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Top 5 Things to do in Maui

Maui, often called the “Valley Isle,” features quaint towns, boutiques, beautiful beaches, artist communities and local hangouts that make this Hawaiian island truly special. It’s the second largest Hawaiian Island, spanning a bit more than 727 square miles. If you’re planning a vacation to Maui and only have seven days to do it, here’s what you can’t miss:

1. Road to Hana Tour

Winding through lush rainforest is the coastal Road to Hana, a must-see for any visit here. While you do indeed stop in Hana, you can go beyond it to Kipahulu which is in Haleakala National Park. Along the way, you’ll be treated to breath taking beaches, lava cliffs and waterfalls. Plan at least a whole day for this so you don’t miss out on anything. Get out and do some hiking to get to Oheo Gulch, often referred to as the seven sacred pools. For a two-and-a-half-hour hike, try the Pipiwai Trail winding through beautiful bamboo forest and ending at Waimoku Falls. Watch the surfers do their thing at Hookipa Beach Park on your way back.

2. Haleakala

This famous inactive volcano is the perfect spot for looking at the stars and watching the sun come up. As the highest point on Maui, you won’t believe the views. It’s best to do this on the first or second day of your trip, as you’ll still be thrown off time-wise from all the traveling and won’t be as averse to waking up early. The summit is more than 10,000 feet above sea level, so pack a sweatshirt to ward off the chill.

3. Iao Valley State Park

Highlighted by the famous velvet-green Iao Needle standing straight up more than 2,200 feet, Iao Valley State Park is certainly a must-see. Located in the center of Maui near Wailuku, you’ll need to plan at least a half hour to fully appreciate this lush landmark. Each car that comes in has to pay $5, but this cost is well worth the views you’ll get. To get to the needle, you’ll follow a series of paths that take you along beautiful gardens and streams. This is the place where King Kamehameha led a historic battle in 1790 to conquer Maui.

4. Molokini

This crescent-shaped crater is a frequent site on Maui, made famous for its half-shaped extinct volcano that acts as a bird and marine sanctuary. Go snorkeling or scuba diving here to see abundant marine life, coral reefs and excellent views from the boat as well. You may even be able to spot whales frolicking in the waves if you take a boat ride out there in winter. Early morning is best so you don’t hit choppy waters.

5. Whale Watching

Speaking of whales, take a whale watching excursion off the shore of Maui. The best months to see humpback whales in their natural habitat are between January and March, but it’s not uncommon to see them December through April as well. If you’re more of a landlubber, spot them from the shore at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei.

Consult with Hoku Hawaii Tours to find additional hot spots in Maui where you can spend the day.