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Maui - The Valley Isle


With its close proximity and leisurely pace, you never have to travel too far or plan in advance to discover pleasant surprises on Maui. It is an Island of spontaneous moments; big enough to provide lots of options and small enough to take the work out of choosing. Maui offers endless opportunities for spur of the moment fun. You can be as relaxed or as active as you choose.


It's really no wonder that Maui's sun blessed beaches, its "golf coasts" and scenic small towns nestled at the base of volcanic summits have captured the hearts of those who visit. Maui is the second largest island in the Hawaiian chain and many destinations in one.


From the scenic heights of Haleakala to the whale-rich waters that hug the shoreline, Maui invites exploration and celebrates romance. Here you'll find dramatic geography alongside world-class resorts, small-town charm with five-star dining, high octane activities and blissful relaxation; perfect for a family or for two of you. Refresh body and spirit in the cooling mist of waterfalls as you follow the winding Road to Hana. Take in the rainbow hues of sunrise or sunset from Maui's highest peak. Stroll hand-in-hand through the lush surrounds of the Iao Valley. Enjoy the wonders of Maui's beaches, waters and nearby islands. So much to do; or, if you prefer, so little. Let Maui work its magic on you!


LAHAINA: A National Historic District, Lahaina includes restored, period-piece museums that provide a sense of historic continuity and several attractions along the Lahaina Historic Trail that serve as a reminder of days long past. Lahaina, however, is no stuffy relic, but a lively town of one-of-a-kind shops, art galleries and excellent restaurants. At night, Lahaina comes alive with a friendly mix of visitors and residents enjoying the action. Your Maui ocean adventures begin at Lahaina's picturesque harbor, home to a fleet of sport fishing vessels, catamarans and yachts. Head out on whale watching excursions, snorkel sails, sightseeing cruises, or picnic trips to Lanai or Molokai.


KAANAPALI: In ancient times, Kaanapali was the playground of Hawaiian royalty. Located just two miles up the coast from Lahaina, Kaanapali offers appealing variety in accommodations, activities, shopping and dining. Hotels and condominium villages, ranging from indulgent to casual, face Kaanapali's three-mile stretch of beach. This playground also includes two championship golf courses. It's one of the few places where a breaching whale may distract you as you line up a putt. Kaanapali's Whalers Village shopping center, with some of Maui's best shops, is also home to a whaling museum. After shopping, you can watch a diver in silhouette as he plunges from Puu Kekaa (Black Rock) into waters that reflect the brilliance of the Maui sunset. 


KAPALUA: At the northwest end of the island, elegantly manicured Kapalua is quietly nestled among Cook Pines that lend a country flavor to this popular resort. Dramatic lava peninsulas shelter the five bays of Kapalua, whose name is poetically interpreted as "arms embracing the sea." Kapalua is a resort community featuring luxury hotels and condominiums, three white sand beaches, award winning restaurants, more than 20 boutiques and galleries, historic sites, an art center, a tennis complex and two renowned golf courses. Thousands of acres of pineapple surround the resort and provide a blue-green tint to the hillsides.


UPCOUNTRY MAUI: On Maui, upcountry is a state of mind as well as a region that begins at Pukalani and climbs the slopes of magnificent Haleakala to the ranchland communities of Makawao, Kula, Keokea and Ulupalakua. This is home to Maui's oldest and largest ranches, where paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) still ride the range. Rural Makawao introduces upcountry with hitching posts fronting the boutiques and restaurants and art galleries that create the eclectic atmosphere of the area. Farther up the slope is Kula. Flower farms flourish here. Farms also grow sweet Kula onions and giant strawberries, as well as the exotic produce served in many of Maui's best restaurants. Sweeping vistas, cool dewy mornings, rainbows springing from vast pastures, plus botanical gardens hypnotically alive with floral color, are all part of the upcountry experience.


