My Favorite, Lesser Known, Maui Day Trip Destinations
When most people envision their trip to Maui, they think about sandy beaches, coconuts, and fancy restaurants, all at some fancy resort that they don’t need to leave in order to enjoy them all. That’s not to say that it’s uncommon for people to get out and go for a drive around the island to take in some sights, as is evidenced by the traffic on the road to Hana. In truth, they rarely get out of the car.
Nonetheless you can still have a great experience, and that’s exactly what some people are looking for, it’s just not the kind of experience that I look for. I try to break away from the crowds a little bit more and see parts of the Island that are off the beaten path. In a place like Maui, that is generally oversaturated with tourism, it can be hard to find those unique spots, but here are a few of my favorite places that are close enough to the main sights to have easy access, but where I think you might be able to find a little bit more breathing room.
Haleakala has been getting more and more crowded, and for a very good reason. It’s one of the most incredible easy access views in the world. There’s plenty of adventure to be had in the crater itself with overnight backpacking trips and easier day hikes, but I’ve yet to have the opportunity to really dive in and check out the crater from inside. The summit view is amazing, and I’ve gotten some of my favorite photos up there of the night sky, but the crowds can be a bit depressing. Just down the road though, is the Kalahaku Overlook. It’s much smaller, and rarely have I seen more than a few cars in the lot. I personally think it’s the best view in the park, and when you’re standing on the overlook you really are on the very edge of the crater. Now, I suggest skipping the main overlook and head straight to the Kalahaku Overlook for sunset.
The Many Waterfalls on the Road To Hana
Everyone has heard of the Seven Sacred Falls along the road to Hana, and they are magnificent, but they are also crowded. There are so many waterfalls along this beautiful stretch of coastline, and it’s easy enough to find a pullout on the side of the road where you can go for a short walk and get a waterfall all to yourself, or at least with minimal crowds. Be sure to bring along a small, light pack to carry anything you might need on these spur-of-the moment hikes like water or a change of shoes. If waterfalls are your main goal, I suggest driving from the Haiku side and going North around the coast rather than from the South. It’s a shorter drive and there are more waterfalls in fewer miles of driving.
This is another not-so-secret spot, but if you don’t know it’s there you’re missing out on one of the best trails in Maui. The most beautiful views are within the first mile, so it’s easy to make it a short trip, or you can hike much further along the coastline through Lava fields. There’s also great snorkeling along the drive just before reaching La Perouse Bay. Be sure your mask and fins are packed for after you get back from the sunny hike through the lava fields.
Spots to Grab a Coffee and a Snack
There are lots of places that sell Maui Coffee, but there’s one that stands out to me for having the best coffee I’ve ever had. Akamai Coffee is grown on the Island and roasted in Paia. They have a drive through and a cafe, and a really good vibe that helps my mood until the caffeine kicks in!
I hope some of my favorite hidden gems in Maui become favorites of your own. Where are you headed in your next trip? Let us know in the comments.
Ben Horton has based his career on being able to go places that other people either cannot, or don’t want to go. From thousands of feet underwater to the most remote regions in the arctic, Ben’s passion is to use photography as a means to inspire people to take stewardship of the planet. He aims to give people who may not be able to see something for themselves a vicarious experience through his images that will instill a passion in them they would never have otherwise.