Where Should Our Editor Go in Hawaii?

February  9, 2016

We’ve been telling you our favorite spots, but now it's your turn to play tour guide. Where should Lindsay-Jean go during her trip to Maui and Oahu?

Photo by Ryan Silsbee via Real Time Farms

Our Contributing Editor Lindsay-Jean is headed to Maui and Oahu for vacation—a belated 10th-anniversary​ celebration—next week with her husband. One sun-loving vegetarian and one sun-avoiding red-headed omnivore are depending on your suggestions for how to make the most of their first trip to Hawaii. Is a luau a must-see event or an overrated tourist trap? Is the Road to Hana a trip to paradise or a scary, time-wasting drive?

Photo by Ryan Silsbee via Real Time Farms

Where should they go, eat, shop, sit, drink? Things of particular interest:

  • Hard-to-find, hidden, locals spots (yes, I know, every tourist asks for these—there are still some secret ones left though, right? I promise not to tell!)
  • Whale watching
  • Dive bars with killer views and posh bars with killer drinks
  • Breweries
  • Farmers markets and local produce
  • Old stuff and thrift stores
  • Running routes and scenic hikes
  • Restaurants to capitalize on their temporarily child-free state
  • Local specialties not to be missed

Tell us your favorites in the comments below. Mahalo!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dave Potter
    Dave Potter
  • TastyAloha
  • mei55
  • NoClub N. Fool
    NoClub N. Fool
  • UrbanHomemade
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Dave P. February 16, 2016
In Maui, hit Paia fish market restaurant for great fish plates and fish tacos.
Across the street is flatbreads, another great joint.
Best restaurant in the world is close too with killer food and views, Mamas fish House.
TastyAloha February 15, 2016
1. Mililani farmers market at Mililani high school on Sunday mornings
2. Drinks at sunset at the Halekulani in Waikiki. Best Mai tai and coconut cake with live music and hula dancer every night. This is a posh cocktail spot.
3. Liliha Bakery for cocoa puffs
4. Taniokas for poke (best selection available on the weekends)
5. MW restauarant
6. Lemona Shave Ice
TastyAloha February 15, 2016
Soha living in Kahala Mall
mei55 February 15, 2016
Originally from Hawaii and when I visit Oahu or Maui these are the places I must go to: Oahu: Side Street Inn, Leonards, Liliha Bakery for cocoa puffs, Waiola Shave Ice, Koko Head Cafe, Teds Bakery (for chocolate haupia pie). Maui: Star Noodle, Maui Specialty Chocolates for peanut butter/chocolate or chocolate truffle mochi, Tasaka Guri Guri, Sam Sato for dry mein, Da Kitchen Cafe
NoClub N. February 14, 2016
Injera (Eritrean/Ethiopian) place in China town on Smith street and a Moroccan place called 'Casablanca' in Kailua might be of particular interest (I just noticed it was mentioned below already).
UrbanHomemade February 13, 2016
We were in Maui in December, and found a lot of great spots. Leoda's Kitchen and Pie shop is a hole in the wall on the main road in Lahaina, but the food was FANTASTIC--their chicken and waffles was luscious, and the pies were universally delicious. Along the Road to Hana, Mama's Fish House is great, and one of our favorite stops is the Ke'anae Peninsula, about halfway to Hana. There is a gorgeous beach with waves crashing on rocks (we actually got engaged there a few years back), and Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread is the BOMB.
keel February 12, 2016
There are fun day snorkeling trips from Lahaina to Lanaii. The Gazebo in Kapalua has the best breakfast, the pancakes are a must! Ululani's has awesome shave ice on Maui.
Michele February 11, 2016
Bar Leather Apron on Oahu. Shhhh.
just B. February 11, 2016
My husband was an inter-island pilot for fifteen years, and these are some of our favorite places, what we recommend to friends and family!

On Oahu: Sushi Sasabune is one of the best places for sushi on the islands -- worth the indulgence. A tiny Moroccan restaurant in Kailua called Casablanca is fantastic. (We'd recommend the beach in Kailua -- it is not as crowded as Waikiki.) Watching the big waves on the North Shore with a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine. Scones from Diamond Head Market (after you do the steps at Diamond Head -- although do that first thing in the morning, before the hot part of the day!) Malasadas from Leonards. Fruity beverages with sunset watching (and seeing Kanoe Miller do hula) at House Without A Key at the Halekulani in Waikiki.
On Maui: A meal at the Hali'imaile General Store, one of Bev Gannon's restaurants, is incredible. A drive up to the top of Haleakala for sunrise/sunset or star watching (it gets cold after the sun goes down, so bring a jacket!) Take the ferry over to Lana'i from Lahaina, whale watching between Lana'i and Maui is fantastic. (Lana'i is one of my favorite places in the world -- you can do a day trip, or stay for a few days!) The road to Hana is worth it, but not if you are in a hurry. It's the journey, not getting there!
Devangi R. February 11, 2016
Moke's Bread and Breakfast serves best Lillikoi pancakes. We loved it !A Must try in Oahu.
Wendee February 11, 2016
Run through Ho'omaluhia botanic garden on Oahu!
Erica February 10, 2016
Go hike up to the Makapuu lighthouse! It's a fairly easy hike and the views are wonderful.
Libby February 10, 2016
If you're going to Oahu and are looking for some traditional Hawaiian cuisine, definitely go to Highway Inn! They have several locations around the island.
VanessaG February 10, 2016
I live on Maui and have for 15 years. I would be happy to help you sort out the real from the guidebook - even the special "secret places guidebook" is now all played out. For food recommendations you need to connect with Edible Hawaiian Islands magazines, Dania Katz, Shannon Wianecki and Melissa Chang, to start. Hawaii can be amazing, or Hawaii can be just a nice place to vacation. Find locals and ask questions - we'd love to help!
Denby February 10, 2016
mud hen water
Lindsay-Jean H. February 10, 2016
Thank you all for these great suggestions! I can't wait to see how many we can fit in!
Fran February 10, 2016
Try a Korean cucumber! Delicious...we picked them up from a Farmer's Market.
Joannecs February 9, 2016
Maui: Road to Hana, Hana Farmers Market, Hamoa Beach, Hana; Paia Fish Market and Mamas Fish House Near Paia. Big Island: Volcano and Volcano's National Park, Kiauea Lodge and Restaurant, Mauna Kea Summit, Hawaiian Tropical Gardens. Kauai: visit Hanelai, NaPali Coast, Waimea Canyon, Allerton Gardens,
and Waikiki not to be missed!
Kate February 9, 2016
Go to the Kailua Farmers Market and check out my friends' Wicked Hi Slush!
Heather |. February 9, 2016
tasaka guri guri (kahului, maui): pineapple guri guri
joey's kitchen (lahaina, maui): braised short ribs
cafe o'lei (kihei, maui): coffee creme brulee
Sekkyo February 9, 2016
Where to start... Nimitz Fish Market? Ono Seafood? Side Street Inn? Morimoto Waikiki? Ono Hawaiian Foods? Waiola Shave Ice? You will be in foodie heaven in Oahu. There are so many good izakayas, dim sum places, noodle houses, etc.