Of all the islands of Hawaii, Maui is my favourite. It not only has a laid back feel to it, with lots of hiking and spectacular beaches to explore, but it also has a variety of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment to keep one busy. There are two main areas where people tend to stay on Maui…Kaanapali and Kihei. The Kaanapali area is graced with beautiful sandy beaches and there are numerous resorts that include a wide range of amenities. The Kihei area tends to have more condo style properties and many of these are located across from beach park areas.
If you do stay in the Kaanapali area you will find a wonderful promenade to walk along that will take you from one property to the next and provide you with lots of options for drinks or dining. You can also rent equipment, such as snorkel gear, surfboards, and sun umbrellas to enjoy your day at the beach.
Renting a car on Maui is a must. It doesn’t take long to get to places on Maui and there is a lot you’ll want to see and do…once you’ve spent some time relaxing on a beach or by a pool. The city of Lahaina, on the west coast of Maui, is definitely worth the drive no matter where you are staying. This town was the original capital of the islands of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845.
The Baldwin House, the oldest house on Maui, is located in Lahaina. It is the former home of the missionaries that came to the islands in the 1800’s. You can tour the house and also the grounds, which at one time would have had a view to the harbour where whaling boats would have docked.
While in Lahaina make sure and meander under the banyan tree, the largest in the United States, planted in 1873.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants in Lahaina, as well as numerous historical sites and buildings. You can pick up a self-guided walking map of the sites from the old courthouse located behind the banyan tree.
Another not to miss destination on Maui is Hana…well actually The Road to Hana. I wrote about this on another blog that you can reach here. It is definitely worth the drive, but give yourself lots of time for stops along the way.
A road trip that can be easily done in half a day is the drive up Haleakala. This is sometimes overlooked by people who visit Maui mainly for the beaches. However, I think it is a must-see place to visit.
Haleakala, which means “house of the sun” is over 10,000 feet high and is actually a volcanic crater that is half a million years old. It last erupted about 200 years ago and is considered a dormant volcano.
There are many hikes at the top of Haleakala ranging in distance and time required. You can also watch the sunrise from the top of the crater with a pre-reserved ticket that can be purchased up to 60 days in advance.
Because of harsh conditions with the sun, wind and cold, not many plants grow at the top of Haleakala. One plant, the Haleakala Silversword, is found only here above 7000 feet. It flowers once in its lifetime and so is at the mercy of changing climate conditions.
From the summit of Haleakala you can see not only how barren the landscape is, but you can also get a glimpse of the neighbouring island of Hawaii’s two volcanic peaks, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
There is plenty to keep you busy on Maui, and also plenty of options if you just want to relax. With a wide range of accommodation and sightseeing there is something to please everyone. Of course no trip to Maui would be complete without viewing a gorgeous Maui sunset.
Maui is a destination that people seem to go back to time and time again. After spending a week there I can definitely see why!