Best attractions in Maui, Hawaii
The beloved island of Maui is located just above Hawaii’s big island. You certainly won’t regret a trip to this tropical destination, no matter the time of year. Today’s topic will cover some of the best places to consider adding to your Maui vacation itinerary.
If you crave adventure, snorkeling at the Molokini Crater will surely be an unforgettable experience. This ancient volcanic crater is located off the southern coast of Maui and is home to lots of colorful fish, turtles, and even dolphins. You’ll have to book a boat tour to get to this snorkeling spot, but it is totally worth it for the view.
Haleakala National Park is ideal for experienced hikers, but try the Kapalua Coastal Trail for a more family-friendly easy walk. This is a relatively flat, paved trail that follows the northwestern coast of Maui. It is about 1.5-miles one way and features scenic ocean views, so be sure to bring a camera with you. The best time to visit is early in the morning to avoid the crowds; however, many people enjoy visiting later in the day to watch the sunset.
In central Maui, Iao Valley State Park features miles of tropical greenery and prominent rock features. The Ethnobotanical Loop is a paved walkway that goes through a botanical garden and is quite picturesque. Many people also take the Iao Needle Lookout Trail, which is just over half a mile long and provides views of the spectacular Iao Needle Rock. A parking fee is required for out-of-state visitors; however, this state park should be near the top of your list of places to visit in Maui.
Head to Lahaina town and enjoy the shade of the 60-foot banyan tree in the middle of the village. This is the largest banyan tree in the United States, and it was brought over from Asia in the late 1800s. Every December, they string thousands of lights in the tree and light it up as a kick-off to begin the holiday season. Nearby attractions include a historic walking tour, the old courthouse, and other guided tours to accommodate your needs.
Ulua Beach Park is a great place to watch the sunrise. This popular beach fills up quickly, so come as early as possible to get a parking spot. Ulua Beach is located in the southern part of the island in Wailea. It has a nice pathway by the shore and offers enough space for visitors to surf, snorkel, swim, sunbathe, and dive.
Discover marine wildlife up close at the Maui Ocean Center. This aquarium has been around since 1998 and features tropical exhibits such as a living coral reef, shark tunnel, turtle lagoon, and more. In the summer, coral spawning occurs shortly after a new moon and is a sight to behold. Expect to stay for about two hours to get the whole experience at this incredible attraction. Animals you will see include seahorses, sea turtles, eels, hammerhead sharks, butterflyfish, sea stars, stingrays, and more.
Helicopter tours are another great activity for tourists. Most tours depart from the helipad in West Maui, and there are several packages to choose from online. If you happen to visit during the winter months (December to March), you may also want to book a whale-watching tour in Maui. Visitors have been known to spot whales from a distance from Kaanapali Beach too. Still, whale watching tours allow you the chance to see them up close, providing a memorable experience that the whole family can enjoy.
Lastly, you can’t visit Maui without driving on the Hana Highway. There’s a reason why so many people come here; it is hand-down among the top ten scenic roads in the United States. Bring your camera and get ready to take lots of pictures. Even if you don’t drive the entire way, there are plenty of waterfalls and cliffs to see. If you have enough time, consider touring part of the Pipiwai Trail. It starts at the Kipahulu Visitor Center (right off the highway) and features an awesome bamboo forest and waterfalls such as the Makahiku Falls.
We hope you enjoy a trip to Maui, Hawaii, with friends and family. Be adventurous and go wandering to your heart’s content at this stunning tropical paradise.