Family Travel


Wailea, Lahaina, and, Maui: A Hawaii Travel Guide

Hawaiian hula dance at Waikiki beach, Hawaii, USA

Wailea, Lahaina, and, Maui: A Hawaii Travel Guide

Can't decide where to go for your next vacation? Well, a trip to Hawaii might just be your next memorable adventure. Hawaii attracts tourists from all over the world with its beautiful, breathtaking islands. It is a paradise destination with various cultural offerings that are sure to keep you interested on your trip. In this article, we will take a closer look at Wailea, Lahaina, and, Maui this travel guide should help you decide on a beautiful location that will suit your needs for an unforgettable Hawaii vacation.

The Ku'ula stone, a fisherman's shrine off the coastal walkway in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
A trip to Hawaii can be a memorable holiday adventure.


The History of Wailea

According to the 2020 census, Wailea had a community of 6,027. The name Wailea translates to “water of the lea,” known as the goddess of canoe builders. According to legend, Goddess Lea would turn the place into a splendid forest for birds and appreciate its beauty while she flew around. Additionally, native Hawaiians would live in the Wailea mountains, where they farmed sweet potatoes and traveled along the coast to catch fish. Over the last two centuries, cattle farming has become popular and a source of revenue, bringing rise to locations such as Ulupalakua Ranch, found on the slopes of Haleakala volcano.

Furthermore, Wailea is well known for its beautiful ocean views, luxurious accommodations, and top-class golf courses. Let’s take a closer look at the accommodations and attractions available in Wailea.

Oahu Hawaii
The beaches in Wailea are beautiful and pristine.


Accommodations in Wailea

There are a variety of accommodation options available, such as boutique hotels and luxurious beachfront resorts, to suit your budget with gorgeous views.

  • Days Inn by Wyndham Maui Oceanfront: It is located on Keawakapu Beach and offers beachfront access. Activities at the Days Inn include the beach, snorkeling, fitness center, and a golf course within 3 km.
  • Kihei Surfside: It is located 700 meters from Mokapu Beach and 200 meters from Keawakapu Beach. There are plenty of tidepools to explore, and you can witness migrating humpback whales and sea turtles while taking a relaxing stroll along the beach. Surrounding areas offer hiking, snorkeling, and fishing.
  • Wailea Beach Resort, Marriott, Maui: Unwind at this beautiful resort and take pleasure in the spa services and sizable swimming pools. Furthermore, limited pools offer fun water slides for the whole family to enjoy, and lastly, there is a diving pool for guests who hold a scuba certification.
  • Four Seasons Resort: This lavish Maui hotel overlooks Wailea Beach and offers 3 restaurants and 3 swimming pools. It is located less than 1 mile away from The Shops and a 2-minute drive from Wailea Golf Club.

The Shops at Wailea are less than a mile away from this hotel, and Wailea Golf Club is a 2-minute drive away. Furthermore, Haleakalā National Park is 43 miles away and a prime attraction for tourists. To avoid disappointment, it is best to plan your trip, as it is very busy during the holiday season.

Attractions in Wailea

  • Kihei Regional Park: If you want to take a break, throw a ball around, or have a picnic, Kihei Regional Park is the perfect place to relax. What’s more, the Maui Ocean Center is not too far away, where you can experience Hawaii’s beautiful marine life and a 3D sphere of the Humpback whale.
  • Kalama Park: A great day out at Kalama Park can be filled with basketball courts, athletic fields, an inline skating rink, a skateboard park, snorkeling, paddling, and surfing lessons for beginners, and lessons for the whole family.
  • Waterfall and Rainforest Hiking Adventure on Maui: Without having to worry about maps or transport, you can explore the beauty of the East Maui rainforests. Enjoy crossing rivers, splashing in the waterfalls, and, if you dare, jumping over high boulders into the clear waters. Included in the trail trip is a nutritious picnic lunch to enjoy on the trail.
  • Haleakalā National Park: For over 1,000 years, native Hawaiians have cared for and lived on the land. Here, you can learn about their traditions, stories, and legendary songs. Additionally, you can have fun adventures in the rainforests and view the majestic volcanic landscape from above the clouds.

