Top 10 Maui Attractions

Alexandra MitchellLast updated: October 3, 2014

top 10 maui attractionsWhen visiting Maui, one of the most beautiful islands in the world, there is so much inherent charm that it can be overwhelming when planning your daily activities. We put this guide together to introduce visitors to a handpicked selection of attractions, with a valuable insiders perspective.

Discover some of the most popular attractions on Maui, and savor every vacation moment with your kids, family and friends. Enjoy full days of adventure in paradise, and create vacation memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.

 

BEST ATTRACTIONS ON MAUI

#1 HALEAKALA

 

The dormant Mt. Haleakala towers 10,023 feet high above the magical island of Maui. As one out of the two volcano’s that created this incredible Hawaiian isle, venturing to Haleakala is one of the most popular attractions in all of Hawaii.

Best Maui AttractionFor both visitors and residents alike, Haleakala is a place of discovery and symbolizes all the strength embodied by the historical and geological culture of Hawaii. When visiting Haleakala, witness ecologically diverse terrains like striking volcanic landscapes, backcountry trails, and subtropical rain forest zones. Haleakala National Park offers a myriad of options and activities, making it one of the most revisited attractions in all the Hawaiian Islands. The most popular activities to be experienced at Haleakala include enjoying Sunrise and Sunset, Ranger Guided Tours, Hiking, Drive-up Camping, and Backcountry Camping on Maui.

 

#2 ROAD TO HANA – ROUTE 360

 

There are many ways to experience the Road to Hana, and the sleepy coastal Town of Hana, Maui. Visitors can go by group and private tours, or venture on their own by renting a vehicle.

En route towards East Maui, there are many things to see. 620 curves and 59 bridges pave the way to Hana, allowing for one of the most scenic drives in the world. Beginning at the historic Town of Paia, visitors can enjoy decorated coastlines all the way to Hana; world famous beaches in Hawaii, tropical landscapes, waterfalls, 4-wheel driving, scenic lookout points, botanical gardens, and cultural attractions that mark significant points in Maui’s unique Hawaiian history. The Hana Highway historic district begins at mile marker 3, just beyond Twin Falls, and reaches all the way to mile marker 40, where guests can experience Kipahulu and Haleakala National Park’s infamous Ohe’o Gulch.

 

When traveling to Hana, make sure to research areas and attractions ahead of time so that you can spend a good amount of time at each location. Instead of stopping at every bridge and lookout point for a photo op, seek out 2-3 main destinations so that you can maximize on your adventure to Hana. A few of the most popular areas to see on the Road to Hana are Twin Falls, the Garden of Eden, the Bamboo Forest, Wainapanapa State Park and Black Sand Beach, Hana Bay, and the Seven Sacred Pools.

 

#3 HO’OKIPA BEACH PARK

 

Ho’okipa Beach Park is one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii, and one of the most infamous beaches in the world for professional surfing and windsurfing. In the ancient Hawaiian language, “ho’okipa” translates to hospitality, which is exactly what this Beach Park offers!

 

Visit Ho’okipa Beach Park, and witness a handful of the worlds best water men and water women set stage. At Ho’okipa, visitors can see the powerful North Shore Maui coastline and gorgeous reef formations from the top parking lot for amazing photo opportunities.

Or you can venture to the sand for fun people watching, afternoon BBQ’s, and soaking up the glorious Maui sunshine.

During the winter months, the current can be strong, so its suggested that only experienced swimmers venture out. During the summer months, Ho’okipa offers one of the best areas to snorkel and explore, with Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles decorating the coastline. Discover excitement and international appeal while visiting Ho’okipa Beach Park. Experience the North Shore of Maui the way that the locals do, and just kick back and relax loving life in Hawaii.

