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Photos courtesy of Maui Visitors Bureau
Maui is often thought of as a single island, but there is also Maui County, one of four in the state of Hawaii. Maui County includes Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and two other offshore islands; together, they make up Maui Nui.
Maui can be divided into three parts. West Maui features the famous beaches of Kaanapali and Kapalua. Central Maui has the historic whaling town of Lahaina, the Iao Valley, and the biggest town and airport at Kahului. And South Maui is blessed with the beach resorts of Kihei, Wailea, and Makena, and the magnificent Haleakala National Park. The major off shore islands include Molokai, Lanai, and Molokini,
Beaches are primarily found on the west coast, but on the east side of South Maui, around the coast of Haleakala, the famous panoramic road to Hana travels through small towns and near waterfalls, old churches, and beaches, before arriving at this lovely town. This is an all-day drive, but some people opt to fly in to the Hotel Hana Maui for extreme quiet and relaxation.
Haleakala National Park features the towering Haleakala Crater, the highest volcanic crater in the world. It is best to go in the very early morning, before the air warms and the fog closes off the view.
Golf on Maui is excellent and abundant, with multiple courses at every major resort center. Lahaina has one of the few remaining luaus which still feature native Hawaiian entertainment, rather than the more familiar Polynesian reviews. And upcountry Maui is full of small towns with artists’ studios, craft shops, and restaurants with wonderful views.
Many ecotourism activities are available, including mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, helicopter and jeep excursions, snorkeling, diving, and windsurfing. Children in particular enjoy the historic Lahaina-Kaanapali and Pacific steam railroad, the “Sugar Cane Train”.
Not To Be Missed – On the slopes of Haleakala, the Maui Downhill bicycle ride is famous, the first of its kind, and frequently copied. And on Molokai, Kalaupapa National Historic Park’s Molokai Mule Ride commemorates the Belgian priest, Father Damien, who ministered to people with Hansen’s Disease in the 19th century.