Restaurants in Wailea

In Wailea, there are a variety of top-notch restaurants to choose from, serving local Hawaiian cuisine and international favorites.

Ka’Ana Kitchen

It serves amazing food and has a chilled restaurant vibe. Enjoy a watermelon salad filled with candied walnuts, island feta, and li hing mui, also known as huamei. It is a dried, salty Chinese plum with a distinct flavor that tastes salty, sweet, and sour and pairs wonderfully with feta and watermelon. If you are in the mood for seafood, enjoy a dainty grilled octopus lemon oil salad with fresh garlic bread and Big Island chevre (goat's cheese). For all the meat lovers out there, indulge in a fresh from-the-farm prime ribeye with mustard greens, asparagus, and an onsen egg. The onsen egg is slowly poached in the shell using hot volcanic spring water.

Kula Bistro

Specializes in American cuisine; if you are a clam fan, then try the Steamers. It includes oyster mushrooms, spring onions, and sauteed clams in a truffle black bean sauce served with fresh bread. A fairly popular dish is the Coconut Shrimp, which includes 4 large jumbo white shrimp in a coconut beer batter and is served on homemade purple Molokai mashed potatoes with an extraordinary mango cilantro Thai chili sauce. Additionally, they also serve specialty sandwiches, paninis, pasta, steaks, and burgers.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

For a refreshing cold drink after a fun day on the beach, be sure to check out Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. They specialize in serving the best-shaven ice, otherwise known as a snow cone. They use 100% fresh fruits, fruit purees, concentrates, and extracts from Hawaii and the United States.

Ferraro’s Restaurant & Bar

Experience coastal Italian cuisine at this luxury restaurant after a relaxing day at the beach. They have a variety of salads and exquisite pizzas topped with Prosciutto di Parma (classic Italian ham), red onion, fig jam, balsamico, Gorgonzola (Italian blue cheese), and arugula. Furthermore, experiment with local Hawaiian cuisine, such as Hawaiian sea bass. This dish consists of locally roasted sea bass, Parmesan polenta, broccolini, and a tasty, flavorful palermo salsa.

The Shops at Wailea

Finally, if you enjoy shopping, which most holiday doers do, The Shops at Wailea is a great place to go for lunch and enjoy popular stores like Billabong, Banana Republic, ABC Stores, Crazy Shirts, Island Gourmet, and more.

The History of Lahaina

Known for its breadfruit trees and initially called Lele, which means “fly” or “jump,” Lahaina has a rich historical history. It has been said that when traveling back and forth without a hat to protect his head, a bald chief from the Kauaula Valley became irritated with the sun's burning rays. He looked up into the sky and swore at the sun, saying, “He keu hoi keia o ka la haina!”

During the 19th century, the town provided a place for the whalers to relax and enjoy themselves while their ships were restocked with fruit, vegetables, potatoes, and fresh water. However, their presence often caused problems with the locals, and the sailors would riot. In 1827, Lahaina was attacked by the British whaling ship John Palmer. Then, in 1831, the Old Lahaina Fort was built by Governor Hoapili to keep the sailors out of the town and protect the community.

Additionally, a census in 2020 said that Lahaina had a population of 12,702. However, today, this figure could be different. Sadly, in August 2023, a wildfire broke out and burned 80% of Lahaina. As a result, loved ones were lost, and many homes and historic sites were destroyed.

Furthermore, Maui is currently open, and tourists are encouraged and welcomed to travel to any of the islands except for Lahaina. Tourists are requested not to take photos of Lahaina and to be considerate and mindful. There is still plenty to experience and see in Maui. In this next section, we will take a look at some popular tourist attractions, and restaurants in Maui to help you have a memorable Hawaii trip.

