Published: 2018-09-17 • Last updated: 2020-12-01
My wife and I went to Maui in March of 2017 and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since. The landscapes there are just gorgeous. If you ever get a chance to go, here are some of our favorite things to do.
Watching the sunrise at Haleakalā National Park, aka “House of the Sun”. You drive up a massive shield volcano in the middle of the night until you reach 10,023 ft. elevation, just to watch the sunrise through the clouds. Sounds awesome, right? It was.
Depending on what you want to experience, you can arrive just before sunset (parking will be limited), but I recommend arriving a few hours early. Why? Well this place is special in that it has no light pollution. So when you look at the night sky, you get the visual in full force. I’m talking stars for days. I ended up making myself a pallet on the ground and gazed in awe for hours. Also, arriving early means you’ll have first choice of parking.
Dress warmly, it will be cold and windy. Bring gloves and a beanie if you have them. There are multiple places to watch the sunrise. We chose the highest point, Red Hill summit. The drive up was fun because it’s dark and the road is very curvy. The drive down was fun as well because you get nice views of the island.
If you go, don’t forget to make your reservation ahead of time.
Road to Hana. This is a scenic (and dangerous?) road along the coast. We drove in a rental car, and thank goodness we got a compact. The road is already pretty narrow, so when you pass other cars (or, umm, dumptrucks), especially in sharp curves, things can get sketchy.
There are many places to stop along the way. We didn’t get to see everything we wanted, but of the ones we did see, it was great.
Garden of Eden is an arboretum that you can walk through. If you like trees, you’ll like this place. It was here that I first saw a rainbow eucalyptus tree (photo below).
Wai’anapanapa State Park. This was my favorite stop during our drive. If I ever go back to Maui, I’d like to spend a whole day hiking this place. There are trails that lead to waterfalls and caves down by the beach. There are black sand beaches surrounded with bright green vegetation. With the deep blues of the ocean right next to these other colors, it’s beautiful.
Snorkeling at Black Rock. We got lucky in that Black Rock was walking distance from our hotel. The area was teaming with marine life. We saw colorful fish, sea turtles, and, if you held your breath, you could hear the whales.
Whale watching. We booked a tour with Pacific Whale Watching. March was an interesting time to go (peak whale watching season here is January through March), as the humpbacks had migrated down to these warmer waters to give birth. We saw multiple breaches. It’s a cool feeling to be next to an animal of that size.
Sunsets. Every evening we would watch the sunset. It’s one of our things we like to do on trips.