Along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline is the peaceful town of Hana, considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. The legendary road to Hana is only 52 miles from Kahului, however the drive can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete since it’s fraught with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views.
The Hana Highway (HI-360) has 620 curves and 59 bridges. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the lovely views, so get an early start and take your time on your drive.
Historic St. Sophia’s Church marks your arrival into Hana, where the pastures roll right up to the main street. The historic Travaasa Hana is a luxurious retreat in this village rooted in Hawaiian tradition. Browse the Hasegawa General Store and Hana Ranch Store for unique souvenirs. Swim and sunbathe at Hana Beach Park or Hamoa Beach, cited by author James Michener as the most beautiful beach in the Pacific. Snorkel at Waianapanapa State Park, a beautiful black sand beach. Or visit Hale Piilani, the state’s largest heiau (Hawaiian temple), in Kanahu Gardens, one of five National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii.
Beyond Hana, venture 10 miles south to the outskirts of Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu. There you’ll find the popular Pools of Oheo, where waterfalls spill into tiered pools leading to the sea. View these tranquil natural pools or hike up the Pipiwai Trail to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.
Stretching across Maui’s southern and eastern coastline, Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak. Rising 10,023 feet above sea level, Haleakala’s graceful slopes can be seen from just about any point on the island. Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend has it that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.
The park is comprised of over 30,000 acres of public land, has three separate visitors centers and covers a range of natural environments. You can travel atop the highest peaks of Haleakala, hiking above the clouds and horseback riding across otherworldly deserts. As the park stretches out to the coast towards sea level you can even visit lush tropical areas full of waterfalls and streams.
Many visitors and locals wake up early to drive up to the Haleakala Visitor Center (9,740 feet), the best spot to watch the sunrise. On a clear morning, seeing the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala is an unforgettable experience. Even those who’ve witnessed the event many times say they’ve never seen the same sunrise twice. Perhaps just as spectacular are Haleakala’s sunsets and the bright, starry skies revealed at night.
The long, winding road to the summit of Haleakala takes some time to drive up, but is well worth the effort. There are numerous hiking trails that offer solitude and scenic vistas, while guided hikes provide an expert’s guidance and insight. You’ll discover more endangered species here than any other park in the National Park Service. You may even spot a Nene (Hawaiian goose) or a blooming ahinahina plant (silversword) on your visit. Visitors can also camp here, with two separate campgrounds and cabins available.
For more information, visit the Park Headquarters Visitor Center at 7,000 feet above sea level. The Haleakala Visitor Center is at 9,740 feet atop its summit. At sea level, the Kipahulu Visitor Center is past Hana on the southeastern coast and is near the beautiful Pools of Oheo. See why Haleakala National Park is one of Maui’s most popular visitor attractions.
Once known as Lele, which means “relentless sun” in Hawaiian, Lahaina is a historic town that has been transformed into a Maui hot spot with dozens of art galleries and a variety of unique shops and restaurants.
Once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early nineteenth century, Lahaina was also a historic whaling village during the whaling boom of the mid-1800’s. Up to 1,500 sailors from as many as 400 ships took leave in Lahaina including Herman Melville, who immortalized the era in his classic novel Moby Dick.
Today, Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can still get a feel for old Lahaina as you stroll down lively Front Street and visit historic stops like the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paaho (Lahaina Prison), the Pioneer Inn and other sites on the Lahaina Historic Trail. Approximately 55 acres of old Lahaina have been set aside as historic districts.
Lahaina’s sunny climate and oceanfront setting also provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities and entertainment. Get a fresh taste of Hawaii Regional Cuisine in Lahaina’s fine restaurants. Get your tickets to some of Maui’s best seaside luau where you can eat, drink and watch the traditional dances of Polynesia. The award winning show Ulalena at the Maui Theatre offers a Broadway-caliber production showcasing the culture of Hawaii.
And during the winter months, don’t forget to set sail from Lahaina Harbor on an unforgettable whale watching tour. The channel off the coast of Lahaina is one of the best places in the world to spot humpback whales. Even these magnificent creatures can’t get enough of Lahaina.
You’ll want to frame your scorecard, no matter what you shoot. Golf on Maui is that memorable. Choose from 14 courses (several of which are ranked at or near the top of the “world’s best” lists) designed by noted course architects and golfing luminaries such as Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw. The PGA TOUR’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions is held here each year, so you may even see a pro in the clubhouse. You’ll see why it’s difficult to imagine a more dramatic setting for these 18-hole masterpieces, with fairways abutting ancient lava flows, tees surrounded by palm groves, and greens arched by rainbows formed in the ocean mist. From Kapalua to Wailea, the views are intoxicating. But stay focused on your game. You’ll want to show off that Maui scorecard when you return home.
On Maui, you’ll have plenty of chances to try an array of outdoor adventures you’ve never experienced before. Snorkelers will be rewarded with unforgettable sights in Molokini ’s luminous waters. See your first humpback spout as you whale-watch from Kaanapali Beach . Or feel the rush of your first surf lesson off the shores of historic Lahaina.
On land, horseback ride atop Haleakala , Maui’s highest peak. You can even take your first helicopter ride to see breathtaking views of Maui’s pristine valleys and waterfalls.
Not enough time to do it all? You can always come back for more. For most visitors, their first adventures on this miraculous island are rarely their last.
A 750,000-gallon water tank surrounds you. As you and your family walk through the acrylic tunnel, you marvel at the manta rays and sharks swimming safely overhead. The Maui Ocean Center, voted Hawaii’s top-rated family attraction by Zagat, is just one of the many family-friendly treasures you’ll find on Maui.
Ride on a genuine 1890s train, known as the Sugar-Cane Train, on the Lahaina-Kaanapali Railroad. Build a sand castle at one of Maui’s many beautiful beaches. Turn your 7 to 12-year-olds into Junior Rangers at the Haleakala Visitor Center. Or get your kids involved in hands-on exhibits at the Hawaii Nature Center in Wailuku.
If you’re staying in a hotel or resort, they’ll likely have a keiki (children’s) program that includes everything from lei making to hula lessons, helping to create truly unique Maui memories to share with your children.
From watching an intimate sunrise, wrapped together in a blanket at the top of Haleakala Crater, to seeing the sunset as you cruise along the golden Kihei coastline, Maui is a place where romance isn’t hard to find.
One of the top honeymoon destinations in the world, Maui’s alluring beaches and immaculate resorts also provide an idyllic setting for weddings, receptions or simply to escape the world and spend time with the one you love.
Whether it’s hiking to one of East Maui’s spectacular waterfalls, enjoying a couples massage in a resort in Wailea, or strolling hand-in-hand along Maui’s beaches, one visit to this lovely island and you’ll see why falling in love comes so naturally here, perhaps more so than anywhere in the world.
You’ve had your special day, so now it’s time to unwind and start your life together in one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. Choose from a variety of accommodations on the island, from 5 Diamond resorts to cozy beach rentals.
Then let Maui provide you both with one lasting memory after another. Drive up to Haleakala, Maui’s highest peak, to see the sun rise over the clouds. Drive the road to Hana and count the waterfalls together on this scenic journey. Dine on Maui’s sumptuous farm to table cuisine then stroll hand-in-hand on a moonlit night across one of Maui’s serene beaches.
These are just some of the many romantic experiences Maui has to offer, so don’t wait another minute. Take advantage of our honeymoon resources and start planning the vacation of your dreams.