10 Ways to Stay & Explore Wailea on a Budget

///10 Ways to Stay & Explore Wailea on a Budget

10 Ways to Stay & Explore Wailea on a Budget

The Wailea area on Maui is known for its extreme beauty, lush surrounding and pricey bills!  Here are a few tips to stay and explore this area on a budget.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget

Hello! Hello!

The Wailea area on Maui, Hawaii is my happy place.  I’ve been to Maui three times, with the second two staying in this area.  I even got married a short ride down the street on a small beach called Makena Cove.  I love it so much that it is where my mind wanders when I need a good daydream.  It is so gorgeous, that pictures can’t do it justice.

Buy my FAVORITE Maui guidebook HERE!

The catch is, it’s not an inexpensive place to fall in love with.  It is known for being one of the more ritzy, expensive places even for Hawaii.  And while I believe there is a time and place for splurging, it’s nice to know you can still visit this area and watch your cash flow.

Here are a few of my tips I’ve picked up from my two trips.



10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget

Utilize the Beach Path

I know not everyone is a runner, but using the Wailea Beach Path is one of my favorite things I did on both of my trips to Maui.  The path follows the beach and coastline with views like you’ve never seen before.  I love running it, but it is just as pleasant to walk it.  It’s a free and totally healthy activity.  You can even take it to visit other hotels for meals.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-20

Stay at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa twice!  Once for my wedding, and once on my recent 4-year anniversary trip.  It’s not exactly cheap, but for Wailea prices, you are not going to find a better deal.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-30

One of the reasons I love this hotel is the room’s closeness to the ocean.  If you can afford it, book an oceanfront room and you can literally have a front-row seat to everything from whale to sunset watching.  However, if you can just get the basic room, simply walk around the corner and enjoy the same views.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-24

This was the view from our room!  You can’t beat that.  The Wailea Marriot Resort & Spa was kind enough to make sure I got the same room I had for my wedding.  It gave me chills to think of getting my hair done for the big day in that chair.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-22

Their adults-only infinity pool is the stuff dreams are made of.  The views extend right into the ocean.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-27

I personally love the soft green grass and gorgeous lounge chairs around the property.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-26

Since we were there in December, they even opened up a newly renovated area, including pools, restaurants and updated rooms! I hope I get to go back one day and see the changes.


Wailea Marriott Luau

Going to a Luau in Hawaii is usually a pretty pricey evening, but if you think of all that you get for your $120 entrance fee, it’s not a bad deal!  If you are going, I enjoyed the Te Au Moana Luau at the Marriott.

Make sure to buy your tickets HERE before you go. Learn about ALL the luaus on Maui here.

You are greeted with a gorgeous flower lei.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-2

You get to explore the luau grounds which include the pig roast and traditional Hawaiian crafts.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-4

Don’t forget about the unlimited drinks from the time you arrive until you walk back to your room.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-9

Plus, you get a front-row seat to a spectacular sunset.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-3

The entertainment includes everything from enchanting and authentic live music…

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-1

…to captivating hula dancing.  I could seriously watch this for hours!  It’s amazing.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-7

And don’t forget the food! You get a traditional Hawaiian meal, which no one walks away hungry from.

If you added up all of these things individually, the cost of a luau suddenly becomes much easier to swallow.  To get the best seats purchase your tickets HERE before you go!


Poke and Drinks

After several days of exclusively nice sit-down meals, I’m often in the mood for something more low-key.  Visit a nearby grocery store and ask the fish guy about their poke.  They can usually give you a sample or recommend favorites.  Pick up a couple of local drinks, and you have a great meal that is not near as much as eating out.

I highly recommend also purchasing some cheese from the Surfing Goat Dairy from my Haleakala Sunrise & UpCountry Maui post!

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-21




I am a firm believer in slowing down and watching ALL of the sunsets on vacation.  It is Mother Nature’s free show and is often spectacular on this stretch of coast.  Grab a bottle of champagne from the grocery store and take this in!

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-10

Even if your room does not have an ocean view, anyone can pull up a corner of grass and have the same view we had from our room without paying for the upgrade.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-9



Go Hiking

This isn’t technically in Wailea, but get adventurous and go on a hike.  It’s a totally free adventure.  You can’t beat that!  Try this one I did near La Perouse Bay.

