Maui: A pocket guide

Sunrise from the peak of Haleakala on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

This Pacific Ocean outpost is famous for its surf—but there is plenty to explore for those less keen to ride a wave. The island is Hawaii’s second largest (1,884 square kilometers), with a beautiful and diverse natural environment that makes it appealing to cyclists, hikers, windsurfers, and motorists. Humpback whales make the coastline of Maui their home from November through May, breaching and diving as they enjoy the warm Hawaiian waters following an arduous 3,500-mile migration from Alaska.

Windsurfing Mecca

Paia is a windsurfing capital and a gateway to the Haleakala volcano, its peak more than 10,000 feet above sea level—the panoramic views from here are astounding. Early risers have the privilege of seeing sunrise from the top, but stargazing is equally stunning. Three miles offshore sits the Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic cone teeming with marine life.

Exploring the Island’s Nature

Boat trips to Molokini can be arranged to include breakfast, lunch, whale-watching, and snorkeling. After the waves, the second most popular reason to visit Maui is the road to Hana. The 104-kilometer scenic drive winds through the volcanic landscape, revealing bamboo forests, plunging waterfalls, and black-sand beaches. (Hire a car to enjoy the sights at your leisure.)

What to Do & Where to Stay in Lahaina

The historic port of Lahaina is home to the Old Courthouse and Lahaina Heritage Museum and the largest banyan tree in the U.S.; its streets are lined with art galleries, jewelry shops, and seafood restaurants. In addition to the high-end hotels that line the beaches of Maui, an array of private villas, situated high in the hills and in hidden coves, present exceptional views of the island’s dramatic coast and rugged volcanic landscape.