Expect to greet each day on Maui with birdsong and the scent of tropical flowers. The day’s adventure could mean a remote hike on the slopes of a volcano, getting in some relaxing beach time, diving to explore coral reefs and tropical fish or shopping in an old whaling village. We share our dance, parties, food and most famous visitors in this article.
1. A laid-back beach lifestyle
The demi-god Maui captured the sun to make the days last longer. There is certainly a sense of “no rush” on the island. A little traffic” Eh, go beach for a few and chill out, or enjoy the environment and people around you. Mauians are connected to the land and sea, embracing and taking time to “talk story” with each other is common here.
2. The underwater world is like nowhere else
With incredible visibility and marine life found nowhere else in the world, snorkeling and scuba diving are an absolute must when on Maui. Plus, Maui is surrounded by three close islands and a partially submerged cinder cone, making the diving options spectacular. Hawaiian spinner dolphins can often be seen jumping the boat wake to and from sites. Marine life you are likely to see include turtles, eels, reef sharks and other large pelagic species and a colorful array of tropical fish, including Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. For the best chance to see Green Sea turtles, stay at Kuleana Resort on Maui’s west side.
3. The hiking opportunities are abundant
Forget about going to the gym or exercising while on Maui. You’re on vacation! But there are some seriously beautiful walks and hikes for all ages and abilities. From a flat boardwalk along the ocean through a bird sanctuary or a quiet bamboo grove in the middle of the rain forest to a challenging ridge hike with stunning vistas or an advanced hike inside a volcano, you could go on a different walk or hike every day of your Maui vacation! Plus, you can cool off in the pool of a waterfall.
4. Fresh fruit year round!
Maui has a continuous growing season with fresh fruit in abundance. Stop at a farmer’s market or roadside stand for the best fruit and produce. And whatever you do, eat a Maui pineapple! You will find it taste much sweeter than the ones flown in to the mainland. They are not only delicious for breakfast, mix them with your BBQ sauce or put them on a skewer when grilling, add to just about any tropical drink, or buy a pack at the airport to take home.
5. World class surfing (and wind sports)
Surfing is a deeply ingrained part of Hawaiian culture. Surfing, or He’e nalu, was practiced by ancient Hawaiians, and was (and is) more of a way of life than a sport. But Maui does have amazing world competitions, in surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding and more.
Hawaiians believe in asking their deities for permission to enter the ocean, protection and strength to overpower the mighty waves when surfing.
6. A volcano that looks like a foreign planet
The steep, curvy road up to the 10,023-foot Haleakala volcano affords stunning bi-coastal views and travels through several climates from the ocean to the summit. You might be quite surprised by the view in the crater. The reddish-brown, rocky terrain looks other-worldly. The back side of Haleakala, accessible by driving the road to Hana, and a couple miles past town on Maui’s east shore, is home to some of the most pristine rain forest in the world.
7. Winter home of Pacific Humpback whales
An estimated 10,000 whales migrate to Hawaii during the winter months, but they seem to particularly favor our coastal waters between Maui, Molokini, Lanai, Molokai and Kaho’olawe. While here, whales will mate and give birth. There is nothing quite like seeing a 200-ton whale launch out of the water and come crashing down in a thunderous splash, except may seeing a mama whale teach that maneuver to her calf.
The best place stay if you plan on going out whale watching is one of our seven resorts at Maalaea bay. Stay in an oceanfront condo and watch whales from your lanai, or walk down to the harbor and jump on a daily whale watch cruise.
8. Perfect growing conditions for coffee
While the Kona region on the island of Hawaii gets all the glory, Maui quietly grows some of the best coffee in the world. The West Side of Maui grows coffee with a distinct island flavor, thanks to our rich volcanic soil and abundant sunshine. You can find Maui grown coffee at cafes around the island, and at grocery and specialty shops to take back home. Tip: Buy or bring your reusable travel mug- the island is seriously trying to cut down on single-use the containers, saving the planet from our little tropical corner of the world!
9. Telling a story through dance
Hula dancing is an iconic symbol of Maui, and there is no better place to experience the music, story and dance of the islands than at a luau. If you listen closely, you will learn the legends of ancient Hawaiian culture and traditions through a combination of dance and song. Of course the mai tais and buffet are amazing too at Maui’s best luaus.
10. The island likes to party
In addition to luaus, Mauians love a great party, whether it’s a beach barbecue or an event at one of our great island venues, you are welcome to join in the fun. Every Friday there is a street party at a different town around the island, or go on a sunset cocktail cruise and sway to the music and the rhythm of the ocean.