Some family vacations are all about sitting by the pool, a little room service and never leaving the resort property. We all need vacations like that every once in awhile. Some family vacations are all about experiencing the area you’re visiting. That was our plan when visiting Maui; we wanted to be part of the community and live a little like the locals. Here are 5 ways you can enjoy a little local flare too.
From road side truck stops and grocery store counters to out of the way restaurants and food shacks, we loved eating our way around Maui. We stumbled upon many of these spots but also were given great recommendations from locals.
Great food experiences are easy to find on the island and I would encourage you to try something new, like mochi ice cream, musubi, lunch plates, and poke to name a few favourites from our trip. You can read about a few of our favourite local finds from our last Maui visit.
Forgo the Hotel and Resort
Maui has no shortage of amazing resorts such as the Maui at Wailea – Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea to name a few, but I find staying at a resort lulls me into hanging around and enjoying their facilities. Instead opt to stay in a condo community or try something like an AirBnB. We stayed in a two story condo in the community of Kehei and felt like part of the neighbourhood versus a guest just visiting.
Staying in a condo also gives you a little more space than a hotel room. We had two floors, a full size kitchen and laundry facilities right in our unit. Our condo community even had two swimming pools though we enjoyed the beautiful beach right across the street too.
Rent a Car
When visiting Maui, you’re going to want to explore the island so renting a car is a must. There are organized bus tours you can go on that will take you to popular spots but having your own car gives you the freedom to go anywhere at any time.
From the moonscape feel of the Haleakala Crater summit and the lushness of Up Country to the wonderful beaches of Wailea and the West Mountain, just toss your beach bag in the trunk and go.
Ignore the GPS
I have come to rely on my TomTom GPS whether in the city or traveling but when visiting Maui my suggestion would be to forgot the GPS. Some of our best adventures came from just driving the roads around the island. And in all honesty the island really isn’t that big and there aren’t that many roads.
A GPS is great for getting from A to B but why not turn down a road less traveled? We drove through windy roads through lush forests, along the water’s edge, past little neighbourhoods. Some of our best local food finds came from just driving with no destination in mind.
Enjoy Community Events
We happened to be travel over the July 4 long weekend and discovered that the Makawao Rodeo and Paniolo Parade was planned for the same weekend. We got up early and made the 30-minute drive from Kihei to Makawao in the middle of cowboy country. What a treat, standing side-by-side with locals, watching the decorated horses and riders walk by us down the main street. We even lucked out and scored the popular donuts on a stick from Komoda Store and Bakery in town.
These are just a few ways we filled our trip to Maui with a local feel. We felt like we were part of the community and of course living local does offer some cost benefits too. How do you like to vacation? What’s your favourite way to connect with the locals?