The 21 Very Best Things To Do in Wailea Maui For 2023
When I moved to Maui in 2010, I made it my mission to explore all of the many great activities and things to do around the island. In fact, one of my first jobs on Maui before I became a Realtor, was working in the activity business selling all of the fun helicopter trips, luaus, snorkeling tours, etc. The main benefit of working in the activity business on Maui is, of course, the free adventures and getting to play tourist occasionally!
Over several years in the activities industry, I had probably gone to about 20 luaus, been to Molokini about 10 times, been awe-inspired by every helicopter tour to Molokai and Haleakala several times, and personally experienced almost every single excursion offered on the island. So, unlike most of the "X Things to Do in Wailea, Maui" articles online, I'm speaking from personal experience.
Today, with my real estate office located in Wailea, I now spend a great deal of time specifically in Wailea and decided to share what I think are the best things to do in Wailea for anyone, from both visitors' and residents’ perspectives. Keep reading to learn what I consider to be the absolute must-do activities and adventures in Wailea.
Walk the Wailea Beach Path
I like to start my list of things to do in Wailea with the Wailea Beach Path because I also like to start my mornings with a walk on this beautiful, paved, oceanfront trail. The Wailea Beach path crosses several of the best beaches in Wailea including the southern end of Keawakapu Beach, Ulua Beach, Wailea Beach, and Polo Beach.
If you’re staying in one of the oceanfront resorts or condos in Wailea, you can just walk right out to the beach path, if you’re staying a little further away, you can find parking at Ulua Beach or at Polo Beach. Along the path, you can grab a coffee or even shave ice. Recently, the Fairmont has added a food truck on their grassy lawn in front of Polo Beach.
One of The Most Obvious Things to Do in Wailea, Golf at Wailea Golf Club
The Wailea Blue Golf Course was one of the very first pieces of land developed in Wailea back in the 1970s and today offers a very playable round of golf. The Blue course isn’t quite as challenging or interesting as the other courses in the Wailea Golf Club, which includes the esteemed Wailea Emerald and Wailea Gold golf courses.
The Wailea Emerald Course and the Wailea Gold Course are two of the best golf courses on Maui and are both typically in immaculate condition. Wailea has the world’s best weather in my opinion with abundant sunshine, very little rain, and less wind than some other parts of Maui making it a safe bet for good golf weather.
Also at the Wailea Golf Club is the Wailea Golf Academy where you can get professional instruction to take your game to the next level.
Taste the Many Flavors of Wailea
Ok, this one is actually about 5 things to do in Wailea on its own. As a luxury resort destination, Wailea is blessed with so many great restaurants that it’s hard to cover them all in a typical one-week to ten-day stay. If I could only go to 5 restaurants in Wailea while I was on Maui, these are the 5 I would choose.
A unique Asian-fusion restaurant located at the Shops at Wailea where local Hawaiian flavors combine with other Asian influences and brilliant creativity. Their motto “Eat-Drink-Talk Story” perfectly describes the comfortable and inviting atmosphere where Cantonese Lobster Noodles are served with Korean Fried Chicken.
From the libations menu, be prepared to be amazed by signature cocktails like the “Thyme to Burn” or “Da Musubi Man”. I’m always impressed by this place, every single time.
Humble Market ‘Kitchin”
Located at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort, this Roy Yamaguchi restaurant features superb American/Pacific cuisine featuring a variety of wonderful fresh fish dishes and a signature chocolate souffle dessert that is unforgettable.
One of the best Italian restaurants on Maui is Feraro’s at the Four Seasons. Come here if you are in need of a special dining experience with incredible flavors, ambiance, and scenery. My personal recommendation is the Ciopella de Mare.
Ko Restaurant at the Fairmont Kea Lani
‘Aipono Restaurant of the Year in 2022, Ko is simply incredible. The concept for Ko is based on the sugarcane plantation era of Maui and was brought to life by Chef Tylun Pang in 2012. A collection of Pan-Asian recipes lead the menu that is built on locally sourced ingredients.
A wonderful atmosphere at Ko compliments the incredible dishes like their signature Ahi on the Rock (raw Ahi served with a hot rock to sear yourself) or their mouth-watering Paniolo Bone-In Rib-Eye.
