Hiking is a great way to get a close up view of the Hawaiian island of Maui. Whether it's tropical wilderness, volcanic rock, romantic waterfalls or open ranch-land - the Maui landscape is varied and gorgeous and best explored on foot.
Polipoli State Park is a nice place to hike the tropical forest. Here you can actually see giant redwood trees like those found in California. The park is in the Kula Forest Reserve and has a number of excellent forest hiking trails.
Oheo Gulch has a short hike which takes you along a series of natural staircase waterfalls, called the "Seven Sacred Pools", on the way to the largest waterfall on Maui - Waimoku Falls.
The Holua and Paliku campgrounds are primitive campgrounds outside the crater. Both are accessible by hike of four miles (Holua) and ten miles (Paliku) down the crater.
The Hosmer Grove Campground is near the park headquarters. Kipahula Campground is in Kipahula on the coast. Both are accesible by car.
The park also has three wilderness cabins available which are reached by a hike of several miles. Check with the park service for information on permits, fees and all other details.
You will find art galleries, boutiques, craft stores and eateries all focused towards the vacationing visitors. Yet the town is also a key gathering spot and supply center for working everyday locals. Makawao is home to the visual arts center, Hui No'eau. You will find it at Kaluanui, a beautiful plantation-era estate home. The arts center has a wide variety of tours, exhibitions, art events and a gallery shop.
The warm sheltered waters around Maui are the perfect spot for the Humpbacks to give birth. Several thousand of these beautiful sea creatures travel down here every year from the cold Alaska seas to give birth to another generation. You don’t have to even go out on a boat to see them. The whales are plainly visible from the shoreline.
Two excellent shoreline whale watching spots are the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Santuary in Kihei and the Kaanapali Beach. Another good way to see the Humpbacks is a “Whalewatch Ecotour”. Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Adventures will take you out for an up-close look. They also offer dolphin encounters, snorkeling trips and sunset cruises.
The trip Hana is considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world so make the most of it. You will have the wilderness mountains on one side and the Maui coastline on the other. Both provide an array of stunning panoramic views.
It's a narrow road with tight curves and over 50 one-lane bridges so you need to pay attention to your driving. Just be sure to pull over as often as possible to take photos and drink in the incredible scenery.
Have some fun at the Maui Golf & Sports Park. They have two 18-hole miniature golf courses. Or try the bumper cars or the rock climbing wall. The famous Maui Ocean center is in Ma‘alaea, This is the place where you can walk under water and view the marine life from inside a clear acrylic tunnel running through the aquarium.