Hawaii’s second largest island offers a variety of experiences to satisfy every type of traveler, from beaches and world-class golf courses to historic cowboy towns, dramatic waterfalls and a slumbering volcano called Haleakala that dominates the landscape. Also known for festive luaus, humpback whales (from December to May) and some of Hawaii’s top spas, it’s a one-stop vacation destination.
You could swim and snorkel all day, but Maui also boasts two of Hawaii’s best drives. Traverse 52 miles of crazy curves and 59 bridges on the Road to Hana. Your reward is Instagram-worthy panoramas of East Maui’s black lava coastline and waterfalls. Upcountry, located on the volcanic slopes of Haleakala, overlooks farmland growing everything from lavender to sweet potatoes. The cowboy town of Makawao makes a great pit stop (don’t miss the cream puffs at T Komodo Store and Bakery). At night, head to Lahaina to dine on traditional poi, poke and laulau as the hip-swaying hula dancers of the Old Lahaina Luau perform against the fiery sunset.
Choose the resort area that best matches your style. There’s family friendly Ka’anapali for watersports, shopping and sublime sunsets; manicured Wailea for excellent snorkeling and some of Maui’s best beaches and golf courses; and upscale Kapalua for romantic seclusion and pampering at the foot of the West Maui mountains. At the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, located at the far end of Ka’anapali, enjoy a large lagoon-style pool and a nightly sunset cliff-diving ritual. The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is known for its contemporary decor and fresh local cuisine. Check into The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua to luxuriate in AAA Five Diamond Rated amenities, including a spa specializing in native Hawaiian therapies.
For farm-to-table dining, try Merriman’s Kapalua, where 90 percent of what is on menu is sourced locally. Favorites include Kahlua pig and sweet onion quesadilla, and warm goat cheese arugula salad with Kula strawberries. With locations in Kapalua and Kihei, Sansei makes it easy to get your sushi and sashimi fix – with a flavorful Hawaiian twist. And for a front row seat at sunset, book a table on the patio of Pacific’O in Lahaina, where specialties include ceviche and coconut-crusted mahi-mahi.
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