Best Maui Hikes - past La Perouse Bay hike to black, white and green sand beach called Keawanaku./ Running in a Skirt

If hiking is not your speed, check out this super fun snorkeling tour which has experienced guides!




Food Trucks

Food trucks are popping up everywhere in Hawaii!  I did a quick search before we left and spotted some good options from reviews.  We had tacos, shrimp and my personal Hawaii favorite; shave ice!  It’s a lot less than that fancy sit down meal and way more fun!


10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-17



Wave Crashing Yoga

Can you imagine a more serene place to do yoga?  Do your own practice for free or join one offered by the resorts.  Either way, it is bound to be a memorable experience.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-25



Go Beach Hoppin’

Wailea Beach is awesome but get in the car and head south.  There are all kinds of smaller beaches along the coast to explore.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-16

This is the one the Hubs and I got married called Makena Cove.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-15

Once again, words cannot describe how beautiful it is!  If you don’t like just sitting on a towel, you can rent chairs for the day at Snorkle Bob’s.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-12

I could spend hours here just watching the waves crash into the rocks.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-13

I also recommend stopping by the grocery store and getting another poke lunch!  It doesn’t get any better than this.

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-11



Enjoy Happy Hour

Before we left, I scoped out several of the hotel restaurant’s happy hours.  You can get deals on appetizers and drinks this way.


10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-23

Those are my tips for enjoying Wailea on somewhat of a budget!

My final piece of advice is to plan when you actually take your trip carefully.  The room rates can fluctuate by hundreds of dollars.  I’ve been the first week of December twice and both times it has been a quiet and less expensive time to go.  I really enjoy it because it is already decorated for Christmas, but you don’t have to pay for those surge rates of actually going around a holiday.  If you can be flexible with your schedule, you can pay much less!

I love this place so much, that this how I feel every time I have to leave! Haha!

10 Ways to Stay and Explore Wailea on a Budget-31

Until we meet again Hawaii!


That wraps up my posts on my trip to Hawaii!  I hope you enjoyed the adventures.  If you missed any of them, here are the links to catch up:


Also, check out these fun tours of Maui where all the legwork is done for you!


Pin for later!


I received the luau and reduced upgrade rates at The Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in exchange for this post.  This post also contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own and I only write about things I love! 


Your turn!

What would you do first?

By | 2020-06-02T17:06:28-04:00 February 24th, 2016|Other US Travel, Travel|46 Comments


  1. […] Budget Friendly Things to do in Wailea Maui […]

  2. Best NYC Eats | Running in a Skirt August 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    […] in love with all things Hawaii, the Hubs and I are obsessed with poke.  I somehow ended up following a bunch of NYC poke shops on […]

  3. Diane norris September 27, 2016 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Hawaii is a must on anyone’s bucket list ! You described it perfectly it’s that beautiful plus more !

  4. Mandy March 4, 2016 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Your post is awesome, Thank you! It feels like you love South Maui, why don’t you move there? My family moved there in 2009 and they love it!!! It’s a very livable island for people who have work, family, kids, etc.

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Thank you! I do love south Maui sooo much! The Hubs and I think about how we could move there all the time, but we own his business in Asheville. It seems like it would just not make sense to leave. Luckily I love Asheville almost as much 🙂 We will be back though soon.

  5. Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections March 3, 2016 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Ahhh I can’t wait to go here! Shaved ice in the warm weather sounds so good, as does yoga by the ocean!

  6. brianna February 25, 2016 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    What an incredible trip! I would LOVE to visit wailea someday. I really like shaved ice like you had it is so delish!

  7. Kristina February 25, 2016 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Oh my this is gorgeous! I need to know this. I want to go to Hawaii sometime in the future. Absolutely breathtaking! Jealous!

  8. Farrah February 25, 2016 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Poke, sunsets, beaches and hikes. I’m keeping all my limbs crossed that I’ll be able to go! *-*!!!

  9. Vera Sweeney February 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful view from the hotel! I would love to be abe to vacation at that Marriot hotel sounds like the perfect resot to stay at!

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

      It is such a nice place. Hope you get to make the trip someday.

