Updated: June 14, 2015
Maui Vacation Planning: Best Places to Stay on MauiOne of the many great things about a trip to Hawaii is the variety of lodging and activities you find on the different islands. The Hawaiian Islands include: Hawaii (the big island), Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai, and Oahu. This guide will focus on introducing you to Maui, which is in the center of the island chain, closest to Hawaii. After Oahu, Maui is the next busiest, most commercialized island, though it is still large and has many beautiful natural areas to enjoy. The main cities on Maui are Lahaina, Wailea, Ka-anapali, Kapalua, Kihei, and Kahului. You can find Maui lodging in all these cities - see below for information on the best condos, rental homes, and top Maui hotels.
Maui ActivitiesOf course some of the most popular acitivites on Maui are laying out on the beautiful beaches, enjoying cool tropical drinks by the pool, snorkeling and gazing at the colorful tropical fish, and people watching on the beach. However, for those adventurous souls, there is a lot more to enjoy on this island. There are bike tours (ever ride down a volcano on a tropical island?), boat cruises, sailing trips, scuba diving adventures, horseback riding, helicopter tours, golf, luaus, and more. Drive up to the top of Haleakala volcano - you may find snow there while the beach is 85 degrees and 10,000 feet below you. Seeing the sunrise from the summit is beautiful, and VERY cold and windy - don't head up in thongs and a tank top! Try the road to Hana - an amazing, very windy road along the eastern coast of the island. The famous Road to Hana exposes the natural island beauty that attracts many tourists to Maui - with 617 curves, 56 one lane bridges, and steep valleys. Take a whole day to enjoy this experience and check out the only black sand beach in Maui. Although expensive, helicopter tours are another once in a lifetime experience you may want to consider. For example, a 65 minute complete island tours runs over $200 per adult or child - not cheap, but you will not forget the dramatic ride.
Best Maui Sight Seeing TipsIf you visit Maui between Dec. and May, look into a whale watching excursion. These massive creatures pass through the Hawaiian Island chain on their annual migrations. Imagine the spectacle of a huge whale breaching alongside your boat - you will never experience anything else in your life like it. You can also look into ATV tours and diving expeditions (you must be scuba certified).
Best Maui Golf Courses
Maui golf courses are lush and green. Most tourists stay on the west side of Maui - check out the Kaanapali North and south courses, located off the Honoapi'ilani Highway in Kaanapali. The North Course has the famous ocean front hole #14, and was the first resort course when it opened in 1962. Green fees are $160, $130 for hotel guests. The Kapalua Bay course (300 Kapalua Drive, Kapalua) is an Arnold Pamler design, built in 1975, is another beauty with 2 ocean holes and green fees of $200. On the south side of Maui, the Wailea resort features the Wailea Gold Course, with over 100 white sand bunkers.
Best Maui BeachesMaui has over 120 miles of coastline and 30 miles of lovely beaches. Some of Maui's beaches are famous for surfing and windsurfing, while others are perfect for snorkeling. Let's start near Kaanapali - Black Rock beach is at the north end and is a favorite for beginning snorkelers and scuba divers with its abundance of tropical fish and coral formations. The Ka'anapali Resort abuts 3 miles of perfect white sand beaches, including the Dig Me Beach that was voted America's best beach - access is through the resort property. The resort offers catamaran and sailboats rides, surfing and windsurfing lessons and more. Head to Kapalua Beach at the Kapalua Resort, also named best beach (different beaches named each year!), good for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba. With a family, check out Launiupoko Beach Park south of Lahaina - it has a lava-wall enclosed natural pool which kids love, and full picnic amenities as well.
Our Maui Guide Continues: