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First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

Juneau, Alaska
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First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

Hello!

My husband and I will be visiting Kihei this November for our honeymoon. We will be on the island for 9 days and we will be staying at the Mana Kai. We will also have a rental car the entire trip. We are going for a more laid back, relaxed vacation without spending a whole lot. I would love your opinions on the places we are going!

We LOVE food. Probably the thing we're most looking forward to doing on the island! Any places that you recommend that are not pricey, with great food, that is easy to get to and from the Mana Kai? Places we are planning on stopping by:

- 808 Deli

- Mama's Rib's

- Coconuts Fish Cafe

- Joy's Place

- Zippy's (husband really wants to go here)

- Kihei Cafe

- Maui Brick Oven

- Cafe O Lei

- Cuatro

We don't want to do any major tours. No water activities for us. Are there any parks, strip malls, or big areas to walk around for a few hours around the Kihei, Lahaina, Wailea, Lahaina area? Just laid back things to do to take in the sights and pass the time. Things we are already planning on doing:

- Maui Ocean Center

- Maui Golf & Sports Park

- Old Lahaina Luau (we made reservations)

Since we will have a rental car the entire trip, how is the driving in Maui? We are renting from Kihei Rent a Car, so we will not be driving to and from the airport. We also will be heavily relying on our phones for GPS assistance...is that even necessary in Maui? Are there any local road rules that we need be aware of? We're hoping the driving level down there is easy mode, as we don't do well in very high traffic areas (we're from a small town in Alaska), so we don't want to anger any local drivers and we definitely do not want to get in to any accidents.

How is the drive to and from Lahaina, especially at night? Since we will be attending the luau, we will be driving back to the Mana Kai late at night, around 8:30-9pm. We are planning on driving up there the day before the luau so we know where we're going, so I figured we might as well hang around Lahaina for a few hours before heading back to Kihei. Any places we can go to walk around that has food and shops?

Lastly, how is the driving on the Piilani Hwy? My husband definitely wants to try Zippys, I was wondering how the drive was there to and from the Mana Kai.

Any assistance in making this a fantastic honeymoon for the both us is highly appreciated. :)

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Cafe O'Lei Kihei
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1. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

Speaking at least to the laid-back part of things, being at the Mana Kai puts you in a really great location to take nice, long, and beautiful walks along the beach in either direction. It's especially great in the morning, as the light is shining on west Maui, Molokini, and uninhabited Kaho'olawe island. Keawakapu Beach stretches south from Mana Kai and ultimately connects a very long way down to the beaches in Wailea. So you will be in one of the best spot to ramble up and down the beach/coast on foot.

I know that doesn't answer most of your questions, but I can at least offer that you will love the location if you want to spend lots of quality time at the water. After many trips to Maui, walking along that area in the morning is still to me one of the most priceless things to do. It's a great way to spend each honeymoon morning!

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Wailea
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2. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

There are of things to do in Maui that are laid back and don't cost a lot.

There is lots of shopping and cool little strip malls in Kihei Rd in Kihei

Lahanai is always fun to browse the stores along Front street and lots of good eateries as well

Upcountry is just a drive away and there is lots to do and the scenery is beautiful, you will want your camera here.

Iao Valley is fun to walk around in with beautiful streams with lush green scenery, also bri g a camera.

Try to get to the Maui Swap meet near the Maui College, it is a market on Saturdays and go early as it will get crowded and hot later. You could have breakfast at Zippy's and then head to the market as it is not far from there.

Above all just enjoy each other and the beauty of Maui.

Alberta Travelbug

Cheryl

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Nanaimo, Canada
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3. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

Driving on Maui is pretty easy. Nothing is very far. Okay, I know you can't drive very far living where you do, but Maui is still pretty easy going. The one thing I will tell you.... I have only ever heard someone honk their horn ONCE in all my trips to ANY Hawaiian Island. It just isn't done, unless you are on the Road to Hana, and you are thanking someone for pulling over. And more often than not, they don't honk, they just give you a "shaka" sign.

The drive from the OLL back to Kihei will take about 45 - 60 minutes. It will be dark, but the two lane highway has reflectors on the road, so it will be easier. Use the four lane Piilani Highway to get to Lahaina. When you leave the Mana Kai, turn right, and then immediately left at the next street, Kilohana Drive. That will take you up to a set of lights at the Piilani Highway, and you can turn left safely there. That will be much quicker than using South Kihei Road.

You don't have 5 Palms on your list. It is right at the Mana Kai Resort. Great Happy Hours right there, and you have a beautiful view of Keawakapu Beach. Also Sarento's on the Beach is right next door. Another great place. You should get a 15% coupon from the front desk for either of these restaurants.

