One of the most prominent nature preserves, Haleakala National Park was established to protect the unique craggy wilderness of Maui in the year 1961. Home to a virtually never-ending variety of natural wonders, the national park's uneven 33,265 acre-lands (13,462 hectares) shelter intricate networks of craters that pass through the mystical Kipahulu Valley, much of which is closed to tourists. The Kipahulu region is one of the park's most ecologically-rich areas that are home to more than 31 different species of Tardigrade colonies that populate most of Haleakala's eastern shores. The Haleakala Observatory offers the best views of the park's serene surroundings through a 12.04-feet (3.67-meter) advanced electro-optical lens.
With its seemingly endless expanse of golden sand beach and perfect bodysurfing waves, the Makena State Park is a must-see. Big Beach is the number one spot for sunbathing and swimming. Little Beach, a five-minute hike up and over rocks, is a world-famous nude beach. The surrounding environs are perfect for a hike that offers splendid views of the deep blue ocean
Sprawled across a large part of the diverse Maui island is the Wai'anapanapa State Park. In Hawaiian parlance, the name translates to mean 'glistening fresh water', a fitting attribute of the park which refers to the presence of clear, sublime pools and water streams. One of these waterbodies is the small yet conspicuous black sand beach called Pa'iloa. Apart from natural features that are a part of the park such as seabird colonies and lava tubes, it is also surrounded by haunting legends spurred by burial sites, pictographs and ancient temples found in this region. Shrouded in mystery, nature and awe-inspiring beauty, the Wai'anapanapa State Park is certainly worth a visit.
If you visit downtown Lahaina, you are sure to come across this tree and if you did not plan on visiting downtown Lahaina, you should change your plans just to explore this major landmark. The tree is well over 100 years old, and will probably endure for hundred more years. It is 60 feet (18.38 meters) high and covers 200 feet (60.96 meters) of space. With 12 trunks and several hundred drooping branches, it looks more like a miniature jungle than anything else. Locals make crafts under its shade, kids swing from the branches and tourists stare in amazement.
Touted as the largest tropical aquaria with a reef in the Western Hemisphere, this impressive oceanfront aquarium has become one of most popular attractions of Maui. With more than 50 marine habitats, a massive ocean exhibit and a Whale Discovery Center, this is a must-see for anyone interested in the undersea world. Guided tours and audio guides are available, and there is an entertaining Keiki Program for the little ones. Check out the Marine Mammal Discovery Center here—it is educational and fun too!
Tightly bound to the lissome eastern coastline of Maui, the iconic Road to Hana navigates through a motley of mesmerizing scenery, all packed into a 64.4 mile (103.6 kilometer) long drive that extends from Kahului to Hana. Around every corner, there is a slice of deep azure waters to encounter, a variegated expanse of close-knit jungles that hold mysterious worlds, and an enchanting mix of waterfalls, beaches and jade groves that are a mere hairpin-curve away. As one drives along the merrily winding coastline, frothy waves kick and crash against the side of the steep cliff, and nature's sounds lead the way. As many as 600 curves are wrapped into the serpentine embrace of this scenic road, and nearly 59 one-lane bridges mark the roadway. While this uninterrupted highway to Hawaii heaven and its deep cliffside curves may have one's stomach in knots, the visual reward that remains a constant throughout the journey caps off this remarkable drive.
Known as the 'Valley Isle' for the lush vales etched between its towering volcanoes, the island of Maui is unlike any other. Verdant jungles sprawl across the landscape and meet the sparkling sea edged by sandy beaches. Flowers bloom in riotous color and their fragrance lingers well into the night, when stars litter the sky like so many fragments of sea glass. Here on the island of Maui, relaxation is a way of life - not simply a goal or idea. Visitors to the second largest Hawaiian island can indulge in walks along the beach, delicious seafood, and the pampering of a lifetime at one of the island's many spas. The more adventurous can explore the numerous hiking trails that wind through the jungle, clamber past lava flows, soar through the treetops on a zipline, barrel through waves on a surfboard, or dive to the depths of the crystalline ocean where awaits a forest of corals. There are also museums, fine dining, golf courses and some stellar beachfront resorts. Maui is a paradisiacal island that never ceases to astound.
Burnt red earth and sparse vegetation marks the area around the Haleakalā Volcano, a shield volcano located in the eastern part of the island of Maui. Formed by fluid and completely molten lava, the mountain is a part of the Haleakalā National Park. Rare plant species like varieties of Silversword can be found in this area. Several lookout points along the mountain provide stunning vistas of the surroundings. The unique climate of the region, with its low humidity, is also ideal for astrophysical research. For the layman and the tourist, this means that this area has perfect conditions for stargazing.
Known as the world's most important whale habitates, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is spread over 1,400 square miles. This center is a great place that relates the humans to the marine world. With a great place for recreation and also an education center this place was best used for fishing, whale watching, parasailing, etc. It aslo features a great exhibit of the marine life and conducts several programs and lectures and also consists of a marine science library.
Nestled besides the Maalaea Bay, Kalama Park is spread across 36 acres (14.57 hectares) and has numerous recreational sports facilities such as a skating rink, a skate park, athletic fields and, tennis and basketball courts. It is also an ideal picnic spot with a kids playground and restrooms. Kalama Park regularly hosts sporting events, concerts, festivals and fairs and is home to the annual Maui Whale Festival festivities.
The "Kams," as they are known, span about a mile along the coast of South Kihei. On sunny days, the Kams fill up with adults, kids and entire groups of all ages. Frisbees sail, stereos blast, and tiny children splash in the equally tiny waves. The small waves create an easy spot to launch from for ocean kayaking fun. While these beaches are often disparaged as being too crowded or too dirty, they are head and shoulders above any mainland beach. The grass is green, the sand is soft and the sun is seemingly always out.
One of Kihei's most trusted tour operators, Redline Rafting specializes in marine excursions. They offer three base packages, namely Molokini snorkeling tours, Maui whale watching tours, and Maui private snorkel charters. Go for the chartered snorkeling package if you wish to enjoy a customized experience. Passengers are accompanied by an experienced guide who ensures that your safety is never compromised.