The area of Kahului on the Hawaiian island of Maui is as metropolitan a location as one can experience on the island. Since it's where the island's primary airport is, it holds the majority of the island's commercial shopping and restaurants, making it the perfect place to start when easing into your Maui experience.
That said, easing into your experience here will absolutely still include surfing. Because of the area, home to the University of Hawaii's Maui campus, it's the ideal spot on Maui to try out, or even perfect, your water sport skills. Here, kite surfing is the thing, and we recommend you dive into it (so to speak) this particular activity ASAP.
In addition to learning to kitesurf, you'll be enjoying the multitude of simple island-life pleasures, from authentic Hawaiian-style acai and poke bowls to outstanding brews––of both the coffee and beer varieties. Luxury here is what the sun, sand, and sea offer you––which is plenty for the locals. With a towel in tow (or even opt to air dry in the sun) and "slippas" on your feet, you can do nearly everything you need to in Kahului.
6:00 a.m.: An early start on Maui is always worth it. The views at sunrise all across the island are phenomenal, whether the day is clear or a bit foggy. If you are able to pick up a rental car when you land at the airport, take advantage of the sights by taking a drive along the coast. But first, pick up your Kona coffee at Maui Coffee Roasters and an acai bowl at any spot you see on Google maps (we recommend Farmacy Health Bar, where you can place an order for pickup online as you're headed out).
8:00 a.m.: After your relaxing drive along the coast (note: don't over plan here––you'll want to be surprised by the staggering cliffs, glowing waterfalls, and vast ocean), pull into Maui Kiteboarding for your small group lesson. The two students to one instructor ratio and hands-on approach at Maui Kiteboarding will make becoming a master kiter a breeze (pun intended).
11:00 a.m.: Poke bowls are the only thing that will satisfy after three hours of hard work on the water, trust us. The ones at the Tin Roof are creative, beautiful, and delicious. Poke was originally served as Hawaiian reef fish seasoned with whatever was on hand, usually sea salt, seaweed, and limu, a kind of brown algae, and has evolved since, but this authentic style of poke is still a delicious option. If you prefer something different, there are a multitude of condiment options––some Hawaiian, some Japanese, Chinese, and even of Korean influence. Why not try them all.
1:00 p.m.: Time to head back to the beach, but this time to relax under the Hawaiian sky and safely get some sun. If you're looking to see (but not touch) some wildlife, opt for Ho'okipa Beach Park for the sea turtles. If you've got little ones in tow, check out Baby Beach––it's got plenty of smaller tide pools they can play in while you relax in the sand.
4:00 p.m.: It's pau hana (or "happy hour"). And in Kahului, this means local Hawaiian brew. The university's presence leaves no shortage of haunts in which to enjoy your preferred Kona Brewing Co. beer.
6:00 p.m.: Head back to your hotel or rental for a quick shower and change. It's time for an outdoor sunset dinner at The Mill House for "farm-driven" fare and idyllic Hawaiian views.
9:00 p.m.: Should you still be riding the adrenaline from your surf lesson earlier in the day, maybe you'll find yourself driving out to one of the many amazing overlooks on Maui to get a breathtaking view of the stars. While the best ones are a bit of a drive away, they are more than worth it. Especially when you've only got 24 hours.