8 Best Things To Do When Visiting Maui, Hawaii

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After 18 visits to Maui from 2000 to 2019, the pandemic shutdown has kept us away for the past three years. So we were eager to rekindle our memories and explore some new options on our current trip.

We found old and new along the way. Sacramento Metropolitan Airport remains top-notch; economy parking is only $10 a day and airport security handled a small crowd at 6am with prompt professionalism. Hawaiian Airlines still remains exceptional, with a staff that exudes customer service, and Maui’s recently expanded airport makes it easy to rent a car — though prices are about double what they were a while ago. three years.

We headed to our timeshare at the northern end of Kihei on the west coast of the island, although Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb offer plenty of affordable options for beachfront lodging. During our first few days of visiting the island, we saw new construction going up near the Kahului airport and several new condominium complexes being built in Kihei, Wailea and Kaanapali. A few favorite restaurants have disappeared but several new ones have appeared in their place.

After three years of absence, we have re-evaluated our top list of attractions, which includes:

Sunrise at the top of Mount Haleakala

View into Haleakalā Crater just after sunrise looking east.

The national park requires pre-registration and a nominal fee of $1.50 to travel early in the morning to enter the park between 3 and 7 a.m. – go to Recreation.gov and book your two-day trip in advance. You’ll need to leave around 3:30am to do a 5am sunrise (you can also take a later morning departure to the volcano, still offering stunning views in the absence of the sunrise). Take a jacket or blanket as it will be around 25 degrees colder at the 10,000ft summit than at sea level. On the way down, reward yourself with a stop at the ancient Kula Lodge at 3,200ft on the flank from the volcano for a great view while enjoying a delicious breakfast.

Explore Lahaina

Sunset from Lahaina Harbor.

Lahaina is the former historic whaling capital and territorial capital (before moving to Oahu). The town is steeped in history, home to one of the largest banyan trees in the world anchored a block in front of the old courthouse, and home to some of the best shopping and finest restaurants on the island. Favorite restaurants include Fleetwood’s, Lahaina Fish, Lahaina Grill, Honu Seafood and Pizza, and Mala Ocean Tavern, all along the ocean on Old Front Street.

Attend a luau or a show

You’ll find a variety of luaus on the island, and most would recommend the Old Lahaina Luau as one of the top picks. If you’re a fan of magic shows, the Warren and Annabelle Magic Show is a memorable production in Lahaina.

Go comb the beach

Maui is known for several of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Favourites, based on wide, sandy, swimmable beaches, are found on the west side of the island, such as Wailea Beach (between the luxury tourist resorts Grand Wailea and Fairmont), Makena State Beach and Secret Cove (just south from 6900 Makena Road), where a 6-foot opening in a lava rock wall takes you to a pocket beach with stunning scenery, picture-perfect views of Molokini Atoll. The beaches north of Kaanapali are scenic, but narrower and rockier.

Snorkeling

It is free from many beaches such as the southern part of Wailea Beach and many others. Rental of a snorkel mask and fins costs $1.50 per day, or about $10 for a week; cheap thrills! For true guided snorkeling tours, take one of the boat trips to Molokini Atoll from Maalaea Harbor, or take a quick raft trip to the shores of Lanai from Lahaina Harbor (when of our last two snorkeling trips to Lanai, a pod of dolphins followed our ocean raft a good part of the way).

Local Attractions

The Kihei Canoe Club offers canoeing expeditions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

At Sugar Beach in North Kehei, the Kehei Canoe Club offers Tuesday and Thursday canoe trips in Hawaiian war canoes for a $40 donation. It’s an exciting and energetic option, paddling alongside miles of beautiful beach. Spend the day in the Upcountry, northern and western flanks of Haleakala, and explore the island’s agricultural wealth. Include in your tour the Surfing Goat Dairy, Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery (makers of Oceans Vodka), Maui Wines and Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Each stop offers fascinating tours and a host of interesting produce, goat cheese, organic vodka, Maui wines and lavender ice cream. And, buy a can of Spam, in many flavors, the unofficial meat of Hawaii.

Hike some of Maui’s beautiful trails

Wild black goats were spotted while hiking from La Pérouse Bay.

Some are historic, like sections of the old Kings Highway that circled the island hundreds of years ago, allowing ancient Hawaiian kings to cross the island and collect taxes. A favorite section crosses the lava fields of La Pérouse Bay, offering marvelous views of the rocky ocean at every turn and a chance to see dozens of wild black goats that call the area home. Haleakala Volcano’s trail system also offers a wealth of options along and within the crater, although elevations of 8,000-10,000 feet pose a challenge. Another is the Lahaina Pali Trail, which parallels the Pali Highway between Ma’alea Harbor and Lahaina with sweeping views of Molokini, Kaho’a’lawe, and Lanai from the clifftops above the Pacific.

Take the road to Hana

This scenic, winding road (115 sharp turns) takes you to Hana, the isolated town on Maui’s southeast flank. The route takes you through thick rainforest, alongside beautiful sections of ocean and numerous waterfalls. Just past Hana, you can find the grave of Charles Lindbergh, who retired and died on the island.

Waterfalls are plentiful along the road to Hana, often just steps from the highway.

For really tough explorers, continue on the Hana Highway past Lindbergh’s Tomb, through the dry and austere southern part of the island, which then takes you back into the outback. Be warned, it includes a 15-mile stretch of gravel or roughly patched single-lane highway, but the unusual views of Haleakala and the beautiful south coast are worth it.

For more information, visit maui.com.

Contact Tim Viall at [email protected] Happy travels to Hawaii.

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