Maui On The Fly
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Maui On The Fly: The Ultimate Must-do List For Any Short Trip
Waterfalls around every corner, irresistible, eighty-degree water of the clearest blue, five distinct climate zones, each offering a unique experience,
from black sand beaches to volcanic mountains... this is Maui. With an open mind and a willingness to explore, you can escape the tourist traps and
overpriced poolside drinks to see the real Maui.
Day 1 The Road to Hana
There is a reason The Road to Hana is considered the number one attraction in Maui.
On a three-day trip to the island, it's essential to jump into this journey on day one.
The Hana Highway is a 64-mile long winding road through lush landscape. It was originally built as a travel route for sugar plantation workers but now offers patient pilgrims the opportunity to witness stunning jungle and ocean views.
Drive five minutes east of Paia to Ho'okipa Beach Park, a white sand beach with world-class windsurfing and big wave surfing. Park for free in the second parking lot, and walk down the stairs to the beach.
Masses of sea turtles and seals congregate on the east side of the beach, competing with the world-class athletes in the nearby waves for your attention.
Continue east towards Hana to stop at Twin Falls (Hana Hwy mile marker 2). Twin Falls is an easy trail for novice hikers, but bring tennis shoes, water, and a bathing suit for swimming holes.
Jumping off the waterfalls is common but not recommended. If you choose to jump, make sure to talk to a local for specific details on water depth, rocks, etc.
As you approach mile marker 7, a cluster of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees take the already surreal drive to the verge of dreamlike. The trees appear to be hand-painted in colors ranging from pastel to neon but occur naturally in the bark. These trees can only be witnessed in a handful of places in the world.
Continue your drive to the Halfway to Hana Stand (mile marker 17) for the best banana bread in the world. Make sure to save room for Coconut Glen's Ice Cream Stand (mile marker 27.5). The purple Volkswagen bus and overgrown garden lead the way to the frosty treats. All flavors are vegan and served in a coconut, but try the more unique flavors like chili chocolate and lilikoi if you're feeling adventurous.
Just before Hana, stop at Waianapanapa State Park, a black sand beach with a campground and picnic area. Walk to the east side for the ultimate photo op, and crawl through the lava caves that open up to a huge stand up lava tube overlooking the ocean.
Once in Hana, head to Nutcharee's Authentic Thai Food (5050 Uakea Rd) for a well-deserved dinner. Order the crispy opaka with green mango salad to satisfy your insatiable appetite after the hikes of day one. Then choose from a number of adorable bed and breakfasts with ocean views and affordable lodging.
Day 2 Surf and Sunsets
Day two is surf day. Head to fun-loving Kihei for breakfast at Three's Bar and Grill (1945 S Kihei Rd).
The next stop is Hawaiian Paddle Sports who will meet you for a private surf lesson at a break that is best for your level.
Then, drive 15 minutes south to Makena Landing for snorkeling. This is the place to swim with turtles. Don't be surprised to see entire families of turtles, along with Moray eels, Manta rays, and an eclectic mix of brightly colored coral fish. Hang out on the beach for front-row seats to one of the best spots to view the sunset in Maui. Exhausted from a day in the water and the sun, head back to Kihei to relax before a very early day three.
Day 3 Haleakalā and Upcountry
Wake up early to see sunrise at Haleakalā National Park. Leave Kihei no later than 3:30 a.m. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach the official entrance to the park right beyond mile marker 10 off Hwy 378.
There is no food or gas in the park, so make sure to bring snacks and a thermos of coffee, as well as warm clothes for the 20-degree pre-dawn temperatures. As you watch the sun rise over Haleakalā's 10,023 foot summit, its translation, "house of the sun", is immediately understood.
After sunrise, go to Hosmer Grove (mile marker 10.5), a little campground with beautiful hiking trails over the mountainside. Indulge in the scent of sandalwood, and keep an eye out for the Nene bird, the world's rarest goose.
After a short hike, head down the hill to the Surfing Goat Dairy farm (3651 Omaopio Rd) in Kula. Take the $12 tour to play with baby goats, feed them, milk them, or even just watch them relax on surfboards in the grass. Indulge in tasting assorted goat cheeses, and make sure to leave with a slice of Lilkoi cheesecake. For all the drinkers, stop at the Organic Ocean Vodka farm (4051 Omaopio Rd) and take the $10 tour which includes a souvenir tasting shot glass.
Continue exploring upcountry Maui with a stop in Makawao.
If you aren't in a hurry, get a little lost in upcountry. The scent of eucalyptus and the lavender-colored flowers of the Jacaranda tree are intoxicating. A drive through the lush, rolling hills and little farm towns is the perfect way to wind down after three days of excitement.
By now, you're enthused but exhausted, and it's time to go home... or maybe not. We have day 4 and 5 planned out if you decide it's too soon to leave Maui!