Maui Guide

Jan 4, 2020 | General Information

Somehow ever-busy Lahaina, especially Front Street, manages to retain its charm for visitors. Shop, visit galleries, eat, stroll and stroll some more around town. On the National Register of Historic Places, the lively streets of Lahaina also include historic stops like the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paahao (Lahaina Prison), the Pioneer Inn, Baldwin House, the Old Courthouse, Maui’s oldest living banyan tree and other sites on the Lahaina Historic Trail. The oceanfront setting provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of an endless number and variety of waterborne activities as well as some of Maui’s best seaside luaushowcasing the culture of Hawaii.

Heading toward the resorts of Ka’anapali Beach and its wonderful paved beachside walkway, Black Rock, legendary for snorkeling, separates two halves of Ka’anapali Beach. To the north, Kahekili Beach Park has a great beach (especially for early morning swims), Napili and its excellent beach, Kapalua Beach in its protected bay, Oneloa Beach (great when wind and surf are low), Slaughterhouse Beach (we prefer the Hawaiian name, Mokule’ia) especially on good day, and Honolua Bay that attracts lots of snorkelers, scuba divers and surfers under the right conditions, and has a beautiful walking trail.

From Punalau Beach the road begins a sinuous 25-mile trek to the other side of the West Maui Mountains at Wailuku, passing through Kahakuloa Village and the by 600+-Foot high Kahakuloa Peak. Most often Wailuku is just part of the route to beautiful Iao Valley and its Needle. Beyond Kahului, the island’s marketplace and business center, is one of the most interesting little shopping destinations on Maui, Pa’ia, where Baldwin Avenue intersects with Hwy. 36, the start of Hana Hwy., near Ho’okipa Beach Park, a great place to watch windsurfers.

Baldwin Avenue leads to Makawao, upcountry and Haleakala. Makawao is a fun and interesting place to wander, shop, visit galleries, and then head up to Kula Botanical Garden or the trails of Polipoli Spring State Recreational Area. Looming above it all is Haleakala National Park and sunrise or sunset views of its crater that defy description.

The most famous drive in Hawaii,the winding road to Hana passes through a lush wonderland. No need to hurry, the journey is the destination. Start early to see as much as possible! A series of small waterfalls start at around mile marker 22. A lush and beautiful detour after Makapipi Falls goes to Nahiku where the road end at a fantastic view of the shoreline. Back on the highway, it’s a short distance to Kahanu Garden, part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and its massive restored temple. Back on the road, you may see powered hang gliders from tiny nearby Hana Airport.

Soon the road to Wai’anapanapa Park opens up to Pa’iloa, a volcanic black sand beach. Hana also has a black sand beach – and a Red Sand Beach. But the premier beach in Hana, and one of the best on Maui, especially for body-surfing, is Hamoa Beach. Beyond Hana the journey continues through beautiful Kipahulu, past a series of waterfalls, to the pools and vistas at Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools).

Land of sun, little rain and extraordinary beaches, South Maui starts at Ma’alaea and its 3-mile-long beach that stretches all the way to Kihei. Ma’alaea is a hub for lots of boats heading for snorkeling (Molokini is 10 miles away), whale watching and other activities. Not talked about enough is the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, a wetland on both sides of North Kihei Road that can be reached by the beautiful Kealia Coastal Boardwalk. Its huge bird sanctuary is home to 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds, migratory ducks and two of Hawaii’s native and endangered waterbirds – the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt. Across the highway in Keālia Pond waterfowl from Asia, Alaska and elsewhere in North America migrate for the warmer climate.

Visitors migrate to the marvelous resorts of Kihei and Wailea and their beaches. Fronting Kihei three sandy beaches in a row (Kam I, II and III) offer good swimming all year. Especially in the mornings, nearby Wailea’s four beaches provide excellent snorkeling from Keawakapu Beach to Maluaka, Ulua, Wailea and Polo beachesand frequently sightings of turtles. Further south all the way to Makena Landing and Keawala’i Bay (Church Bay), under certain conditions good snorkeling can be found. La Perouse Bay is as far as you can go by car in South Maui.


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