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Nature & Wildlife

Top Rated Attractions in Maui

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Haleakalā National Park

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.

Makena State Park

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

Wai'anapanapa State Park

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.

Lahaina Banyan Court Park

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.

Maui Ocean Center

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!

Hana Highway

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.

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