Don’t go to Hawaii without trying shave ice! Find out where to find the best shave ice on Maui (and we’ve tried them ALL!) Scroll down to see our top picks!

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One of the yummiest treats in Hawaii is shave ice. It’s not even a competition. It’s world-famous and you’ll see shave ice featured on t-shirts, bumper stickers, hats, murals, and more. It’s like the Aloha Spirit as an icy treat!

You can’t find anything better to eat on a beautiful hot sunny day in Hawaii than shave ice! It is delicious and so satisfying.

We’ve tried it all over Hawaii, including Oahu and Kauai, but Maui has some of the best places to get shave ice.Where is the Best Shave Ice on Maui, tips featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids

What is Hawaiian Shave Ice?

Shave ice is a refreshing Hawaiian-style dessert or sweet treat that is made from machine-shaven ice and drizzled with flavored syrups.

It’s definitely one of the most popular treats in Hawaii (beating out ice cream, gelato, and popsicles.) And once you taste it, you’ll see why.

Because the ice is finely shave, it almost has a creamy texture, which is divine.

What’s extra fabulous about shave ice is that it’s vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and just about anyone with any food allergies/sensitivities can enjoy this delicious treat.

Most of the time, you’ll find shave ice served in colorful snack shacks or trendy trailers/food trucks in parking lots or at the beach all across Hawaii.

SNOW CONE VS. SHAVE ICE

So, a lot of people assume Hawaiian shave ice is just another term for a snow cone. Nope, they are totally different.

Snow cones are made with crushed ice and flavored corn syrup. The syrup usually immediately drips to the bottom of the paper cup and you are left with crunchy, unflavored ice.

Think about the last time you had a snow cone. Chances are, you went to the circus or a carnival and felt completely underwhelmed.

Where is the Best Shaved Ice on Maui, tips featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids
Traditional Shave Ice. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Daeja Fallas

Proper shave ice comes from the Japanese tradition of shaving a solid block of ice with a special machine and patting it to form a compact sphere. Most reputable shave ice places will add syrup as they go, or poke holes in the large snowball with chopsticks to make sure the syrup is consistent throughout your shave ice.

This blends the ice and syrup together so each bite is packed with flavor and you aren’t left with bland ice!

If you’ve been reading carefully, you’ll see that I’ve been calling it “shave ice” NOT “shaved ice.” Trust me, leaving off the “d” makes a big difference.

The places that call it “shaved ice” (whether in Hawaii or on the Mainland) usually serve more of a snow cone than actual shave ice. That’s not the experience you are looking for.

SHAVE ICE TOPPINGS

Over the past few decades, shave ice as evolved and now they include a lot of different toppings and abilities to fully customize your shave ice.

Here’s a run-down of the most popular shave ice toppings:

Snowcapped

This is my favorite shave ice topping! Usually it means they drizzle condensed milk on top, but other times it’s coconut milk or some other sort of cream. Not: this means your shave ice will no longer be dairy-free.

It’s the perfect way to add a touch of creaminess and just a bit of extra sweetness to this Hawaiian treat! It pairs especially well with real fruit syrup (like strawberry puree or fresh lilikoi.)

An added twist I’ve seen lately is where places will use a flavored foam on top, kind of a fluffier version of snowcapped.

Ice Cream

Hawaii actually has some pretty tasty, locally made ice cream. And you can get a scoop of it in a cup and have your shave ice built on top of it. That’s how my boys like it!

Most of the time the only ice cream flavor available is vanilla, but sometimes you can find macadamia nut ice cream!

The syrup mixes with the ice cream for a delectable treat!

Fresh Fruit

If you visit an all-natural shave ice stand, they will most likely offer you a fresh fruit topping. Do it! The fruit is typically sliced and placed in a decorative pattern or chopped up and sprinkled on top of your shave ice.

The local fresh fruit in Hawaii is super flavorful and the sweetness and texture works so well with shave ice.

Nowadays, it’s easy to find all-natural shave ice with organic syrup and fresh fruit.

Li Hing Mui

One of the most popular toppings in Hawaii is called Li Hing Mui. In whole form, it’s called crackseed and people just sort of gnaw on it to get the salty sweet taste.

However there’s also a powder form made from the dried salted plums and people eat it on fruit (like fresh pineapple, mango, and apple slices.)

It can be an acquired taste, so if you haven’t tried it before, don’t put it all over your shave ice. Instead, you can ask for just a little bit to try.

Sometimes, places (like Ululani’s) will have a shaker on their counter where you can add your own li hing mui.

Mochi

Ululani Shave Ice is one of the few places I’ve seen mochi balls offered at shave ice spots in Hawaii.

Occasionally, they have freshly made mochi that you can add on top for an additional fee. They are chewy and provide such a great texture to the super smooth shave ice!

7 Places for the Best Shave Ice on Maui

Here are the top favorite places to get the best shave ice on Maui. You will not be disappointed.

Between the variety of flavors to their unique toppings, you will be sure to find something every member of your family will enjoy!

1. ULULANI’S SHAVE ICE

The most famous shave ice in Maui is Ululani’s Shave Ice. They launched in 2008 with one small stand and now they have expanded to 5 locations on Maui: Lahaina, Kihei, Kahului, Hyatt Regency, and Maui Lani.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Their Lahaina location is tucked off the main drag of Front Street. It’s the perfect spot to cool off after shopping the boutiques, after going on a Maui whale watching tour, or after eating at one of the many restaurants nearby.

