Best Things to Do on Maui: Visit La Perouse Bay

La Perouse Bay or Keoneʻoʻio Bay is a spectacular snorkeling location for experienced divers and snorkelers. You will need strength (or a good tour boat guide) to make it past the choppy waves and silty shoreline to its well-stocked reefs. La Perouse Bay can be windy and prone to big surf in the summer.

South of Wailea, past some spectacular lava fields, at the end of Makena Alanui Road, you will find a parking lot and access to the Bay. The best time to go snorkeling is in the early morning, before the trade winds pick up.

If snorkeling is not your thing, La Perouse Bay offers a great opportunity to hikers. Start early, bring lots of water, and keep in mind there is no shade. A good hat, SPF sunscreen and other sun protection is a must. You may see pods of Spinner Dolphins, and in season, Humpback Whales. Haleakala's last eruption in the late 1700’s created the nearby lava fields. The lava fields nearby are filled with a’a or lava rocks, but keep in mind some of the area is sacred and/or part of a reserve. Please obey all posted signs, and do not remove any rocks, shellfish, sea shells, or coral from the area. If you do decide to hike, bring some good footgear as the a’a rocks are sharp, and do not hike across the lava fields. There is a list of restricted areas/items on this TripAdvisor page.

Why “La Perouse Bay”?

In 1778, English explorer Captain James Cook visited the Hawaiian Islands, but he did not land on Maui. French naval officer and explorer Jean-Francois de Galaup Comte de Laperouse came to Maui seven years later, and the Bay was re-named in his honor.

 

Best Things to do on Maui: The Hana Road Trip & Helicopter Aerial Tour

The Hana Road Trip & Helicopter Aerial Tour

The Hana Road Trip & Helicopter Aerial Tour

Soar over the unmatched scenery of the Hana region on a 45-minute helicopter flight. The Hana Road Trip & Helicopter Aerial Tour includes all the features of our Hana Road Trip Tour, paired with an exhilarating aerial tour. The Hana Road Trip & Helicopter Aerial Tour allows you more time to explore Hana by eliminating 3 hours of drive time.

Your custom luxury transports will arrive at your resort, taking you for breakfast at Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon in the historic town of Pa’ia, a family-oriented restaurant and bar that honors community, friendship, music, and good times. Visit Ho'okipa Beach Park on Maui's famed north shore. An overlook offers great views of surfers, and if you are lucky, you may even spot sea turtles resting on the warm sands of this incredible Maui beach. Ho’okipa Beach is a favorite turtle resting ground, and Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (Honu) show up here to rest and sunbathe most afternoons and evenings. Take a brief drive through Haiku, home to Maui's historic pineapple industry. The tour makes multiple other stops along the Hana Highway. Highlights include Ke’anae Peninsula and the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa. Some believe the Hawaiians of the ancient past used the freshwater of the caves at Wai'anapanapa for preparing food or washing fabric made from local the kapa plant, and many believe the mineral-rich waters of these caves are good for the skin. Take pictures at Hana Bay and explore Hana Town Center before you enjoy a gourmet lunch at Travaasa Hana Hotel's open air dining room. Relax and enjoy an hour after lunch at Hamoa Beach, Kahanu Gardens or the Hana Cultural Center before you board the helicopter out of Hana Airport around 3:00 pm for an exhilarating aerial tour of Maui’s North Shore. We will be landing at the central Kahului airport around 3:45pm. Pricing includes transfer from the Kahului Heliport to the resort. Hana Road Trip & Helicopter Aerial Tour is also available in reverse, with a helicopter flight into Hana, and luxury ground transportation tour back to your resort.

Hana Road Trip And Helicopter Aerial Tour: 7am - 4pm (9 hr)

Best Things to do in Maui: Snorkelling at Honolua Bay

Honu - Hawaiian Green Sea Turlte

Honu - Hawaiian Green Sea Turlte

Honolua Bay (“two harbors”) is a large, highly popular sheltered bay where you can hike, swim, snorkel, surf and dive. There is not much beach sand, it’s mostly rocky (and the rocks can be slippery), but the snorkeling and diving are highly rated by many Maui guides.  

The high, rocky cliffs on both sides protect the Bay from harsh trade winds. You can get a good view of the bay from the roadway on the cliffs to scope out your best spots from above. You may even spot larger Sea Turtles from this vantage point.

