Maui is considered by many to be the favorite of all the Hawaiian Islands. The snorkeling is splendid. The drives are amazing. And come on, there’s a 10,000-foot mountain on this little island!
The first thing we did once grabbing our rental car was head up north to the heart-shaped hole in the rock and the famous Nakalele blowhole. You must check it out! I’ve been twice now and each time there are stupid people climbing down the rocks in flip-flops. Don’t do this. There is too much gravel and loose rock. It’s worth the climb to see the massive blowhole when the water is high. Be very careful not to get close to the blowhole but watch it from afar. The whole north coast is a beautiful drive with bays and cliffs to overlook. The rental car companies don’t allow you to drive past a certain spot because it gets really narrow and more dangerous for those not used to it.
The bays on the north side up and around Kapalua allows for some amazing snorkeling. We used The Snorkeling Report by The Snorkel Store to find out the conditions of the surrounding bays. The weather changes allowing conditions to change quickly. Sometimes the water is spotless and perfect for snorkeling and other times it is cloudy and gross.
First we went to Kapalua Beach. They have a decent lot that’s a very close walk with restrooms. If that is full, you can park on the side street. That was a nice skinny beach. Matt snorkeled for some time there while I enjoyed the rainbow. It had some nice snorkeling – as in, coral and fish to see under the water.
Then we went to Slaughterhouse Beach. This was by far Matt’s favorite for snorkeling on this trip. Park right off the road in the small lot and walk down the steep steps. Sea turtles bounced between the coral on both sides of the bay. The beach was wide and clean. The water was clear and perfect for swimming that day.
Lastly, we went to Honolua Bay. It is a hike from the street to the bay. There are two ways to come in: both require somewhat of a hike through the jungle path. It was a wet day for us, which meant solid mud and crossing a riverbed. There’s not quite a beach there. It’s black rock to climb over to reach the water. Last time Matt was visiting Maui, this place was clear and gorgeous. It was his favorite place to snorkel. This time the water was oddly dirty. We didn’t stay long. (By the way, there are no facilities.)
Right out from the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua is what they call the Dragon's Teeth. The rocks on the coast shoot up like teeth coming from the ground. It's a sight to behold.
We stayed near Lahaina. Lahaina is an historic town where most of its popularity attributes to Front Street dating back to the 1820s. Front Street has an outdoor mall and cute stores and restaurants near the water. Right off of Front Street lives the country’s largest Banyan Tree. Make sure to try Hawaii’s famous shave ice. Cool Cat’s is a very cute diner I recommend. We happened to be in Maui over Halloween while Lahaina does their annual major celebration. With crowds of 20,000-30,000 people, everyone enjoys the parade, performances, activities, and the costume contest. We had other plans for the day, so we didn’t get to participate, but I did snatch me a Lahaina Halloween 2018 t-shirt.
If you are looking for a cool experience and want to spend money (going off the standard Young Broke brand), check out the Old Lahaina Luau. It is right on the water. I definitely recommend if you want to get a taste of Hawaii. It is $125 per adult. I went with my family in 2015 and we really enjoyed it. It’s unlimited drinks, a full dinner, their beautiful Hawaiian show and more. You get to watch the sunset over the water as you eat your fancy desserts.
Next is the Road to Hana! You must travel to Hana – not because of Hana but because of the journey. The road is known for being long and windy. There are many waterfalls and black sand beaches on the trip. There are shacks to buy fruit – try the star fruit! Some stops we recommend: Ho’okipa Lookout, Twin Falls Hike, Garden of Eden (cost money), Kaumahina State Wayside (good bathroom break), Honomanu rural beach, Halfway to Hana, Nahiku Marketplace, and Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach (gorgeous). There are other various falls you might want to stop at: Makapipi Falls, Hanawi Falls, Pua’a Ka’a Falls, Upper Waikani Falls, and Na’ili’ili-haele Waterfall.
My favorite part of the drive was just seeing the beauty. I would pick one or two beach and one or two waterfalls. You won’t have time to stop everywhere. It takes two hours to drive from Kahului to Hana without stops. Remember it’s a very slow, very windy drive. For those who get carsick (me), take it slow and look out the window and you should be okay. From what my parents tell me, the road used to be bumpy as well, creating an even worse drive. Now it’s nicely paved.
Last but not least is Haleakala! You must drive up to catch the sunrise or sunset from this 10,000-foot volcano. For one private vehicle it’s $25 for up to 3 days. For sunrise, you must make a reservation. The cost is $1.50 per car. Sunset doesn’t have a reservation from what I remember. Sunset can be better because that way you don’t have to wake up super super early. There are bathrooms and a couple of stops along the winding road up to the summit. Be sure to check the weather before coming! That will determine the view and type of sunset you get. You have to drive above the clouds, but you’ll most likely want to see some of the city below. Some clouds allow for a better sunset though. The road is extremely windy and long and affected me way more than the Road to Hana. I honestly felt awful, but it was worth it. We saw the gorgeous sunset and decided to stay and take pictures of the night sky. If you live in a city with an abundant amount of light population than this is something special.