Maui Sightseeing Adventures: Where to Explore Top Sites
The island of Maui has breathtaking scenery. From natural attractions that offer a glimpse into treasured culture to volcanoes and waterfalls, visitors will find more than they can see in one trip. To narrow down the options, these Maui sightseeing adventures help travelers customize their vacation and admire the best of the island. Pick one — or a few — to get started.
Maui Sightseeing Adventures for Different Interests and Abilities
A destination itself, Road to Hana – also known as Hana Highway – offers a special sightseeing journey with dozens of sites and experiences. Many people travel the road without knowing how many attractions sit along the way. The road measures almost 65 miles and takes five hours without stops. Those who plan to stop often and eat should allot 12-hours or an overnight trip.
What makes Hana Highway so special? It connects Kahului to the town of Hana, and has more than 25 attractions that represent Hawaiian culture and history. Examples include waterfalls, Ho’okipa lookout, Halfway to Hana food stand, Hana Lava Tube and Palapala Ho’omau Church, to name a few.
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park serves as a cultural gem that connects people to the land as well as a safe haven for endangered species. The park welcomes visitors to explore the summit and coast. However, the elevation reaches more than 10,000 feet so plan accordingly. Also note, there is no food, beverages or gasoline in the park.
For some adventure, the Summit section of the park offers the top place to watch sunrises and sunsets in Maui. Visitors will see Haleakala volcano, which is considered sacred. Reservations for sunrise are required.
The Kīpahulu District has hiking trails, waterfalls and wildlife. For diverse landscapes, tour the wilderness section. This area measures more than 24,000 acres with desert terrain, colorful plants, steep trails, crater views and rare birds.
Located in Kahanu Garden, Pi’ilanihale Heiau serves as the largest place of worship of its kind and one of the most important archaeological sites in Hawaii. In addition, the structure has been well preserved over the years.
The garden provides as a place to reconnect with nature and quiet the mind. Guests have access to a walking trail to the heiau and should take time to admire native plants from the Pacific Islands.
Wai’anapanapa State Park
Need an escape? Wai’anapanapa State Park offers a place to do that and more. Guests can hike trails, fish from the shore or swim in the ocean.
Wai’anapanapa State Park also ranks among the top Maui sightseeing adventures. The park features a native hala forest, cave, religious temple, lava tube, blow holes and small black sand beach. In addition, visitors will find restrooms, showers and picnic areas, so bring food and refreshments for everyone.
Iao Valley and Needle
Perhaps one of the most famous Maui sightseeing adventures, Iao Valley offers a 4,000-acre area with Iao Needle, a 1,200-foot rock that stands the test of time. The needle overlooks Iao stream and once served as a lookout point during Battle of Kepaniwai.
Visitors enjoy paved walkways and signage suitable for all ages. In addition, Iao Valley State Park has places for jumping, swimming, hiking, gardens and natural beauty.
For a more interactive activity, head to Molokini. It’s located a few miles off-shore and serves as one of three volcanic calderas in the world. Plus, Molokini provides a sanctuary for marine life.
Plan a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion to see the crater up close. The clear water gives water lovers a stunning place to swim and watch marine life as far as 150 feet. In this area, there is only rock so dirt does not wash into the water.
Those unable to enter the water can see Molokini during a boat or helicopter tour. These guided options provide a way to learn about the crater and people-watch. In winter months, look for migrating whales.
Also known as Dragon’s Teeth, Makaluapuna Point is a must-see due to its lava rock structures and historical significance. The point was created by one of the last lava flows on Maui. As the lava flowed, the wind and waves forced it back thus creating the ‘black teeth’.
Makaluapuna Point also houses an ancient burial ground named Honokahua Burial Site, so guests should show respect. If planning a walk, wear comfortable sneakers to avoid sharp rocks and powerful waves. Other nearby attractions include Dragon’s Teeth Labyrinth, a prayer labyrinth for reflection and peace.
La Perouse Bay
Many know La Perouse Bay as Haleakala’s last display when the volcano erupted around 1790 and formed the jagged lava rock coastline. Today, the area houses a monument and ruins from past natives.
The bay also features small coves between rocks and tidepools. Visitors may notice a lack of sand, so plan for photo shoots, hiking and admiring the scenery. Additionally, La Perouse Bay can become windy and park on the road as lava rocks can cause flat tires.
Waterfalls also rank among the top Maui sightseeing adventures. They vary in size and accessibility, but they are all worth some attention. Each range in height and cater to different skill levels, as most are accessible via hiking trails. Visitors will find accessible waterfalls on Road to Hana such as Waikani Falls. Other popular Maui waterfalls include Honokohau, the tallest waterfall on the island.
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