And their Kihei location is convenient for those heading in or out of town for a day of adventure hiking or snorkeling.

Their tables have holes cut out so people can place their shave ice in them (which helps them from melting in your hands.)

Their shave ice is made from pure, filtered watered and they use pure cane sugar and natural fruit juices. Some of their most popular toppings include fresh mochi, azuki beans, and Maui-made Roselani’s Ice Cream.

This is my personal favorite Maui shave ice, which is why I listed them first.

2. BREAKWALL SHAVE ICE CO.

If you’d like to try a boozy version of your favorite shave ice, head to Breakwall Shave Ice, next to Down the Hatch in Lahaina.

Here, you’ll find a ton of ice cream options (including Kona coffee) and fun toppings like strawberry lava, supersour spray, and coconut shavings.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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They have traditional flavors like pineapple, mango, and strawberry. But they also have a line of fun syrups like Tigers Blood and Incredible Hulk.

And you won’t want to miss their natural flavors, like strawberry guava, lilikoi passion, and mojito mint. They also have pickle juice, for those with adventurous palettes!

They’ve marketed themselves as “adult shave ice” because adults ages 21+ can order their shave ice with a splash of alcohol. Talk about a cocktail lover’s dream!

But, it’s not just for adults. They have traditional kids shave ice available. In fact, it’s free with any kids meal at Down the Hatch!

Oh, and they only have 2 sizes: small and massive!

3. SURF BREAK SHAVE ICE

Another great option for shave ice in Kihei is Surf Break Shave Ice. It’s located in a strip mall across from Kamaole Beach Park, making it easy to enjoy after playing at the beach.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Surf Break Shave Ice is one of the newest Maui shave ice spots and has an extensive organic menu featuring homemade real fruit flavored syrups. They also offer organic smoothies and other tasty options.

One of the most unique concoctions they have is PB&J shave ice. It’s Red Raspberry, strawberry, grape and a drizzle of creamy smooth peanut butter sauce.

Surf Break Shave Ice is temporarily closed and will reopen in May 2020.

4. SURFING MONKEY SHAVE ICE

There are so many awesome things to do in Wailea including exploring The Shops at Wailea. Well, now you can also grab vegan or organic ice cream (made with coconut milk) and shave ice there at Surfing Monkey Shave Ice!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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They have a ton of fruit flavors like lychee, pomegranate, and green apple as well as flavors like Kona coffee and wedding cake! There’s actually 28 flavor options.

Their signature shave ice is called the Surfing Monkey and features wild cheery, pina colada, and banana syrups.

All of their shave ice syrups are made with real cane sugar and all-natural flavors (with not artificial flavors added.)

They actually have several locations in South Maui: The Shops at Wailea, Fairmont Kea Lani, and a location on South Kihei Road next to Foodland.

5. PEACE LOVE SHAVE ICE

One of the most popular shave ice spots on Maui is Peace Love Shave Ice at Azeka Plaza in Kihei. It’s also one of the smallest.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Not only do they have amazing shave ice, but they also have coffee drinks and snacks. Plus, you can also grab a Maui-Rita or Frozen Hot Chocolate. And don’t get me started on their gourmet ice cream sandwiches!

And for an extra twist, try their Thai Ice Tea Shave Ice or Coffee Shave Ice.

They use purified water for the ice blocks and organic raw Maui cane sugar for sweetening the syrups (they have both natural syrups and traditional syrups.) And they offer Maui-made Roselani ice cream.

You can also check out Peace Love Shave Ice in San Diego, CA! They have a little trailer there.

6. MAUI MIKE’S BEACH HOUSE

Maui Mike’s Beach House is a surf shop and snack shop all rolled into one. Here, you can find clothing and accessories, rent a surfboard and grab hot dogs, acai bowls, dairy-free ice cream, and all-natural shave ice!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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While they have limited all-natural flavors (pineapple, banana, strawberry and lemonade, pineapple and strawberry, and banana and strawberry) they do it right. And you can add Strawberry, Mango or Guava Fruit Puree.

Plus, they have 27 flavors of regular shave ice, including sugar-free options.

What makes Maui Mike’s Beach House extra special is that serve Coconut Glen’s vegan organic ice cream. It’s just organic coconut milk, organic cane sugar, natural ingredients, and guar gum. This comes in vanilla, chocolate macadamia nut, and original coconut.

It’s a popular item to add to the bottom of shave ice for an amazing combination!

Maui Mike’s Beach House is located next to Taco Bell in Lahaina and it has a cool, Instagram wall you can’t miss.

7. TOBI’S SHAVE ICE

If you’re heading to Paia on the way to the Road to Hana, Tobi’s Shave Ice is a must-stop.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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They have all the typical shave ice flavors like watermelon, cherry, and strawberry, plus yummy tropical ones like lychee, passion fruit, and guava.

While shave ice is in their name, Tobi’s Shave Ice is actually an awesome spot to get plate lunches and poke. So, plan on stopping here for a late breakfast or lunch as well as yummy shave ice!

Plus, they have a fun photo op!

Stop by one of these places during your next visit to the island of Maui!

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