29 Chapters
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6. The Great Outdoors

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

At once forbidding and compelling, Haleakala (house of the sun) National Park is Maui’s most compelling natural attraction. More than 1.3 million people a year ascend the 10,023-foot-high (3,055m) mountain to peer into the crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano. The crater is large enough that the entire island of Manhattan would fit inside: 3,000-feet (914m) deep, 7½-miles (12km) long×2½-miles (4km) wide, and encompassing 19 square miles (49sq. km). But there’s more to do here than simply stare into a big black hole: Just going up the mountain is an experience in itself. The snaky road passes through big, puffy, cumulus clouds, climbing from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,048m) in just 37 miles (60km) to offer magnificent views of the isthmus of Maui, the West Maui Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. START: Kahului. Trip length: 37 miles (60km); about a 2-hour drive.

 

Travel Tips

Pukalani is the last town for water, food, and gas (there are no facilities beyond the ranger stations). On the way back down, put your car in low gear so you won’t destroy your brakes on the descent.

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4. The Best of Honolulu & Waikiki

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

Honolulu’s historic Chinatown is a mix of Asian cultures all packed into a small area where tangy spices rule the cuisine, open-air markets have kept out the minimalls, and acupuncture and herbal remedies have paved the way to good health. The jumble of streets bustles with residents and visitors from all over the world and a cacophony of sounds, from the high-pitched bleating of vendors in the market to the lyrical dialects of the retired men “talking story” over a game of mah-jongg. No trip to Honolulu is complete without a visit to this exotic, historic district. Plan at least 2 hours, or more if you love to browse. START: N. Hotel and Maunakea sts. Parking is scarce, so I recommend taking Bus 2, 19 or 42. If you insist on driving, take Ala Moana Blvd. and turn right on Smith St.; make a left on Beretania St. and a left again at Maunakea St. The city parking garage is on the Ewa (west) side of Maunakea St., between N. Hotel and N. King sts.

Hotel Street. During World War II, Hotel Street was synonymous with good times. Pool halls and beer parlors lined the blocks, and prostitutes were plentiful. Nowadays, the more nefarious establishments have been replaced with small shops, from art galleries to specialty boutiques. Wander up and down this street and then head to the intersection with Smith Street. On the Diamond Head (east) side of Smith, you’ll notice stones in the sidewalk; they were taken from the sandalwood ships, which came to Hawaii empty of cargo except for these stones, which were used as ballast on the trip over. Hotel St., btw. Maunakea & Bethel sts.

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2 SUGGESTED HAWAII ITINERARIES

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

2

Suggested Hawaii Itineraries

What should I do in Hawaii? This is the most common question that readers ask me. The purpose of this chapter is to give you my expert advice on the best things to see and do on each island and how to do them so you can spend more time “doing” and less time “getting there.”

First, here’s the best advice I can give you: Do not plan to see more than one island per week. With the exception of the ferry between Maui and Lanai, getting from one island to another is an all-day affair once you figure in packing, checking out of and into hotels, driving to and from airports, and dealing with rental cars, not to mention time actually spent at the airport and on the flight. Don’t waste a day of your vacation seeing our interisland air terminals.

Second, don’t max out your days. This is Hawaii—allow some time to do nothing but relax. You most likely will arrive jet-lagged, so it’s a good idea to ease into your vacation. In fact, exposure to sunlight can help reset your internal clock, so I include time at the beach on the first day of most of these itineraries.

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3. The Best Special-Interest Tours: Maui with Kids, Romantic Maui, Maui's Farmlands, Maui History & Culture

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub
Your itinerary is going to depend on the ages of your kids. The number-one rule of family travel is don’t plan too much, especially with young children, who will be fighting jet lag, trying to get adjusted to a new bed (and most likely new food), and may be hyped up to the point of exhaustion. The 7-day itinerary below is a guide to the various family-friendly activities available on Maui; I’d suggest staying in South Maui (Kihei or Wailea) for the first 2 nights, then moving to West Maui (Lahaina or Kaanapali) for the next 2 nights, and then to Hana for your last 2 nights. START: Kihei/Wailea. Trip length: 7 days and 295 miles (475km).   Travel Tip See chapter 10 for hotel recommendations and chapter 8 for detailed reviews of the restaurants mentioned in this chapter. Kihei/Wailea. In my experience, the first thing kids want to do is hit the water. A great, safe beach to start with is Wailea (Go to Page), fronting the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea resorts. If you have young kids who are not used to the waves, you might consider taking them to the swimming pool at your hotel. They’ll be happy playing in the water, and you won’t have to introduce them to ocean safety after that long plane ride. If this is your first day in Maui, you’ll probably want an early dinner, too, with food your kids are used to. My pick of family-friendly eateries in Kihei are either Shaka Sandwich & Pizza (Go to page) or Stella Blues Cafe (Go to Page). Get to bed early. See All Chapters
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4. The Best Regional & Town Tours: Lahaina, Road to Hana, Hana, Molokai Mule Ride

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

This is the fabled Maui you see on postcards: Jagged peaks, green valleys, crystal clear water, and sandy beaches. The stretch of coastline from Kapalua to the historic port of Lahaina is the island’s busiest resort area (with South Maui a close second). Expect a few mainland-style traffic jams. START: Olowalu. Trip length: 17 miles (27km).

 

Olowalu. Most visitors drive right past this tiny hamlet, 5 miles (8km) south of Lahaina. If you blink, you’ll miss the general store. Olowalu (many hills) was the scene of the 1790 massacre, when the Hawaiians stole a skiff from the USS Eleanora, and the captain of the ship retaliated by mowing them down with his cannons, killing 100 people and wounding many others. Stop at MM 14 for one of my favorite snorkeling spots—over a turtle-cleaning station about 150 to 225 feet (46–69m) out from shore—to see turtles lining up to have cleaner wrasses (small fish) pick parasites off their shells. Take at least 30 minutes to watch the turtles. Kids love it.

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