30 Things To Do On Maui
Things to do on the island of Maui in Hawaii.
If a visitor spent a month on Maui, and did something different
every day, there would not be enough time to do everything.
Maui is a "doer's" mecca!
From November through April the giant humpback whales make their
winter home in Maui's offshore waters. They come here to mate and
give birth to their young. This endangered species is known for
its gentleness, its oceanic gymnastics and its haunting song.
The Pacific Whale Foundation conducts whale watching excursions
aboard both power and sail boats. Fees are used for cetacean
research. A number of other companies offer similar outings.
Several shoreline sites offer excellent whale watching. Among
them: Pu'u Olai at Makena, hotel Lana`is at Wailea, Kaanapali
and Kapalua, waterfront restaurants in Lahaina. There are three
whaling museums: the Carthaginian, anchored in Lahaina Harbor,
The Lahaina Whaling Museum, and the outdoor museum at the Whaler's
Village shopping complex in Kaanapali. The Carthaginian is a
replicate two-masted sailing brig and has continuously running
films of old whaling days and
contemporary whale encounters. It also has recorded whale songs.
Lahaina is the largest marketplace for scrimshaw, the indigenous
American art form developed by the whalemen. From January to
March, Maui is home to the largest annual marine art show in
the world, held in Wailea.
Ho'okipa Beach is the windsurfer's mecca, and the
charming town of Pa`ia is its "cool" capital. The perfect
waves and brisk onshore breezes are ideal for the fleets of
neon-bright sails streaking across the waves. Spectators can
watch from a convenient hillside lookout. Rentals and
instruction are available in Paia and other locations around
the island. Once a plantation town, Paia now has gotten hip.
It now has boutiques, antique shops, art galleries and some
very good restaurants, in addition to its windsurfing shops.
Walk into a rainforest echoing with the songs of birds found
no place else on the planet, or along a rugged lava shoreline
spewing giant geysers, or into mysterious sea caves steeped in
ancient legend. There are trails to waterfalls with plunge pools
for swimming, and walks into valleys so deep they never see a
sunrise or a sunset. There are even trails into the dramatic
lunaresque landscape of Haleakala crater. There are trails
and nature walks for every level of capability. Free hiking
maps are available from Maui's Department of Land and Natural
Resources. Park rangers at Haleakala National Park, both at
the summit and the Kipahulu shoreline section, offer nature
walks and guided hikes. Professional guides, who even provide
lunch, are available for hire. The Hawaii Nature Center
provides free trail resource maps of `Iao Valley, and
conducts daily nature hikes.
Few places are as committed to bikeways as Maui. It is possible
to bicycle from the East End of the island at the Wailea Resort
to Kapalua on the West End. Much of the ride is along
spectacular shoreline road. Eventually cyclists will be able
to land at the Kahului Airport and bike to their accommodations.
There will also be an expansive network of greenways off the
highways altogether. No motorized vehicles will be permitted.
Presently there are guided downhill bicycle tours from the
summit of Haleakala Volcano through the flower farms and small
towns of Upcountry to the beach at Pa`ia. In 38 miles the
elevation drops 10,000 feet. Bicycle rentals are available
on the island.
The all-American romance with the road takes on another
dimension when the road has 54 bridges in 56 miles -- the Hana
Highway. Maui's roads wind along lava shores, through old
plantation towns, past miles of beaches and up through towering
forests to the top of a volcano. They are well maintained and
well marked, making driving a pleasure. Car rentals are inexpensive
and are often included in hotel or airline packages.
Dive and snorkel sites are world class. There are two
marine conservation areas, one at Honolua Bay on West Maui and
the other at Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater
offshore at Wailea. Because of the contours of the crater,
it's like swimming in an aquarium. Certification is available
in PADI, NAUI or NASDS. Boats at Lahaina and Kihei offer a
number of snorkel and dive excursions. The nearby Lana`i
Cathedrals is considered to be one of the most beautiful
dive sites in the world. There is also a sunken US submarine
to explore. Glass bottom boats and even a pleasure submarine
open up the wonders of the Hawaiian reef to non-swimmers.
In season, jet skiing and water skiing are both available.
