5 ways to count your Thanksgiving blessings on Maui

girl on Maui paddling

Maui — it’s not exactly the first place that comes to mind when you think about Thanksgiving. It’s warm here, and we like to play in the ocean and relax under swaying palm trees while our mainland cousins stay busy chopping firewood and raking leaves.

But Thanksgiving’s not about who’s warmer or who has to stack the firewood. It’s about giving thanks for our life and everything in it.

With that in mind, we’d like to share five ways to enjoy Thanksgiving on Maui that includes the spirit of gratitude, abundance and coming together:

Go to the beach and give thanks

Maui beach meditation

A trip to the beach is obvious, but try it with a twist this Thanksgiving. As your basking in the golden sun, take a moment to observe and marvel at the natural, breathtaking beauty of Hawaii.

Give thanks for being where you are in the present moment. Carry that gratitude with you for the rest of the day and beyond.

Cook a Hawaiian-style dinner


In the spirit of Makahiki — an ancient Hawaiian festival which celebrates the bounty of the land — we’d invite you to venture into Thanksgiving cuisine prepared Hawaiian-style.

For example, an imu-roasted turkey might be the best thing you’ve ever eaten (that would be turkey roasted in an underground pit). How does Sam Choy’s Portuguese Sausage Stuffing sound? Or steamed mahi-mahi luau and Okinawa sweet potatoes? And for dessert: macadamia nut tart.

During Makahiki, Hawaiians give thanks to the land and pray for prosperity — you can do this, too!

Forget cooking, go out instead

Maui hotel dinner

Cooking a Hawaiian-themed holiday dinner might be a lot of work, especially if you’re not up for it or equipped for it. Thankfully, Maui is teeming with restaurants offering special Thanksgiving Day menus. Be sure to call around and make reservations.

One thing — as you’re enjoying your meal, be sure to say thanks to all the restaurant staff who are working on the holiday to make your holiday one to remember. A little genuine mahalo goes a long way in Hawaii.

Watch whales while you feast

Maui whale watching

That’s right — we’re suggesting you take a Thanksgiving cruise. Whale season has started and there are few things in life more awesome than eating Thanksgiving dinner on a cruise boat with people you love as magnificent humpback whales breach from the sea as the sun sets over the Maui horizon.

Imagine how grateful you’d feel when that happens. Wow.

Watch college hoops

 Maui Invitational basketball

Along with Alaska, Hawaii is one of those remote US states that gets blessed with college basketball action during the fall season. From November 20-22 in Lahaina, you can watch top-tiered basketball teams such as UCLA, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Kansas compete in the Maui Invitational tournament.

The day after the championship game is Thanksgiving, so you can wake up and enjoy the holiday with total gratitude.

+BONUS: Volunteer

volunteers in Maui

One of the most rewarding, no-strings-attached ways to fill yourself with gratitude is to help out people and good causes. HandsOn Maui is a great organization set up to match volunteers with various humanitarian projects around the island.

We would be delighted to be part of your next Maui vacation. If we can assist you with planning your perfect Maui vacation, please contact our Sunny Maui Vacations’ team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or at 808-240-1311 Extension 21. Let us help you reserve your vacation rental condo in South Maui and assist you with island recommendations and activity planning through our in-house Concierge at 808-240-1311 Extension 71.

Photo credits: elliobr, mikepmiller, troymckaskle, dalemreidspice, iliahi9242564@N07, scg, rbucich

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.