Maui is the second-largest island in Hawaii, but fewer than 150,000 people call it home and you can drive from one side of the island to the other in less than three hours. Many say that Maui is Hawaii’s most beautiful island and when you tour around you soon see why. In this North Pacific island paradise, Polynesian heritage and the modern American lifestyle go hand in hand. Book a helicopter ride to get a birds-eye view of this lush landscape that sprouted up from the fertile lava soil. People call this “the Valley Isle” because most of Maui sits in a bowl between the East and West Maui volcanoes that shaped the island. Thanks to the tropical climate, and more than 80 beaches, you can enjoy watersports all around the sunny island.
When the trade winds pick up, there are plenty of bars, shops, galleries and museums to keep you entertained. Maui’s capital city, Wailuku, combines history with soul. Rent a car to enjoy the famous drive to Hana, which can be a return trip or the start of a spectacular journey around the island. The winding road will take you past some of Maui’s most striking natural wonders. Stretch your legs at a waterfall and pick up a Hawaiian treat along the way.
Cast a line and see surfers compete to steal the show at the Ho’okipa Beach Park. Spend an hour in the Garden of Eden Arboretum, a bamboo forest with great vistas. On the other side of Hana is the Haleakala National Park, with the highest peak of the island. It is a hotspot for hiking, so put on your all-weather gear and follow the trails past impressive cinder cones. To avoid the steep climb, drive straight to the lookout to enjoy the views. The dormant volcano slopes down to the sunny beaches on the west coast of Maui.
Big Beach, in Makena Beach State Park, is the perfect spot to try wake boarding. At sunset, the Molokini Island Preserve is painted dark against the evening sky, and when the sun comes out the water surrounding it is amazingly clear. Book a boat tour and dive into a spot with Hawaiian green turtles, feeding on the coral of Molokini Reef. You can also see these gentle marine creatures from Maui’s shore at Turtle Town, as Maluaka Beach is often called, or find a spot in the shade to enjoy the afternoon. Enjoy a resort stay with the family at nearby Wailea Beach or continue north to Kihei to learn how to surf.
The oceanfront town has affordable accommodation, shops, and food, so it is an ideal place to stop for a few days. One of the prettiest towns in Maui is Lahaina in the northwest. This historic center is bustling year-round and attracts whale watchers in winter. Visit galleries and museums or shop for souvenirs under the shade of an ancient banyan tree. There is no better place to end your tour of Maui than Kaanapali Beach. This high-end beach resort combines everything Maui has to offer. Sunshine, comfort, magnificent beaches and culture, this lush island retreat has it all. So take the plunge…. splash out… and set out to explore Maui!