As for snow skiing, it does snow atop Haleakala in winter, but
not enough for a slalom.
In season, drift above the island, floating in a
parachute drawn by a powerboat.
See Maui from the air, helicoptering through circular
rainbows and into inaccessible valleys streaming with waterfalls.
Fly above the crater of Haleakala and soar over the serpentine
There are approximately 200 restaurants on Maui.
They offer every experience from lavish hotel dining rooms
to lunch counters serving saimin, the ubiquitous noodle soup
many Mauians savor. There are excellent Chinese, Japanese,
Italian and Mexican places among the specialty restaurants.
Pride of the island is the exciting Hawaii Regional Cuisine
served at many award-winning restaurants. The seafood is
fresh from the ocean and much of the vegetables and herbs
come from Upcountry farms.
Try cheek-to-cheek on a sunset terrace, or rock wild
in a chic new nightclub or disco. Take hula lessons. Dance
at a lu`au, lessons or not. Dance barefoot on the beach to
the sound of the sea. Maui is made for it.
In Lahaina, Ma`alaea and Kihei, charter boats are
available on a private or share basis to go after the plentiful
big game fish in Maui's waters.
Go after game birds, mouflon sheep, and wild boar. Do it
armed with a rifle, bow and arrow or knife. One- to-three-day
expeditions with qualified guides can be arranged. Guides will
arrange a license, rent arms and equipment, and provide meals.
A taxidermist is available on the island. Information on licenses,
laws and seasons may be obtained from the Department of Land and
There are campsites in Haleakala National Park, both in the
mountains and on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Bargain-rate cabins
are available on a lottery basis. There are also cabins at two state
parks, one at Waianapanapa on a black sand beach and the other at
Polipoli Springs in a high-elevation forest preserve. Camping is
allowed at some beach parks. Rental equipment is available.
The breezy offshore waters of Maui, sheltered by Lana`i and
Moloka`i are ideal for sailing. Try a sailboat charter, a speedy
catamaran, sailfish or even a sunset cruise. There are family-run
picnic sails to Lana`i. Most resorts offer sailing lessons and
Go to Moloka'i and see the flora and fauna. Family-run
sailing cruises offer picnics on Lana'i, or just take the ferry
service over for the day. Boats leave both Lahaina and Kihei for
snorkel and dive trips to tiny Molokini island.
The island abounds in world-class galleries, international shops
and a wide range of boutiques. Many carry items unique to Hawaii and
specific to Maui. Look for bowls and objects carved in beautiful native
woods such as koa, milo and ohia; baskets and hats woven of lauhala;
handpainted resort fashions, jewelry; art; and anything with a gecko on
it. The gecko is the latest craze and the chirpy little lizard can be
found on everything from t-shirts to 14 karat rings.
There are more than 80 beaches on Maui. They come in sands of
gold, black, green, red and purest white.
Try the ancient sport of kings. "Hot-dawg" surfers can test
themselves at Slaughterhouse, Ho'okipa and Sand Box. Novices can sign
up for surfing lessons at the hotels and usually end up riding those
long rollers the first time out.
There are 16 courses on Maui. Most of them are championship
courses designed by golf's biggest names, and tended by the sport's
leading professional players.
Approximately 100 courts, both public and private are open
to the public. Most are lighted for night play. Leading professionals
conduct tennis clinics with state-of-the-art teaching aids.
The island abounds in beauty. Making Maui's spectacular natural
heritage accessible to the public are a network of 94 state and county
parks, and Haleakala National Park.
Smell the Flowers
They're everywhere. Many hotels offer guided tours
of their lavish tropical gardens. There are also many botanical gardens,
with a dazzling array of native and exotic blooms including magnificent
orchids and protea. Flower farms along the Haleakala and Kula Highways
offer flowers by the acre, millions of them, wafting their perfume over
the island. Many flower farms welcome visitors and will ship flowers
Catch a Train
The Lahaina Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad, the old
sugarcane train pulled by a vintage steam locomotive, has been
refurbished and carries passengers between the resort of Kaanapali
and the town of Lahaina, chugging through plantation fields, past
old homes, across a trestle and along a golf course. Music and
panoramic views add to the fun.
Get Down There on the Farm
Agriculture has always been Maui's business.
