12 Ways to Relax and Revel in Maui’s Aloha Lifestyle

Hāmoa Beach, Hawaii 96713, USA
Mark Twain and James A. Michener both sang the praises of Hamoa Beach and its isolated beauty. Sandy, sheltered, and lined with palm trees, this remote stretch of shoreline on Maui’s eastern tip is arguably the island’s best beach. Nevertheless, Hamoa is often more empty than full thanks to tourists mistakenly rushing through the 64-mile Road to Hana. A better plan is to book a night in Hana so you can take your time on the highway, snacking on banana bread, bathing beneath waterfalls, and not having to bypass places like Hamoa, where you can lounge in the shade of sea cliffs and bodysurf on gentle waves.
1813 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, HI 96768, USA
If you’re looking for tropical tranquillity, bypass Maui’s buzzy resort enclaves and head away from the coast to the island’s laid-back Upcountry, where you’ll find Lumeria. At the 24-room wellness retreat, visitors can start the day with a guided sunrise meditation, then strengthen their yoga practice, learn to hula or surf, and go snorkeling off the North Shore. Spa treatments include Hawaiian massage and acupuncture as well as nontraditional therapies like crystal healing and shaman-led journeys. The schedule is flexible, so you’ll have plenty of time to learn about Hawaii’s paniolo (cowboy) culture or just take in the ocean views from your private lanai. Guest rooms feature art by local Maui artists, four-poster beds topped with organic linens, and stone-tile showers stocked with Aveda products, while the Wooden Crate restaurant prepares farm-to-table meals with nearly 200 types of fruits and vegetables that grow on the property.
While the Lahaina Visitors Center at the Old Lahaina Courthouse has maps you can use for a self-guided walking tour, visitors who want to dig a bit deeper can take a guided walking tour of Lahaina. Run by Maui Nei walking tours, this two-hour tour focuses largely on how Lahaina was the ancient capital of Hawaii. The tour does make a stop at the Baldwin House museum—which is the oldest structure in the town of Lahaina—but much of the tour is spent discussing the area of Mokuʽula. If you can’t seem to find Mokuʽula on your map, don’t worry, you aren’t doing anything wrong. Mokuʽula was the ancient name for an island which no longer exists. This island was in the middle of a pond named Loko O Mokuhinia, and it was home to members of Hawaiian royalty and the highest ranking of chiefs. The problem, however, was that Mokuʽula was abandoned, and the fresh water pond was filled with dirt. Today the area is an overgrown baseball field, and you would never know that this underwhelming spot was once the domain of royalty. The good news, however, is that archeologists have determined that Mokuʽula still exists—it’s simply buried beneath tons of dirt and is in need of excavation. Through the work of a group named Friends of Mokuʽula, and revenue garnered from walking tours, the hope is that the island will one day exist as it did during the days of royalty.
17 Kaka'alaneo Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
From 1862 to 1999, sugar was the dominant agricultural crop in Maui, blanketing the western slopes. At the peak of production for Pioneer Mill, over 5,000 acres of flowing green fields produced 45,000 tons of sugar. In order to move all the burned cane stalks between the fields and the mill for processing, railroad tracks spanned the plantation and were the primary mode of transport. In addition to hauling the large amounts of cane, it was also a way that plantation workers would move between work and their homes. As the 20th century wore on, however, tourism grew, sugar faded, and the railroads drifted into obscurity. Today, the island’s lone remaining railroad spans a six-mile stretch of track between Lahaina and Kaʽanapali. Historically used as a passenger train, the “Sugar Cane Train” is now an historical draw and an adventurous outing for children. This steam-driven locomotive still blows its whistle as it prepares to depart the station, and while development encroaches on the sides of the track, there’s still a section of wooden trestle that offers sweeping views of the ocean. More than just a fun afternoon for train enthusiasts and children, the Sugar Cane Train is a functional throwback to Maui’s plantation day past.
Waianapanapa State Park, Hana, HI 96713, USA
This lovely state park stretches along the rugged volcanic shoreline of western Maui, three miles from Hana. It’s best explored on the 2.2-mile hike that starts at the black-sand beach and follows the dramatic coast, passing lava tubes, rock arches, blowholes, and Polynesia’s largest heiau (an ancient Hawaiian temple) along the way. Avoid standing too close to the geysers as well as the lava benches near the ocean, which can crumble easily, and watch out for high surf. If you’re looking to cool down after your trek, take the loop trail to the park’s freshwater caves, where you can explore two separate chambers (the first tends to be clearer and more inviting).
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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