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Maui Sightseeing

Kanaha Beach Park  This park is located near Kahului Airport and has large lawns with plenty of BBQ grills and picnic tables.  If you are staying on the east side of the island, this is a convenient beach, but if you are staying on the west side of Maui, there are better beaches for swimming and sunbathing much closer than Kanaha. This is where many beginners learn to windsurf and watching them can be a lot of fun.  If you're interested in seeing the pro's windsurf, however, head for Ho'okipa mentioned below.

Windsurfing at Ho'okipa
Paia  This town is home to many shops, places to eat, and water activity vendors.  Just south of Paia is the windsurfing capital of Hawaii, Ho'okipa.  You have probably seen video of windsurfers jumping waves and turning flips, but if you haven't seen it live, this is the place.  We have never been to Ho'okipa when there weren't at least a few daredevils in action.  Windsurfers with sailboards of all colors and designs skim across waves exhibiting world class style and finesse.  The park is right beside the road and it's always enjoyable to watch the impressive displays.

Haleakala  The world's largest dormant volcano (it last erupted in 1790) reaches 10,023 feet above sea level.  If you have a heart problem you may not want to take this trip because of the high altitude.   Watching the sunrise at Haleakala is one of the most memorable moments many people have of Maui.  So, if you haven't experienced sunrise over Haleakala, you must try it.  There are two "problems" to overcome: 1) getting up at 3:00 a.m. while you're on vacation, and 2) coping with near freezing temperatures in paradise.  Set your alarm and wear long pants, a sweatshirt, and take a jacket.  Don't let the 90 degree temperatures on the beach at Kaanapali or Wailea lull you into believing it won't be cold at the summit at sunrise.  Those not prepared often miss sunrise because they are huddled in their car to keep warm.  Even with jeans and a long sleeved shirt you are still likely to hear your teeth chattering watching sunrise.  So, be prepared!  If we are staying in a condo, we often take a light blanket each to wrap in to keep warm.  Here you will find the world's only location of the silversword plant. We almost always stop at Kula Lodge for breakfast on the way back to our hotel or condo.

Road to Hana  Hana is on the eastern tip of Maui with Haleakala towering 10,000 feet above it in the background.  It isn't easy to reach the town because it is relatively isolated.  It is 53 miles from Kahului to Hana but the average travel time is three hours, so plan on the trip taking an entire day.  You will encounter many one-lane bridges, waterfalls, and panoramic coastal views on the trip.  Lodging is relatively limited so it's best to plan ahead if you intend to stay overnight.  The pace in Hana is easy which is one reason many people love the area.

Oheo Gulch  About 10 miles south of Hana, this was formerly known as the Seven Sacred Pools.  The road from Hana is rough and narrow.  When you arrive you will find pools dropping into one another as they descend the slope.  Visit the ranger station for guided hikes or take off on your own along trails that lead to hundreds of pools.  Don't forget your bathing suit.

Iao Valley  The Iao Stream winds through the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens, Hawaii Nature Center, and Iao Valley State Park.  You can visit all three in a few hours.  The Iao Needle is a prominent vertical green-mantled outcropping that rises 1,200 feet from the valley floor.  There is plenty of parking.

Maui Ocean Center   Located in Ma'alaea, this $20 million aquarium features exhibits of Hawaiian sea life found in tropical reefs and the ocean beyond.  Marine life found only in Hawaii is featured with living coral reefs.  It is the largest tropical aquarium in the Western Hemisphere.  Sea water is drawn from Ma'alaea Bay providing a continuous flow which recycles the entire water system every 48 hours.  Oceanfront dining is available in the Seascape Ma'alaea Restaurant.

Lahaina   The history of Lahaina goes back more than 100 years when it was the whaling capital of the Pacific.  Hale  Paaho is the old stone prison where sailors were confined when their nights got out of control.  The Pioneer Inn  is a historic terminal where the Inter-Island Steamship Company sailed in and out of Maui.  The huge banyan tree south of the Pioneer Inn covers two-thirds of an acre.  In front of the tree is the Court House, a post office, and police station.  The post office part of it has been functioning since 1859.  One block mauka of the waterfront on Front Street is the Baldwin Home, typical of the missionary homes with its upstairs and downstairs verandas.  This was the home of Dwight Baldwin, a physician, missionary, and community leader whose descendants are still an important family on Maui.


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