The Island of Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii and plays host to an array of beautiful white sand beaches as well as an interesting and extensive history.
These attributes make it a fantastic destination for those wishing to indulge in a variety of sightseeing and learning combined with a slower pace of life.
Here are the top 7 sights to visit in Maui that will see you take in all that the island has to offer.
The road to Hana is a breathtaking drive that takes you through the forest of Hana navigating more than 600 winding roads and crossing over 50 one-lane bridges.
Initially built as a road in which to transport water to the many plantations prevalent in Hana in the 1800s, the area is steeped in history and there are a number of interesting historical sights throughout the route.
Traversing the east coastline of Maui, there are many points at which to stop off and take in the many stunning ocean views as well as many beautiful hiking trails which allow you to take in the lush foliage and natural beauty of the area.
Notable stops on the Road to Hana include Wainapanapa State Park, Turtle Beach and the South Wailua Waterfall.
Waianapanapa State Park is famed for its beautiful jet-black sand beach, which contrasts with the verdant green foliage of its surroundings. There are many caves throughout the park available for exploration as well as an extensive bamboo forest and multiple paved hiking trails, all offering a chance to see nature at its most pure.
Also know as Turtle Beach, a visit to Ho’okipa Beach Park will give you the opportunity to see many turtles relaxing on the sands in their natural environment, a true sight to behold. The area allows for a fantastic exploration of the geology of Maui with many interesting rock formations and textures found throughout the beach and its surroundings.
Standing at almost 100 feet tall South Wailua is the biggest of the many waterfalls in the area of Hana. A short hike will see you reach its peak and a lookout point allows for fantastic views of the waterfall itself as well as the mouth of the Wailua River as it flows into the North Pacific Ocean.
Haleakalā volcano is the largest dormant volcanic crater on Maui, its last eruption taking place in the 1700’s. Standing at just over 10,000 feet and high beyond the clouds, a visit to Haleakala makes for a breathtaking experience.
Located on the east side of Maui, there are two visitor centres in close proximity to the crater, both of which are informative and allow for a thorough look into the history of the volcano and the impact it has had on the Island. There is also an observational telescope which provides spectacular views over the crater and its surrounding terrain.
Once at the summit of the crater there are many hiking options available ranging from 2- 12km in distance. All of the hikes, allow you to take in the breathtaking views of the landscape. The land has been likened to the moon’s surface with multiple textured rocks ranging in colour from red to orange and brown to green. The crater is also synonymous for its sliver-sword plants. These rare plants are the only glimmers of vegetation to be found on the crater.
If you are able to get to the crater in time for sunrise or sunset, you will be blown away at the power of nature, everything erupting into life at sunrise within moments of the sun’s arrival and descending into silence at sunset within moments of the sun’s disappearance.
Located on the west coast of Maui and the port at which the first settlers to Maui arrived, the town of Lahaina is known as the First Capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
A former plantation settlement, there is a great deal of history in Lahaina and a historical walking trail will take you around many of these historic sights. Bronze plaques are prevalent throughout the trail highlighting points of interest and providing an informative look into each of the buildings and their historical significance.
Notable stops on the historical trail include Baldwin Home Museum, Hale Paahao, Wo Hing Temple and Bayan Tree Park.
Baldwin Home Museum dates back to the 1830’s and is the oldest house to still stand in Maui. Built by the missionary Dr. Dwight Baldwin and constructed of coral, sand and lava rock, the interior of the house still holds the furnishings and medical instruments that were prevalent in the 1800s providing an interesting look into what life would have been like at the time.
Hale Pa’ahao was used as a prison for sailors in the 1850s and is surrounded by a thick coral wall. Plaques in and around the prison showcase the difference between the justice system of today and that which was dispensed at the time. Similar to Baldwin Home, Hale Pa’ahao allows for a fascinating look into the conditions of those living in Maui in the 1800’s.
Built in 1912, Wo Hing Temple highlights the influence that Chinese immigrants had on the island of Maui. The temple was used as a hub for social gathering and the temple remains true to how it looked when it was first built.
Banyan Tree stands in the centre of Lahaina and is extensive, its roots covering an entire block of land. Planted in the 1870’s, the tree is breathtaking and a true sight to behold. The park is frequently used as a meeting point for local artists who sell arts and crafts under the tree’s shady confines.
Located in west Maui within Kepaniwai Cultural Park, Iao Valley is the site of the 1790 Battle of Kepaniwai between Hawai’i Island and Maui Island. The battle was the result of an attempt by King Kamehameha to unite both islands and is remembered as one of the most bitter battles fought in Hawaiian history.
The national park is beautiful and there are many wonderful trails throughout that are lined with information boards regaling tales of how Maui came to be inhabited as well as facts surrounding the Battle of Kepaniwai.
The valley is also awash with stunning wildlife and foliage with signs explaining the cultural significance of each of the trees and plants in the area.
A viewing platform at the top of the valley allows for fantastic views over the valley’s entirety and enables a close up look of the Ioa Valley State Monument. This monument, a 1,200 foot needle, is one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks.
Located in the North of Maui, The Maui Tropical Plantation is a beautiful plantation housing a variety of different tropical plants and fruits.
Extensive in size, visitors are able to stroll the beautiful grounds at their leisure before undertaking a guided tour of the more remote areas within the plantation. The tour is chock-full of interesting facts regarding all of the different plants that grow on the Island of Maui and highlights the origin of those that are indigenous to the land.
There is an optional zip-line tour available, which allows for stunning views over the plantation. This view highlights the enormity of the land within the plantation and the vastness of its surrounding area.
The Humpback Whale National Marine sanctuary is situated in the village of Kihei on the southern shore of Maui. The sanctuary allows visitors to learn about Humpback Whales and the journey they take throughout the year including the routes to which they travel.
The Whales are spectacular to view and really have to be seen live in order to get a true understanding of their size and scale.
There are many informative displays in the sanctuary which provide a great look into both the nature and culture of Maui and Hawaii.
Located on Maui’s southern shore, Makena’s Big Beach and Little Beach are two of Maui’s most beautiful beaches boasting both pure white sands and vast powerful waves.
The extensive size of Big Beach allows for the luxury of choice when deciding a spot on which to camp out for the day and take in the calming lull of the ocean’s waves.
Little Beach is located to the right of Big Beach and is hidden from view, separated by a 10 meter cliff edge. The vibe at Little Beach is one of the 60s with hippies dancing and fire juggling to music while the sun sets beautifully in the distance.
The views around the area are breathtaking and there are several costal hikes close by that allow you to take in the sights and sounds of the crashing waves from various different vantage points.
- Download the Road to Hana app for a list of the hot spots to visit
- Pack motion sickness tablets for the Road to Hana! The 600 winding roads can be a troublesome for those prone to sickness
- Bring rain gear! Many of the sights are located in the rainforest so a sudden onslaught of rain is likely
- Bring warm clothes if you choose to hike Haleakala! It is 30 degrees cooler at the volcano’s summit than at sea level
- Be sure to bring sunscreen, the sun in Maui can be piercing and there are limited trees to offer protection from its rays
- Bring snorkel gear! There are many beautiful spots at which to snorkel within Maui and renting snorkel gear from the many available outlets can be expensive
Have you been to Maui?
Comment below to let me know your favourite sights!
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Happy exploring! 👣