Central Maui

‘Iao Valley State Park

Rating: In a nutshell: ‘Iao Valley is a treasure that is easily accessed by anyone. While most people don’t spend an extended period of time here, it is a must-see. Minuses: Official trails are minimal. Not a whole lot to do for most visitors after you’ve seen the main attraction. Sound-bite: “One of wettest places on earth.”   PARK IS …

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Baby Beach (N Shore)

Rating: In a nutshell: A dramatically beautiful beach, not just for kids. Protected lagoon for swimming. Minuses: Can get very windy in the afternoons. Sound-bite: “E hau`oli e nâ `ôpio o Hawai`i nei.” Note: There is also a beach called “Baby Beach” in Lahaina. DETAILS: Baby Beach is a beautiful beach and protected lagoon just before Paia on the North …

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Waihe’e Ridge Trail

Rating: In a nutshell: Hike into the clouds, with spectacular views. Minuses: Fairly steep 2.5 miles, can be slippery back down. Sound-bite: [Birds singing] This is a nice hike with spectacular views. The photos here don’t do the views full justice. Every direction you look, you’re treated with a different view – lush rainforest valley, Makamakaole Falls in the distance, …

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Kanaha Beach Park

Rating: In a nutshell: Kanaha is a very popular beach for locals and watersports enthusiasts. Beautiful, long, two-mile sandy beach with incredible views of the West Maui Mountains. Among the best kiteboarding and windsurfing on Planet Earth. Full facilities, camping, fishing, canoeing, surfing and family gatherings/picnicking. Minuses: Some loud airport sounds. Some less-than-desirable types may frequent here. Sound-bite: “”If all …

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Ma’alaea to Central Kihei Beaches

Rating: In a nutshell: South Kihei Road passes along scenic shoreline with long beaches. Minuses: It’s all relative! Sound-bite: [wind] Summary: North & South Kihei Road hugs the coastline from Ma’alaea through Kihei. The northern end of these beaches seem to have been heaven-made for launching canoes, walking, running and beachcombing. Wind here is often stronger in the afternoon, so …

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Spreckelsville Beach

Rating: In a nutshell: Two mile stretch of rough/raw beaches and tidepools. Frequently used by fishermen and windsurfers. Minuses: Directly in flight path of Kahului Airport. Attracts some “iffy-characters.” Sound-bite: [Roar of jet engines] DETAILS: Actually more than one beach, “Spreckelsville Beach” is the historic name for a two mile stretch of beaches from Baby Beach in Spreckelsville to Kanaha …

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Lahaina Pali Trail

Rating: In a nutshell: A rugged and challenging 5-10 mile hike with stunning panoramas of the central valley, ocean and neighbor islands. Minuses: If you want to do the whole trail you’ll need 2 cars or legs of steel. Sound-bite: [whipping winds] SUMMARY: This is a rugged and strenuous 5-mile trail from Maalaea to Ukumehame. This is an out-and-back hike …

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Kahului Airport (OGG)

In a nutshell: It is a small airport, likely refreshingly uncrowded, relatively quick & easy, and likely the only one you’ll need on Maui. Minuses: It is an airport. Sound-bite: “Please remove your shoes.” DETAILS: Kahului International Airport (OGG) is the main airport for Maui, and unless you have some significantly unusually compelling reason, it is where you should fly …

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Swinging Bridges (aka Waihe’e Valley Trail)

In a nutshell: CLOSED. Hike into windward West Maui Mountains across suspension bridges, small waterfalls and end at a pool. Minuses: CLOSED. Sound-bite:“I’m trespassing, but I paid the fee!?!” UPDATE: AS OF SEPTEMBER 2011 THIS HAS BEEN COMPLETELY CLOSED A strong razor-wire lined gate has been placed on the trail/access road. Sorry, it is actually a very sore spot among …

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