Breakfast at Ka’ana Kitchen
Being on vacation has a way of making us feel inclined to indulge and take our time at breakfast. In my personal experience, no one does breakfast better in Wailea than Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz. They offer an incredible breakfast buffet that carries a $60 price tag but features everything you could imagine belongs on a $60 breakfast buffet.
It’s not your everyday breakfast buffet. It includes a fresh juice bar, Kurubota Parok, locally sourced goat cheese, and even malasadas. Be prepared for a food coma and don’t plan anything except hanging out at the pool for the three hours after your Ka’ana Kitchen buffet experience!
A Beach Day at One of the Great Wailea Beaches
Wailea is known for having several of the best beaches anywhere on Maui and in South Maui. Wailea and Makena have the majority of the best beaches though. Four amazing beaches are directly accessible in the Wailea Resort area and several more are just south of Wailea in Makena.
In the Wailea Resort area, Keawakapu Beach, Ulua Beach, Wailea Beach, and Polo Beach all offer large sandy sections for relaxing and lounging as well as calm waters with tons of activities like paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, body boarding, and more.
Have a Cocktail at The Birdcage Bar
The Birdcage Bar at Hotel Wailea is a cocktail lounge located within the iconic hotel. It features a unique, cage-like design with panoramic ocean views and offers a variety of signature cocktails, wines, and light bites. The bar has a relaxing and intimate atmosphere, making it a popular spot for patrons to unwind and enjoy a drink.
This is really one of the more unique venues in all of Maui and has an upscale, yet laid-back vibe about it. Time your visit to be there at sunset, the view is simply incredible. Of all of the things to do in Wailea, the Birdcage Bar experience is certainly one of the most unique venues.
Pickleball at Wailea Tennis Club
Grab a paddle and find a pickup game of Pickleball at the Wailea Tennis Club. Pickleball has increased in popularity significantly over the last few years and is a sport enjoyed by many in Wailea. Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It can be played indoors or outdoors, and is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.
In Wailea, there are several pickleball courts available for public use, as well as organized pickleball events and tournaments. The Wailea Tennis Club is host to one of the most frequented public courts on Maui and offers a great way to get some fun exercise in while in Wailea.
Spend the Day Lounging at a Wailea Resort Pool, Even If You’re Not Staying There
When you live on Maui long enough, you discover which resorts monitor their resort pool areas well and which ones do not. That isn’t to say I’m admitting that I may have enjoyed some quality time at different resort pools around Maui without having actually booked a room.
Without divulging all of that hard-earned intel, you can now actually get a day pass for a couple of resorts in Wailea through ResortPass.
On the Resortpass website, you can reserve time and have access to the pool area amenities at the Andaz and at the Fairmont. So, even if you’re not staying at either of those luxury Wailea resorts, you can go spend the day there like you are!
Visit the Wailea Farmer’s Market
Every Tuesday morning from 8 am to 11 am at the Wailea Village several local Maui vendors gather for a Farmer’s Market. You’ll discover a variety of local crafts and goods such as some delicious treats from Maui Cookie Lab, essential oils from Sakti Hawaii, and great produce from local Oko’a Farms.
Once a month on the first Thursday of the month, the Wailea Farmer’s Market does a special sunset market from 4 pm to 7 pm. It’s an easy walk to get to the Farmer’s Market at Wailea Village from the Wailea resorts area and a fun way to discover a lot of great locally-made foods, crafts, and gifts.
Snorkeling at Makena Landing (See the Five Caves)
Wailea and Makena are technically different districts but are often mentioned together because they are right next to each other. The Makena beaches are some of the most amazing anywhere on Maui and the new Makena Golf and Beach Club is one of the most elite and exclusive golf courses in all of Hawaii.
At Makena Landing, there is a famous dive/snorkel site called the Five Caves or Five Graves where you can see Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, tons of reef fish, several small natural caves, and the occasional white tip reef shark (the friendly ones).
I’ve even seen a Hawaiian monk seal on this dive, it was unbelievable to dive with a monk seal. You’ll wanna go really early in the morning to get the best visibility and water conditions. Always snorkel with a buddy for safety.
