Admit it – you’re grinning already, even before you step on the plane. It starts with the idea of Maui… the anticipation. With the abundance of white beaches, waterfalls, and waves, what is there not to love? With all this island has to offer, you may be wondering where to start – never fear we got you covered with our top ten picks.
1. Road to Hana
Ready for an adventure? Of all the heart-stoppingly dramatic drives in Hawaii, this is the Big Kahuna. A roller-coaster of a ride, the Hana Highway winds down into jungly valleys and back up towering cliffs, curling around 600 twists and turns along the way. Some 54 one-lane bridges cross nearly as many waterfalls – some of them eye-popping torrents and others so gentle they beg a dip. But the ride’s only half the thrill. Get out and swim in a Zen-like pool, stroll a ginger-scented trail and explore the wonders along the way.
2. Halaekalā National Park
Picture yourself huddled at predawn, blanket wrapped around you in the frozen air, surrounded by hundreds of people trying to keep warm. Everything seems surreal and there’s a sense that something unworldly is about to unfold. Then a soft, orange glow pierces the darkness on the summit. Everyone lets out a gasp – followed by cheers. Rich tones of amber and ocher light up on the crater floor below, inviting exploration. The aptly named Sliding Sands Trail crunches beneath your feet as you descend into the lunar-like world of Haleakalā.
3. Snorkeling at Malu’aka
Don your mask and snorkel on the shores of stunning Maluʻaka Beach in Makena and start swimming in the direction of the tour boats. Before you get halfway you’ll likely spot a magnificent green sea turtle nibbling algae on the ocean floor. Welcome to ‘Turtle Beach’ – where the underwater scenery is nothing short of mesmerizing.
4. ‘Iao Valley State Park
Nowhere is Maui’s verdant, moody beauty better captured than at ʻIao Valley, where the ʻIao Needle – a phallic-shaped, emerald-green pinnacle – shoots straight up from the valley floor. The pinnacle is the centerpiece of this mystical state park. Snuggled sensuously into deep folds of lush rainforested mountains, ʻIao is such a sumptuous sight it’s easy to understand why Hawaiian kings placed a kapu (taboo) on the valley, forbidding commoners from laying eyes on it. Luckily for you, the kapu has been lifted. You brought your camera, right?
Read more: Ned Friary, Lonely Planet