Whether you’re going to Maui for the first time or making the trip whenever you can land in paradise, it’s always exhilarating to explore the island landscape. Choosing just where to set your sights can prove challenging because every last location is as beautiful as the next. Fortunately, we’re here to help with this guide on Maui’s most intriguing sights and locations.
Here’s a look at where you can admire the island’s beauty at your leisure:
Haleakala National Park
At the Haleakala National Park, tropical rainforests meet volcanic landscapes, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable sight in every direction. Endangered species, like nene and akohekohe, thrive in these habitats. So you never truly know what amazing wonders you’ll spot during your visit.
Better yet, this scenic park is well-known as the “house of the sun,” and for good reason. The Haleakala Crater is the top spot in Upcountry Maui to catch the sunrise. As the sun comes up, brilliant hues slowly climb over the lip of the 10,023-foot crater, creating a striking sight for all to enjoy.
Also known as the Road to Hana, the Hana Highway is the ultimate Maui road trip destination. This 64-mile-long highway offers non-stop scenic sights through 600 turns and over 50 one-lane bridges. All along the way, you’ll spot waterfalls and ocean views, get to explore botanical gardens, and even spend time at the beach.
The food you’ll find during your highway explorations is second to none as well. Produce stands offer chances to savor tropical fruits of all kinds, along with baked goods and other handcrafted treats. Locally-owned restaurants let you fill up on homecooked goodness as well. Keeping you feeling fantastic as you travel mile after mile.
Maui Ocean Center
With a visit to the Maui Ocean Center, you can go on a deep dive into the unique ecosystem surrounding this incredible island. During your explorations, you’ll get to admire marine life up close, explore the importance of ocean conservation efforts, and learn about Hawaiian culture.
While looking at their exhibits, you’ll move from the open ocean to the reefs while learning all about the creatures that call those spaces home. From coral and jellyfish to green sea turtles and hammerhead sharks, you’ll get a glimpse at all the most fantastic ocean creatures. In addition to their regular exhibits, they also run many top-notch events. Such as their Ocean Aloha initiative, coral spawning extravaganza, and shark dive adventures.
Located on the shores of West Maui, Lahaina is a historic town that once served as a whaling village. Nowadays, it’s a prime tourist destination featuring locally-owned restaurants, boutique shops, and art galleries galore.
For a glimpse into the past, all you have to do is stroll down Front Street. While there, you’ll see the oldest banyan tree on the island and many excellent historical sights, like the Pioneer Inn. If you’d like to see the whales, plan your visit anywhere from December through May. You can then depart from the Lahaina Harbor on a humpback whale tour.
Set in Southwest Maui, Kihei is a beach-lovers paradise through and through. Over six miles of sandy beaches await your arrival. Giving you a chance to soak in all the wonders of the oceanfront at your own pace. While staying on the sandy shores, you can sunbathe the day away, play beach volleyball, take sunset strolls, and so much more.
But the real magic lies in dipping your toes in the water and even hopping right in. Swimming, snorkeling, and surfing adventures are always a blast, especially when enjoyed with your loved ones. In between your oceanside adventures, you can always find something delicious to eat along South Kihei Road.
For the ultimate snorkeling adventures, you cannot go wrong with a trip to Napili Beach. Located along Napili Bay in Northwest Maui, this crescent-shaped beach is a popular spot to see tropical fish, sea turtles, and many other ocean wonders. All you have to do is gear up and then carefully explore along the outer reef.
The reef also serves as a protective barrier along the outside of the bay. This creates relatively calm waters for everyone to enjoy. So, you can always come here to swim or go paddleboarding for hours at a time. Nearby resort restaurants and bars make it easy to quench your thirst and get a bite to eat whenever hunger strikes during your explorations.
As one of just three volcanic calderas in existence, the Molokini Crater is a true sight to behold for snorkelers of all ages. This crescent-shaped island is set about six miles off the coast of Makena Beach, so you’ll need to get there by boat. The easiest way to do that is by joining one of the snorkeling trips offered by Kai Kahani, Malolo, or any of the other tour companies.
Upon doing that, you’ll explore many exciting spots in the crater, including Turtle Town. Your tour guides will provide key insights about the sights and sound all around, making your visit even more magical.
Waianapanapa State Park
If you want to explore stunning black-sand beaches, a trip to Waianapanapa State Park is the way to go. With its location due north of Hana, a trip to this park works well as a part of your Road to Hana adventures. You can stay in the cabins for rent to explore the coastal landscape on your own time and keep the adventures going for a day or longer.
In addition to the stunning black sands, you will also come across tidal caves, blowholes, sea stacks, and freshwater streams. Seabird colonies are delightful to watch whether you adore birdwatching or are just interested in seeing local wildlife up close.
After getting a glimpse of all these incredible sights and locations in Maui, you definitely won’t want to be heading home anytime soon. Thankfully, you can take these locales back home with you by snapping tons of photos everywhere you go. Each spot makes for an incredible backdrop for your selfies and never fails to delight as a panoramic shot. So, take your time getting all the photos you need, and you’ll always get to gaze upon the beauty of Maui wherever the day takes you.