On Maui, you’ll have plenty of chances to try an array of outdoor adventures you’ve never experienced before. Snorkelers will be rewarded with unforgettable sights in Molokini ’s luminous waters. See your first humpback spout as you whale-watch from Kaanapali Beach . Or feel the rush of your first surf lesson off the shores of historic Lahaina.
- Horseback riding – Upcountry Maui is home to the Hawaiian cowboy, or paniolo. Since the late 1800’s, horseback-riding paniolo have been wrangling cattle in Maui’s wide-open upland fields. Take a horseback-riding excursion with the family at Piiholo Ranch in Makawao and learn about Hawaii’s paniolo. Or explore the otherworldly landscapes of Haleakala National Park on a horseback riding tour.
- See the summit at Haleakala – The long, winding road to the summit of Haleakala takes some time to drive up, but is well worth the effort. There are numerous hiking trails that offer solitude and scenic vistas, while guided hikes provide an expert’s guidance and insight. Visitors can also camp here, with two separate campgrounds and cabins available. Many visitors and locals wake up early to drive up to the Haleakala Visitor Center (9,740 feet), the best spot to watch the sunrise. On a clear morning, seeing the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala is an unforgettable experience. Even those who’ve witnessed the event many times say they’ve never seen the same sunrise twice. Perhaps just as spectacular are Haleakala’s sunsets and the bright, starry skies revealed at night.
- Whale Watching – Maui is your gateway to some of the best whale watching in the world. The waters off of West Maui and South Maui are shielded by the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala, creating calm and clear waters for high visibility. Humpback whales are also drawn to the area’s shallow waters, less than 600 feet deep, making Maui an ideal spot to start your voyage during the winter whale watching season from December to May.
Arts & Culture Experiences
From the forces of King Kamehameha defeating King Kahekili in Iao Valley to the rowdy whalers of 19th century Lahaina, this island’s intangible mystique has been drawing visitors throughout history.
To step back in Maui’s past, visit the Whalers Village Museum for an historic account of the whaling industry, discover Maui’s agricultural past at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum or follow the Lahaina Historic Trail to explore this thriving seaport’s heritage.
Today, Maui reveals its cultural past through a thriving arts scene infused with the life-embracing spirit of aloha. From the events and exhibitions at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center to Art Night every Friday in Lahaina, Maui continues to pay homage to its rich history. Local artists and artisans are also expanding their influence by creating a wide range of products, from hip fashion to traditional and contemporary crafts.
- Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum – Located next to Hawaii’s last remaining working sugar factory in the historic plantation town of Puunene, Maui, the award-winning Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is a marvelous repository of information and exhibits about one of the most significant and influential periods in Maui’s history. Dedicated to preserving and presenting the history and heritage of Maui’s sugar industry, the Museum not only charts the establishment and growth of the industry, but looks at sugar’s influence on the development of Maui’s water resources and rich multi-ethnic make-up, and features intriguing displays on the inner workings of a sugar mill.
- Maui Arts & Cultural Center – Hawaii’s world-class visual and performing arts complex is located in Central Maui near the airport. Offerings include arts education and Hawaiian cultural programs, music, dance and theater performances, international & local art exhibits, movie screenings and a colorful spectrum of special events.
- Friday Art Nights in Lahaina – Visit Art Night each Friday between 7pm and 10pm. Join the festivities along and around Front Street as art galleries open their doors, inviting the public to chat with artists, view their works, listen to music and celebrate the arts.
- Lahaina Historic Trail – Once the first capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, a busy whaling port and a plantation settlement, you can follow the Lahaina Historic Trail (Ala Moolelo O Lahaina) to walk in the footsteps of Lahaina’s past today. This self-guided tour takes you to significant sites throughout 55 acres of Lahaina, many of which have been designated National Historic Landmarks. Look for the informative bronze plaques around and about Front Street, pointing out dozens of important points of interest.
A 750,000-gallon water tank surrounds you. As you and your family walk through the acrylic tunnel, you marvel at the manta rays and sharks swimming safely overhead. The Maui Ocean Center, voted Hawaii’s top-rated family attraction by Zagat, is just one of the many family-friendly treasures you’ll find on Maui.
