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Maui offers natural wonders and nightlife

 

Known as the Valley Isle, Maui’s West Maui Mountains and Haleakala frame an interior valley dominated by sugar cane fields. Visitors will likely stick to the coastlines. Accommodations are predominantly located in Kaanapali, Lahaina, and Kihei, and this is where you’ll find lots of dining and shopping options, too.

 

The old whalers town of Lahaina is situated right on the water and there are lots of ocean activities available at Lahaina Harbor. Arrange for paddle board or surf lessons, charter a fishing boat, or take a submarine ride. While you’re there, stop by historical landmarks like the Baldwin Home Museum or the Wo Hing Museum, and make sure to visit the impressive banyan tree on the south end of town near the Old Fort. 

 

The Makena area in south Maui is home to high-end residences and lodging as well as Makena Beach State Park, nicknamed Big Beach. This expansive stretch of sand offers plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sun. There isn’t much shade, so make sure to bring your sunscreen.

 

Iao Valley is an easy drive from Kahului and worth a visit. A short hike takes you to the Iao Needle and past a gorgeous stream, as well as through a series of loi, where kalo, the basis of poi is growing.

 

Upcountry Maui is quite a change from the coastal region. Look for the local paniolo – Hawaiian cowboy – on horseback, and watch for fresh fruit stands. These roadside stands are usually based on the honor system. Choose what you like, and drop your payment into a box. 

 

It’s not recommended that visitors circle the island. Highway 31 around the south side of the island is dirt in many sections and very rough. Once you’ve enjoyed the Seven Sacred Pools on the road to Hana, turn around and head back the way you came, instead of continuing around the island. On the northern part of the island, the narrow, windy stretch of road between Kapalua and Waihee hugs the coastal cliffs and those unfamiliar with the road are not advised to travel this way.