 

#4 IAO VALLEY STATE PARK

 

Iao Valley State Park is located just beyond Wailuku, in the Central Maui area. Encompassing 4,000 acres in total, this Maui gem is home to one of Maui’s most distinct natural and historical landmarks, the 1,200-ft high “Iao Needle.” The Iao Needle is a green-mantled volcanic rock outcropping which towers above waterfalls, and the Iao Stream. In 1790, Iao Valley marked the location of the notorious Battle of Kepaniwai, where King Kamehameha fought Maui’s army in quest of uniting the Hawaiian Islands. This event represented a very significant point in Maui’s history, and fingermarks the exact time when Maui was defeated by the royal forces and submitted into Hawaiian Island unification.

 

Iao Valley State Park is an amazing site to see for those looking for a truly special hiking and sightseeing attraction in Maui. Here, guests can experience an innately gorgeous location in Maui, while be fully encompassed by the true energy of the Hawaiian Islands.

 

#5 OHE’O GULCH POOLS – SEVEN SACRED POOLS

 

The Ohe’o Gulch Pools, more commonly referred to as the Seven Sacred Pools, is one of the most popular attractions on Maui. This area is a natural spectacle, with a string of pools and waterfalls cascading from East Maui Mountain valleys to the blue Pacific Ocean coastline.

This is a wonderful place to explore Maui on vacation, and one that will make a permanent imprint in your mind of timeless memories. The lower pools are more easily accessed, and perhaps the best choice for visitors who want to jump in. Due to the popularity of the Seven Sacred Pools, it is highly suggested to arrive early for a chance to enjoy privacy in this insanely beautiful location. Ohe’o is part of the Haleakala National Park system, hosting a ranger station, public restrooms, large parking lots and camping facilities.

 

The best way to experience the Seven Sacred Pools is by planning a camping trip to Hana! Spend a day exploring the historic Road to Hana, reach the Ohe’o campgrounds by sunset, and arise to a magnificent morning in Kipahulu for morning swim in the infamous Ohe’o Gulch Pools.

 

#6 MAKENA STATE PARK – BIG BEACH & LITTLE BEACH

 

Just south of Wailea lies Makena State Park, composed of over 165 acres. Perched upon the coastline sits two of the most fabulous beaches in Maui; Makena’s Big Beach (Oneloa Beach) and Little Beach (Pu’u Olai Beach).

Big Beach is one of the most popular spots in all the Hawaiian Islands for bodyboarding and skim boarding. This is a fantastic beach in Maui for enjoying a day with your family and friends, sunbathing, and body surfing. Big Beach is approximately 1.5 miles long, and 100 feet wide, offering mostly calm conditions, although it can have a strong under current and rogue waved pending the season. Big Beach offers 3 entrances, parking lots, public restrooms, and lifeguards.

 

Little Beach is a small beach cove located just north of Big Beach. At one point in time, there was a trail that led from one beach to the next, but due to coastline erosion, it’s now accessed by a 5-minute hike over a steep lava outcropping. Once you fair the hike, 660 ft long Little Beach is below offering calm swimming conditions, and good times. Little Beach is one of the only nude sunbathing beaches on Maui, and a popular spot for Sunday afternoon firedancing and drum circle parties.

 

#7 LAHAINA’S BANYAN TREE

 

Lahaina’s Banyan Tree is over 137 years old, and spreads across an almost complete 1-acre of downtown Lahaina. This species is the largest of its kind in the United States, but not indigenous to Hawaii.

In 1873, Sheriff William Owen Smith planted this Banyan Tree to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Protestant missionaries in Lahaina. The once single trunk, has now expanded into over 16 trunks due to this species aerial roots. The Banyan Tree in Lahaina is a historical landmark, and a jaw-dropping sight. As a notable meeting place in Lahaina, often times visitors can find amazing local art vendors below the Banyan’s canopies, making for a nice little walk in the square.

 

Within a short walk from the Banyon Tree in Lahaina, guests can find many shopping, dining, and activities to do in Lahaina. During your next walking tour of the historic Town of Lahaina, make sure to check out the Banyon Tree to learn more about Maui’s roots!