The waters here are part of the Honolua-Mokule’ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District, so no fishing is allowed. Bring a camera instead and bring home pictures of giant Sea Turtles, Cornetfish, Yellowstripe Goatfish, Butterflyfish, Damsel Fish, Hawkfish, Moorish Idol, Parrotfish, Puffer, Stripebelly, Eels, Snapper, Bluestripe, Surgeonfish, Sea Urchin, Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, and more. Most of the coral is on the right-hand side of the bay, and that is where you are likely to find the most fish as well. You may need to swim out a bit from shore, as you will find clearer waters the further you get from shore.

If you don’t have your own snorkeling or underwater camera equipment, check out Boss Frog’s rentals. They have a location nearby the Napili Bay Plaza, in Napili.  

Be careful not to leave any open valuables if you drive here yourself. There are reports of break-ins here. There are porta-potties roadside, but no lifeguards, bathrooms or showers near the water. The rock can be pretty rough in spots, beach-safe footwear is recommended. Please do not take any marine life, rocks, coral or sea shells from this location as t is a conservation area.

Best Things to Do on Maui: Take in a Flower Festival!

Busy Bee Collecting Pollen

Busy Bee Collecting Pollen

On April 22 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, The 24th Annual Ha`iku Ho’olaule’a and Flower Festival will be held at the Haiku Elementary School in Haiku, Maui, to benefit Haiku Elementary School, Haiku Community Association and Boys & Girls Club Maui-Haiku. This event is free of charge, and has lots to offer the whole family.

Maui families and visitors are invited to spend the day, bring their lawn chairs and join the Haiku community to watch live entertainment, enjoy culinary delights from local restaurants and the Haiku PTA, floral design contest, a Haiku historical display, the famous Haiku bake sale, participate in one of the largest silent auctions on Maui, floral design and lei making contests, a Haiku historical display, local growers, and much more.

Haʻikū Hoʻolaulea & Flower Festival’s community celebration brings together Maui’s incredibly talented performers. There will be live music all day on the main stage, with special performances on the Keiki Stage.  Restaurants and food trucks will be coming from across Maui to serve popular dishes. Maui’s largest silent auction brings you great deals on a wide variety of items and gift certificates. The Ha`iku Ho’olaule’a offers made-on-Maui arts and crafts from our local artisans. The Keiki Zone has child-friendly activities, carnival games, face-painting, pony rides and more. The community living tent, hosted by the Haiku Community Association, lets you meet community groups and local businesses who are active on Maui.

http://haikuhoolaulea.org/

Best Things to do on Maui: Visit Kama’ole Beach

Sailing off a rocky section on one of the  Kama'ole Beaches

Sailing off a rocky section on one of the  Kama'ole Beaches

Actually, there are three beautiful white-sand Kama’ole Beaches in warm and sunny Kihei. Situated in the rain shadow of the Haleakala volcano, the area is one of the sunniest places in sunny Maui.

From north to south, the Kam 1, Kam 2 and Kam 3 beach parks are located in South Kihei. Kam I, also known as the Charley Young Beach, is the largest beach of the three Kams. The ocean bottom is sandy, but watch for the drop-off! You can find yourself over your head not too far off-shore. Kam 2 is a wide sandy beach near the Maui Banyan resort. There is a bit of a drop-off here too. After big storms sometimes, though, the sand can get washed out to see temporarily. When the beach is scoured in this way, it leaves behind piles of sea-washed volcanic rock. If you want to have a barbecue, picnic or have a small gathering, Kam 3 has a playground and a large grassy park area, where people often hold super “slip and slide” gatherings. Kam 3 tends to be crowded on the weekends and on holidays.   

There are picnic tables, restrooms, outdoor showers and a free parking lot or adjacent free street parking in the parks beside each beach. Lots of facilities are available nearby, including the Dolphin Plaza and Rainbow Mall shopping centers, across the street from Kam 1 and Kam 2. At Boss Frogs in the Dolphin Plaza, you can rent water sports equipment, snorkel gear and cameras.

Best Things to do on Maui: Chocolate Tasting Tours

Aloha in a Chocolate Bar

Hana Gold Plantation was founded in 1978 by Robert and Francine Frost to deliver a superior gourmet chocolate crafted from natural Hawaiian ingredients. Hana Gold Cacao Plantation chocolate is crafted on site, using only the finest Hawaiian ingredients. Hana Gold chocolates are handcrafted from all-natural Hawaiian ingredients using environmentally conscious processes.  

