The novelist Paul Theroux has said that “Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.” And while it’s also technically a state of the U.S., you have to admit, he’s not entirely wrong. The Hawaiian Islands have long symbolized for many travelers the pre-eminent tropical destination. Everything you need for an island getaway is here. Hotels near Kaanapali give you access to white sandy beaches warm from the sun, lavish rainforests, and clear blue water. But Maui hotels offer a state of grace one step further from the norm. Away from the larger Maui resorts and crowded beaches, you can enjoy a sojourn packed with adventure, unexpected discovery, and the aloha spirit.
Exploring the Island
The island’s scenery, while somewhat more rugged and wilder than other parts of Hawaii, doesn’t rest on its laurels when it comes to breathtaking natural displays. This may understandably make it harder for you to decide where to stay in Maui. But with the perfect vibrant sunsets of the west coast and the remote eastern community of Hana, where serpentine roads and one-lane bridges test your skill but reward you with spectacular vistas, hotels in Maui give you a variety of options. You’ll find unexpected beauty in the arid desert-like landscape of South Maui, where sun-chasing travelers go to enjoy a piece of the island where untouched wilderness still holds sway.
Of course, you won’t lack for civilization or fun local color when you need it either. Lahaina, as a former seaport and whaling town, is steeped in enough sordid history to keep you entertained through a balmy evening. Gazing down at the Au’au Channel, you’ll find it’s the ideal spot to view humpback whales traversing the ocean between Lanai and Maui as they make their way down from the frigid waters of Alaska. It’s also where you’ll find the best of Maui’s nightlife, so you can trade in your swimsuit for a few hours and dust the red dirt off your sandals after a long day of sunbathing and sightseeing.
Sometimes you get a wild hair and you like to push your boundaries. In Ka’anapali, you’ll enjoy scores of outdoor activities to get your heart pounding, including zip-lining and cliff diving near Black Rock, an ancient landmark on Ka’anapali Beach rich in Hawai’ian lore. Even if you like to sit back and watch, there’s a thrill in watching humans take flight. Chase your adrenaline fix with a more relaxing round of golf or attend a luau. And at Whalers Village, you’ll find stores, galleries, and restaurants to supplement your vacation experience with a bit of retail therapy or souvenirs when necessary.
Hit the Trails
Be prepared to lace up tight in your best hiking boots, or at the very least, your most rugged pair of flip flops, because Maui’s wealth of winding and infinitely gorgeous trails will beckon you out the door. Beautiful lagoons and cliffside overlooks bid you to explore their secrets while the pools invite you to cool off on the Pipiwai Trail. Through dense forest filled with bamboo and banyan trees, you’ll find gorgeous natural sights to rival those of any other tropical locale. For sedate strolls and a salty sea breezes that appeal more to your laidback side, the Kapalua Coastal Trail provides an easy walk past several bays, stark black cliffs, rocky outcrops, and endless ocean views.
For a truly singular experience, travel by foot, bike, horseback, or even helicopter to the summit of Haleakala. The “East Maui Volcano” actually comprises most of the island itself, the stark landscape providing an air of otherworldliness to a place so lush and vital. However, despite the barrenness of the summit itself, Haleakala National Park is actually home to more endangered species than any other national park in the entire United States. While taking in the native beauty of the island, keep your eyes open for other native beauties, like the Monk seal, Nene goose, Spinner dolphin, and Green turtle.
Make Yourself a Souvenir
While postcards and puka shell necklaces make great mementos for friends, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Maui that don’t require space in your already overfilled luggage. Maui beach hotels will bring you close to the ocean allowing you to learn to surf, snorkel and kite board which could lead to becoming a lifelong skills that you’re able to take anywhere you wander. The front desk or concierge at your Maui lodging can recommend classes or particular instructors to suit your needs. Or, if you’re in the mood to keep your feet on dry land for a while and have always suspected you’d look great in a grass skirt, you can line up a few hula lessons to keep the spirit of aloha alive when you get back home.
Eating and Drinking
Surrounded as it is by the rich and bountiful Pacific, Maui offers you an abundance of fresh seafood. Local specialties, like the tangy, spicy, mildly sweet lomi-lomi salmon or shoyu ahi (tuna) poke, with its deep umami flavor, are best enjoyed slowly, sitting in the shade or cross-legged in the sand as the waves lap quietly on to shore. Be sure to sample the kalua pork, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked for hours underground. And whether you’re on vacation or not, every meal should end with a little something sweet, like silky haupia made from coconut milk, a fruity shave ice with all the toppings, or a tart lilikoi (passion fruit) juice iced to perfection.
Whatever speed you want to take on your Hawaiian vacation, from lazing everyday on the beach or charging up the hiking trails, we’ll help you achieve it. And we’ll make sure you find all the best spots for Kona coffee and locally-grown macadamia nuts to fuel your adventures. When you book with Travelocity, you’ll find great rates on the best places to stay in Maui, along with deals on airfare, rental cars, and tours. Pack your bags and remember: Wander wisely.