5 Things not to Miss in Maui

Pristine beaches, a topography that is dazzled with a various landscapes, coral islands that lie on mirror flat water – are not these reasons enough for you to indulge in Maui vacations?

If you are planning on going to Maui here is a list of things that you should make sure not to miss.

1. Road to Hana

Love road trips? The Hana Highway is a three-hour scenic drive through one of Hawaii’s last unspoiled frontiers, which includes numerous cascading waterfalls and tropical rainforests.

Sharp curves, a 15 mph speed limit, and heavy traffic make the approximately 40 mile distance take longer than travelers expect for a highway. Going early in the morning can avoid much of the traffic.

At the end of the Hana Highway is the Ohe’o Gulch, also known as the “Seven Sacred Pools”. This series of waterfalls and pools is located inside the Haleakala National Park.

Tip: If you are prone to motion sickness, this may not be the activity for you.

Hana Road, Maui

View from the the Hana Road. Photo by Neil916

2. Haleakala National Park

Stretching across Maui’s southern and eastern coastline, Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak and also to the world’s largest dormant volcano. No place you have ever been can prepare you for the experiences and feelings you will have on the summit of Haleakala. Visually expansive, the summit area continually eludes any attempt to understand its scale or dimensions.

You can travel atop the highest peaks of Haleakala, hiking above the clouds and horseback riding across otherworldly deserts.

As the park stretches out to the coast towards sea level you can even visit lush tropical areas full of waterfalls and streams.

Tip: On a clear morning, seeing the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala is an unforgettable experience.

Haleakala National Park, Maui

Sunrise in Haleakala National Park. Photo by The Good Reverend Flash

3. Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach)

Kaihalulu is a dramatic and beautiful hidden cove unlike any other. It is extremely isolated and requires a fairly short, yet perilous hike to reach, but is worth it. The blue ocean, the red sand, the green trees and the black lava sea wall make for a very unique sight.

Red Sand Beach is incompletely shielded from the unpleasant untamed sea by a seaward reef. The outcome is a characteristic ocean divider that ensures the narrows from vast waves.

We highly advise against swimming or snorkeling here, as the water can be very treacherous in this cove.

Kaihalulu is one of the few red sand beaches in the world!

Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach), Maui

Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach). Photo by Don Natawijaya

4. Iao Valley State Park

Like Haleakala National Park, Iao Valley State Park offers visitors the chance to admire something other than the beach. This 4,000-acre, 10-mile-long park in Central Maui boasts a verdant landscape and striking rock features — the most famous of which is the Iao Needle. Once used as a natural altar, the 2,250-foot stone pillar, covered in green foliage is in reality a sharp ridge that gives the appearance of being a spire when viewed end-on.

Iao Valley is a peaceful lush area with easy hikes, exotic tropical plants, and clear, natural pools. The ridge-top lookout offers a fantastic view of the valley and Kahului Harbor.

Iao Valley is a treasure that is easily accessed by anyone. While you probably won’t spend an extended period of time here, it is a must-see.

Iao Valley State Park, Maui

Iao Needle – Iao Valley State Park. Photo by Mikeo

5. Ho’okipa Beach

Ho’okipa Beach Park is one of the top spots for ocean sports and recreation in Maui. A combination of large, well-shaped waves breaking across a system of reefs that extend across the bay and consistently strong winds make it ideal for these sports.

The surf offshore from Ho’okipa Beach Park provides surfers with waves almost all year round, as the reefs pick up both summer and winter swells. The most spectacular waves, however, occur during the winter and often reach heights of ten to fifteen feet.

Ho’okipa Beach is a popular spot for local water enthusiasts and visitors alike.

Hookipa Beach, Maui

Windsurfing at Hookipa. Photo by Suzy Mack

The best times to visit Maui are April through May and September through November. The spring and fall shoulder seasons provide the pleasant weather Hawaii vacationers seek without the high rates and heavy crowds that accompany the summer and winter.

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