We stayed at an amazing AirBnB in Kihei for two nights during our recent long weekend on Maui. Kihei ended up being the perfect jumping off point for our early morning drive into Haleakalā National Park for sunrise on the summit and for our afternoon adventure in Lahaina.
Because we had a pretty busy itinerary, we didn’t spend a lot of time in Kihei itself, but we did check out a couple beaches and places to eat and drink that I thought were worth sharing.
Beaches in Kihei
Kalepolepo Beach Park
This beach was immediately across the street from our AirBnB – it couldn’t have been more convenient to access. However, the morning we wanted to go swimming, the entry was completely blocked with construction equipment!
Undeterred, we walked through the parking lot of the temporarily closed Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center where we found a sign pointing in the opposite direction of the construction zone reading ‘beach access.’
After scrambling over a sand dune, we arrived at a nearly vacant beach with decent waves rolling in. We wanted to dust off our snorkeling equipment and try out our new underwater camera and ultimately had moderate success with both. Given the wave activity, the water was too sandy to make out much of anything, including our own feet!, but the camera worked and we spotted a giant sea turtle surfacing several yards away, which was AMAZING!
As we were leaving, a few more people were walking up and down the beach, some with their pets. I’m not sure that boded well for other people hoping to see wildlife, but it was a pretty chill little beach for enjoying some sun, sand and surf.
Makena Beach State Park
Unfortunately we had lost track of time while we were showering up from our busy day and ended up having to rush to the beach – not the ideal way to set up a relaxing viewing of the sunset.
To make matters worse, there was paid parking and the meters wouldn’t work – we were torn between risking it and heading to the sand for the few minutes of color or trying to call the cell phone payment option and missing the entire experience (we opted for the former – whoops).
As it turned out, we were able to capture a few photos of the colorful sky and sinking sun and spend a few moments watching the families hanging out in the sand and splashing in the water before the sun disappeared. We even spotted some whales emerging up out of the water and crashing back down off in the distance.
The beach looked fun and drew an eclectic mix of people – if we had more time, it would have been a fun place to spend an afternoon and thoroughly enjoy the sunset.
Places to Eat and Drink in Kihei
Several bloggers recommended Kihei Caffe as a perfect fuel up following an early morning watching sunrise on the summit and they weren’t wrong! This spot was hopping when we arrived around brunch time, and while they were offering both breakfast and lunch menus, we both went for breakfast.
Part of the appeal was this joint’s take on the Maui breakfast favorite loco moco – white rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy – as well as its banana macadamia pancakes (these were great, but they didn’t quite beat the ones we had on Oahu). We ordered one of each to share.
The serving sizes were enormous – we packed up half the pancakes for breakfast the following day – but the dishes were delicious! I was also entertained by the rooster, chickens and chicks scrounging around in the bushes next to our table while we ate.
Maui Brewing Company
When I went online to book a dinner reservation at Maui Brewing Company, which was only a short drive from our AirBnB, it was already completely booked. More than a month out! After being there, I’d say this was in equal parts due to popularity and COVID-19 capacity restrictions because the place is absolutely huge with both indoor and outdoor seating.
We took our chances showing up and seeing if anything might be available, and while many people were waiting for outdoor seating, they offered us immediate seating at the bar. Hooray!
We were thrilled to see they offered beer samplers so we could each pick a few to try. I really liked the Pineapple Mana wheat beer and the Kupu Barrel One, which was an ale aged in whiskey barrels. Brian enjoyed two IPAs called the Vets are Sexy (West Coast IPA) and Mosaic Mo’ Betta (Double IPA).
We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of our food – Brian opted for fish tacos and I selected fish and chips. Both good!
It looked like a party outside under the part lights, but the inside also had a good energy and was clearly a hot spot in the neighborhood.