Ride on a genuine 1890s train, known as the Sugar-Cane Train, on the Lahaina-Kaanapali Railroad. Build a sand castle at one of Maui’s many beautiful beaches. Turn your 7 to 12-year-olds into Junior Rangers at the Haleakala Visitor Center. Or get your kids involved in hands-on exhibits at the Hawaii Nature Center in Wailuku.
If you’re staying in a hotel or resort, they’ll likely have a keiki (children’s) program that includes everything from lei making to hula lessons, helping to create truly unique Maui memories to share with your children.
- Maui Ocean Center – Hawaii’s top family attraction! Be entertained by playful green sea turtles, see the nation’s largest collection of living coral, and come eye to eye with numerous reef sharks. Explore the world of dolphins, whales and monk seals with the Marine Mammal Discovery Center. Over 60 exhibits and hands-on activities will delight children and adults alike.
- Sugar Cane Train – The most fun way to get from Lahaina to Kaanapali! With a blast of its steam whistle, the locomotive chugs along a six-mile stretch of track at a leisurely pace. During the ride, the Sugar Cane train crosses a 325-foot curved wooden trestle whose elevation yields panoramic views of neighboring islands and the West Maui Mountains. From December to April, it is a common sight to spot humpback whales frolicking in our warm Pacific waters.
- Haleakala National Park – Stretching across Maui’s southern and eastern coastline, Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak. Rising 10,023 feet above sea level, Haleakala’s graceful slopes can be seen from just about any point on the island. Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend has it that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.
- Hawaii Nature Center – There’s nothing like being outdoors to truly connect with nature. The Hawai’i Nature Center has resources to guide students, teachers, hikers, and visitors to a deeper experience and appreciation of the environment. Since its inception, more than 850,000 children and adults have participated in environmental education programs. The Hawai’i Nature Center is recognized as the only organization in the state solely dedicated to educating children through outdoor programs.
Staying 1-3 days
Your time may be short but there’s never a rush on Maui. Head to West Maui and spend your day on Kaanapali Beach. Watch the sunset cliff diving ceremony before you head to Lahaina. Learn about this historic town while you shop, dine and take in some Maui nightlife. If it’s whale-watching season (December- May) go out on an unforgettable whale-watching excursion. Then take a drive up the slopes of Upcountry Maui for incredible Maui views. Continue up the winding road up to Haleakala National Park. Watch the sunset from nearly 10,000 feet to cap off your short stay on the Magic Isle.
Staying 4-7 days
With a longer stay, take some time to indulge in some of the fine amenities of Maui’s resorts. You’ll need the rest if you want to get up in time to see the spectacular sunrise at Haleakala. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to surf in Maui, take a lesson in West Maui or South Maui. You can also take a big daytrip to the eastern side of Maui. Explore historic Iao Valley in Central Maui and take photos with the iconic Iao Needle. Have lunch in charming Paia town then start your long journey on the scenic road to Hana. Spend some time in this historic town then venture further down the Hana highway to swim in the beautiful Pools of Oheo.
The thought of lying on sun soaked beaches regularly named “the best” by travel magazines is enough to make any of your friends jealous. But once you arrive on Maui, you’ll see there’s so much more for them to envy.
Once you’ve settled in you’ll want to explore Maui’s sweeping canvas of attractions.
- The western, or leeward side, is the drier side of the island and features Maui’s world-famous beaches including the beautiful Kaanapali Beach, home to a nightly sunset cliff diving ceremony.
- One of Kaanapali Beach’s most famous attractions is the daily cliff diving ceremony off of the beach’s northernmost cliffs known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. Held every evening at sunset, a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff, diving off of Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili.
- West Maui is also home to historic Lahaina, where you can find great shopping, dining and entertainment.
- The eastern, or windward side, of the island is the wetter side of the island, home to the lush Iao Valley and the scenic road to Hana.
- The cool, elevated slopes of Haleakala are where you can find the farms and gardens of Upcountry Maui and the soaring summit of Haleakala National Park.
- Take a farm tour in Kula and see how Maui produces the famous Maui onion and other fresh farm-to-table ingredients for Hawaii’s finest restaurants. Discover small town Makawao, home to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) and a thriving art scene.
There is so much to see and do on Maui it’s best to plan ahead. Just don’t forget to send your friends a postcard.
A return visit to Maui offers you even more opportunities to explore this spectacular island. You may already have a favorite seaside spot but take the time to explore other beautiful Maui beaches.
