Travelers in the US and around the world look forward to TripAdvisor’s annual Travelers’ Choice awards for two main reasons – to see how their favorites fared and to find their next vacation destination. For 2017, the island of Maui made it to two of the popular travel sites’ viewer awards: #2 Top Destination in the United Sates and #1 Top Island in the World.
Maui is no stranger to these accolades, consistently making it to similar lists year after year. And it’s easy to see why. This beautiful island paradise is a place like no other, offering breathtaking attractions that make it truly one of a kind.
Here’s a look at some of these attractions.
- Haleakala National Park
Famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, this national treasure was considered sacred ground by its earliest residents. It is home to the dormant Haleakala Volcano, and is divided into two parts: the summit and the Kipahulu coastal district.
Many legends are associated with the Haleakala summit and crater, most of which involve the ancient god, Maui. Accessible through an extremely winding road, the summit is often visited by tourists who come here to camp or simply to be enthralled by the majestic crater and the famed sunrise and sunset. Two hiking trails lead from the summit to the crater.
The summit is separated from the Kipahulu coastal district by the Kipahulu Valley Biological Reserve, which is closed to the public. The coastal district features more than 24 natural pools where visitors can swim. Hiking trails are also found in the area.
- The beaches
Hawaii is famous for its white sand beaches and Maui offers those in abundance. In addition to these, the island boasts red and black sand beaches, as well. There are around 80 beaches in Maui – more than any other island in Hawaii – encompassing 120 miles of shoreline. In addition to the variety of sand, Maui beaches also feature different wave conditions – from gentle ripples to towering surf – which make them ideal for a wide array of water activities.
- The Road to Hana
Very few road trips are as popular or as picturesque as the Road to Hana trip. Also known as Hana Highway, the 65-mile road winds down the northeast coast of Maui and features breathtaking vistas of mountains, rainforests, waterfalls, and hidden beaches. The day-long drive will take you through a narrow road with plenty of curves and one-lane bridges.
- Whale watching
During the winter, the waters around Maui, particularly the channels between Maui and the islands of Molokai and Lanai, become home to as many as 10,000 humpback whales. They come to the area from December to April to mate or give birth, making this the best time for a whale-watching adventure.
- Molokini Crater
This small, crescent moon-shaped island off Maui’s southwestern coast is known for its fantastic snorkeling and diving spots teeming with colorful corals, a wide variety of fish, sea turtles, and other sea animals. The rich assortment of marine life and the calm, clear waters protected by the surrounding island make this place a haven for scuba divers and marine life lovers.