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7 Best Things To Do In Maui

Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. The island beloved for its world-famous beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakala. It’s not surprising Maui has been voted "Best Island in the U.S." by Condé Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years.

Below we compiled 7 Best Things To Do while visiting this wonderful island.

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1. Road to Hana

To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 52 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty. There are several tour companies that offer tours in luxury vehicles and we can arrange a private tour or driver.

2. Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park, home to one of the world's largest dormant volcano craters. The entire park occupies 30,000 acres of land in Maui, though most visitors focus on a few specific areas of the park. The Haleakala Crater measures about 20 miles in circumference and offers a stark glimpse into Hawaii's early beginnings. Trails into the crater will lead you past a desert-like landscape, making for unique photo opportunities. Haleakala National Park is located in southern Maui and welcomes visitors 24 hours a day. There is no public transportation to or in the park, but several operators offer tours to and from the park; if you're not driving, consult your hotel concierge for tour recommendations. Several of Maui's best helicopter tours fly over the Haleakala, making for a memorable experience.

3. Waianapanapa State Park

In Hawaiian, "Waianapanapa" means "glistening waters." But it's not the ocean that draws travelers to Waianapanapa State Park – it's the jet-black sands. The shoreline here is composed of volcanic sediment, which acts as a stark contrast to the bright blue waves and verdant jungle. Most visitors make a quick stop at Waianapanapa to snap a photo before continuing along the Road to Hana, but there's more to see here than just the beach. Those who hike along the park's primary trail (which traces the coast past the black sand beach) will discover Waianapanapa's freshwater caves.

4. Pipiwai Trail

One of Maui's most popular hiking trails is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Located along the Road to Hana, the Pipiwai Trail is part of the exceptionally scenic Kipahulu District in Haleakala National Park. Along the 4-mile trail, you'll pass through lush tropical vegetation, a bamboo forest and three waterfalls, including Makahiku Falls, Waimoku Falls and 'Ohe'o Gulch.

5. Makena Beach State Park

Situated in southern Maui, Makena Beach State Park is billed as "one of the largest, undeveloped beaches" on the island by Hawaii's tourism board. Upon arriving, you'll soon see a notable absence of commercialism that is often present at other popular beaches around the island; there are no hotels, shops and or very many restaurants nearby. You'll find a food truck here or there, but that's about it. As such, this beach is perfect for travelers in search of the more untouched shorelines of Maui. Makena Beach State Park is big, stretching for more than half a mile and divided into two separate shorelines: Big Beach and Little Beach. Aside from their size, both are backed by lush tropical vegetation and feature views of Molokini, Kahoolawe, and depending on where you are standing, the mountains of Maui. You can travel from one beach to the other by traversing the small trail located on the volcanic land mass that separates the shorelines from each other. A big difference between the two beaches is that Big Beach is outfitted with lifeguards, Little Beach is not.

6. Snorkeling Tours

Consider exploring well-known spots, such as Kaanapali Beach, Kapalua Bay and Honolua Bay. The crescent-shaped Molokini (which is located off Maui's southwestern coast) is also a popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination (in fact, it's a Marine Life Conservation District home to 250 different species of fish), but it can only be reached on a boat tour. Though a tour to Molokini won't come cheap (individual tickets can cost upward of $145), it's a must-do, according to recent Maui visitors. Tours typically depart from nearby Maalaea Harbor in Kihei and Lahaina Harbor on Maui's western shores. We can arrange a private tour.

7. Helicopter Tours

Most operators offer tours of West Maui and Molokai, and Hana and Haleakala, though some also take passengers on scenic, hourlong flights of the whole island. No matter which route you choose, you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas of Maui's waterfalls, craters, cliffs and valleys.

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