Enjoy A Sea Scooter Snorkeling Tour
What’s better than snorkeling in pristine, beautiful waters right off of Wailea Beach? Snorkeling under the power of a sea scooter! James Bond would be jealous of how far these devices have advanced in technology.
For those not familiar, a sea scooter is an underwater propulsion vehicle that is hand-held and simply drives you around on the surface and underwater while snorkeling or diving. Cover more ground quicker with a scooter so you can see those Hawaiian green sea turtles in a Turtle Town! To take a guided tour the next time you're in Wailea, check out Sea Scooter Snorkeling in Waile or book them at https://seascootersnorkeling.com/snorkel-tour/
Sunset Sail with Kai Kanani
Departing from Maluaka Beach in Makena, Kai Kanani offers an exceptional catamaran sailing experience. Kai Kanani offers several different types of adventures including a morning snorkeling trip to Molokini Crater, a whale-watching tour, and the Adventure Sunset Sail.
The Sunset Sail is a great way to enjoy incredible views of the coast with the sunset lighting up South Maui. The sail features music, an open bar with local spirits and beverages on tap, as well as a great menu of appetizers and snacks. Out of all of the things to do in Wailea, I definitely recommend you find a way to get on the water and enjoy the views from there.
E-Foil Off the Wailea Coast
An E-foil is the ocean version of the One-Wheel. It’s an electric-powered surfboard that is mounted on a “foil” which is basically an underwater wing-shaped stabilizer for the board. It can take a few tries to get the hang of it, but once you’re up and going, it's a really fun experience.
Some of the best resorts in Wailea offer lessons and there are also some instructors who work through the concierges at the resort. Check with the activity desk or concierge at your resort if you’re looking for fun things to do in Wailea and try this fun new ocean activity along Maui's south shore.
Enjoy a Luau in Wailea
Wailea has several great options to enjoy the quintessential Hawaiian dining and entertainment activity, a Maui Luau. Options for luaus in Wailea include The Feast at Mokapu, the Marriott Te Au Moana Luau, and the Grand Wailea Luau at the Grand Wailea Resort.
A Wailea luau will include a bar featuring an assortment of tropical cocktails, a buffet or seated service featuring a wide variety of Polynesian dishes including Ahi Poke, Lomi Lomi, Mahi Mahi, Poi, and much more.
Luaus can seem a little too 'touristy' for some, but having gone to a luau over 20 times myself, I can tell you, yes, they are touristy, but they are also a lot of fun! Just embrace it, get out your finest Aloha shirt, go have a Mai Tai and watch the fire dancers!
Retail Therapy at the Shops at Wailea
The Shops at Wailea are centrally located in the Wailea Resort next to the Wailea Beach Villas, the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, and the Grand Wailea Resort. With the Shops, there are a variety of art galleries, clothing stores, jewelry shops, and restaurants. From Lulelemon to Louis Vuitton, you can find a wide variety of clothing including a new swimsuit from Billabong or Quicksilver.
You can easily enjoy watching sports at Pint and Cork, a great sports bar located near the Rolex store on the top floor. Tommy Bahama has a great restaurant next to its own clothing retail store offering a wide variety of island couture. Coldwell Banker has an office on both floors and you can even catch me there a few times a month on my monthly floor shifts!
Have a Fancy Picnic Created By Maui Luxe Picnic
If you have a special occasion you’re looking to celebrate while you’re in Wailea such as an engagement, baby shower, wedding, anniversary, etc, why not celebrate in style with Maui Luxe Picnics?
Over the past few years, gourmet luxury picnics have definitely become one of the most unique things to do in Wailea and Maui Luxe Picnics can put on a beautiful, delicious, and Instagram-worthy picnic for you on the beach or a grassy area in Wailea.
Check Out The Luxurious Real Estate of Wailea
Of course, I have to mention the incredible real estate in Wailea, I'm a realtor after all! As I mentioned earlier, my office is located in Wailea and I do love the incredible properties that we are so fortunate to help our clients with. There are several well-planned and developed residential subdivisions with homes for sale in Wailea. These homes are primarily not owner-occupied and serve as luxurious second homes.
