10 Must-See Sites in Maui

Explore the beauty of Hawaii’s most popular destination.

10 Must-See Sites in Maui
photo: istock
  1. Makena
    This area on the southwestern coast of Maui is home to the island’s longest and widest beach: ‘Big Beach’ (also known as Oneloa Beach and Makena Beach). It remains relatively secluded and rich in natural beauty.
  2. The Road to Hana
    The road from Kahului to Hana winds along the coastline for 90 km, offering panoramic views as it passes lush gardens and parks, waterfalls and pools. The tiny town of Hana itself has retained its pristine natural beauty and old-fashioned charm.
  3. Iao Valley and Kepaniwai heritage Gardens
    Tales of long-ago warfare linger in the mists that crown the velvety green crags rising above Iao Valley. Today, it is a state park. Nearby Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens celebrate the cultural diversity of Hawaii’s immigrants and its original inhabitants.
  4. Front Street, Lahaina
    Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the main thoroughfare of Lahaina is a showcase of restored and preserved sites. In the early 1800s, missionaries came to this seaside village determined to save the souls of native islanders. There’s no proof that souls were saved but the buildings of the era have been.
  5. Wailuku and Kahului
    Wailuku, Maui’s county seat, and Kahului, the island’s business and retail centre, are nestled between the mountain peaks of Pu’u Kukui and Haleakala. For centuries this area was the population centre of Maui, and today it offers a vast array of culture, history, nature, dining, shopping and recreation. Gateway to Maui, Kahului is home to the island’s main airport and harbour.
  6. Bailey House Museum
    This former girls’ school was established in 1837 on the site of the royal compound of Kahekili II, the last chief of Maui. The building, now a museum, has exhibits on both traditional Hawaiian and missionary life.
  7. Ulupalakua Ranch
    Stretching across Haleakala’s southern flank, the Ulupalakua Ranch contains a winery and also a memorial park to the Honolulu-educated Chinese revolutionary Dr Sun Yat-sen.
  8. Haleakala National Park
    This stunning park encompasses rainforests, desert and beaches, but the lunar-like landscape of the crater of Haleakala – a massive, dormant shield volcano – is the main attraction. The park’s entrance lies at the end of a road that winds up from sea level in 60 km of scenic switchbacks. There are hiking trails, campgrounds and cabins in the park.
  9. Kipahulu and Kaupo
    Long before the first Europeans arrived on Maui, the Kipahulu district was prized by the Hawaiian ali‘i (royalty) for its fertile land and bountiful sea. Today, the rural communities of Kipahulu and Kaupo lie in a little-travelled area that is both isolated and rugged. The road beyond Kipahulu and Kaupo offers open vistas as it winds its way up to Ulupalakua, offering spectacular scenery of dry grassland along the way.
  10. Molokini crater
    This crescent-shaped crater, the remains of a volcano caldera, is technically not on Maui but a few kilometres off its southern coast. A marine and bird reserve, it is home to a dazzling array of corals, tropical fish, and also Hawaiian green sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you may spot a whale shark.

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