  10. Andrea on Vacation February 25, 2016 at 10:06 am - Reply

    I’m so excited to head to Hawaii next week. I’m all about the picnic grocery store lunch. It can be cheap, fresh, and taste amazing! Running or walking can be a great way to get your lay of the land if it is your first time visiting a destination as well.

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:56 am - Reply

      I agree! I love waking up on the first morning of vacations and getting my barrings by running.

  11. Marcia February 24, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been to Maui in eons! But yes: the beach path is so great. I need to go back. Soon!

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

      I hope you get to go back soon– such a special place.

  12. Pam February 24, 2016 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Wow is that gorgeous! I have never been but we are planning on going in the next year or so. My brother and his wife just spent 2 weeks in Hawaii and did it right. They had an awesome time and lots of beautiful pictures to share too.

  13. Jess @hellotofit February 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Food trucks were not a thing when I went to Hawaii, almost 15 years ago, but this list is spectacular!! One of my favorites was the luau 🙂

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:52 am - Reply

      They have SO many food trucks these days. A great lunch option! Hope you get to go back someday.

  14. Runaway Bridal Planner February 24, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    I love Maui. I think I may have mentioned a few weeks back, I haven’t stayed at that Marriot (though I have stayed at the Marriott resort in Oahu, and yes the deals you get staying there are great too). In Maui I stayed at a resort just down the road, I think I could even see the Marriott, I had a beach room.
    I totally 2nd all your tips!
    My neighbors have a family of 5 kids and they travel to Maui each year (dad works for an airline) and they stay in Maui for $300 or less for two weeks each year. They stay just down the road from the Marriott there are some beach campgrounds, they just tent it and use the surrounding facility open showers, LOL Then grocery store it for the food. I actually think they may be onto something too, LOL
    But then again, if you don’t get to go often, a resort is the way to go!! Marriott’s are great!

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:50 am - Reply

      Wow! They are some serious deal finders. I am so impressed. I have to admit, I’m more of a resort girl than camping! haha! I’d camp in Hawaii though if it was the only way I could go. I love it that much 🙂

  15. Alicia Taylor February 24, 2016 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Scope out happy hour! I absolutely love that tip – and walking on the beach path. Hawaii is an expensive place to vacation, but knowing a few tips like this could really save some green

  16. Sharné February 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful post!

  17. Heather @Fit n Cookies February 24, 2016 at 10:28 am - Reply

    And now I’m obsessed with Hawaii and their sunsets and everything! I can picture myself on a beach with the waves crashing on the rocks right now. How nice that would be! I will make it to hawaii one day! lol I’m sad all the recaps are done. I loved reading them!

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Thank you! I was a little worried I had stretched it out too long, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed them. I do have a bunch of pictures of all the meals we ate and random stuff… if I run out of post ideas someday maybe I’ll change my mind and share the “outtakes.” 🙂 You have to go someday. I don’t know anyone who has been who does not love it.

  18. Jenn - a traveling Wife February 24, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Wow, looks so beautiful. I’ve never been to Hawaii before, but would love too!!

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:46 am - Reply

      It’s my favorite place. I hope you get to go someday.

  19. Ah you know I love this post! Maui certainly is very pricey but that sunset is free of charge!

  20. Heather Johnson February 24, 2016 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I like to explore natural areas when I vacation. I would take a walk outside, especially on the beach.

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

      Me too. Hawaii is a great place to do that. It’s more than just fancy resorts, although those are very nice 🙂

  21. Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet February 24, 2016 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Wailea is the ONLY place my family goes when we go to Hawaii. We love it!!! Thank you for sharing your trip and some great tips! <3

  22. Susie @ SuzLyfe February 24, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Seriously? I can’t even!

  23. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy February 24, 2016 at 5:58 am - Reply

    You are making me miss Hawaii so bad! I spent a lot of money on Mai Tais when I was in Hawaii, so it was difficult to be on a budget there haha

    • JulieWunder February 28, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

      I feel ya! There is nothing like a Hawaii Mai Tai.

  24. Blane Sherer February 24, 2016 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Those are some beautiful shots !

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copycat Panera Strawberry Caprese Salad recipe-

No More Stress!

5 Secrets to Getting

Easy & Healthy

Dinners on the Table Fast!

Be inspired by my FREE e-mail series!

Thank you! Watch your inbox for the first part of the series.