It's officially summer and the 4th of July weekend in the US! I wish my fellow Americans a happy and safe holiday weekend celebrating our nation's 241st "birthday". According to AAA, 44.2 million people are expected to be traveling more than 50 miles this week. If you're lucky to be traveling to Maui, Hawaii or are planning a trip there - here are my favorite, unsponsored vegan places to eat and visit on this island paradise.
Maui is a nature lover's dream! It's less developed than the main island and it has diverse landscapes, from lush tropical forests on the north side to rolling hills on the south. I like to stay on the north shore in the town of Paia - which is near the airport and on the road to Hana. It's a quaint surfer's town, not as touristy or developed as the west side of Maui. There's a laid-back artsy/hippie vibe with a small town center offering cute boutiques, cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and yoga studios. You won't find any large resorts/hotels here, only small inns and bed & breakfasts. I like renting a home to truly get the local experience.
Where to eat vegan on Maui
Maui is very vegan friendly, there are 17 vegan and vegan-friendly places to eat according to the Happy Cow app, but you can find vegan options at more places.
There are also plenty of roadside fruit stands and farmer's markets with fresh tropical fruits and veggies! I'm holding a giant avocado ;)
Paia has the largest/best natural food store on the island - Mana Foods. You can stock up on essentials on your way to Hana, pick up produce to cook your own meals, or grab their hot/cold ready-made vegan meals. You'll never go hungry with Mana Foods so close!
If you want a sit-down restaurant in Paia, my favorite is Cafe De Amis. It's a Mediterranean/French/Indian place with vegan options and a cute patio. I like their vegan curry and soy cappuccino.
Another good place for coffee/tea is Paia Bay Coffee. They have soy or almond milk and also have food, but I haven't eaten there. I'd like to try their Vegan bagel with roasted red peppers, avocado, tomato, and olive oil pesto next time. It's kind of hidden behind the main street of shops, making it a tropical oasis away from all the hustle and bustle.
If you head east from Paia on the road to Hana, there is Veg Out in the town of Haiku. It's a small mom-and-pop place offering a fusion of vegetarian dishes.
The Middle Eastern Plate is good. It comes with house baked falafels, hummus, spring salad, tomato, cucumber, tahini sauce, basmati rice or naan bread, for $10.
If you're heading to Hana, stop by the famous Coconut Glen's Ice Cream shack in Nahiku for amazing organic vegan coconut milk ice cream and frozen yogurt!
On the North West side of Maui, if you're feeling fancy, make a reservation at the picturesque The Plantation House Restaurant - a Hawaiian restaurant on the Plantation Golf Course with panoramic vistas from the 19th hole. There aren't that many vegan options, but when I was there, they had a delicious tofu pasta dish. Ask what vegan options are available when making your reservation.
Furthur down the west coast in Lahaina is Slappy Cakes - a popular breakfast/brunch place where you can make your own pancakes on the griddle! They have a vegan and gluten-free batter and you can pick your toppings. We had fun "drawing" variously shaped pancakes ;)
My favorite 100% vegan place is Choice Health Bar in Lahaina! They need to franchise it on the mainland (Dallas first please!). They serve local organic salads/entrees/bowls/smoothies/juices. Unfortunately, I inhaled my food before I could take a photo, but trust me, it was so fresh and delicious. This photo is by Choice Health Bar.
Where to visit on Maui
The best thing to do on Maui is probably just lie on the beach! But if you want to explore the island, there are so many things to do. I like to do outdoors activities, which is why I love Maui! My husband and I rented a car so that we can drive around the island at our own pace and stop to explore wherever/whenever we wanted.
The north shore is great for surfing and kitesurfing, though we did not partake in either activity. It was fun to just watch all the surfers maneuver the giant swells!
Taking a scenic drive on the Road to Hana on the Hana Highway is a must-do in Maui. The drive on the north side is through dense tropical forests with switchback roads that are at times one-way. The view of the ocean on one side and mountains on the other side is spectacular. You can make it a day trip to Hana or an overnight one. There are many points of interests along the way so it's best to plan your stops.
You'll feel like you've stepped back into prehistoric times!
The Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach nestled in a private cove within the Wai'anapanapa State Park is one of my favorite spots on the island.
While you're in Hana, make time to hike the Pipiwai Trail to the 400 foot tall Waimoku Falls - it's worth the hike through a dense and humid bamboo forest.
Another must-do on Maui is watching the sunrise or sunset from the Haleakala crater summit. If you don't want to wake up at 3AM to drive up to the crater, go for the sunset (it's the same view) and stay for the stars! Dress warmly because it's much colder 10,000 feet up.
Watching the sun set below the clouds is a breathtakingly surreal sight!
I also enjoy going to the Upcountry Farmers Market, it's every Saturday from 7AM-11AM. You'll find local produce, artists, and artisan vendors. It's a great way to meet and support the locals.
I like to relax on the beach at the end of my trip to unwind and prepare myself to go back to "reality", though I never want to leave Maui!
There's so many more places to eat and visit on Maui, I'll just have to keep going back!
What are some of your favorite vegan places to eat/visit? Let me know in the comments so I/we can check them out.
Mahalo for reading!