Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian Island, is blessed with dazzling natural beauty that is nothing short of a wonder. The water is just that different kind of sky blue here and the greenery is so rich and deep that it might actually ruin all other natural retreats for you, forever. If you ever feel the need to get out of the trapped confines of your life, escape to the splendid island of Maui and you are bound to return a lot more refreshed and energized.
Also known as “The Valley Isle”, Maui is known for having world-famous beaches with every nook and corner of the island waiting to be explored. Don’t miss out on the sacred Iao Valley and certainly don’t forget to watch the migrating humpback whales. Snorkeling and swimming with hundreds of fish are a must here and so is visiting the East Maui Waterfall and Rainforest hiking.
You could drive straight to Haleakalā National Park through Kula, HI, but it would be an absolute travesty to miss the glorious road to Hana and the chance to explore the old ranches and the thick rainforest along the way. The loop of the Hana Highway takes just over four hours, but the things to do in between this short drive can easily take up a weekend allowing one to truly experience this island's majestic beauty.
The only thing that can possibly beat the beauty of the beaches of Maui, is watching the amazing sunset from a mountain top in Haleakala National park. The national park is scattered with numerous mountains, allowing you to take in all the stunning views of dense rainforest, open skies, and sparkling water all around.
Your first stop on this Hawaiian adventure should be theHui No‘eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao, HI. This not-for-profit arts center is established inside a Mediterranean-style mansion built in 1917. This historic and gorgeous estate was designed by C.W. Dickey and belonged to Harry and Ethel Baldwin. The Baldwins were one of the most prominent families in Maui and made their fortune and fame through the pineapple industry. It was Ethel Baldwin’s love of art that led her to transform the mansion into an Arts Society in 1934 and brought artists from all over the world to enjoy the collection and the learning opportunities offered here.
The art center not only offers a chance to explore the historic site but the out center also provides art classes, galleries, workshops, exhibits, a gift shop, studios, lectures, and a botanical garden. If you ever wish to take photography, ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, and jewelry-making classes, away from home, make sure to give this one a try and enjoy a vacation along with some enlightening experiences.
On your way to your next stop in Hana, HI, you’ll come across the lush, serene, and peaceful Garden of Eden Arboretum on the mauka side of the Hana Highway. From the Keopuka Rock Overlook, you might recognize this garden from the opening sequence of Jurassic Park. The garden was established in 1991 with the vision of preserving the natural ecosystem of Hawaii including its native and indigenous flora. Somewhere along the way, exotic plants and trees from tropical rain forests around the world were also included in the collection.
The reason why this garden is called “Eden” is because of its paradise-like appearance. The 26-acre garden is unlike any other garden you will ever see. Vivid and brilliant colors of flowers and their sweet scents will make you never want to leave this place. The collection combined with the ocean makes for one of the most serene places in Maui. Don’t forget to check out the 100-years old Mango Tree, the Enchanted forest, and the famous Banana Patch when you visit.
How can you make a trip to Maui island and not spend at least a day at the beach? That’s just not possible! Your next stop has to be at Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach, also known as the Honokalani Black Sand Beach. The beach is located in Waianapanapa State Park so you can easily camp here and catch a good night’s sleep under the crisp and clear Hawaiian skies.
The beach is simply breathtaking. The black sand stands out in contrast to the deep blue of the sea, and the entire retreat seems to be cradled by the volcanic coastline, remote lands, and wild forests. This beach is as far from urban life as possible. In addition to all the water activities, you can spend the day exploring the native Hala forest, the sea caves steeped in legends, the religious temple of heiau, sea stacks, blowholes, and the coastal footpath called the “King’s Highway”
Located on the rugged eastern coast of Maui, is a remote and Hawaiian authentic village called Hana. The town is one of the most scarcely populated districts in the entire state of Hawaii and still maintains its old appearance, prior to the invasion of commercial tourism. The small town is unspoiled and serene with lush green rolling hills, gardens, and rich green forests due to the heavy rain in the region.
Another reason why Hana is approached by visitors despite its remote status is the legendary coastal Hana Highway. The highway is often considered the longest scenic coastal route in the world. This road begins at Pa'ia and traverses through the rainforests allowing glimpses of waterfalls and a chance to see some of the oldest ranches in the area. This scenery on the highway provides a stark contrast compared to the drier, almost desert-like landscape of the east coastline. You can also stop midway and enjoy some of the farm-to-table meals.
Another must-see destination within the boundaries of Haleakala National Park is the Pools at 'Ohe'o, also known as the "Seven Sacred Pools." Lose yourself amidst an absolutely stunning landscape full of cascading waterfalls, plunge pools, rocky cliffs, thick bamboo forests, and plenty of wildlife. One can also stretch their legs here by hiking along the stunning Pipiwai Trai or simply cool off in the cool spring-fed water. This is one place you really don't want to miss out when visiting Maui and whilst exploring Haleakala National Park.
The drive here can be a bit challenging but if you can manage it, you can have a piece of pristine Hawaiian wilderness all to yourself. This is also a great place for cliff-jumping and swimming so don't forget to pack your swimming gear!
Found on the slopes of the inactive 10,023-foot high Haleakala volcano is the stunning Haleakala National Park in Maui, HI. The park expands from the ocean and all the way to the summit. From up there, not only can you watch the iconic stunning sunset and the original species of Hawaiian birds but also peek inside the dormant volcano.