Hana Gold chocolate can be found at Down to Earth and Sweet Paradise Chocolate in Wailea.

http://hanagoldmaui.com/

Maui Chocolate Tours

At a small farm in Huelo, near the beginning of the Road to Hana, there is a small farm that grows both vanilla and cacao. Cacao trees can produce up to 50 pods per year, and each pod has enough cocoa beans inside to make about one bar of chocolate. Vanilla flowers must be pollinated in the early morning by hand. Once pollinated, the plant forms long clusters of pods or beans. The pods take months to mature and they must then be cured to make vanilla beans.

The Maui Chocolate Tour takes approximately two hours. You will see cacao trees, learn how they grow, are harvested and processed, and join in the process of grinding roasted cacao beans into edible chocolate. Included in the tour is a guided tasting where you can sample unique chocolates, including rare Hawaiian varieties.

http://www.mauichocolatetour.com/

Best Things to do on Maui: Go Bird Watching

There are hundreds of different birds that call Maui home, and thousands of bird lovers flock to the island every year to catch a glimpse of them.

At Ching’s Pond, located at Mile Marker 16.9 on the Road to Hana, a small bridge crosses the Palauhulu stream, one of the top locations for bird watching in the State of Hawaii. Beneath the bridge two trails lead you to a series of photogenic pools. Some of the trails can be challenging here, and on the weekends there are lots of visitors.

The Kula Botanical Gardens has a well-stocked Bird Sanctuary featuring endangered native Nēnē Geese, and the Aviary’s Doves and Lovebirds. Annual passes, self-guided tours, guided group tours, and school tours are available. The Kula Botanical Garden is open to the public seven days a week from 9am to 4pm. A self-guided visit will take 45 minutes or longer.

You can also see the endangered Hawaiian Nene goose at the preserve and nursery established on the Piiholo Ranch. While enjoying a Maui horseback riding adventure, you can experience being a part of a working cattle ranch, learning about the many native plants and indigenous Hawaiian trees that line the property, and watching out for colorful forest birds.

Many seabirds make their homes on the slopes of the Molokini Crater, including Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Bulwers Petrels, Brown Boobies and you may spot a Great Frigate or “Iwa” bird, whose wing span can reach 7 feet across.

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a 691-acre bird sanctuary that attracts over 6,000 birdwatchers, artists, photographers, and environmental activists every year.  Native waterbirds live here year-round, and migratory birds swoop in to visit from August to April. The Refuge is home to 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and migratory ducks. The ʻaukuʻu (black-crowned night heron), the endangered āeʻo (Hawaiian stilt) and ʻalae kea (Hawaiian coot) are common sights inside the Refuge.

Best Things To Do on Maui: Visit the Keālia Pond

Taking a stroll down the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk

Taking a stroll down the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a 691-acre bird sanctuary that attracts over 6,000 birdwatchers, artists, photographers, and environmental activists every year.  Native waterbirds live here year-round, and migratory birds swoop in to visit from August to April. The Refuge is home to 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and migratory ducks. The ʻaukuʻu (black-crowned night heron), the endangered āeʻo (Hawaiian stilt) and ʻalae kea (Hawaiian coot) are common sights inside the Refuge.

Most birders and hikers start from the boardwalk and headquarters off Mokulele Hwy (Hwy 311) at the 6-mile marker, approximately a mile north of the town of Kihei. There is a small welcome center available to visitors. Numerous signs along the boardwalk explain the wildlife, and help visitors name the different types of birds they have seen.

The Refuge is open to the public Mondays to Fridays (excluding Federal holidays), 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. but the Refuge does conduct regular bird censuses on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. On these days, walking trails do not open until after 9:00 a.m.

The Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Stilt, and Hawaiian Gallinule are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and by the state of Hawaii. Some areas may be closed to the public during Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt nesting seasons (usually the late winter through the spring). We recommend you call ahead at (808) 875-1582 to confirm the Refuge will be open.
Kealia means ‘salt-encrusted place’. In the winter rainy season, Kealia Pond can grow to 400 acres. In summer it shrinks to half that size, creating a glittering rim of salt. 

The Refuge does not provide much shade, so come prepared with sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of water. The sun and wind are not as strong in the morning. Bring a towel and swimsuit if you want to take a swim in the ocean at Sugar Beach (Ma'alaea Bay) after hiking the boardwalk. Please note, dogs and drones are not allowed in the Refuge.

