Maui is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for many reasons. It has beautiful beaches, dramatic scenery, and a wonderful climate. The island’s varied landscape means visitors will have a wide range of activities to enjoy, such as surfing the waves at Ho’okipa Beach, hiking in Haleakala National Park, and shopping at Lahaina Front Street. Given the various attractions in Maui, deciding which places to visit on your trip can be a bit of a challenge. So to help you with this, we’ve rounded up a list of the top things to see on your Maui holiday.
Dubbed the “house of the sun”, Haleakala National Park is a popular tourist destination in Upcountry Maui. Towering over Maui and visible from almost every part of the island, the Haleakala Crater is truly a sight to behold! Visitors would wake up early in the morning to drive towards the Haleakala Visitor Center and marvel at the most spectacular sunrise views on the entire island of Maui.
Aside from the stunning sunrise and sunset views, the Haleakala National Park is also known for its breathtaking landscapes, making it a popular spot for hiking. Spanning more than 30,000 acres of land, Haleakala features a varying range of stunning landscapes, from red deserts to lush waterfalls and streams. There are various hiking trails within the park and visitors can take part in guided hikes and horseback rides. It’s also possible to camp here as there are campgrounds and cabins on site.
Featuring three miles of powdery white sands and soft pillowy waves, the Kaanapali Beach is a beautiful beach that every visitor to Maui should visit. In fact, it’s been named one of America’s Best Beaches. Located on Maui’s west coast, Kaanapali is the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
Right across from Kaanapali Beach is where some of Maui’s best hotels and resorts can be found. This strip is also a popular spot for shopping and it’s home to the Whaler’s Village, an open-air shopping complex that houses a variety of world-class boutiques, shops, and restaurants. This is a great place to shop for Hawaiian souvenirs, including locally made arts and handicrafts. Kaanapali is also home to some of the best golf courses in Maui, the Royal Kaanapali, and the Kaanapali Kai.
Hana is a peaceful town along the rugged eastern coastline of Maui. It is famous for its legendary road, a 52-mile highway that runs from Kahului. However, the drive could take anywhere from two to four hours since it features narrow one-lane bridges and hair-raising turns. But this thrilling drive will reward you with the most incredible island views!
The Hana Highway consists of 620 curves and 59 bridges. This road will pass through waterfalls, rainforests, and dramatic seascapes. If you want to experience the thrill of driving along this road, consider renting a car on your Maui holiday. But keep in mind that you will encounter many challenging turns along the way not to mention the narrow bridges, so it’s important to exercise caution. Drop by the farm stands that sell fresh local produce. Sometimes, local fishermen can be seen selling their catch by the roadside.
Located in Central Maui, on the west of Wailuku, the Iao Valley State Park is a 4,000-acre park known for its serene atmosphere and scenic views. This 10-mile long park is where you will find the 120-foot Iao Needle, one of the most recognizable landmarks of Maui. Located in the Iao Valley, the Iao Needle is a green-covered rock that overlooks the Iao stream and a great place for hiking and sightseeing.
Aside from its scenic beauty, the Iao Valley is famous for its historical significance in Hawaii’s history. This is where the Battle of Kepaniwai took place in 1790, in which King Kamehameha I clashed with the local army in his quest to unite the islands. Visitors can walk along the paved pedestrian path coming from the parking lot to view the Iao Valley. Sometimes, the valley is covered in clouds, so it is best to come early.
The Makena Beach State Park is another popular beach in Maui that’s worth a visit. With powdery white sands stretching almost two-thirds of a mile, Makena is one of the largest undeveloped beaches on the island. Here, you can enjoy a relaxing day at the beach away from the crowds, allowing you to enjoy an unobstructed view of nature.
The Makena Beach State Park is divided into two main beaches, known as the Little Beach and the Big Beach. Little Beach is only a small cove with no amenities and lifeguards around, while the Big Beach is more popular to tourists who wanted a quieter alternative to the crowded beaches of Kaanapali and Lahaina.
Lahaina is a historic town in Maui that used to be the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the early nineteenth century. It used to be a whaling village during the boom of the whaling industry in the mid-1800s. Today, Lahaina is known for its lively atmosphere home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. It is a go-to spot for tourists who wanted to explore art galleries and shop for local artwork.
When exploring Lahaina, check out the various sites along the Lahaina Historic Trail, such as the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Lahaina Prison, as well as Maui’s oldest living banyan tree. If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture of Maui and learn a bit about the island’s history, consider taking a guided tour of Lahaina.
When going for a holiday in Maui, most people would think about the beach. But there’s definitely more to Maui than its lovely beaches. As you can see above, there is a wide variety of things to see in Maui. Aside from the things mentioned above, the other popular sights that you should visit on your Maui holiday are the Waianapanapa State Park, Wailea, Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui Ocean Center, West Maui Mountains, and many more!