Although experiences like filling up your gas tank, going on a Target run and taking out the garbage often come with a beautiful view when living or traveling on Maui, we’ll spare you the everyday beauty in favor of more offbeat – and much less boring – experiences with even more enchanting views of The Valley Isle.
While natural beauty in Hawaii tends to go together like tequila in Mexico, we’re here to give you some insight into otherworldly experiences which, in our opinion, are must-dos for anyone looking to experience the raw, underrated views of paradise.
Maui No Ka Oi: Local Experiences with the Best View
Take a Dip at ‘Ohe’o Gulch
Recently reopened after a nearly two year closure, Maui’s ‘Ohe’o Gulch – also referred to as the Pools of ‘Ohe’o and Seven Sacred Pools – is once again open for swimming to the public. Located 12 miles past Hana Town (at mile marker #42, to be exact) in Maui’s remote Kipahulu region of Haleakala National Park, taking a well deserved mid-road trip dip in these cascading, greenish-blue pools is a right of passage for any discerning traveler.
For those willing to go a little further, the 4-mile roundtrip hike along Pipiwai Trail, located just across the street, offers incredible views of banyan trees, a dramatic bamboo forest and several waterfalls, including the 200 foot Waimoku Falls that signals the end of the trail.
Bring $25 for the per-car entry fee (or your receipt from the summit of Haleakala if you visited within the previous three days), as well as your waterproof camera, bug spray, plenty of drinking water and SPF, and hit this gorgeous Maui landmark for a day of leisurely swimming or an extended overnight camping excursion.
Visit Hawaii’s Largest Biofuel Crop Project
Go back in time and browse through photos taken on Maui in the spring and summer of 2017, and you’ll likely find a slew of above-average looking people flocking through fields of blooming sunflowers. Less than two years later, Maui’s stunning sunflower fields remain Hawaii’s largest biofuel crop project – and the only biofuel farming operation running on 100% renewable fuel – thanks to the forward-thinking folks at Pacific Biodiesel.
Beyond its status as one of the island’s most ‘Insta-worthy’ hotspots, the sunflower fields produce beneficial products such as honey, vegetable cooking oil for restaurants, massage oils for high end spas, all-natural beauty products, ingredients for reef-safe sunscreen and more. Located on a 115 acre site in Maui’s central valley on grounds formerly used for sugarcane, this activity makes for an easy and highly photogenic stop on your next Maui excursion.
Video courtesy of Maui Guide.
Partake in a Taste of Upcountry Tour
One of the most overlooked areas on Maui, Upcountry never seems to get the attention it deserves. If you ask around, however, that seems to be quite alright with the locals, and almost everyone else in the know.
While most travelers bypass the various charming towns, boutique shops, art galleries, produce stands, farms and various distilleries of Upcountry in favor of beelining it straight to the summit of Haleakala Volcano in time for sunrise, those who prefer to sleep past 3am will be thrilled to learn they can explore the natural beauty – and admire the breathtaking views – of Upcountry during our Taste of Upcountry Tour every Monday.
Beginning with a 10am hand-roasted coffee tasting at Mill House Roasting Co., the tour also includes an artisanal cheese tasting and farm-to-table lunch at the 42-acre Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, exclusive wine tasting in MauiWine’s historic King’s Cottage, a stop at the ultra-scenic Kula Country Farms stand, a premium spirit distillery tour on the slopes of Haleakala at Hali’imaile Distilling Company, and last but not least, a return to The Mill House for pupus and handcrafted cocktails with a direct view of the West Maui Mountains and tropical plantation property. As far as covering your bases in the Gorgeous Views of Maui Department, this tour is a steal.
Spend the Night at Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area
Located at 6,200 feet, a visit to Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area is a surprising – and yet highly rewarding – new adventure for seasoned Maui travelers, as well as newbies alike.
Located in the fog belt of Kula Forest Reserve, this area includes a single cabin available for rent – $60 for residents, or $90 for non-residents – which must be reserved beforehand by phone through the Maui State Parks Department. Additionally, campsites are available for those who don’t mind the cold weather, a (relatively) small price to pay for the insane scenery and lack of crowds you’ll be rewarded with for making the journey. Hiking trails in the area offer panoramic views of Maui’s neighbor islands of Kaho’olawe, Lana’i and even Moloka’i, and incredible sunset views to boot.
Be aware that 4WD vehicles are recommended, and visitors should wear bright colors to alert hunters in the area of their presence. Pack plenty of layers and warm clothing, as temperatures in winter months can get below freezing, as well as drinking water, food and any camping equipment you may require.
Snorkel with Sea Turtles
As opposed to Australia’s elusive platypus population or Costa Rica’s hard-to-spot sloths, Maui’s sea turtle community is alive and well. While Hawaii Green Sea Turtles – called honu in Hawaiian – are the most commonly seen, lucky swimmers, snorkelers, surfers, kayakers, SUPers and scuba divers may encounter others like the hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley species.
If you plan to spend any time in or near the ocean while on Maui, turtle sightings are almost always guaranteed. Remember to stay at least 15 feet away from turtles at all times, and never attempt to feed, ride or touch them, or block their swimming path to the surface. Stay calm and swim with your arms near your sides, and they may just decide to swim in your direction.
Some of the best places to spot these graceful creatures are at south Maui’s famed ‘Turtle Town,’ as well as Olowalu’s Coral Gardens and Honolua Bay in calmer months.
Photos courtesy of Peter Rimkus.
We hope you added a few things to your must-see Maui list, and we look forward to taking you on a tour of Maui’s best craft distilleries, brewery, winery, farms, coffee roasters and farm-to-table foodie stops on your next trip! Mahalo for reading, and if you want to add something to the list, get in touch and we’d love to add it on. Happy New Year from the Maui Craft Tours team!