Top 10 Reasons to Visit Maui

By Kyle Ellison

Photo:  Alena Nicholas.

Photo: Alena Nicholas.

There’s no single reason why Maui is consistently named the world’s best island. Rather there are literally thousands of them, with each contributing in their own unique way towards the island’s intoxicating charm. Here is a place where watching the sunset is a celebrated evening event, and trade winds rustle the palm tree branches that hang out over the sand. It’s a place where the weather is warm year round and guests are treated with aloha, and if you had to choose a handful of reasons why Maui is truly no ka oi, these top 10 reasons to visit Maui would be a good place to start.

Beaches

Gentle waves caress a sun-kissed shoreline at Wailea Beach on Maui's south side. (Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson)

Wailea Beach on Maui’s south side. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson).

Maui has more miles of swimmable beaches than any other island in Hawaii. You could literally go to the beach for 3 months and never repeat the same spot, and considering the sand comes in white, black, and red, there’s no shortage of scenic moments to enjoy while splashing in the waves.

Food

Photo:  Kaiscapes.

Special event in Kapalua, Maui. Photo: Kaiscapes.

Maui is one of the epicenters of Hawaiian Regional cuisine, and its chefs are constantly pushing the boundaries on innovative culinary trends. With a rise in farm to table fare and a cornucopia of produce, Maui is spoiled for fresh ingredients that range from fish to cattle, breadfruit, taro, papaya, and coffee. Whether it’s a gourmet food truck like Maui Fresh Streatery or a Chef’s Table at The Mill House, food connoisseurs will have a field day just tasting their way across Maui.

Haleakala Crater

Photo:  Andy Simonds.

Haleakala. Photo: Andy Simonds.

Whether it’s watching the day break while standing atop the 10,023 ft. summit, or watching the stars come out at night as daylight fades in the west, there’s an inescapable mountaintop magic you’ll find at Haleakala Crater. Lace up your boots for a day of hiking past silverswords and cinder cones, or pack a tent and fall asleep beneath a sky full of stars.

The Road—and Back Road—To Hana

Photo:  Thomas.

Upper Falls, Road to Hana. Photo: Thomas.

Loved by some and loathed by others, the Road to Hana—if done correctly—is arguably Maui’s best sight. Take the whole day, or better yet two, to experience the beauty of Hana, and drive the “back road” to experience a landscape that feels like the end of the Earth.

Winter Whales

Photo:  Kathy M.

Whale watching off of Maui. Photo: Kathy M.

Every winter, from December-April, the waters between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai are home to the densest population of Humpback whales in the world. Arriving here to give birth and to mate, these 40-ton, aerial, acrobatic creatures can number higher than 10,000 at the peak of the winter season, and are best experienced on a Maui whale watch where you cross your fingers you’ll “get mugged.”

Water Sports

Photo:  Allan.

Standup Paddle Boarding. Photo: Allan.

Many of the world’s most popular watersports were invented right here in Maui, and kitesurfers, windsurfers, paddlers, and surfers make annual pilgrimages here to the island to play on the fabled North Shore. Add in snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing, and Maui is an island where ocean enthusiasts are stoked during all times of year.

History

Photo:  Jasperado.

History display in the Old Courthouse Museum. Photo: Jasperado.

Maui has a staggering amount of history for such a small island in the Pacific. At places such as Bailey House Museum, see artifacts that date back to the day of the island’s earliest Hawaiians, and learn about life in Missionary times inside Lahaina’s Baldwin Home Museum. See how the printing changed the island on a visit to Hale Pa‘i, or take a tour with Friends of Moku‘ula through a town that was once the capital of Hawaii and the center of Missionary activity, and included an island called Moku‘ula that’s currently covered by dirt.

Molokini Crater

HTA

Aerial view of Molokini. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ron Garnett.

Home to 200 species of fish, Molokini Crater is an aquatic oasis with the clearest water of any other snorkeling spot in Hawaii. Early mornings offer best conditions, and listen for the eerie sound of whale song when snorkeling Molokini in winter.

The Northwestern Coast

Photo:  Tim K.

West Maui’s northwestern coast with the Island of Molokai in the background. Photo: Tim K.

With thundering blowholes, white sand beaches, and some of the island’s best snorkeling, Maui’s rugged northwestern coast makes the perfect adventurous day trip.

The Culture

Photo:  Peter Liu Photography.

Hula dancer. Photo: Peter Liu Photography.

Even with the wealth of tropical beauty, the history, and succulent flavors, the enduring reason Maui is so loved is the Hawaiian culture itself. It’s the warm, welcoming sense of aloha and commitment to cultivating the language, and a feeling that you’ve traveled to another country without ever flashing a passport. It’s the Polynesian feel of an evening luau and the sound of a conch shell at sunset, as outrigger canoes go racing by, silhouettes against the red sun.

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