Maui's main attractions
Maui is the second biggest Hawaiian island but many think it's the best, offering hikers, bikers and drivers numerous waterfalls, freshwater pools, lush greenery, dramatic volcanic scenery and spectacular viewpoints in relative tranquility.
Towns host a couple of interesting museums and archeological artefacts while the great outdoors has endless activities from the obvious marine stuff to horse riding, zipline action, golf, dolphin encounters, whale watching, kayak rentals and tours, glass-bottom boats and submarine trips.
This island embraces more swimming and windsurfing beaches than other islands and is the best place to see whales from.
Lahaina, in West Maui: once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Lahaina is a pleasant historic seaside town that gets a lot of tourist interest, with ancient buildings mixing with funky art galleries and interesting cafés and boutiques. There's a lengthy Lahaina Historic walking trail - get a self guide brochure at the Lahaina Visitor Center - and in winter whale watching just offshore where humpback whales hang out in clear calm waters from December to May. Photo.
Hana, East Maui: a laid-back, charming little town in a pretty, rocky, part of
the island with fewer tourists than the west. Nearby is lovely Hamoa Beach, various Haleakala National Park hiking trails and waterfalls or the famous 52 mile (85kms) Hana Highway (HI 360) drive to Kahului, hair-raising twists, turns and precipitous bits with views ranging from seascapes to waterfalls to buzzing rainforests.
Haleakala National Park: Hike, bike, horseback ride or even rent a car and drive the off-planet volcanic area of Haleakala National Park, rising to 10,023ft (3,000m) in Maui's southeast.
Sunsets are superb but sunrise is the very best time to catch the view from Haleakala Visitor Centre close to the summit; try to arrive half an hour before sunrise and bring plenty of warm clothing, the temperature could be 30F lower than sea level, in other words only just above freezing.
The drive up is a long and winding road and may take a couple of hours on the Haleakala Highway (HI 37), with hikes posted en route for the return journey. Bring a full tank of gas and some food with you as these are not sold in the park. cooling off at Kipahulu waterfall. Horseback riding is available. Photo.
More hiking: Iao Valley State Park
easy paved trails while the Kipahulu region of
Haleakala National Park has a more challenging Pipiwai Trail down to Waimoku Falls. Haleakala has many trails. get information from the Park Headquarters Visitor Center (at 7,000 ft) or online: Haleakala information.
Makena Beach State Park: a coastal wilderness park with a lengthy, unspoilt stretch of golden sand known as Big Beach (picture at top) with a good view of 'Earthquake Hill' (Puu Ola'i), a volcanic cone. Try Little Beach the other side of the hill, if you are naturist, though it is not official. Dolphins and turtles are regular visitors here.
Beach: One of the better family beaches, Wailea beach is wide, with shade,
soft, light brown sand, good snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, body surfing, windsurfing,
scuba diving and sailing. However, parking nearby is difficult to find and offshore currents
can be strong in the afternoon because of the Trade Winds. More Wailea.
If you like more secluded Hawaii beaches, go to Palauea
Beach south of Polo Beach in Wailea. This excellent swimming, snorkeling and body surfing beach
is one of the last undeveloped areas on the Wailea-Makena coastline and is ideal for families with young children because it is sheltered from
the winds and the water is shallow. More Palauea.
West Maui: There are several beach resorts such as action-packed Kaanapali and up-scale Kapalua which offer good swimming
and whale watching, along the sunny west coast of the island. More Kaanapali and Kapalua.
More Maui Beaches
Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area: an off-the-beaten-track park that's great for
camping and walks with sumptuous views. It's near Kula in the centre of Maui's upland, accessible by four-wheel drive.
Hana Highway (Hawaii State Highway 31, 36 and 360): Rent a car and drive around this stunning 68 mile (109 km) coast road between Kahului and Hana, also know as 'Road To Hana'. It takes roughly 3 hours due to its winding, narrow nature with more than 50 bridge to cross.
||GAA operate two good value, adventurous 8 day cruises around the Hawaiian Islands, including guided hiking trips, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle-boards and more: Cruise North | Cruise South
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