There’s a saying, “Maui No Ka Oi,” or “Maui is the best.” Whether or not the statement holds true, it’s probably how you’ll feel when you visit this romantic island paradise. From lush rainforests and pristine beaches to the moonlike landscape of its highest peak, Haleakala, “The Valley Isle” offers endless possibilities for adventure and relaxation.
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Overview of Maui
Maui offers over 30 miles of accessible beaches, much more than the other Hawaiian Islands. The friendly town of Lahaina, a former fishing village and the original capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, is an oasis along the island’s western shores. Roam its many art galleries, pubs, and eclectic shops. Explore the area’s unique history, from whaling to missionaries, via the Lahaina Historic Trail.
Travel a bit further north to the upscale hotels and restaurants along renowned Ka’anapali Beach, once named “America’s Best Beach.” Here, you can sunbathe, play a round of golf at two championship courses, and watch whales breach above deep azure seas (December through May). One of the more surprising regions of this amazing isle is Upcountry Maui. Here, crisp breezes replace balmy trade winds, and the last of the paniolo, Maui’s cowboys, ride horses instead of surfboards.
Explore Maui with our great hotel deals and vacation packages. you can also select from a range of adventurous outings — a day on the golf course, helicopter tours, surf lessons, and so much more.
What To Do on Maui
When you’re in Maui, you’ll find an endless list of things to do. Witness a spectacular sunrise from high atop Maui’s dormant volcano with a Haleakala Sunrise Special tour. Daring souls can even ride a bike down the cliff later that morning on a Haleakala Summit Deluxe Bike Experience. Or stay and explore the magnificent 30,000-acre Haleakala National Park. Take a Haleakala Crater 4-Mile Hike, an exhilarating Bike’N Zip or a horseback ride through this magical terrain, nearly 10,000 feet above the sea. Stay long enough, and you can even watch the skies burst with color at sunset before a million stars illuminate the night.
Another must-do activity on your vacation is snorkeling the crescent-shaped Molokini Crater, which peers starkly above the azure waters off Maui. This unique underwater preserve and bird sanctuary offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Experience an exhilarating afternoon on a Maui snorkel tour aboard the Four Winds glass-bottom catamaran.
Explore Central Maui’s serene emerald landscape at Iao Valley State Park or take a West Maui Horseback Ride. Head towards Upcountry Maui on a Haleakala Upcountry Van Tour and discover otherworldly volcanic landscapes, cowboys, and fresh, eucalyptus-scented breezes.
Check out our 5 favorite experiences on Maui.
What To See on Maui
Watch daring cliff divers plunge head-first into the sea on Kaanapali Beach’s northernmost cliffs, Puu Kekaa, each day at sunset. Or catch a breathtaking sunrise or sunset high above the clouds at the “house of the sun,” Haleakala National Park, whose volcano measures a grand 7.5 miles wide, and 3,000 feet deep. No trip to Maui would feel complete without traveling the magical Road to Hana. You can either drive yourself or tour with Maui Hana Adventure along this scenic road, approximately 52 miles from Kahului, amid the island’s verdant eastern shores. Along the way, visit the Sacred Pools of Oleo, fed by cascading waterfalls. In Hana, visit the peaceful final resting place of Charles Lindbergh at a small church overlooking the sea, and the Hana Cultural Center and Museum to learn more about the unique history of this heavenly land.
Visit Whalers Village on the Kaanapali Parkway in Lahaina for world-class oceanfront shopping and dining. Or head to the Shops at Wailea in southwest Maui, where you’ll discover an impressive array of moderate-to-pricey boutiques, restaurants and art galleries plus a priceless view. Shop these eclectic stores for pearl and diamond jewelry, authentic local art, colorful Aloha shirts and even souvenir ukuleles, and bring home tangible mementos of your fabulous Maui vacation.
Maui nightlife ranges from Elvis impersonators to authentic luaus. You can also enjoy jazz, rock, reggae and Hawaiian slack-key performances or check out the current show at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on the northern coast in Kahului. Known simply as the “MACC,” this art and entertainment center showcases local talent, as well as comedy, dance and music performances from the mainland.
Maui with Kids
Family-friendly activities abound on Maui, with snorkeling tours, whale watching excursions and luaus being great options to enhance your Maui vacation package.
Sunbathe, snorkel and watch for endangered monk seals with the keiki (kids) along one of the safest swimming beaches on the island, Kapalua Beach. Delight your children with a Molokini Turtle Arches Adventure. Visit both Molokini and Turtle Arches, where your family can learn to snorkel with sea turtles. Bodysurf in the endless turquoise waves of Oneloa Beach at Makena State Park on the island’s western shores.
Visit the massive Ka’eleku Caverns, formed from ancient lava flows. Or journey more than 100 feet beneath the sea on a one-of-a-kind Atlantis Submarine Adventure. And top off the day with a captivating Drums of the Pacific Luau.
Off the Beaten Path
Hike through ethereal bamboo forests and tumbling waterfalls along the Pipiwai Trail near Hana, in the lower Kipalulu region of Haleakala National Park on a Hana Full Day Waterfall Rainforest Hike. Or head to the northern tip of the island to one of its best-kept secrets, the sleepy town of Paia, rated one of the “11 Best Small Beach Towns in the World” by Architectural Digest. This former 19th-century sugar plantation still carries much of the local flavor of Hawaii’s colorful past and provides the perfect hideaway along Maui’s serene northern shores. Explore this remarkable region and beyond on a Maui Hana Adventure.
Food and Drink
The growing farm-to-table movement is right at home on Maui. Head to Upcountry Maui for a farm tour and discover many of the fresh foods at the heart of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. Sample organic fruits and vegetables, such as the sweet Maui onion, grown amid the fertile fields of Kula. The volcanic soil and cooler climate provide the perfect base for these succulent crops.
Who said you can’t play with your food? Taste some artisanal cheeses at one of the local goat dairies. Try one of their unique cheeses flavored with Maui lavender, grown near the rim of Haleakala.
Enjoy a gourmet plate lunch from one of Maui’s many food trucks. Try the chicken lau lau wrapped in ti leaves, a local favorite, or flavorful fried rice with vegetarian teriyaki tofu, and let your taste buds sing like a cowboy.
When to Go
The best time to take a trip to Maui is, essentially, whenever you decide to go. Summertime and the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Easter holidays are the most popular times to visit.
Low season occurs mostly during spring and fall. You’ll usually find better hotel deals at this time. Average temperatures year-round range from balmy 70s to high 80s F. Surfers will find the most challenging waves in the winter, while divers usually prefer the summer. Just remember, on Maui, and throughout Hawaii, brief periods of rain are usually followed by lots of sunshine and rainbows.