 

#8 HAWAII NATURE CENTER

 

The Hawaii Nature Center has been providing environmental immersion educational programs in Hawaii since 1981. Located on Oahu and Maui, the Maui field site locations are Iao Valley and Kealia Pond. Since creation, over 850,000 children have participated in their programs.

“The mission of the Hawaii Nature Center is to foster awareness, appreciation and understanding of Hawaii’s environment and to encourage wise stewardship of the Hawaiian Islands by educating children with an interactive immersion approach.”

 

Offering both Maui Community and Maui School programs year-round, this non-profit organization most definitely add’s value to all to take part in their customized activities in Maui. During your next vacation in Maui, check out the Hawaii Nature Center to learn more about Hawaiian environmental culture and the innate characteristics about Maui preservation that are important. This is a great place for kids, and a wonderful place to offer up your philanthropic nature by volunteering in Hawaii.

 

#9 ALI’I KULA LAVENDER FARM

 

Nestled on the slopes of Mt.Haleakala, lies the fabulous Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Founded by Agricultural Artist and Horticultural Master Ali’i Chang, this farm has become a cultural landmark for Maui residents and visitors. At an elevation of 4,000 feet, the Kula Lavender Farm on Maui is home to over 45 varieties of lavender and approximately 55,000 lavender plants.

Spend an afternoon visiting the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm and stroll through the elaborate gardens, while enjoying a sweet conversation with your friends at one of the hidden rest areas. The view faces towards the South Maui coastline, allowing for breathtaking watercolored scenes of the Pacific Ocean stretching all the way to the West Maui Mountain Range.

 

A true sense of ‘aloha’ can most definitely be experienced from the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Check out their Daily Guided Walking Tours to learn more about lavender cultivation, the many species and Kula’s micro-climate. The staff, gardeners and groundskeepers are extremely knowledgable of sustainable horticulture, and all lavender species. Your sense will be on a calm overload as your breathe in the peace, beauty and tranquility of this awesome Maui attraction.

Make sure to check out the onsite Lavender boutique, where you can find an abundance of locally made Lavender infused goods. Each product has been developed by the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm integrating sustainability, innovation, and a love for the Island of Maui.

 

#10 TEDESCHI WINERY

 

Since 1974, the Tedeschi Winery, Maui’s only operating winery, has been one of the most fabulous attractions to visit in Hawaii. The wine varieties and selections vary, famously offering their time-told Sparkling Pineapple, Grape and Raspberry dessert wines.

Following innovation, the Tedeschi Winery was in the process of collaborating with the Ulupalakua Ranch by cultivating grape crops. While in this process, they developed an idea surrounding the creatiion of wine selections out of the most poplular agri-crop in Hawaii; Pineapple. Since then, Tedeschi Winery has been most widely regarded for their infamous Pineapple Sparkling wine called the “Maui Brut Sparkling.” Although Tedeschi has built their name upon various tropical fruit concoctions, they also produce beautiful and more traditional Maui wines including: Ulupalakua Red (a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Malbec), Upcountry Gold (a Chardonnay aged in stainless steel), and Lokelani (an elegant sparkling Rose with hints of vanilla and orange blossom).

 

This Maui winery is located in the Upcountry area of Ulupalakua, adjacent to far reaching pastures of horses, cattle and an abundance of livestock. This area is unique to Maui’s history, agricultural, and colonial heritage. All staff and operators of the Tedeschi Winery pride themselves as being “stewards of the land,” and those who support the sustainability and thriving agriculture of this Upcountry locale.

 

Mahalo for reading our Top 10 Maui Attractions! We hope that you thoroughly enjoy your next vacation in Maui. What is your favorite Maui attraction? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Written By  Alexandra Mitchell

Alexandra is a marketing professional with a passion for writing about travel to the Hawaiian Islands, vacation rentals, and luxury real estate. She exposes readers to glimpses of 'Old Hawaii,' new destinations to explore, local events, and all the best things to do on Maui.