When Joann and I go on vacation, we have to keep busy. Lying around on the beach isn’t always an option. Whether that’s exploring the town or going on boat rides or scuba diving is fine by us. Maui is a Hawaiian island that has much to offer to its visitors. I think it might be the best Hawaiian island for us due to how much stuff there is to experience. Kaua’i is much slower paced; as is the Big Island. Oahu is just way too touristy. Maui has a nice balance of touristy activities, slow upcountry, and diverse natural sites. Here are our favorite things we did in Maui.
Sunrise at Haleakala Crater
This was an experience like we’ve never experienced before. Standing almost 10,000 feet above sea well before dawn, you are treated to an unparalleled view of the sun peaking out over the horizon and reflecting off the clouds that are beneath you. It was an absolutely breathtaking scene. Any pictures you see can do it no justice.
Here are a few tips to make sure you make it there safe and sound with time to spare:
- Leave early. From Wailea, it took us about 1.5 hours to get there. Once you get off the main highway, roads are very twisty and aren’t as well lit so you have to drive slowly.
- Dress warm with layers. It wasn’t freezing up there when we went in February, but it was chilly, about 40F. Your hotel might be kind enough to provide you with some blankets and you should wear layers because once the sun is up, it gets nice and warm quickly.
- Bring a flashlight. Or just use the Flashlight app on your Smartphone. That should suffice. There’s a few steps on the way up to the viewing point of the Summit and it’ll be early in the morning so you want to see where you’re going.
- Water! Obvious, but sometimes forgotten. You’re 10k feet up so you’ll get dehydrated faster.
Discover Lana’i Tour
This was a day tour that leaves from Lahaina Harbor and sails about an hour to the Hawaiian island of Lana’i. I think the best part of it was not actually the time spent on Lana’i, as it was a little boring, but the ride there.
We were treated to several whales along the way, more than we’d seen all trip. One even swam right under stern of the boat, where Joann and I were sitting. Awesome.
We were also lucky enough to be almost engulfed by a super pod of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. Talk about playful! These guys were swimming all around the catamaran, jumping and spinning (hence their name) out of the water.
Road to Hana
The famous Road to Hana. It was worth the hype (and the effort) and then some. The Hana side of Maui is just a whole different world. Two to be exact – a lush green side full of waterfalls and foliage and a drier, barren side that looked more like farmland in the Mid-West.
If you decide to do the Road to Hana (and you should), definitely pick up a hard copy of Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. It is, by far, the most comprehensive guide book on Maui, especially for the Road to Hana. It has important mile markers that you sync your car with and is exact with every point of interest. Without it, you’re just guessing.
One thing you have to realize before you go is you can’t do everything! You’ll be tempted to stop at almost every POI in the beginning because you’re excited but if you keep up that pace, you won’t even make it to Hana by the afternoon. Some of the best finds lie AFTER Hana as you continue around the island.