Have a wonderful honeymoon!

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4. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

Long walks can be had along Sugar Beach, along the beach front of the resorts of Wailea Beach, too.

Be sure to take a drive along Hana Highway. It's an all day affair, but we found it magical when we went in January - and it wasn't crowded, either. Stop often, if the guys set up their barbeque on the side of the road (you'll see the signs), be sure to get some huli huli chicken from them, it makes a great picnic at the black sands beach.

Visit Paia for some good food and nice shops, many that sell local goods.

Watch every sunset!

If you get up to Lahaina, try Star Noodle for lunch or dinner. We loved it!

There is also huli huli chicken (don't know what it is? Google search!) truck at the Green Church in Kihei (Keolahou Congregational Church). They have excellent chicken and ribs, too.

Hope you have a great, relaxing time.

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Sugar Beach
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5. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

You can drive south from the Mana Kai through Wailea's posh hotel 'strip'. Go past Makena to see where the last (we think!)eruption from Haleakala sent lava down to the blue ocean. Shops At Wailea is two minutes south of Mana Kai, with free parking and several different restaurant choices. Try Gannon's above Wailea -- also Monkeypod Kitchen. Mulligan's on the Blue is also near you.

Kihei has lots of little take-out places. Grab something and eat in one of the Kamaole Beach Parks across the street -- free "million dollar" view.

Take a day to drive up to piney Kapalua in West Maui, stopping at Lahaina Town. (You'll find a Mama's in the little shopping center at Napili.)

Paia is a hippie sort of little town to explore as you come down the east side from Upcountry.

Driving is very easy, and local people are very courteous for the most part. (Watch out for the Tourists! LOL)

I can't think of a nicer place to start your married lives together! Best wishes!

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Makena
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S W Arkansas
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6. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

There is a walk way along the ocean from Polo Beach with a nice parking lot, which is behind the Fairmont Kea Lani, start there and walk north toward Kihei in front of all the big resorts very nice early morning walk.

Or start at your resort and walk along the beach until the "boardwalk" starts in front of the Andaz..walk and turn around when every.

New wonderful food at the Maui Thai Bristro, it is located behind Cafe O Lei in the Rainbow Mall.

Drive south until the road ends at La Perouse Bay. On the way back stop and Big Beach and just enjoy how BIG the beach is.

Drive past Makena Landing (get a local map..) past the historic church until the road ends behind the Makena Resort, you will pass a house that has a wonderful landscape yard and gardens.

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Cafe O'Lei Kihei
Cafe O'Lei Kihei
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7. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

We are currently on Maui and have visited often. Check out my trip reports under Finally.......Maui 2013 and it is full of ideas about easy-going Maui fun. The above suggestions are spot on. Driving is simple but it can be confusing in the dark. Please aware of bikers, walkers, people everywhere on the side of the road. You will have fun but just be easy going and that is the best vibe. Deb

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Maui
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Juneau, Alaska
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8. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions and tips! We rarely ever travel (both 26 y/o with not a lot of money!) so we want to make this trip worth while. This will be the first time traveling to a whole new area by ourselves (other times we have gone with our families) so trying to plan an entire trip is a little overwhelming.

J0an123 - Oh yes, I forgot to include 5 Palms. I have already made reservations for a 5:30pm sunset dinner the day we come in! I thought that would be a great way to start off our vacation.

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9. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

You're going to love it! What a great destination to launch yourselves as vacation planners and doers, too. So many helpful people on this forum and we all want you to have the best time, too.

You can really enjoy Maui without a lot of money. Cooking at your condo is a good start, and while you may be shocked at the price of groceries, it's way better than eating out all the time! Plenty of nice farmers markets in Kihei, too, so be sure to stock up on apple bananas, Hawaiian papayas, mango, pineapples, and avocado. I like to cook breakfast while on vacation - do a big enough one and you can usually skip lunch (another $$$ saving idea). Try Portuguese sausage while there, it's great with eggs. We also like picnics when we are away for a day, like the Road to Hana. Of course, happy hour cocktails at the condo is another good way of saving money, too.

Have fun, we would love to hear all about it when you return. Trip reports keep those of who don't have upcoming vacations to enjoy Hawaii, hint, hint :).

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10. Re: First time visitors to Kihei - Laid back things to do?

That will be wonderful! And you will be there when you can still order a drink with the HH prices! Do try their crab cakes one day, during HH. It is the only way I can afford them, and they are soooo good! A wonderful place to enjoy the sunset together your first night there!

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