- If you’ve seen the sunrise at Haleakala, this time go up for the sunset, take a hike, or horseback ride atop Maui’s highest peak.
- Visit off the beaten path small towns like Wailuku and Makawao to go where the locals go.
- Nestled at the foot of the dramatic West Maui Mountains, Wailuku is the gateway to lush Iao Valley, once a sacred burial ground for Hawaiian chiefs and home to the iconic Iao Needle. Visit Wailuku to explore the charming wooden storefronts around Market Street, showcasing dozens of family businesses, many of which have been in continuous operation for generations. These off-the-beaten-path “Mom and Pops” are home to local favorite shops, restaurants and bakeries.
- For snorkelers and scuba divers a visit to the islet of Molokini is an unforgettable experience.
- Molokini is a small, crescent moon-shaped island that is a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District. Lying only three miles from Maui’s southwestern coast, Molokini spans over 18 acres and rises 160 feet above reef-filled waters, offering visitors snorkeling and diving amongst a kaleidoscope of coral and more than 250 species of tropical fish.
- With more time to spare, indulge in the spas of Maui’s resorts, take in some golf or savor Maui’s finest restaurants from Kapalua to Wailea.
Add to your list of favorite spots on your next visit back to Maui.
From watching an intimate sunrise, wrapped together in a blanket at the top of Haleakala Crater, to seeing the sunset as you cruise along the golden Kihei coastline, Maui is a place where romance isn’t hard to find.
One of the top honeymoon destinations in the world, Maui’s alluring beaches and immaculate resorts also provide an idyllic setting for weddings, receptions or simply to escape the world and spend time with the one you love.
Whether it’s hiking to one of East Maui’s spectacular waterfalls, enjoying a couples massage in a resort in Wailea, or strolling hand-in-hand along Maui’s beaches, one visit to this lovely island and you’ll see why falling in love comes so naturally here, perhaps more so than anywhere in the world.
- Drive the road to Hana – The legendary road to Hana is only 52 miles from Kahului, however the drive can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete since it’s fraught with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views. The Hana Highway has 600 curves and 54 bridges. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes.
- Pools of Oheo – Just 15 minutes south of Hana on Highway 31 on the lower slopes of Haleakala are the famous Pools of Oheo in Oheo Gulch. Here you’ll discover beautifully tiered, swimmable pools fed by waterfalls. Take a dip in these tranquil pools fed by streams starting two miles inland. You can also take a guided nature walk or explore many self-guided hiking trails through forests of bamboo, past roaring cascades and into the green heart of the island.
- Discover Farm to Table Cuisine – Follow the farm-to-table process by taking a walking tour of the cool, upland farms of Upcountry Maui. Then head to sunny West Maui and South Maui to enjoy the fruits of our chefs’ labors in Maui’s most prestigious restaurants. The fertile fields of Kula in Upcountry Maui are an ideal place to take a farm tour. The rich volcanic soil is responsible for Maui’s freshest citrus and vegetables, including the sweet Maui onion.
It’s a long drive up to the summit of Haleakala National Park and with a 3am wake up call it’s not an easy one. But once you see the golden sun peek above the carpet of clouds atop Maui’s highest peak, it’s worth every second of lost sleep.
Seeing the sunrise atop Haleakala is just one example of taking the road less traveled on Maui. Hike to the stunning 400-foot Waimoku Falls in East Maui. Meet the locals at Maui’s small towns, from Wailuku to Makawao. Explore flower farms like the Kula Botanical Garden to see colorful protea, orchids and bird-of-paradise. On Maui there is a wealth of unique adventures to discover off the beaten path.
- Alii Kula Lavender Farm – In February 2002, the Alii Kula Lavender farm opened to visitors to enjoy the beauty and serenity that Alii created, by offering the first and only Lavender Walking Tours to educate both visitors and Island residents about the calming and comforting effects of lavender. Culinary luncheon and wreath making tours were soon added, and two years later, over 10,000 people have visited this New Destination of Choice.
- Surfing Goat Dairy – Visit this state of the art working goat dairy that makes more than 25 cheeses including 11 National Award winners. The dairy offers daily casual tours, grand’s orchard tours, barbeques, special events, goat milk soaps, citrus relishes, specialty fruits & herbs.