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.
Art critics call this the best cultural art gallery in the islands. It features furniture made out of extinct wood that has been helicoptered out of Haleakala Crater and paintings by artists who have not exhibited in any gallery for 25 years or more. Visitors will also find feather art composed of 10,000 feathers that were gathered from captive birds as they molted, then hand-washed, dyed and strung one by one on a framework.
Let it be known up front: these caverns are not an ancient burial ground, contrary to previous beliefs. If this revelation does not disappoint you too much, then perhaps this is the spelunking experience for you. Excursions range from a quick 50-minute lava tube tour to a six-hour adventure that is advertised as a journey to the center of the earth. You will view some breathtaking sights, including ancient stalactites, ledges and the stunning Dancing Sunbeam Skylight. Two different excursions are available. Call for prices and more information.
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.
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.
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.
This dive company has been a part of the Maui diving community for more than ten years and, during that time, has consistently made customer satisfaction a priority. The goal is that every dive lives up to customers' expectations. To that end, divemasters are prepared to meet every reasonable request. More than 20 dive sites are available through Ed Robinson's, so customers do not have repeat experiences (unless they so choose, of course). Certification courses and private charters are also offered.
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.
View the natural wonders of Maui from above. The state-of-the-art Black Beauties can get passengers amazingly close to waterfalls, cliffs, craters and other stunning landmarks. Two popular tours are the West Maui Deluxe Tour, which flies over the West Maui Mountains, Lahaina and Ka'anapali, and the Hana/Haleakala Special, which visits the Haleakala Crater, Hana and Ho'okipa Beach. A horseback-helicopter combination tour is offered; call for more information.