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.
Located just past Mile Marker 10 on the road to Hana (Highway 36) are the verdant tropical gardens where the opening sequence of "Jurassic Park" was filmed. The 26-acre (10.52 hectare) park, designed by Alan Bradbury with the aim of restoring the area's natural ecosystem, contains 500+ trees, plants and flowers native to the Pacific islands. Stroll along Maui's best nature trails and enjoy a leisurely lunch in a lush picnic area. This is a great activity for nature lovers and families with children.
While one could not say that all roads lead to this museum, it could certainly seem that way to Maui drivers. Located at one of the largest intersections on Maui, it is adjacent to Maui's main sugar factory. The pungent aroma of sugar cane permeates the air for miles. The museum provides visitors with extensive information on the history of the sugar industry, as well as details about its cultivation and production. Many exhibits are interactive, making use of modern effects. There is a gift shop on-site if you wish to buy few things for your loved ones.
The first sight of Ho'okipa is likely to make a visitor pull the car over and stare. From the vantage point of the highway or the parking lot, one can appreciate the spectacle: a seemingly endless expanse of deep blue water, white rock and crashing waves. This beach has been called the windsurfing capital of the world and is popular with daredevil surfers as well. However, it is not recommended that you swim here; the surf is as perilous as it is beautiful, and sharp coral reefs lurk below the waves.
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
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!
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.
Located near the 2500-foot level on the slopes of Haleakala, this neighborhood park and community center is one of the more peaceful on the island. It is an easy spot to find on the upslope side along the Kula Highway. The park offers plenty of shade, a picnic pavilion, tables and a shaded playground. A softball backstop and a community kitchenette are also on-site. The park is used regularly by community groups, sports teams and area residents. There are two small parking lots and restrooms. Open during daylight hours only, this park has a serene, upcountry atmosphere in a quiet setting that offers respite from the tropical heat. It's a fun spot where families can play and picnic. -Lottie Tagupa
Upcountry is a different world, and this garden area is as up as you can get without traveling to Haleakala. In the serene botanical gardens, a wide variety of plants and animals flourish. Relax by a trickling stream or examine the strangely beautiful blossoms known as protea. While most of the garden is handicapped-accessible, the pond in the ravine is not. The works of local artisans and craftsmen are displayed at the gift shop. Children under 6 can enjoy free admission.
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.
A sprawling strand of white sand along the North Shore of Maui, the wide beach attracts body boarders, picnickers and sunbathers alike. With the Baby Beach to its west and the Baldwin Cove to its east, this surreal-looking beach is not just replete with natural wonders, but it is also an astounding cultural site. Stippled along its expanse are dunes which are known to be part of an olden Hawaiian burial complex. A stunning turquoise oasis situated right on the fringes of Paia, this magnificent beach rightly embodies nature merged with recreation. The beach has a large ball field that often is the site for soccer, baseball and softball games, while also being home to a pavilion, restroom facilities, barbecues and picnic areas, with plenty of free parking.
Nicknamed the The Cadillac of helicopter tour companies, this tour company aims to provide each guest with a perfect flight experience. Each year, it is awarded a Five Star Diamond Award by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, proof that it has met its goal. Each helicopter is spacious and comfortable, offering 180-degree views. Tours include: Kilauea Volcano, lava fields, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Hamakua coast, the Kohala coast and Waimanu Valley. Call for tour prices and reservations.