Travel To Maui

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA


Maui is not nearly as large as the Big Island, nor is it as small as Lanai, as bustling as Oahu or as quiet as Kauai. For many Hawaii vacationers, Maui is just right — offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, from impressive wildlife to intriguing history and culture. While on a visit here, you can shimmy alongside professional hula dancers, golf along coastal fairways, snorkel alongside five different types of sea turtles or simply lounge along some of Hawaii's most notable beaches.

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA


One of the archipelago's most popular tourism spots, Maui can be found sandwiched between the Big Island and the much tinier Molokai. Maui is divided into five distinct regions: Many travelers base themselves along the coasts of South Maui (home to the famous Wailea Beach) or West Maui, where the sands of Kaanipali Beach and the music from the Old Lahaina Luau are located. But the rest of the island should not be missed. Travel along the Road to Hana to experience East Maui's scenic coastline, explore Haleakala — the world's largest dormant volcano — in the Upcountry, and explore the former tribal battlegrounds of Central Maui's Iao Valley State Park.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Maui Culture & Customs


"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Maui is a great place to go if you're looking to learn more about Hawaii history and culture. In fact, legend has it that it was the demigod, Maui, who pulled the islands from the sea and lassoed the sun from the top of Haleakala. Travelers who are interested in learning more about island lore will have plenty of opportunities to do so: A visit to the scenic Iao Valley will offer a glimpse of the tumultuous era of tribal warfare, while a stroll through the small town of Lahaina will yield a glimpse of Hawaii's whaling, plantation and trade history.
Today, Maui is one of America's most popular vacation destinations — probably because it's so drastically different from any place on the mainland. Vacationers will find all the makings of contemporary luxury at the island's resorts, but outside the hotel areas, the relaxed "Aloha spirit" permeates. If you're looking to blend in with the locals, you simply need to loosen up: Pack T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops (as well as some light layers) for everyday wear and tone down the road rage (no honking here).
Folklore still plays a large role in day-to-day life, with residents paying tribute to various gods and goddesses in a number of ways — most notably hula dancing. Although visitors to the island see hula performances as entertainment, they are also a type of prayer and should be respected.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Other cultural traditions continue to influence everyday life in Maui, one of the most noticable being language. Unlike many other states, Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian, which is a member of the Polynesian language family. Though you won't have any trouble finding English-speakers, you'll benefit from learning a few basic Hawaiian phrases; "Aloha" means both "hello" and "goodbye," and "mahalo" means "thank you."
The arts are a mainstay on the island, with numerous festivals — like the one held twice a month in Lahaina's Banyan Tree Park — showcasing works by regional craftspeople. And throughout the year, Maui honors its vibrant culture through events like the Maui Steel Guitar Festival and the East Maui Taro Festival (both held in April).
If you're more interested in discovering Maui's natural wonders than its heritage, you'll find plenty of places to do so — from flower-filled jungles to underwater reefs teeming with aquatic life. However, it's important that you leave the island as you found it. Resist the urge to collect living souvenirs or to have a one-on-one encounter with local wildlife, as these could result in hefty fines or even jail time.

Maui Dining

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Maui is quickly earning a reputation as a foodie destination: The island's restaurant scene is as diverse as its visitors with restaurants serving food from around the world. But as long as you're here, you may as well get a taste of the local cuisine.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Like the rest of America, Maui is on board with the local food movement — here, you'll find plates piled high with freshly caught fish and regional produce. To find these ingredients prepared in the island way, you'll want to stray from resort-heavy areas. Maui's towns (and its countryside) brim with local mom-and-pop joints serving such specialties as pork roasted in banana leaves, poi (ground taro root) and haupia, a creamy coconut custard. If you're not quite sure where to start your culinary tour, ask some local residents for recommendations.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

One very popular — and very economical — way to get your fill of Hawaiian cuisine is to eat big around noon. Many local eateries served what's called a "plate lunch," which comes piled high with some sort of protein (usually beef, pork or fish), rice and/or macaroni salad and some sort of pickled vegetable. This tradition formed on the sugar plantations, where workers would gather for lunch and share their food. Today, it's common to see residents and visitors alike chowing down on the mountainous servings dished out by plate lunch restaurants and stands.

