Maui is heaven on Earth. A true paradise. There are so many incredible places in Maui that you could spend weeks exploring and still not see everything you wanted to.
From the lush mountainous I’ao Valley to vibrant black sand beaches, the landscapes will be so diverse that you won’t believe you’re on the same island.
After a decade of living on Maui, I put together a list of the top ten unbelievable places that exist in Maui.
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Black Sand Beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park
Your mouth will become agape as soon as you see the vibrant black sand surrounded by bright green vegetation from above. This is by far one of the most beautiful places in Maui.
A paved set of stairs will lead you down to the beach. Experiencing this beach at sunrise is an amazing experience and why I recommend staying over night in Hana.
TRAVEL TIP: As of March 2021 reservations in advance are now required to enter Wai’anapanapa State Park. Book a few weeks prior to visiting. Same day reservations are not permitted. You can reserve your spot here.
Bamboo Forest on the Pipiwai Trail
The Pipiwai Trail is located in East Maui inside the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park about 20 minutes past Hana town. The popular 4 mile round trip trail takes you past waterfalls and eventually through a majestic bamboo forest.
Tall bamboo trees will tower on each side of you as you traverse the raised platform. The cracking and swaying of the bamboo puts your mind in a peaceful state.
The bamboo forest is easily one of my favorite places in Maui. This is the second best part about the Pipiwai Trail as the best part brings me to my next place, Waimoku Falls.
Waimoku Falls is picture perfect Hawaii. A towering 400 foot waterfall that can only be reached by hiking 2 miles through the rainforest or by helicopter.
The trail is located inside the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park which is a remote area in East Maui. To get here you must drive the road to Hana or the backside to Hana.
Start early as this trail is a fan favorite of tourists and locals alike.
TRAVEL TIP: If you would prefer to follow along to an audio tour as you drive the road to Hana, I recommend the Shaka Guide! The Shaka guide tours are great for independent explorers who want the freedom to explore on their own terms, but like to learn about the spots they’re visiting.
The tours use GPS to offer turn-by-turn directions and audio narration with stories and music. This will leave you with a deeper understanding and connection to Hawaii.
Red Sand Beach
You can’t get more exotic than a red sand beach and mother Maui has one. I mean just to get to the beach you have to scale a cliff!
If you stay in Hana, the elegant Hana Hotel is next door to this beautiful beach. Catch sunrise, you won’t regret it. There were lots of sand flies when I was here last so use bug spray and bring something to sit on.
Lahaina Banyan Tree
The iconic Banyan Tree spans a whole block in the charming town of Lahaina. In the mornings and on weekends don’t be surprised to see a local artist playing music or artists selling art and jewelry.
This is a perfect place to enjoy a shaved ice and escape the heat. There are plenty of benches underneath the massive tree for you to sit on and take in the views.
Black rock can be found on the end of a long golden sand beach. This is a great place to go for a snorkel and more often than not you’ll see sea turtles swimming around.
This is fun spot to test out your adventurous side and go cliff jumping. You’ll wish every day could be spent like this!
Big beach got its name for a reason its over a half mile long of white sand and turquoise waters.
On a calm day this is a perfect beach to snorkel and go for a swim. When surf’s up use caution as the shore break is no joke and I’ve seen many tourists under estimate the wave.
On the north end of the beach you are able to climb up the lava rock for some incredible views of Big Beach below. If you continue to climb down the other side of the lava rock you’ll get to Baby Beach.
Warning this is a nude beach! If you happen to be here on a Sunday night you can participate in the naked drum circle and face painting!
Above the Clouds at Haleakala Crater
Haleakala is the volcano on Maui. If you venture up to the summit at 10,023 feet you will be so high that you’re above the clouds. A truly magical moment.
A popular way to experience being above the clouds is for sunrise or sunset. Sunrise requires reservations and going for sunset doesn’t. You can read a full article of everything to know about the summit of Haleakala here.
In central Maui is where you’ll find I’ao Valley State Monument. The lush, green mountains tower around you as you make the short walk up the stairs to “the Needle”.
There are some trails that you can walk around and learn about the local Hawaiian flora. There’s even a spot for swimming in the river. This is a great place to visit that the whole family can enjoy.
Maui under the Ocean
If you think Maui is beautiful from land you should see her from a different perspective, under the sea. There are plenty of beaches that offer impeccable snorkeling.
Don’t have a snorkel? Don’t worry there are several shops that will rent you a mask so you can witness life under water. A few of my favorite snorkel spots are black rock, honolua bay, and Kam III.
If you’re looking for more of a thrill sign up for some scuba lessons. Just don’t forget to wear reef safe sunscreen as preserving the reef and Mother Nature is something we should all do and it will impact the next seven generations.