Attractions in Maui

  • The Kings Gardens Maui: Here you can enjoy a wonderful hike to the waterfall through an ancient Hawaiian rainforest. Many of the trees are 100 feet high. Furthermore, you can go on an easy waterfall hike with a guided chocolate-making and tasting tour.
  • Haleakala Crater: Take a trip to the Haleakala crater and view a breathtaking sunrise. The peak is more than 10,000 feet up, and you can learn about many endangered species.
  • Line Ka’anapali Zipline Adventure on Maui: Get your adrenaline racing and take a break from the beaches on this adventure-filled zipline. You will see amazing panoramic views and can try out different lines while the guide shares stories about the island’s land.
  • Helicopter Tours: In Maui, there are a variety of helicopter tours to choose from. Fly over waterfalls, mountain ridges, rainforests, dormant volcanoes, and more.
  • Maui Pineapple Farm Tour in Haliimaile: Pineapple farming is popular in Hawaii. On this tour, the guide will teach you about the cultivation and growing cycles of pineapples. You also get to sample the fruit and will receive a fresh pineapple that you can take back on your flight home.
  • 2 Tank Lanai Cathedral Scuba Dive (Boat): Take an adventure scuba dive and discover underwater swim-throughs, arches, caverns, and lava shoots. As you reach depths of 85 feet, you can view the beauty of whales, dolphins, and other underwater sea life.
Three Strong Men Juggling Fire in Hawaii - Fire Dancers

©Deborah Kolb/Shutterstock.com

Dining and Shows in Mauli

In Mauli, there are many fantastic places to dine and watch entertaining shows where you can learn more about their cultural heritage. Let's explore some of the most popular places to dine.

Myths of Maui Luau Dinner and a Show

The whole family can enjoy a splendid evening under the stars at the oceanfront Maui Luau on Ka’anapli Beach. Here, you can learn about Hawaii’s lively culture and experience the Ium ceremony and the unearthing of the pua’a (pig). After that, you can enjoy a roasted pork all-you-can-eat buffet and delicious Hawaiian cuisine. While watching fire knife dancers and hula dances, you can sip on fantastic free-flowing cocktails made with local rum and listen to Hawaiian music.

Gilligans' Island Luau in Kihei

Through fun storytelling, the show takes the audience on a captivating journey through various scenes of Polynesian culture. You will see Tahitian Hula dancers and Samoan fire dancers, along with drummers and musicians. The show includes an open bar with an all-you-can-eat Hawaiian buffet. Make sure to come hungry. The buffet includes Kalua Pork, Panko-crusted Mahi Mahi (strips of sole fish), Teriyaki Chicken, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Vegetable Crudites with Hummus, Mac Salad, Molokai Sweet Potato, Green Salad, White Rice, Poi, and Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Dessert includes Lilikoi Bars, Fresh Pineapple, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies, and Chocolate Haupia Pie.

Ma'alaea Harbor: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise

Enjoy a romantic sunset experience aboard a 3-story catamaran called “The Calypso.” Sit back, relax, and enjoy island-style music, two complimentary alcoholic drinks (thereafter $5 per drink), and a table-side service. Furthermore, depending on your booking, you can feast on Penne Pasta, Prime Rib, Mahi Tuna, Kiawe Smoked Chicken, or Baby Back Ribs.

Popular Restaurants in Mahi

  • Mama’s Fish House
  • Lobby Lounge at Four Seasons Resort Maui
  • Kō Restaurant
  • Merriman’s Maui
  • Ka'ana Kitchen
  • Japengo


Wailea and the rest of Maui offer unique experiences, including popular Hawaiian night shows, immaculate beaches, luxurious accommodations, and day trips that will create memorable moments. You can enjoy dining at various restaurants catering to your needs and experience Hawaii's historic wonders and cultural differences. No matter where you decide to go, Wailea, Lahaina, and Maui will offer you an unforgettable vacation.

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