KIHEI: A few minutes south of Maalaea is the Kihei Coast, a great spot for beachcombing, snorkeling, kayaking and catching the spout or the breach of a giant humpback whale. Kihei is home to a vibrant community with a mix of moderately priced hotels and condominiums. Local businesses, restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops cater to residents and visitors alike. When the sun goes down, Kihei's nightspots light up.


WAILEA: Continue south and you'll arrive at Wailea, a resort community distinguished by its five beautiful, crescent shaped beaches. Book a tee time in Wailea and golf some of the more beautiful courses in the country. The weather in Wailea is just about perfect for any outdoor activity with sunny days and clear, starry nights. Wailea is also known for its beautiful beaches, great for swimming and snorkeling. Nestled at the base of Haleakala Crater, the meticulous design and exquisite landscaping of Wailea's gently rolling terrain have combined to create a resort community of luxury condominiums, stately private homes, award winning luxury hotels, restaurants and shops.


HANA: The Road to Hana, renowned for its hairpin turns and one-lane bridges is one of the more beautiful drives in the world and a highlight of any Maui visit. Panoramic views shift from breathtaking coastal vistas to the rugged wilderness of Maui's mountainous interior. This is the fantasy tropics; a place of waterfalls and rainforests densely draped in vines, of taro fields and botanical gardens and nurseries alive with exotic flowers. The town of Hana is a magical little hamlet of simple homes and quiet gardens. Hana's isolation is the source of its charm, but as relaxing as it can be, it is also home to real adventure. In addition to dramatic coastal hikes, you can hang glide high above Hana, rewarded with unmatched views of Haleakala; or go underground and explore a cave.


MAKENA: Makena offers a secluded alternative at the end of the road. It's a place of dramatic contrasts. Plush landscaping faces an untamed wilderness where swimmers and snorkelers can find perfection in Makena's pristine waters and sunbathe on the beach. Hikers can make their way along the King's Road, a rock-paved trail that encircled the island in early times. With so much space, this area tends to be less crowded than other parts of the island. Past Makena, Haleakala's massive slope, cascading ruggedly into the ocean, stops you from reaching the tropical rainforests that await you in East Maui. No matter. There are plenty of reasons to go back the other way and take the long and winding Road to Hana.

Travel Tips and Tidbits

Travelers usually enjoy the destinations they visit a lot more when they spend some time immersing themselves in the destination's culture, learning about its history, etc. One of the ways you can do that on Maui is by doing the Lahaina Heritage Walking Tour. It's an easy stroll along Front Street and a number of the side streets in Lahaina that gives you an opportunity to look into the past of the former capital of Hawaii. You'll see much of it, including the Baldwin Home Museum and an Old Prison. (Don't worry. They're not accepting guests.) Send us an email if you'd like us to mail you a map of the Trail.


Experiencing the local food is on almost every visitor's wish list when they are planning a trip, but once in a while you might want something "familiar." If you're staying or visiting the Kaanapali area, a stop at Slappy Cakes Maui might be a good idea. They're only open until 1:00 PM and they serve a breakfast menu, including several kinds of Eggs Benedict and omelettes, but as the name implies, they're known for their pancakes. A fun twist is that they can make them for you; or, you can make them yourself right at your table. You might want to include a side of Spam or Portugese sausage.


If you're going to do a self-drive on the Road to Hana, be sure to check your gas gauge before you head out and make sure you bring water, beverages and snacks with you. A stop at the Kuau Store in Paia, where the Road begins, will give you a chance to pick up everything you'll need. 

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Road to Hana Code of Conduct

  • Visit State parks and County rest facilities.
  • Enjoy the various farms, botanical gardens and fruit stands along the way.
  • Avoid sites located on or beyond private properties, and areas that lack visitor welcoming signage. 
  • Park in designated parking stalls. Vehicles protruding onto the highway are subject to being towed.
  • Do not enter streams on occasions of heavy rains and flash flooding conditions. 
  • Please respect the Aina (land): place trash in a proper receptacle, stay on the paths, respect the wildlife and plants, and practice safe procedures.

Resources

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