There are vast pineapple and sugar plantations, along with small
farms growing the famous Maui onion, designer vegetables for gourmet
chefs, and the newest crop -- herbs. It's been discovered that both
Asian and European herbs grown in the Islands have a more intense
flavor. Chefs around the country are beginning to demand them. Maui
Tropical Plantation in Waikapu has turned farming into a tourist
attraction. A tram ride tours the plantation while guides show how
sugar, pineapple and other Maui crops are grown. The colorful story
of Maui's sugar barons and plantations is chronicled in the
Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum in Pu`unene.
It's the perfect place. Several resorts have complete
European-style spa facilities along with Japanese baths. They offer
everything from computerized fitness profiles to ancient Hawaiian
lomi-lomi massage. Many hotels offer free aerobics and aquanastics.
There are gyms around the island. Several community centers offer
free classes in aerobics and fitness. There are miles of jogging paths
and three major races, the Maui Marathon held in March, and the Run
to the Sun (a rugged 36.2-mile race up the slopes of Haleakala), and
the Hana Relays are both in September.
Love a Luau
The traditional feast of the islands is still held on Maui.
Many hotels stage authentic beachside lu`au featuring traditional Hawaiian
foods such as kalua pig, cooked in an earthen oven, poi and haupia coconut
pudding, along with a buffet of more familiar foods. There is singing,
hula, fire dancing and laughter. There is also a traditional lu`au held
For an island in the middle of the ocean, Maui manages to cram
in a lot of sightseeing potential. Visit old plantation towns, tour the
historic preservation district of Lahaina, see the biggest Buddha outside
Asia, stop at old Hawaiian churches (don't miss the Holy Ghost Catholic
Church in Kula with its magnificent altar shipped around the Horn by the
king and queen of Portugal), walk into a huge dormant volcanic crater,
see whaling museums, and marvel at natural wonders such as `Iao Needle,
the pools of 'Oheo Gulch, a forest of giant redwood trees, the geysers
of Hobbitland, the rainbow-haunted West Maui mountains, and just miles
and miles of some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.
Make the Art Scene
Maui has more than 40 galleries carrying both the
best of well known local artists, and internationally acclaimed masters
such as Dali, Erte and Gorman. On Friday evenings in Lahaina, art
becomes a party. Browsers are encouraged to wander from gallery to
gallery. Complimentary food and wine are served. There are art tours
that visit the homes of local artists. Lahaina is the biggest marketplace
in the world for scrimshaw, the art developed by the whalemen.
Traditional Hawaiian arts such as featherwork, kapa (decorated fabric
made from tree bark), wood carving and shell work can be found. The
Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center on the grounds of a gracious old Upcountry
estate, has continuous shows and a full schedule of lectures and workshops.
The new multi-million-dollar Maui Arts & Cultural Center has two theaters,
exhibition space, and outdoor presentation facilities.
Where else can a rider descend into a volcanic crater
and picnic in a landscape that looks like the moon? Guided horseback
rides explore Maui's ranches, rainforests, remote beaches and high
meadows. There are moonlight rides across the lava, breakfast and
lu`au rides -- even a wine tasting ride. Equestrian action includes
rodeos and the Maui polo season which runs September through November.
Pacific Whale Foundation
101 North Kihei Road, Suite 25,
Kihei, Maui, Hawaii 96753
Carthaginian Sunken Ship and Artificial Reef
PO Box 330969
Kahului, Hawaii 96733
The Hawaii Nature Center
875 Iao Valley Road
Wailuku, Hawaii 96793;
Department of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Forestry & Wildlife
54 South High Street,
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793;
Hunting, camping, and Hiking information:
David DeLeon of Maui County
Maui Bikeways and greenways Information
199 Dairy Road
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732
Lahaina Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad
Dick Fields, P.O. Box 816
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Maui Tropical Plantation
1670 Honoapiilani Highway
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793;
Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Kahului Heliport Hangar 105
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732
Kahului Heliport Hanger 107
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732
PO Box 1118,
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Ocean Activities Center
1847 S. Kihei Road, #203
Kihei, Hawaii 96753,
Article Courtesy of the Maui Visitors Bureau
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