Maui

Those who know Maui well understand why it's earned all its superlatives. The island's miles of perfect beaches, lush green valleys, historic villages, top-notch water sports and outdoor activities, and amazing marine life have made it an international favorite. But nature isn't all Maui has to offer: it's also home to a wide va
Those who know Maui well understand why it's earned all its superlatives. The island's miles of perfect beaches, lush green valleys, historic villages, top-notch water sports and outdoor activities, and amazing marine life have made it an international favorite. But nat
Those who know Maui well understand why it's earned all its superlatives. The island's miles of perfect beaches, lush gr

Those who know Maui well understand why it's earned all its superlatives. The island's miles of perfect beaches, lush green valleys, historic villages, top-notch water sports and outdoor activities, and amazing marine life have made it an international favorite. But nature isn't all Maui has to offer: it's also home to a wide variety of cultural activities, stunning ethnic diversity, and stellar restaurants and resorts.

Maui is much more than sandy beaches and palm trees; it's a land of water and fire. Puu Kukui, the 5,788-foot interior of Mauna Kahalawai, also known as the "West Maui Mountains," is one of Earth's wettest spots—an annual rainfall of 400 inches has sculpted the land into impassable gorges and razor-sharp ridges. On the opposite side of the island, the blistering lava fields at Ahihi-Kinau receive scant rain. Just above this desertlike landscape, paniolo (cowboys) herd cattle on rolling fertile ranchlands. On the island's rugged east side is the lush tropical Hawaii of travel posters.

In small towns like Paia and Hana you can see remnants of the past mingling with modern-day life. Ancient heiau (platforms, often made of stone, once used as places of worship) line busy roadways. Old coral-and-brick missionary homes now welcome visitors. The antique smokestacks of sugar mills tower above communities where the children blend English, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino, and more into one colorful language. Hawaii is a melting pot like no other. Visiting an eclectic mom-and-pop shop—such as Makawao's T. Komoda Store & Bakery—can feel like stepping into another country, or back in time. The more you look here, the more you find.

At 729 square miles, Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian Island, but it offers more miles of swimmable beaches than any of its neighbors. Despite rapid growth over the past few decades, the local population still totals less than 200,000.

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  • 1. Hale Hoikeike at the Bailey House

    House/Mansion/Villa

    This repository of the largest and best collection of Hawaiian artifacts on Maui includes objects from the sacred island of Kahoolawe. Erected...Read More

  • Haleakala National Park

    2. Haleakala National Park

    Geological Site

    Nowhere else on Earth can you drive from sea level to 10,023 feet in only 38 miles. And what's more shocking: in that short vertical ascent...Read More

    Haleakala National Park
  • 3. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

    Educational Institution

    This nature center sits in prime humpback-viewing territory beside a restored ancient Hawaiian fishpond. Whether the whales are here or not...Read More

  • Hookipa Beach

    4. Hookipa Beach

    Beach–Sight

    To see some of the world's finest windsurfers, hit this beach along the Hana Highway. It's also one of Maui's hottest surfing spots, with waves...Read More

    Hookipa Beach
  • 5. Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center

    Educational Institution

    The grande dame of Maui's visual arts scene, "the Hui" hosts exhibits that are always satisfying. Located just outside Makawao, the center's...Read More

  • 6. Iao Valley State Monument

    Geological Site

    When Mark Twain saw this park, he dubbed it the Yosemite of the Pacific. Yosemite it's not, but it is a lovely deep valley with the curious...Read More

  • Kapalua Bay Beach

    7. Kapalua Bay Beach

    Beach–Sight

    Over the years Kapalua has been recognized as one of the world's best beaches, and for good reason: it fronts a pristine bay that is good for...Read More

    Kapalua Bay Beach
  • Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach)

    8. Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach)

    Beach–Sight

    Locals successfully fought to turn Makena—one of Hawaii's most breathtaking beaches—into a state park. This stretch of deep golden sand abutting...Read More

    Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach)
  • 9. Maui Ocean Center

    Educational Institution

    You'll feel as though you're walking from the seashore down to the bottom of the reef at this aquarium, which focuses on creatures of the Pacific...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 10. MauiWine

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Tour Maui's only winery and its historic grounds, the former Rose Ranch, for a chance to learn about its history—which includes visits by royal...Read More

  • Napili Beach

    11. Napili Beach

    Beach–Sight

    Surrounded by sleepy condos, this round bay is a turtle-filled pool lined with a sparkling white crescent of sand. Sunbathers love this beach...Read More

    Napili Beach
  • Oheo Gulch

    12. Oheo Gulch

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    One branch of Haleakala National Park runs down the mountain from the crater and reaches the sea here, 10 miles past Hana at mile marker 42...Read More

    Oheo Gulch
  • 13. Old Lahaina Courthouse

    Museum/Gallery

    The Lahaina Arts Society, Lahaina Vistor Center, and Lahaina Heritage Museum occupy this charming old government building in the center of town...Read More

  • 14. Oo Farm

    Farm/Ranch

    About a mile from Alii Kula Lavender are 8 acres of organic salad greens, herbs, vegetables, coffee, cocoa, fruits, and berries—all of it headed...Read More

  • 15. Upcountry Farmers' Market

    Market/Bazaar

    Most of Maui's produce is grown Upcountry, which is why everything is fresh at this outdoor market at the football field parking lot in Kulamalu...Read More

  • Waianapanapa State Park

    16. Waianapanapa State Park

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    Home to one of Maui's few black-sand beaches and freshwater caves for adventurous swimmers to explore, this park is right on the ocean. It's...Read More

    Waianapanapa State Park
  • 17. Waiola Church and Wainee Cemetery

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Immortalized in James Michener's Hawaii, the original church from the early 1800s was destroyed once by fire and twice by fierce windstorms...Read More

  • 18. Wo Hing Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Smack-dab in the center of Front Street, this eye-catching Chinese temple reflects the importance of early Chinese immigrants to Lahaina. Built...Read More

  • 19. Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    South of Makena State Park, the road fades away into a vast territory of black-lava flows, the result of Haleakala's last eruption and now a...Read More

  • 20. Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Maui's largest landowner, A&B was one of the "Big Five" companies that spearheaded the planting, harvesting, and processing of sugarcane...Read More

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