I love Hawaii; it’s my happy place. I am excited to share my love of our 50th state. I hope to inspire you to fully learn about and enjoy this Pacific paradise.
Maui is a popular island for people looking for a resort getaway. It is the home of the volcano Haleakala (“house of the sun”). The “Valley Isle” has beautiful beaches, waterfalls, pineapples, and charming towns. As with all the islands, there is a wet side, a much drier leeward side, and gorgeous mountain peaks. In the winter months, Maui is a prime spot for whale watching.
Wailuku is on the east side of the island and is government center for Maui County. Its close neighbor is Kahului. The port and airport are in this area. There’s lots of dining and local businesses, such as bakeries.
The famous Road to Hana is must-see during any visit. Hana is a quiet village on the windward, southeastern coast. The Road starts in Kahului and winds its way through the rainforests and along cliffsides for 52 miles. Along the way you will see the bridges and waterways created in support of the sugar industry. The waterfalls and pools are amazingly beautiful. The Waianapanapa Park near Hana is a peaceful place to have a picnic and a rest stop. Along the Road are many fruit and flower stands. Maui is famous for the banana bread sold in these stands: the secret ingredient is the apple banana!
Continuing south along the Hana highway, you will come to the tiny village of Kipahulu. Charles Lindbergh is buried here, at the 1864 Palapa Ho’omau Church. Haleakala National Park is another fascinating place to stop, see the beauty, and learn about the volcano.
In order to see everything and relax on the Road to Hana, I recommend taking a tour, such as Roberts Hawaii, at least the first time you go. The road can be treacherous and it can be hard to find a place to park at the waterfalls when you want to stop.
The leeward, southwestern side of the island is dry. It reminds me of the American plains, but on the slopes of a volcano! A fun stop here is the Tedeschi Winery. The winery is on the ‘Ulupalakua Ranch. The ranch has an interesting history and the winery tasting room is a festive experience. You’ll have to try the pineapple wine! You will find the ‘Ulupalakua Ranch Store nearby, a nice stop for locally-sourced food and that old-timey country store feel.
Historic Lahaina, former royal capital of Hawaii, is in northwest Maui. This was the busiest port in Hawaii in the 1800s and a major stop for whalers – and missionaries. Our favorite place to eat by the water is Kimo’s, but there are plenty of amazing restaurants along Front Street (my friends J & J like Fleetwood’s, owned and sometimes inhabited by Mick Fleetwood).
I recommend seeing the 1873 Banyan tree, the Pioneer Inn, Old Lahaina Courthouse, the lighthouse, and the Baldwin home museum. Shows you might enjoy seeing in Lahaina are the Old Lahaina Luau, ‘Ulalena at the Maui Theater, or Slack Key Show: Masters of Hawaiian Music. Many boat trips leave from port here for whale watching, visiting Lanai, or snorkeling at the Molokini crater.
Next time we go, I want to visit: the Maui Ocean Center’s aquarium and marine science center; Iao Valley; Hali’imaile Pineapple Company tour; and upcountry Makawao town, the center of cattle ranching or paniolo life.
Let’s talk story
Do you like Cousin Iz’s music (Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole)? Have you heard “Maui Hawaiian Sup’pa Man”? The song is about the rascal god Maui (also a star of “Moana”). His story is that he had a magic fishing hook that he used to hook the ocean bottom and cause the mountains to rise up and form the islands. He went up on Haleakala to lasso the sun to ask for longer days in summer.
What is your favorite thing to do in Maui? Are you planning a trip?
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