Tips on What To Do in Maui
From breathtaking beaches to serene gardens, cultural sites to underwater playgrounds, Maui offers several days worth of diversions. The island is especially popular with active travelers since it offers plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. But after hiking in Haleakala National Park or whale watching off the island's southern or western coasts, writers urge you to visit Maui's historic sites. Some of the best include the Whalers Village Museum or the Lahaina District, home to numerous plantation towns, ancient Hawaiian churches and the largest statue of Buddha outside of Asia.
- A wide assortment of meals and activities can be purchased at up to 25-percent off for four people using the Activities and Attractions Association of Hawaii Gold Card. It’s good for one year and costs $30." -- Sherman's Travel
Cliché as it might seem, many travel writers and recent visitors insist that you can't go to Maui without participating in a luau. One of the most famous is the Old Lahaina Luau, located along Front Street in the town of the same name. Travel experts praise the luau for its authenticity, fine food and entertainment. But be prepared to open your wallet – a night at this, or any of the island’s luaus, won’t come cheap.
- The hula troupe [at Old Lahaina] is first-rate and the feast is terrific, with high-quality Hawaiian fare and none of the long lines you'll find at a resort-hotel luau. It's held on the beach at the north side of town." -- Lonely Planet
The Road to Hana
Maui's most famous road is also one of the most romantic and iconic in the world. Stops along the way allow tourists to explore Hawaii's lush forest, wildlife and waterways. A tip from travel writers: Start along the road in the early morning, when you can avoid heavy traffic. The Road to Hana is best enjoyed at your own pace -- not the pace of the people in front of and behind you.
- During high season (Jan.-Mar. and the summer months), the Road to Hana tends to develop trains of cars, with everyone in a line of six or a dozen driving as slowly as the first car. The solution: leave early (dawn) and return late (dusk)." -- Fodor's
In Maui, deciding which beach to visit depends a lot on your favorite color. Take your pick of white, gold, black, red and even green sand; the different hues are a result of minerals found in the volcanic stone from which the sand was formed. Writers and recent visitors especially suggest Kaihalulu in East Maui, better known as Red Sand Beach.
- Some tour guides still call this area 'Seven Sacred Pools,' but in truth there are more than seven, and they've never been considered sacred. You can park here and walk to the lowest pools for a cool swim. The place gets crowded, though, since most people who drive the Hana Highway make this their last stop." -- Fodor's
- [Red Sand Beach is] truly a sight to see. The beach is on the ocean side of Kauiki Hill, just south of Hana Bay, in a wild, natural setting on a pocket cove, where the volcanic cinder cone lost its seaward wall to erosion and spilled red cinders everywhere to create the red sands." -- Frommer's
Maui's upcountry offers some of the best hiking and most awe-inspiring natural sights in the United States, and perhaps even the world. An almost universally loved hiking and ecotourism destination in Maui is the fabulous Haleakala National Park, which contains several waterfalls, hiking trails, views of the ocean and an almost surreal volcanic landscape.
- Those interested in seeing the backcountry -- complete with virgin waterfalls, remote wilderness trails, and quiet, meditative settings -- should head for Haleakala's upcountry or the tropical Hana Coast."-- Frommer's
- Get ready for an otherworldly experience at Haleakala National Park. It's astonishing volcanic landscape so resembles a lunar surface that astronauts practiced mock lunar walks here before landing on the moon." -- Lonely Planet
To explore the natural and cultural history of Maui, head to Lahaina, which offers several museums and aquariums devoted to the area's human and animal inhabitants. At the Lahaina Heritage Museum, you can view exhibits on early and modern Hawaiian societies. At the Maui Ocean Center, you can get up close and personal with a variety of exotic Hawaiian sea creatures.
- The inspired Lahaina Heritage Museum, operated by Lahaina Town Action Committee volunteers, displays changing exhibits that celebrate Lahaina's culture and history. The focus could be on anything from ancient Hawaiian society to 19th-century whaling, but whatever it is it's well worth the climb to the 2nd floor to check it out." -- Lonely Planet
- [At Maui Ocean Center,] Special tanks get you up close with turtles, rays, sharks, and the unusual creatures of the tide pools. The center is part of a complex of retail shops and restaurants overlooking the harbor." -- Fodor's