Maui ranks only behind The Big Island in terms of size, and third in terms of population behind The Big Island and Oahu. That doesn’t give this island a complex, however, because Maui offers lots of entertainment opportunities to travelers.
Things to Do on Maui
Rather than Maui being all about big flashy cities, the biggest reason people come to Maui is to see the majesty of nature in action – and then to get right in the middle of it! There are great opportunities to go hiking, snorkeling, diving, mountain biking, whale-watching and sea turtle-watching. Haleakala National Park covers more than 30,000 acres and is open year-round, 24 hours a day. There’s also a famous drive, called the Road to Hana, which will lead you past some of the island’s lush greenery and some pretty waterfalls. Along the way there’s also a private botanical garden called “Garden of Eden” which may be worth your while. And the island is ringed by beautiful beaches, most of which are perfect for just lying in the sun, too.
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One of the appeals of Maui is that it’s got a good tourist infrastructure and lots of amenities, but a significantly lower population than Oahu or The Big Island – so you’re more apt to run into the smaller and more charming towns than the big sprawling cities. And yet it has everything the average visitor to Hawaii could want – volcanoes, black sand beaches, lush forests, and lots of outdoor activities. Unfortunately, Maui’s public transportation system isn’t very good, so most visitors rent a car in order to get beyond the bus route and see the sights which aren’t even reachable without your own set of wheels.
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Where to Stay on Maui
The western side of Maui is the most popular with visitors, and this area includes the little town of Lahaina (with lots of restaurants and shops to choose from, and a decent nightlife) and Kaanapali (with a good selection of hotels and some of the island’s nicest beaches). For more of the resort scene, complete with golf courses and upscale shopping, visit Wailea on Maui’s south side. The Road to Hana ends in the east, and the island’s center has the pretty Iao Valley. Luckily, each region of Maui has something worth visiting, so the tourists don’t all flock to one particular beach or town.
How to Get to Maui
Maui is second only to Honolulu as a gateway to the Hawaiian Islands. Frequest direct flights come in daily from the mainland U.S. gateways as well as hundreds of inter-island flights, and direct flights from Vancouver, Canada.
Quick search for flights to Maui (OGG) from Honolulu (HNL), San Francisco (SFO), and Los Angeles (LAX):
Map of Maui
Here’s an interactive map of the island of Maui. You can also turn on the satellite view (top right corner of the map) in order to get an idea of the mountains and terrain or zoom in and out as needed.