Best Things To Do on Maui: Visit or Volunteer at the Mahele Farm

Mahele Farm - Banana Bunches

Mahele Farm - Banana Bunches

The Mahele Farm is Hāna's Community Farm. "Mahele" means to share, divide, or apportion equally, and the mission statement of this community farm is “to operate a productive community farm that serves as an educational, sustainable, and healthy food resource for the isolated Hāna, Maui region”.

The farm started in 2010 as a collaboration between Kahanu Garden (National Tropical Botanical Garden), Hāna School's Agricultural program, and Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke.

Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke is Hāna School's building and construction program that helps at-risk youth grow real life skills and job training. Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke means, "in working, one learns”. Mahele Farm uses this concept during farm work, community-building and educational activities. The Mahele Farm seeks to improve the well-being of the community, perpetuate a self-sufficient rural lifestyle, and put healthy, delicious food on Maui’s tables

In order to foster a fun, social environment for the community to participate in and learn about farming on Maui, the Farm is open to volunteers two days a week (Tuesdays and Fridays). We highly recommend that you contact Mahele Farm prior to visiting at mahele.farm@gmail.com to make arrangements.

On Tuesdays, the farm is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Produce is distributed on an honor system. You take out what you put in. A delicious potluck-style farm lunch is provided for volunteers. If you plan on coming around lunch, please bring a contribution towards lunch. All ages and gardening experience levels are welcome, and you should plan for staying at least two hours.

On Fridays, the farm is open from 8:00 am - 12:00 noon. Volunteers should arrive before 10:00am to be part of the harvest and work project after. Simple and fun for all ages.

Mahele Farm grows fruits, roots, and vegetables year-round, depending on the season and rotation of growing plots. Crops include: kalo (taro), ʻuala (sweet potato), cassava (tapioca), Asian greens (kai choi, wong bok, tatsoi, mizuna, pac choi, hon sai tai), lettuce, carrot, beets, green onion, kale, chard, cilantro, basil, laupele (tongan spinach), pumpkin, pipinola, chili pepper, beans (bush, long, four corner, pole), papaya, maiʻa (banana), radish, eggplant, katuk, ginger, turmeric, tomato, poha berry, kalamungay (moringa), dill, oregano, mamaki, lemongrass, arugula, and much more.
 

Best Things to Do On Maui: Hike the Bamboo Forest along the Pipiwai Trail

Bamboo Forest, Pipiwai Trail, Maui

Bamboo Forest, Pipiwai Trail, Maui

The Pipiwai Trail The hike is off the Road to Hana (Highway 360) between mile markers 6 and 7. It meanders through spectacular Hawaiian scenery, past the 200 foot Makahiku Falls with the "Infinity Pool" at the top, several step-falls, and culminates at the base of the tremendous 400-foot Waimoku Falls. The trails are long but are easily accessible from the parking lot, and traverse a wide range of vistas and scenic stops.  The first half-mile of the trail is steep in places, but still navigable for most casual hikers. Along the path, well-maintained boardwalks wind through many diverse scenes, though a bamboo forest, and past a gigantic banyan tree. Stone steps have been added by the National Parks Services, well-maintained boardwalks cover muddy sections, trails and bridges take you along and across the Pipiwai Stream. The 200-foot high Falls at Makahiku are closer to the parking lot. More active hikers can take on the challenge of the full path while others relax here. 

The Bamboo Forest is about one mile’s hike along the trail and carries on for about a half a mile. It can be a long and challenging hike, but well worth the effort. When the wind is strong enough you will hear an amazing sound as the air moves through the forest. Don’t forget to point your camera straight up for a spectacular shot to share with your friends back home. Plan for between 4-6 hours if you want to hike the complete trail.

Safety: Please heed all warning signs and instructions from your tour guide. Guides will keep an eye out for danger, the boardwalks are well-maintained, but keep in mind that flash-flooding and rock falls occur in this area. Rock-falls, cliff and bridge jumping have resulted in injuries and deaths, and many natural dangers can occur without warning. Do not stand under the Falls at Makahiku or Waimoku Falls, as rocks, branches and other debris sometimes make their way into the water. You could risk serious injury if even a small rock hits you from 400 feet above. If you do take the full hike, it is best to start early in the morning. If you take on the full hike, bring a change of clothes, plenty of water, mosquito repellant, water-safe shoes, sunscreen, a waterproof bag for your call phone/camera, and a water-proof bag for wet clothes and muddy shoes. It may also be a good idea to bring along some food if you are planning the full hike.