Tourists are always asking me what they should see while there are here on the island. Well, that always depends on what your interests are. There are the popular attractions such as a whale-watching trip, snorkel cruise to Molokini, and road trip to Hana, but here are some of the more less-publicized experiences that the veteran visitors have probably tried on their third or fourth time back.
Red Sand Beach: An exceptional small beach in Hana made of red cinders. Park on Uakea Street and walk diagonally across the lawn just before the Sea Ranch Cottages. There is a trail on the right side leading down to the beach. Be careful to wear the right footing because the trail is narrow on the side of a hill, and the loose cinders can make it difficult to walk. You do not want to fall down the side of the hill. You can get some beautiful pictures of the cove from the top, but swimming at this beach is often rough so you might like to just look and sunbathe.
Nahiku Road: A little past mile marker 25 on your way to Hana is Nahiku Road (which may not be marked). You will want to turn left on this road toward the ocean. It’s a narrow bumpy road with a few homes here and there, but at the bottom you will be astonished to see a huge Banyan tree, the ocean pounding against the jagged rocks, and an incredible shoreline view back up the coast. On the left you will find a small path that leads to a charming waterfall and pool right next to the ocean. You will think you have died and gone to heaven. Again, be careful, as the surf is very rough and rocks can be slippery. George Harrison used to live down this road but his house was only visible by helicopter.
D.T. Fleming Arboretum: On the last Saturday of each month there are free tours of the D.T. Fleming Arboretum, which is out past Tedeschi Winery. Call 808-572-1097 to make reservations because you cannot visit the arboretum on your own. It is Hawaii’s oldest and largest arboretum focusing on native Hawaiian plants. They have some rare Hawaiian trees and flowers you will not see anywhere else. This beautiful arboretum has won accolades throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Waihee Ridge: On the green tropical side of the West Maui Mountains, this 2.5 mile trail takes you to a breathtaking view that looks deep into the mountain range, unless the summit is covered with clouds and mist, as this is the rainy part of the island. Drive north on Highway 340 until you get to Mendes Ranch. Shortly after, you will turn left at the sign for Boy Scout Camp and head up the road until you hit the good sized parking lot. This trail is open year-round, but you seldom see anyone hiking it.
Maui Surfboard Fence Off Highway 365 and 400 on Kaupakalua Road, you can’t miss the colorful and unique surfboard fence. It is the world’s longest surfboard fence and made from old used boards. This is a great place for a fun picture. This surfboard fence was a roadblock in one of the Amazing Races episodes (surprisingly a local cab driver didn’t even know where the fence was on show).
Petroglyphs in Lahaina: Early Hawaiians would carve figures into smooth lava rock, and if you drive out to Lahaina, you can find samples of these petroglyphs. Driving towards Lahaina, park right past the Olowalu General Store and walk up toward the mountains on a dirt road (which can be very hot in the summer so bring some water). It’s about a l/4 mile walk and the petroglyphs will be on your right. This is considered a historical sight, so you should view the petroglyphs from the ground.
Shark’s Teeth Makalua-puna Point in Kapalua was created from a lava flow long ago. The fierce winds caused the lava to harden in an upward jagged formation, making the lava look like shark’s teeth. If you are headed toward Kapalua, turn left on Office Road. Hike along the edge of the golf course to reach the site.
Maui Swap Meet Every Saturday morning for the past 28 years the Maui Swap Meet has been a tradition. It is located behind the Maui College with ample parking for everyone. It still costs only 50 cents to enter, and you’ll find fresh fruit, flowers, ethnic foods, t-shirts, souvenirs and beautiful crafts made on Maui. The Swap Meet opens at 7 am and closes at 1 pm.
Laulima Farms Not far past Seven Sacred Pools in Hana, stop at this organic farm and peddle a stationary bicycle which generates the electricity to operate a blender. You will work hard to to make your own fresh fruit smoothie, but it is an experience you will never forget!
Jaws This big wave spot is kept secret by locals, but has grown in popularity over the last 10 years due to surf movies and competitions. If you are able to track down the location, be sure to have a truck or 4-wheel drive because access to Jaws is through a pineapple field full of deep ruts and you could bottom out if you are in a car. There really isn’t much to see unless the waves are big and the surfers are out (which happens about 5 days a year). Waves can reach 70 feet and the surfers are towed into the waves via jetskis. It’s quite a hike down to the rocky beach area….it’s best to stay on top the cliff and look down.
[Photo Source: Flickr user Courtney Nash]