Kahului doesn’t enjoy the fanfare received by other Hawaiian cities and we think it’s time for that to change.
As the county seat and retail hotspot of Maui, Kahului is an amazing vacation destination and one of the many places you’ll visit on Norwegian Cruise Line’s exclusive Hawaii itinerary sailing from Honolulu.
If your Norwegian cruise vacation leads you to Kahului, we’ve narrowed down the highlights to help you enjoy every minute!
The scenery in and around Kahului is nothing short of breathtaking. What better way to take it all in than while meandering along one of the area’s beautiful trails? Here are options for every hiking level:
Advanced: Skyline Trail
The best option for dedicated hikers and bikers is the Skyline Trail, although, due to its steep incline and abundance of loose lava, this trail may not be ideal for beginners or those traveling with small children.
Intermediate: Iao Valley State Park
Central Maui’s Iao Valley State Park features one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks, the 1200-foot Iao Needle.
Beginner: Wildlife Sanctuary
If hardcore hiking sounds miserable, opt for the short trails at the Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary instead. Not only is this sanctuary teeming with threatened and endangered wildlife, it is home to several abandoned World War II bunkers, making it a popular destination among history buffs.
Kahului isn’t known as a sunbathing destination, although there are plenty of small beaches conducive to creating some new tan lines. Instead, the real appeal of Kahului beach lies in the diverse water adventures.
Kanaha Beach is frequently referred to as Kite Beach, as it’s a popular kiteboarding spot for beginners and advanced athletes alike.
Kahului Harbor is the region’s best spot for bodyboarding and surfing — and it’s popular among recreational fishers looking for bonefish and jack cravelle.
The water fun doesn’t stop there. It’s also home to the Hawaiian Canoe Club, which aims to preserve the art of Hawaiian canoe paddling while promoting physical fitness.
Kahului is a shopper’s paradise, with visitors and locals alike spending long hours at the Maui Mall and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.
While there’s nothing wrong with spending a day at the mall, we’ve got something a little more authentic to liven up your trip. The Maui Swap Meet is unlike any other shopping experience.
This expansive flea market is home to an impressive smorgasbord of unique and affordable items, many of which are handmade by Kahului residents. From wooden carvings to fresh-cut flowers, the Maui Swap Meet has it all.
The rich dining scene in Kahului includes multiple Thai, Mexican and Italian restaurants.
However, the area’s true culinary gem is Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice, which many hardcore fans believe produces the world’s most delectable shaved ice. Locals are especially fond of Ululani’s, for, while shave ice trucks once dotted the entire coast of Maui, they’ve since died out and become something of a rarity.
Other local sweet treats include donuts at the Home Maid Bakery and homemade sherbet at the Tasaka Guri Guri Shop. For something a bit more filling, stop by Tiki Tiki Thai Cuisine for soft shell crabs for the Bistro Casanova for capellini with prawns.
Whether you’ve spent the day hiking or enjoying the water, the day isn’t done when the sun sets. It’s time to let loose in one of Kahului’s heart-pumping nightclubs.
For a slightly more laid-back evening, check out the Mill house, which features shows from HAPA a well known Hawaiian band, along with other outdoor concerts and it’s all connected to Maui Tropical Plantation with gardens and zip lining! Not only is the entertainment above par, but they serve up unique and delicious dishes like Kabocha pizzetta.
Bypass the usual tourist hangouts and head straight for the Saigon Palace, a favorite among the area’s hippest locals. At the Saigon Palace, the drinks are strong and the dance floor in nearly always packed, especially after 10 pm.
A 24-hour trip to Kahului is not for the faint of heart, as this brief visit is likely to include hiking, mountain biking, kite surfing, or, at minimum, busting out a few moves at the club.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep before you hit up this underrated Maui gem!