[Merged] Going to Maui. Where to Stay and other Tips Please...

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  • Dec 31st, 2012 1:50 pm
Nov 3, 2010
20 posts

[Merged] Going to Maui. Where to Stay and other Tips Please...

We are traveling to Maui for 1 week in late November. We have 2 young kids (4 &7) and we will be renting a car on our arrival. Can you please share your ideas and experience on:

- Good car rental company with good value rates
- Where to stay to enjoy the ocean view, safe access to beach and close to eating places?
- And tips on family activities in November including places to see and road trips
- Eating places. We don't mind cooking for a few times during our stay but also like to travel around the island and eat at restaurants.

26 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
8672 posts
Trip advisor Maui forum would be a good place to research

This is a good place to book rental cars from.

Many people like to stay north of Lahaina, near Kannapali with black sand beach and good snorkeling. You can also go on whale watching tours.

Can try driving the road to Hana, for beautiful scenery. Another time to go to Mt. Haleakala, and Ioa Needle valley.

But the kids will enjoy playing on the beach, in paradise.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16565 posts
Any possibility of swing my Oahu too? Kids might like it more than Maui. I find Maui is more suitable for adults and seniors.

Oahu has lots to do with the kids, Hanauma Bay, Polynesian Cultural Center, Pearl Harbour.

But in anycase, make sure you get a shave ice for the kids :D

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Apr 1, 2006
3370 posts
I went to Oahu at age 22 and Maui at age 25. Oahu is great for young, energetic people, Maui is great for more laid back people. Little kids will probably like Maui. It's beautiful and calmer. Honolulu is a big city (well,1M people) and has big city problems. Maui has some amazing drives and activities. Do a zip line tour or whale watching/snorkeling.

I stayed in Lahaina at a condo rental about 5 min walk from the beach/town. Great location. Bunch of shops and food joints.

We rented from Dollar car rental. It was a good deal.
Deal Addict
Dec 15, 2004
1998 posts
We just got back from Maui and Honolulu for 10 days. In Maui we rented a vacation rental home in Lahaina that had its own pool and amazing views since it was on the side of a high part of land. We rented a Mustang Convertible through Budget through The convertible was fun to drive in Hawaii. We did the Old Lahaina Luau which was supposed to be more traditional. We enjoyed the entertainment and the food. We also dedicated an entire day to the Road to Hana which was very nice. We also woke up at 2:30 AM to drive up to the peak of the Haleakala. Definitely a great sight but with children might be hard.

In terms of food. I read about Star Noodle on Chowhound and our rental house guy told us about it and it was nice. A random good lunch was eating Huli Huli chicken from a stand on the side of the road.

We really enjoyed Honolulu too. The interisland flight was like 30 minutes. More things to do at night there and to walk around. We also enjoyed the snorkelling there (Hanauma Bay) than Maui (Knaapali)
May 28, 2012
10919 posts
We've always booked cars through Costco online - it redirects you to Budget or Alamo. You can get a reservation and then check online periodically and if the price changes, you can rebook at the lower price. Book a car soon...if your dates are near American Thanksgiving, cars may be in short supply.

If you want to stay in the South (Kihei), you will be close to the Kamaole Beaches. Check out condos at the Hale sisters and their families stayed there in January and they loved it. If you go on their website, you can look at ones in the rental pool.
Nov 3, 2010
20 posts
Thanks everybody for the tips. This is a great deal of information for us to use. I was told that Kihei is less windy in November. Is that true? Is it worth not booking a place in Kanapali with all the good things and book one in Kihei just because of the warmer/less windier weather? Appreciate the inputs again.
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Mar 21, 2006
1887 posts
I have stayed in both Kihei and Kanapali areas, both are good. I would book a condo with vrbo (vacation rentals by owners) or similar websites. Condo are great for breakfast for the kids, getting your morning coffee, and to laze around after a long day in the sun. You should have lots of condos to choose from in November. Get a condo with a nice pool so the kids can easily go swimming in mornings or evenings. During the day you can go to see the sights or the beaches (watch out for the undertow with the little ones). You can go to a different beach everyday.
Look around (google and RFD) for car rental coupon codes book something you can pick up in the airport. The kids are probably too young to do the complete 'road to hana' but take them to the Maui Ocean Centre. It is a bit expensive but my kids really enjoyed it. You can do the ride up to Haleakala unless the kids don't like a longer drive in the car. Take or rent snorkel gear you won't regret it! I only bring the goggles and the snorkel and use a noodle under you mid-section to easily swim around to look at the really amazing fish (there are LOTS). You probably need only 1 set while the other parent watches the kids.
I would also bring a small collapsable cooler and water/juice bottles to hold drinks in the car. Go into a safeway and sign up for a safeway card (can use your local address) and they give it to you right away. If they still do this, and you'll get big discounts on lots of food items.
Maui is a great choice you will have alot of fun.
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Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2004
4926 posts
I like Kihei because it's the dry part of the island and it's much cheaper. For example there are cacti in kihei! There are three beach parks in south kihei which have some of the best beaches on the island. You want to stay near one of those parks and not south or north of them.