Wailea is also known for the many great condo communities offering ownership. The number of condos for sale in Wailea is usually pretty low, however, with patience, it is possible to find the perfect unit. Many of the condo communities in Wailea are zoned for short-term rentals offering owners to generate significant revenue from the units when they are not using them.
If you have any questions about real estate in Wailea or anywhere on Maui, I'd be happy to answer those questions for you. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-214-4799.
Wailea Condos For Sale
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How Do I Spend a Day in Wailea?
If you're visiting Maui and are looking to spend the perfect day in Wailea, I'd recommend you kick things off with a walk along the Wailea Beach Path first thing in the morning. After that, head to the Andaz to enjoy one of the best breakfasts anywhere on Maui.
Once you're fueled up, head to Wailea Beach for a sea scooter snorkeling tour in front of the Four Seasons Resort. Spend some time catching some sun and drying off on the beach after the snorkel tour and then head to the Shops at Wailea for some shopping and grab lunch at Tommy Bahamas. After lunch, get in a round of golf at the Wailea Golf Club or some pickleball/tennis at the Wailea Tennis Club. If you're not into golf or tennis, head back to the beach, or get some lounging time in at your resort or condo's pool.
After the afternoon's activities have commenced, head back to your accommodations to get changed for cocktails and dinner at one of the great Wailea restaurants or head to one of the Luaus, such as the Feast at Mokapu at the Andaz. After all of that, you'll definitely have enjoyed a full day of the best Wailea has to offer and will be ready to call it a day.
Wailea is not known for its nightlife because there are just so many activities to do during the day that everyone is usually ready to call it a night pretty early to get ready for the next day full of adventure!
What is Wailea Maui Known For?
The luxury resort district of Wailea in South Maui is known for its phenomenal beaches including Wailea Beach, Polo Beach, Keawakapu, and Ulua Beach. Wailea is also known for having many world-class resorts such as the Four Seasons Maui, Andaz, Grand Wailea, and the Fairmont Kea Lani all offering a memorable experience.
In Wailea, there are several ocean activities as well as land activities to enjoy at locations like the Wailea Tennis Club and Wailea Golf Club. Fine dining is abundant in the area with many of Maui's best restaurants located in the area. Wailea is known for having many things to do for all ages.
What are Things to Do in Wailea for Children?
People wonder "Is Wailea Good For Kids?" and in fact, it is a great place for kids. There are many great things to do in Wailea for children. One of the most obvious is certainly taking them to the children's area at one of the Wailea resorts.
Depending on just how young your children are, the beaches of Wailea are usually very calm and offer a safe place to introduce your child to the ocean. Walking along the Wailea oceanfront boardwalk trail, you'll also find shave ice and ice cream to take the kids (and adults) for a sweet treat.
What is the Difference Between Lahaina and Wailea?
Lahaina and Wailea have many differences. Wailea is a master-planned luxury resort community in south Maui and the room rates, types of restaurants, and amenities reflect that. Wailea is also a very popular location to own a second home and as such, has a resort feel and doesn't have many full-time residents.
Lahaina on the other hand is on West Maui. about an hour away from Wailea and has more residential areas for locals and a larger percentage of residents. Only a handful of condos in Lahaina are short-term rentable, but Lahaina Town is definitely a major tourist attraction as cruise ships come to Lahaina and drop off their guests on Front Street. Front Street is basically a large outdoor shopping mall with gifts, restaurants, art galleries, and other tourist activities.
Lahaina can feel much denser than Wailea but also has its own charms. After coming to Maui a few times, visitors typically gravitate to West Maui or South Maui as a preferred destination.
Enjoying Your Next Trip to Wailea
Simply put, Wailea is a one-of-a-kind laid-back Hawaiian resort with so many great things to do at your fingertips. It's next to impossible to have a bad time in Wailea even if you don't plan everything ahead of time. It's a special place that has a way of captivating everyone with its unique beauty and tropical charms. The most important thing you can do to have a great time is to just come with a mindset to enjoy yourself, have a wonderful time, and the rest will certainly follow.
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Evan Harlow is a Realtor on Maui who has the expertise, experience, and work ethic to help you achieve all of your real estate buying or selling goals. We promise exceptional service and support from the beginning of the process through closing and beyond.
Posted by Evan Harlow R(S) 82003 on