An elk burger from Ulupalakua Ranch Store makes for perfect picnic food in upcountry Maui. // © 2015 Ulupalakuaranch.com
Feature image (above): Hookipa Beach Park presents picnickers with dynamic views of windsurfers. // © 2015 HTA/Tor Johnson
It doesn't take much for a perfect Maui picnic — nice weather is nearly always a guarantee, carry-out foods are easy to find and scenery is beautiful at every turn.
That said, the island lays claim to several outdoor picnic spots that stand out from the rest. Here are four of our favorites.
Haleakala National Park
Sitting at the 10,023-foot summit of this dormant volcano, it might be hard to concentrate on the sandwiches and chips at hand. Views of the gaping crater, the island below and the ocean beyond add meaning to every mouthful. Visitors can turn a lava rock into a table anywhere within the park’s 30,000 acres, although there are more mainstream picnic areas near the park’s headquarters.
Clients should pick up provisions beforehand, since food isn’t sold inside the park.
Hookipa Beach Park
Steady swells and strong breezes lure world-class athletes to these north shore waters, where they surf and soar over the waves. Beginners should leave the ocean acrobatics to the pros and enjoy a picnic while watching them from shore.
Close by, the casual little surf town of Paia has plenty of picnic fixings. Kuau Store and Mana Foods are two popular spots for grab-and-go entrees, salads, wraps and desserts.
Visitors can savor the flavors and views at one of Hookipa’s picnic tables or on a beach towel or blanket.
Kepaniwai Park’s Heritage Gardens
From shower trees and bamboo to a Japanese pagoda and Chinese moon gate, the plants and structures of Kepaniwai honor Maui’s multicultural history. The park and gardens are part of Iao Valley State Monument. There, visitors can work up an appetite strolling along a half-mile trail past streams and flowers.
Beforehand, stop in Wailuku town for some picnic-style deli food. Try Zing Maui, a casual carryout with a tasty chicken salad croissant and a selection of fresh fruit smoothies.
Rolling pasturelands and views of Maui’s southern coastline paint a perfect backdrop for a picnic in Maui’s upcountry. First, whet the appetite in the Maui Wine tasting room, whose beverages spring from island pineapples, grapes and raspberries.
Then, order lunch from the nearby Ulupalakua Ranch Store, a homespun haven of burgers, plate lunches and steak chili. Dig in while sitting at one of the tables on the front porch or under towering pine trees. Either way, Ulupalakua is a heady spot for a memorable Maui picnic.