Maui is one of those places it would be easy to stay forever – ust rip up your return ticket and never look back. Maui is slightly larger than Oahu but still quite a bit smaller than the Big Island – which makes it the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is a wonderland of outdoor activities, tourist stops, and has plenty of family friendly accomodations, events, and tours.
If you are looking for luxury, you don’t have to look far on Maui. Luxury resorts by Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hilton and other hoteliers abound in all the islands most desirable areas. Mid-range hotels fill up fast and budget options are extremely limited. Your best option is to book a vacation rental, but be warned, they fill up quickly and sometimes must be booked a year or more in advance – especially during the peak seasons – which generally coincide with the times kids are out of school (think Christmas, spring break, summer break, and Thanksgiving)
Road to Hana
Two pieces of advice regarding the Road to Hana. First, if you want to see it – hire a driver because it is a winding and twisty road and as the driver you need to keep your eyes on the road and will miss most of the beauty. Second, make sure to take the time to stop and hike away from the road in a few places. Not only does this keep you and the occumpants of your vehicle from getting car sick, but also you come across some amazing waterfalls, beaches, and tropical wonders just steps from the road that you will never see if you don’t stop and stretch your legs.
If you want to delve into the whaling history of Hawai’i, there is no place better to do that than magical Maui. Lahaina is one of the few places on the planet where you find a fusion of nautical, missionary, and Native Hawaiian cultures – along with plenty of tourism. The block sized Banyan tree, the whaling museum, and the adorable old time boardwalk all offer instagram worthy shots and hours of idle enjoyment.
See Turtles and Whales
While some might argue that the best place to see turtles and whales is on the Big Island of Hawaii, it’s a hard arguement to win when the Valley Isle enters the conversation. In addition to snorkeling cruises to Molokini and the absolutely epic diving that Maui offers – there are a great variety of whale watching, dolphin watching and turtle tours available. Whales in particular love the waters around Maui during the January to March months and it’s not uncommon to see both mothers and calves on a whale cruise.
Goats, Gardens and Fish
Surfing Goat Dairy is a real dairy farm where you can sample delicious gourmet cheeses and if you are traveling with children, they can feed goats and watch them get milked. It used to be that the kids could even try their hand at milking the goats, but health and safetly concerns have taken that option off the table.
Maui also offers a world class aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center Hawaiian Aqaurium. Exotic ocean animals, more than seventy exhibits and even a huge under tank tunnel where visitors can watch sharks swimming all around them!
On the island there are lots of opportunities to visit farms and ranches. One long time favorite is the nose and eye overwhelmimg Ali’i Kula Lavender farm, while the lavendar fields are the big attraction here, the farm also has other herb gardens, an small bakery and a gift shop. Don’t forget to try the lavendar scones!
Maui looks like a small island on a map but it’s not so tiny after all! Make sure that you bring reef safe sunscreen, swimming gear, and a huge sense of adventure. Don’t be surprised if you see famous movie stars, Buddhist monks, or world leaders walking around in flip flops!