Road Trip: Exploring Maui's Upcountry

Maui upcountry road trip Hawaii

Most Maui visitors stick close to the coast, concentrating their vacations in the resort towns of Lahaina and Wailea, or driving the twisty road to Hana. What people don't realize is that the interior, known as Upcountry, offers a breezy tranquility, with locally owned boutiques and art galleries, restaurants and farms, yoga retreats and wellness studios. While Upcountry isn't completely undiscovered -- Oprah owns a large ranch there -- the smaller towns and rolling hills give a glimpse of the way that life on this mostly agricultural island used to be.

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On this food-focused day trip, I made a circle through Upcountry, seeking out fresh produce and Hawaiian favorites, such as malasadas. The road trip took me from the North Shore beach town of Paia, home to Mama's Fish House, to Ulupalakua Ranch, which lies not far from the Haleakala National Park. Along the way, I met some native Hawaiians, as well as transplants, who revealed why Upcountry is such a draw for those who want to enjoy local flavors while escaping the congestion and high prices that dominate Maui's more typical tourist areas.

Maui Road Trip Stop One: Starting Healthy at Lumeria Sanctuary
Maui Road Trip Stop Two: Malasadas in Makawao
Maui Road Trip Stop Three: Lavender and Lunch near Kula
Maui Road Trip Stop Four: Hanging 10 with the Goats
Maui Road Trip Stop Five: Paia and dinner on the North Shore

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