When traveling to the Hawaiian Island of Maui, there are enough adventures, events and activities to keep you and your family engaged for weeks on end. But what happens when you are only in town for a few days? How do you decide which experiences to prioritize? The Valley Isle offers unforgettable culinary tours, stunning waterfalls, intriguing historic museums, ocean centers and colorful beaches in ways that makes that old Hawaiian saying of “Maui no ka oi” (Maui is the best) come true. However, we have boiled down a list of must-do colorful beaches in ways that makes that old our family engageonly have a limited amount of time. Next time you are visiting Maui, these are the top five things you will not want to miss.
Tour the Hana Highway: Possibly one of the most popular attractions in Maui is the Hana Highway. Famous for its length, windiness and glorious views, driving down the road to Hana is one of the greatest ways to explore this remote part of Maui which begins at the town of Paia. From there it winds through a long narrow country road full of scenic vistas, secluded waterfalls, picturesque roadside villages, continues through the historic town of Hana and ends at Oheo Gulch in Kipahulu. At Oheo Gulch, you can explore the Seven Sacred Pools which is an ideal place to stop and take memorable pictures of bamboo forests, towering waterfalls and idyllic swimming holes.
Visiting Haleakala: One fascinating aspect about Maui is the wide range of terrain the island possesses. From the dense tropical forests, broad valleys, glittering coastline and soaring heights, one of the most striking locations is the summit area within Haleakala National Park. Whether you are an early riser or a night owl, visiting the 10,000 foot summit is a rewarding experience. For those that arrive before sunrise, visitors can witness the sun illuminating the morning skies over billowing clouds as it peaks above the crater. Star-gazers can also enjoy untainted views of clear constellations from the top of the dormant volcano. Though getting to and from the summit can be time consuming, it is well worth prioritizing on a trip to Maui.
Diving in Molokini: Whether you are a certified scuba diver, curious to try snuba diving or simply content to free-dive or snorkel, the Molokini Crater is one of the greatest places to see marine life in Hawaii. On the reef at Molokini, divers can catch glimpses of octopi, moray eels, sharks and an abundance of bright exotic reef fish. Experienced scuba divers may explore the backside of the crater, which drops nearly 350 feet and is frequented by manta rays, dolphins, and a variety of sharks. Be sure to book a morning dive, so that the water will be most likely to be smooth and calm and loaded with fish.
Exploring Iao Valley State Park: A trip to Maui would be incomplete without spending an afternoon hiking through Iao Valley State Park. Here the park extends across 4,000 acres of verdant rainforest, streams, botanical gardens, waterfalls and historic sites. One of the most prominent aspects of the valley is the peak called Iao Needle, which pierces the sky at 1,200 feet. Here hikers can trek up to high lookouts for unparalleled views of the landscape. The historic Battle of Kepaniwai occurred in this location in 1790 where King Kamehameha brutally defeated the armies of Maui as part of his quest to unite the Hawaiian Islands under his rule.
Lahaina History and Whale Watching: Historic Lahaina was once a thriving whale port in the mid-19th century. Hundreds of whaling ships once came to this harbor town in pursuit of the migrating sperm whales that would pass by the islands on their way to and from Alaska. To this day, whale watching is a favorite activity of Maui as over 6,000 of the majestic beasts swim in the waters off Lahaina every year. Fully experience Lahaina’s whaling heritage by visiting the Whalers Village Museum in neighboring Ka’anapali. Book a whale watching excursion or have a picnic on the Au’au Channel off Lahaina where the humpback whales can often be seen breaching above the waves.