Special rates require proof of eligibility at check-in.
You're one step closer to paradise...
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Home to one of Maui's only black-sand beaches and freshwater caves for adventurous swimmers to explore, this park is right on the ocean. It's a lovely spot to picnic, hike, or swim. To the left you'll find the volcanic-sand beach, picnic tables, and cave pools. To the right is an ancient trail that snakes along the ocean past blowholes, sea arches, and archaeological sites. The tide pools here turn red several times a year. Scientists say it's explained by the arrival of small shrimp, but legend claims the color represents the blood of Popoalaea, said to have been murdered in one of the caves by her husband, Chief Kakae. In either case, the dramatic landscape is bound to leave a lasting impression. www.hawaiistateparks.org. COST: Free.
It takes goats to make goat cheese, and they've got plenty of both at this 42-acre farm. Tours range from "casual" to "grand," and any of them delight kids as well as adults. If you have the time, the "Evening Chores and Milking Tour" is educational and fun. The owners make more than two dozen kinds of goat cheese, from the plain, creamy "Udderly Delicious" to more exotic varieties that include tropical ingredients. All are available in the dairy store, along with gift baskets and even goat-milk soaps. www.surfinggoatdairy.com. COST: Free; tours $10--$25. OPEN: Mon.--Sat. 9--5, Sun. 9--2.
About a mile from Alii Kula Lavender are 8 acres of salad greens, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and berries—all of it headed directly to restaurants in Lahaina. Owned and operated by the restaurateurs, more than 300 pounds of fresh Oo Farm produce ends up on diners' plates every week. Tours include an informational walk around the gorgeous grounds and a pick-your-own lunch, supervised by a chef. Reservations are necessary. www.oofarm.com. COST: $50. OPEN: Mon.--Thurs. 10:30--2.
When Maui's cash crop declined in importance, a group of visionaries opened an agricultural theme park on the site of this former sugarcane field. The 60-acre preserve offers a 30-minute tram ride with an informative narration covering the growing process and plant types. Children will enjoy such hands-on activities as coconut husking. Also here are an art gallery, a restaurant, and a store specializing in "Made in Maui" products. www.mauitropicalplantation.com. COST: Free; $15 for tram ride. OPEN: Daily 9--5.
You'll feel as though you're walking from the seashore down to the bottom of the reef at this aquarium, which focuses on creatures of the Pacific. Vibrant exhibits let you get close to turtles, rays, sharks, and the unusual creatures of the tide pools; allow two hours or so to explore it all. It's not an enormous facility, but it does provide an excellent (though pricey) introduction to the sea life that makes Hawaii special. The center is part of a complex of retail shops and restaurants overlooking the harbor. Enter from Honoapiilani Highway as it curves past Maalaea Harbor. www.mauioceancenter.com. COST: $25.50. OPEN: Sept.--June, daily 9--5; July and Aug., daily 9--6.
Hawaiian and Polynesian species are cultivated at this fascinating 7-acre garden, including Hawaiian bananas, local varieties of sweet potatoes and sugarcane, native poppies, hibiscus, and anapanapa, a plant that makes a natural shampoo when rubbed between your hands. Reserve ahead for the ethnobotany tours that are offered four times a week. Self-guided tour booklets cost $4. www.mnbg.org. COST: Free. OPEN: Mon.--Sat. 8--4.
Although it's commonly known as Big Beach, this part of the shoreline is correctly called Oneloa, meaning "long sand." That's exactly what it is—a huge stretch of heavenly golden powder without a house or hotel in sight. More than a decade ago, Maui citizens campaigned successfully to preserve this beloved beach from development. It's still wild, lacking in modern amenities (such as plumbing) but frequented by dolphins and turtles; sunsets are glorious. At the end of the beach farthest from Wailea, skim boarders catch air. On the opposite end rises the beautiful hill called Puu Olai, a perfect cinder cone. A climb over the steep rocks at this end leads to Little Beach, which, although technically illegal, is clothing-optional. On Sunday, it's a mecca for drummers and island gypsies. On any day of the week watch out for the mean shore break—those crisp, aquamarine waves are responsible for more than one broken arm. www.hawaiistateparks.org. COST: Free. OPEN: Weekdays 6--6.
This well-kept garden has assimilated itself naturally into its craggy 8-acre habitat. There are 2,500 species of plants and trees here including native koa (prized by woodworkers) and kukui (the state tree, a symbol of enlightenment). There is also a good selection of proteas, the flowering shrubs that have become a signature flower crop of Upcountry Maui. A flowing stream feeds into a koi pond; nene and ducks roam; and a paved pathway dotted with benches meanders throughout the grounds. www.kulabotanicalgarden.com. COST: $10. OPEN: Daily 9--4.
Picnic facilities dot the landscape of this county park, a memorial to Maui's cultural roots. Among the interesting displays are an early-Hawaiian hale (house), a New England-style saltbox, a Portuguese-style villa with gardens, and dwellings from such other cultures as China and the Philippines. Next door, the Hawaii Nature Center has excellent interactive exhibits and hikes easy enough for children.
Originally named Maui Central Park, Keopuolani Park got its name after schoolchildren argued before the county council that it be named for Hawaii's most revered queen, who was born near here and was forced to flee across the mountains before the arrival of Kamehameha the Great's army. This 101-acre park includes seven playing fields and a running path, gym, pool, skate park, and grass amphitheater. OPEN: Daily 7--7.