Best Times to Visit Maui

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

The best times to visit Maui are April through May and September through November.
 The spring and fall shoulder seasons provide the pleasant weather Hawaii vacationers seek without the high rates and heavy crowds that accompany the summer and winter. However, if you're into surfing, you'll want to travel in the winter for the best conditions — just book as early as possible to get a discounted rate. Meanwhile, if you're traveling with kids, you may want to splurge for a summer trip as that's when the waters are calmest.

Best Things To Do in Maui

Road to Hana

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

The Road to Hana might seem short, but travelling it will most likely take all day given the number of scenic lookouts and other places to stop. Those who have driven the Road to Hana highly recommend taking your time and stopping as often as possible. You have to stop along the way to explore," one TripAdvisor user insisted. "As they say, its about the journey, not the destination."
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

There are several notable photo opportunities along the way, including the Twin Falls around the 2-mile marker (driving from Kahului to Hana); and the Wailea Overlook or Waikani Falls around the 21-mile marker. The Waianapanapa State Park and Hookipa Beach are also popular stops. Since the trip will take you awhile, pack snacks and a cooler with drinks. Also, some travelers note that the winding route can weak havoc on those prone to motion sickness — make sure to take it slow and allow for plenty of time outside the car.

Kaanapali Beach

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

One of Maui's most popular strips of coastline, Kaanapali Beach stretches across 3 miles of the island's northwest coast, offering plenty of space to surf and sunbathe. (Be careful while swimming, however, as travelers say the currents can be deceptively strong.) But coveted sand is just one of this beach's many highlights: Kaanapali was Hawaii's first planned resort area, and today it features several notable hotels and restaurants, two championship golf courses and the lively Whalers Village open-air shopping center.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Yet for many recent visitors, Kaanapali Beach's man-made comforts don't come close to trumping its natural and more traditional features. This is also an excellent place to catch sight of the many diverse creatures that call the Pacific home. The waters here are shallow, making them good for snorkeling, and many travelers report seeing whales off the coast. "One year when we were there, in the water, a dolphin swam up beside us. Quite exciting," one TripAdvisor user recalled. Another highlight of a visit to Kaanapali Beach is the daily cliff-diving spectacle at Puu Kekaa (Black Rock), which pays tribute to King Kahekili, Maui's last independent king who ruled in the 18th century.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Kaanapali Beach sits just north of the town of Lahaina and can be reached by car via Route 30 (the Honoapiilan Highway). Public transportation here is fairly limited, but certainly an option — the No. 25 bus offers service between Kaanapali and Lahaina, while the No. 30 runs between Kaanapali and Kapalua. For more information on Kaanapali Beach, visit the Maui Tourism Board

Haleakala National Park

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

More than a million tourists annually visit Haleakala National Park, home to the world's largest dormant volcano. The entire park occupies 30,000 acres of land in Upcountry Maui, though most visitors focus on a few specific areas of the park. Of course, there's the mountain: Haleakala's summit stands more than 10,000 feet above sea level (in fact, you can see it from any point on the island). Travelers recommend making planning your visit to the summit in the morning to see the sunrise. A fairly winding road (Route 378) will lead you to the top. No matter when you visit, be sure to wear warm layers. The air up top is thin and chilly.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Once you reach the top of Haleakala, you can keep going — down into the mouth of the volcano. The Haleakala Crater measures 19 square miles and offers a stark glimpse of Hawaii's early beginnings. Trails into the crater will lead you past a desert-like landscape, making for unique photo opportunities. According to recent visitors, watching the sunrise from here is also a great experience. "This is simply something you have to see in your lifetime," one TripAdvisor user said. "Watching the sun come up over the horizon from atop the mountain was a site we will never forget."
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

But don't limit yourself to just the volcano. The park's most popular trail, Pipiwai, is actually at sea level, meandering for 4 miles along Maui's southeast coast to the Waimoku Falls and the Seven Sacred Pool of Oheo Gulch. The takes three to five hours to complete, but you'll walk away with some stunning photos.