It's also close to Walea which is quite a nice area. Not that I've ever pretended to be a quest at any of the hotel resorts there for the day or anything. I highly recommend for condos and also check out the "maui revealed" companion website for good pictures of each condo complex and reviews etc.

For the rental car use to reserve a good rate now and keep checking for a lower rate as your date approached. You can cancel rental reservations anytime.
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Jul 29, 2007
1104 posts
Couple of quick things:

-watch the snorkel places, they will try to sell you on a timeshare presentation. trust me when i say you don't want to attend those. you're on vacation. do not fall for it.
-get the Maui Revealed handbook. a lot of people don't like this book because they believe it to be disrespectful (rightfully so sometimes). the fact remains that it is THE best book for restaurant reviews, secret beaches, hotel reviews and awesome places in general that you would never find yourself. Having said that, especially with young children, use your brain and don't go to anything potentially dangerous (certain hikes, pools that are hard to get to).
-We stayed at the Hale Pau Hana in South Kihei and it was tremendous for the price. True oceanfront for about $250 a night and on one of the best beaches (Kami II). North Kihei water can be a dump, beware. If I were to go back to Maui I would save the $100+ a night and get a place across the street from the ocean in South Kihei. VRBO has a ton of great places for like $100 a night. Oceanfront is immediately 200+ a night.
-Swim/snorkel in the morning before the tradewinds come in. Again Maui Revealed is a killer book for finding great beaches (Chang's beach for example) that you would never find on your own.
-When you fly in, stop at Walmart and Costco immediately and pick up your food there, the grocery store prices are CRAZY.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16565 posts
richardvoyageur wrote: secret beaches
To the OP, all beaches in Hawaii are public, private property owners must provide access to the beach.

That's why you'll see the public walking through hotels to get to the beaches - perfectly normal. Also there is usually public parking and showers by the beach for public use.
Aug 24, 2011
96 posts
We have always bid on cars when in Hawaii with Priceline and got some great deals. We have always ended up with a big-name car company (usually Alamo). Since November is a bit of a lower season, you should be able to get a great deal. As someone else mentioned, check out VRBO or Homeaway for your rental options. For activities, our daughter really like the Maui Ocean Center and there is great snorkelling off of the Wailea area (you don't even need to do the tours). The island is small enough that you can explore a large amount of it and use the Maui Revealed book to pick out some key stops.

Our favorite restaurant was Mama's Fish House. The setting and food were spectacular (with prices to match).
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16565 posts
ascguy wrote: We have always ended up with a big-name car company (usually Alamo).

Alamo / National (same company, two signs) generally have the cheapest rates in Hawaii (dunno why).

You can book great rates with Costco Travel.
Feb 3, 2009
23 posts
We prefer the Kihei area; seemed to be cheaper than other parts of Maui. We had rented a condo last time and it was great! They included beach toys, mats, umbrellas and all our cooking utensils. We cooked a few nights and bought stuff for our breakfasts and lunch because food is pretty expensive in Hawaii. I believe a foodland grocery store was nearby and our condo gave us a keytag that gave us a bit of a discount.

As for car rentals, we found a better deal this year and booked through Check them out!

You have to try the local foods and plate lunches. We bought plate lunches to eat before we boarded our plane back home. Can't wait to
do that again this year. We also enjoyed eating at Roy's and Cafe O Lei. You MUST do a much fun and you get to experience local
food. We ate at The Feast at Lele, however, there is another popular one (forget the name right now) that may be suited more for children.

As for activities for the kids, it might be fun "finding" different beaches as you drive along. There are SOOO many beautiful beaches! You may also want to check out how much a "day pass" would cost at the Grand Wailea for their water park. Supposed to be really good.

We used the Maui revealed book and plan to use it again. Some really good information.
Aug 10, 2012
1 posts
If we rent a condo in Kihei and want to take a road trip to Hana and back...
- which direction would you depart?
- which direction would you return from?
- is this more than a one-day trip?

Also, has anyone camped-out, via pitching their own tent, while travelling/hiking through Maui?

Thanks guys!