A Tropical Travel Blog
by Cate Lincoln

Unless you’re on an endless vacation (a girl can dream, right?) you’re probably limited on time (and money!). And planning a trip to Maui can be overwhelming. There’s so much to see and do! But how do you know what’s worth it and what’s not? Friend, just listen up. I’ve been there and pretty much done it all so I’m going to let you in on some secrets. Here are 6 things to skip on Maui (and what you should do instead):

1.Skip Never Leaving Your Resort. I know how tempting it is to park yourself in a beach chair under an umbrella and wile away your vacation days with a good book, but Maui isn’t the trip for that. Sure, do it a little but don’t be one of those people that never leaves your resort. If you’re looking for that kind of vacation, go to Mexico instead. Maui has so much to see and explore from gorgeous beaches (everyone of them looks different) to beautiful drives and incredible hikes leading to hidden waterfalls. So be sure to plan time to get out and see it all…in between naps on the beach of course. For some background on Maui’s best beaches, check out this post and for the best list of things to do on Maui, read this.

Things to Do on Maui

2.Skip Paying $$$ for Things You Can Do Anywhere. There is no end to the things you can spend money doing on Maui, but since you probably don’t have the funds (or time) to do EVERYTHING, I recommend focusing on what’s special about Maui. Leave ziplining, ATV tours, horseback riding, submarine rides, etc. for other places. On Maui, driving the Road to Hana, seeing the summit of Haleakala (preferably at sunrise), snorkeling at Molokini, and perhaps a luau are “don’t miss” experiences.

RELATED: Not very familiar with Maui? Read up on the lay of the is(land) and where to stay plus my favorite beach resorts, budget hotels, condos, honeymoon resorts, family friendly resorts, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels plus my area specific guides (including where to stay, eat, and things to do) for Wailea, Ka’anapali, the north shore, and upcountry plus my review of staying at the Four Seasons Maui.

Things to Do on Maui

3.Skip the Tourist Traps. Just because something is popular with tourists doesn’t mean it’s a tourist trap-some experiences are highly worth doing/seeing and that’s why you hear about them a lot. But there are some diversions built specifically for tourists that might not belong on your “must do” list if you’re short of time. Because of a general lack of “attractions” on Maui (zoos, museums, historic sites, etc.), the Maui Ocean Center gets promoted pretty well to the tourists. Maui Ocean Center is a good option for a rainy day (it has a pretty neat shark “tunnel” and sea turtle exhibit) but it’s kind of pricey ($28/person) and likely isn’t much better than aquariums you have back home. Maui Tropical Plantation is another spot that gets promoted a lot. Nestled at the bottom of the West Maui Mountains, it’s a pretty spot, and it’s free (you’ll pay extra for activities), but there isn’t really anything you’ll see here that you won’t find elsewhere so it’s not a place to spend a full day if you’re short on time. The Mill House (one of my favorite restaurants on Maui) is located here though so definitely stop by for dinner and take a stroll on the grounds.

Side Note: If you’re looking for a rental car for your trip, I LOVE Discount Hawaii Car Rentals. They’re seriously the only company I ever use. They’ll give you the very best prices, you don’t have to reserve with a credit card or pay until you show up, you can cancel and re-book anytime if you find a better rate, and they usually have a special that adds additional drivers for no fee. It’s a no brainer. Click here to check rates for your trip.

RELATED: 15 Things to Do on Maui

5 Maui Day Trips

Best Maui Snorkeling Spots

Road to Hana Guide

Maui Beach Guide

4.Skip the Cheesy Luau. If a luau is on your bucket list for a Hawaiian vacation, skip one of the cheesy ones and go for the best experience. A lot of people ask me what the most “authentic” luau in Hawaii is and honestly there’s not one. Luaus are celebrations for special occasions that usually take place in somebody’s backyard (like a big family get together) so a commercial luau obviously isn’t going to be the real deal, but some are definitely better done than others. My favorite on Maui is the Old Lahaina Luau, but Feast at Lele is also great if you’re looking for a more upscale experience.

5.Skip Spending $$$ on a Mediocre Dinner. When I tell people my favorite nice restaurants on Maui (here are 11 of them), they often blanche and say “oh gosh we could never afford that.” But the thing is, most visitors will end up stumbling into a restaurant in a tourist area and spending about the same money without the quality and experience. This happens in resort areas (Ka’anapali and Wailea) and Front Street in Lahaina. None of the places are particularly bad, but I think a lot are mediocre for what you pay. So instead, do your research and plan your nice meals in advance to make sure you end up at the best places. Also, read best breakfast spots in Maui and best spots for local food.

That’s just my two cents, but if I were gong to Maui for the first time, I would want the real scoop on what’s worth the time/money and what’s not. These are my opinions, but if you find yourself particularly drawn to something and think you’d like it, go ahead and check it out!

Thanks for sticking around and reading this whole post! It’s always my goal to provide a TON of value to YOU. To that end, lately I’ve been packing my Instagram (@hula.land) FULL of content and adventures that you might want to check out. A lot of my post captions are like mini blog posts with travel info, I’ve got IGTV review videos for luaus and excursions, and helpful story highlights like grocery store prices and hotel reviews. Not to mention that my feed is pretty much the ultimate tropical eye candy! You can follow me here and share my account with your friends! Your support really helps me to keep this blog running!

Also, if you have ANY questions about planning your trip to Hawaii, you can join my free Facebook group here. I’m in there answering questions every day and there are 5000+ other friends who have a ton of Hawaii information to share!

Feeling a little overwhelmed with trying to plan the perfect Hawaii itinerary? I’ve got just the thing for you!

Hawaii Bound! I’ve put together the BEST Hawaii itineraries you’ll find anywhere! These are the itineraries I use on my trips to Hawaii (plus a few tweaks because hindsight is 20/20 right?) and they’re perfect for first time and repeat visitors who want to see the very best of each of the Hawaiian Islands.

Check it out here.

I’ve included everything from the best snorkeling spots, beaches, and excursions and it’s all broken down by each part of the island so you won’t waste any time backtracking.

So what exactly do you get? With Hawaii Bound, you’ll get 10-15 different DAILY itineraries for each of the four main islands (Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island).

These aren’t week long itineraries, but daily itineraries so you can pick and choose what works best for your trip. If you’re the go-go-go type, then pick 6 different daily itineraries and string them together into one adventure packed trip. If you’re staying at a nice beach resort and wanting to take advantage of the amenities, then pick 2-3 daily itineraries and spend the rest of the week chilling at the resort/beach. If you’re going on an island hopping extravaganza trip, use the daily itineraries to figure out how many days to spend on each island and what to do!

This is basically vacation in a box, friend! Just add a bit of salt water and you’re in for the trip of a lifetime.

Click here to grab the Hawaii Bound itinerary bundle.

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