Monday, July 27, 2009

Best of Maui - Highlights

{Maui highlights in no particular order}

Road to Hana - A must-drive at least once in your life. Enjoy the lush views and take hike and a dip if you dare.

Wailea Beaches - Spend an afternoon under a rented cabana. My favorite spot (shhhh) is Polo Beach.

Drive through the cane fields from Kahului to Kihei. One of my favorite drives of all time. Can do this drive over and over and over. Super relaxing and beautiful.

Paia and Makawao - Drive to the upcountry and experience a laid back, artist type community. Love these two areas alot!

Maui Ocean Center
- This is where I saw my favorite sealife exhibit: Jellyfish tanks! So peaceful and mesmerizing to watch these 'fish' puff in and out as they glide around in water.

Hike down Haleakala - And check out the Silversword endangered species plants. If you need to use the restroom, go behind a rock (women: bring portable toilet tissue).
Take the old sugar cane Lahaina Train - I was driving somewhere, had to make a u-turn and saw this touristy but historical train. They have dinner train rides too! (website)

Walk around Laihaina on Front Street for tourist shops. Check out the Maui Jim (sunglasses) flagship store, the big historic 135+ year old banyon tree, and my favorite resturant on Maui, Lahaina Grill. Plus every Friday from 7-10 pm is Art Night in this city where you can stroll galleries and watch artists in action.

Sugar Mill Museum - very cool historic place just outside the airport (1o min or so).

Iao Valley - walk down the trails and enjoy the green covered pointed mountain view.
Shops at Wailea - Perhaps the best shopping on the island (upscale stores and other favorites like BCBG, BR, Coach, Tiffany's. Even a store called Serendipity.) The Queen Kaahumanu mall in Kahului is your typical midrange mall. The Maui Mall has a theater and the Guri Guri store for the island's best strawberry and orange ice treat.

Grand Wailea Spa - My favorite place for a spa treatment (Bacara in Santa Barbara is gorgeous and elegant)--but at this spa they offer you two complementary treatments: an apricot seed scrub down to start. and then enterance into various mud and milk baths, waterfall massage areas, steam rooms, and an upstairs lounge area and open air deck.

Drive past Mckena beach and past Oneule Beach and you'll come to a desolate lava area that is very cool in it's own way. The view is stunning because in an unexpected way. You can try to make a hike to the ocean but you need sturdy shoes and pants in case you fall and cut yourself on the sharp lava. Makes for great photos. Very black all around. And not your typical Maui beach scene. A hidden find! (Shhhh)
Lavender Farm - stroll the farm on a self guided walk, have informal tea outdoors, and shop the Lavender gift store. (directions)

Maui Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch - One of the few places on the Hawaiian islands that bottles their own wine, offers tours, and wine tasting. Good place to pick of a bottle for your travel collection. (directions)

Maui Film Festival - this June festival in Wailea hosts international and independent films paired with organic wine, cocktails and live music. There are smaller festivals and gatherings throughout the year. Check the site for details.

Places I'd like to visit:
Paper Airplane Museum - 2,000 models in the Kahului Mall complex (70 Kaahumanu Ave)

Aloha Shirt Museum -
Paia corner (know what it looks like, don't know the street names)

Whaler's Village Mall and Museum
- in Kanapaali. (Lahaina Cannery Mall is not the most interesting but a good enclosed respite area away from the heat and has a food court. I had Baile Vietnamese sandwiches on my last visit.)

Maui Onion Festival - at Whaler's Village every May. Free admission, food boths, games, beer gardens and a raw onion eating contest. That I've got to see!

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