Haleakala National Park is located in southern Maui and welcomes visitors 24 hours a day. You'll find three visitor centers: The Park Headquarter Visitors Center sits nere the northern corner of the park along the road to the summit, the Haleakala Visitor Center can be found near the top of the mountain, and the Kipahulu Visitor Center sits along the southeast portion of the park (at the head of the Pipiwai trail). Each visitor center features its own hours of operation. You can enter the park on foot for $5 per person or in a car for $10, and admission is good for three consecutive days.

Napili Beach

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA


Though not nearly as expansive as Wailea or Kaanapali, crescent-shaped Napili Beach is particularly popular with families. Napili's waters are much calmer than those at other Maui beaches, so kids and adults alike can take to the seas for swimming, paddle-boarding and boogie-boarding. Plus, Napili Beach provides a quiet, laid-back atmosphere that sunbathers seem to love.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

If you plan on visiting Napili, make sure you bring your snorkel gear. Napaili's waves conceal a wide array of fish, not to mention a sizable sea turtle population. According to one TripAdvisor user, there were "more species of reef fish than I've seen in any area so small, and yes, there are turtles right there next to you." (Just note that it is against the law to touch sea turtles; those who violate that law could face up to $100,000 in fines and prison time.)
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

You'll find Napili Beach a few miles south of Kapalua on Maui's northwest coast. Most travelers recommend driving to the beach, which can be accessed from the Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30); however, plan to get there early, as parking is limited and finding a space in the afternoon can be a trying experience. If you're planning to spend the whole day, make sure to bring supplies — you won't find the amount and variety of restaurants there that you would at other Maui beaches, so snacks are key.

Wailea Beach


"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

You visit Hookipa to see Maui's daredevils hang ten, and you head to Kaihalulu or Waianapanapa for some multicolored sands. So which beach do you go to just to swim and relax? Wailea. This beach caters to the sunseeking guests of several nearby resorts. Wailea feels much less rugged than some of Maui's other beaches: The tawny-colored sand is lined by palm trees and a paved walkway connecting the shoreline to the area's hotels, shops and restaurants. What's more, visitors to this beach will have access to water sports equipment rentals. And because the waters here are relatively calm, Wailea Beach is great for those looking to swim or snorkel.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Recent visitors say that the surrounding resorts do a great job of keeping Wailea Beach clean, and though the region features several other prominent shorelines, travelers enjoy the hustle and bustle of Wailea. "The bay is large and the setting beautiful," one TripAdvisor user said. "Other beaches are quieter and more secluded, but Wailea is where the action is."
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

And the best feature: Wailea is free to enjoy at any time of day. You'll find these prized sands on the Maui's southwest coast.

Banyan Tree Park

"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

Sitting near the courthouse and the harbor in the town of Lahaina on Maui's northwest coast, this relatively tiny park is centered around something huge: One of the largest banyan trees in the country. The tree — which was brought to the island from India in 1873 — rises more than 60 feet in the air, offering afternoon picnickers copious amounts of shade. The park also hosts a variety of events, including Art in the Park. Held every second and fourth weekend of the month, Art in the Park features a variety of local artists selling paintings and handmade crafts.
"Maui" The Best Place to Visit in USA

According to recent travelers, a visit to Banyan Tree Park doesn't take much time, but it's worth a stop. "[E]ven when there isn't anything going on, it's a great place to cool off and sit and people watch," said one TripAdvisor user. "The Banyan tree itself is so incredible." The park is also within walking distance of Lahaina's shops and restaurants, not to mention the Courthouse Museum and a variety of other local attractions.

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