Story by Lehia Apana
Sometimes the best company is a four-legged friend. Maui Humane Society gets it—their Beach Buddies program lets you adopt a pooch for the day to explore Maui’s great outdoors together.
9–10:30 a.m.: Café O’Lei at The Dunes abuts the first and eighteenth holes of The Dunes at Maui Lani golf course and reveals one of the best dining views of Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui’s mountain). This favorite lunchtime spot also serves simple yet satisfying breakfasts, and is among the thriftiest deals in town: generous portions at affordable prices. 1333 Maui Lani Pkwy., Kahului; 877-0073; CafeOLeiRestaurants.com/Dunes
11 a.m.–4 p.m. Maui Humane Society’s Beach Buddies program unites dog lovers with pups who could use a walk. It’s a win-win (or woof-woof)! For a seamless day out, the Society equips volunteers with a backpack filled with necessities, including treats and poop bags. (Down-and-dirty tip: I learned—the hard way—that to avoid in-transit accidents, you’ll want to encourage your pup to relieve him- or herself before you head out.) Despite the program’s moniker, we skipped the beach and headed with Rufus to Makawao Forest Reserve, where he got his paws muddy along the fragrant eucalyptus-lined trails.
The day speeds by when you’re out with your pooch, so be sure to keep an eye on the time and return your pal to the Maui Humane Society before the 4 p.m. curfew. Reservations are required for the Beach Buddies program. 1350 Mehameha Loop, Pu‘unēnē; BeachBuddies@MauiHumaneSociety.org; 877-3680; Maui HumaneSociety.org. Makawao Forest Reserve is at the end of Kahakapao Road in Makawao.
TIP: Pack a small cooler, and before heading into the reserve, purchase snacks or a takeout lunch at Pukalani Superette. Located close to the turnoff for the reserve, this cozy market sells local-style favorites and fresh produce from Maui farmers. 15 Makawao Ave., Pukalani; 572-7616; PukalaniSuperette.com
4:30–6:15 p.m.: Don’t be fooled by its name. Ho‘okipa may mean “to show hospitality,” but Ho‘okipa Beach Park isn’t the place for a swim or learning how to surf—thanks to its shallow, nearshore reef and strong currents. But it’s tops for hanging out and watching the windsurfing pros or seasoned surfers glide along the sea. Perch along the park’s cliff-side lookout for a bird’s-eye view of the action. This salt-sprayed playground is also a gathering place for the beloved honu (green sea turtles) who swim ashore to rest. But remember, love them from a distance. Feeding or touching the honu is totally uncool—and totally illegal. Hāna Hwy., Pā‘ia
6:30 p.m.: Flatbread Company dishes the grown-up, gourmet version of this takeout staple. Try the sweet and savory Mopsy’s Kalua Pork pizza that’s topped with homemade organic barbecue sauce, local goat cheeses, and kiawe-smoked pork. From menu covers hand-drawn by local youth, to the glowing wood-fired oven, this lively spot brims with character. Another reason to eat here: On Tuesdays, Flatbread donates a portion of its sales to a local nonprofit. 89 Hāna Hwy., Pā‘ia; 579-8989; FlatbreadCompany.com/Maui