Putting together an itinerary for seeing all the best sights this vacation? Perhaps you've got a few hours to kill between business meetings, and want to know the best stuff to see. Either way, our 10Best list should have you covered. While there are always great things to experience, there are typically things you wish you would have passed on as well. Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm located in the Kula area is among our top picks for sightseeing in Maui.
Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm
Calm your nerves and relieve stress with an afternoon at Ali'i Kula Lavender Maui. Tour the gardens, enjoy a bit of lunch or tea, and take in panoramic views while you visit. Ali'i Kula Lavender grows lavender year-round and fashions a variety of products from the sweet-scented herb. Special themed tours vary in price and may feature culinary endeavors or craft projects. In the gift shop, you'll discover bath and body products, food items, and decorative, lavender-scented home accessories. Reservations for tours are mandatory. No fee is necessary to access the gift shop. (808-878-3004)
Road to Hana
This legendary drive is one of the best ways to see Maui, but it's not a ride in the park. Although the distance is only 52 miles, the circuitous route and less-than-optimal road conditions will take at least three hours to navigate. However, if you're attentive and dedicated, you'll be rewarded by some of the most remarkable vistas and gorgeous sights imaginable. Waterfalls, gardens, and lush vegetation will punctuate your journey, which is all about the ride rather than the destination. Don't be in a hurry when you go, and be willing to share the road. If you take a picnic lunch, a camera, and a sense of adventure, you can't go wrong.
Charles A. Lindbergh's Grave
Aviation buffs, in particular, will be intrigued by Lindbergh's simple grave, covered with smooth pebbles and located beside the quiet Palapala Ho'omau Church. The site isn't easy to find, but it's an apt resting place for a man who desired peace rather than the fanfare brought on by his pioneering crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. His marker gives only his name and dates (1902-1974), along with the first part of Psalm 139: "If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea..."
Wailua and Kanahualui Falls
When you visualize the islands, you're certain to picture a waterfall or two. As luck would have it, that's what you'll find at this stop along the Hana Highway. These two waterfalls are picture-perfect examples of everything you've imagined: streams tumbling from an overhead precipice, falling into a cool reservoir ringed with exotic vegetation. Whether you snap a few photos or sample the waters and commit the place to memory, you'll have at least a small portion of what you came for. Ah, the joys of island life.
Sugar Cane Train
For a nostalgic taste of old Hawaii, hop the train for this six-mile ride between Lahaina and Ka'anapali. In olden days, more than 30 steam engines transported sugar cane and plantation workers to various destinations throughout the island. Now, you can retrace their route and catch a glimpse of cultivated fields and spectacular island scenery. The conductor points out important attractions along the way, and kids absolutely swoon as they cruise the island in these open-air trains. (808-667-6851, 800-499-2307)
Many of the building materials used to construct this courthouse came from a palace being built by King Kamehameha III. Demolished by a storm in 1858, his intended home lay in ruins until permission was granted for the stones to be used for a town courthouse. In 1859, the structure was completed and served as a central location for the post office, courtroom, customs house, and offices for the sheriff and governor. Currently, the building is used for art exhibits, museum displays, and as a visitor center. (808-661-0970, 808-667-9193)
Pu'u 'Ula'ula Summit
A Maui tradition is watching the sun rise from this summit, which (at 10,023 feet) is the highest point on the island. Although it gets quite chilly at this elevation, you're sheltered in a glass-enclosed structure and can get a panoramic view of Maui and its neighboring islands. If you do decide to make the unforgettable journey, be aware that the sun rises before 7am and that you'll have to allow driving time before that. If you're not daunted by that prospect, bring warm clothes and be prepared for an awe-inspiring sight. It's one you won't soon forget. (808-572-4400)
Whalers Village Museum
Home to two museums, this center looks at the life of the whale and then at the life of those who made a career of hunting it. The first museum contains displays relating to a whale's life cycle and evolution, along with skeletons of the large mammals. Humpback whales, which migrate locally, are given special attention. The second museum looks at Hawaii's whaling past, including the alternately grueling and boring moments of whale hunting. Diaries, movies, ship's models, and artifacts demonstrate the lives of these sailors and dispel part of the romance of a life at sea. The museum also has a good selection of scrimshaw and other memorabilia. (808-661-5992)
You'll think you've seen trees until you come across this specimen! Indian in origin, it was planted in 1873 to commemorate Christianity's foothold in town. More than 125 years later, the banyan rises 50 feet, has added 12 subsidiary trunks to its main support, and encompasses more than 2/3 of an acre. It's an ideal place to escape the sun; once under it, you're likely to find craftspeople hawking their wares and artists selling their works.
Although this attraction is sometimes referred to as "Seven Sacred Pools," there are many more pools than that, and none of them were sacred to the ancients. Still, the basins and waterfalls are a stunning sight within the Haleakala National Park and are a terrific way to cool off after a long day on the Road to Hana. Do realize that their appeal depends on the local weather. If it's been raining hard, you might want to try them another day; on the other hand, that might be a good time since they're probably not going to be as crowded as you'd normally find them. You make the call.