lehua (flowering myrtle) and lacy green ferns. Enjoy exotic bird watching, too, keeping an eye out for Hawaiian honeycreepers: ʻapapane, Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi, and, if you’re lucky, an ʻIʻiwi.