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Okay, if you’re going to maui, you have to check out iao valley. It’s a pretty big state park that has lots of paths and walkways to explore, it’s really fun, plan 2-5 hours.
Brighton and Hove
Seconded. The Iao Valley is beautiful. It’s tempting to get there really early and get it all to yourselves, but take care as the car park can be a target for car break-ins. On the whole, Hawaii is safe, but one couple I saw had left backbacks on display in the car and paid the price.
you’d prolly like Lahaina, a harbor town yet friendly with little shops and nice beaches for beginning surfing.
I’ve been to Maui twice, but it was awhile ago. My most memorable thing was driving the raod to Hana. The views were absolutely amazing. When we drove it, the road was for 4 wheel drive vehicles only, so you either need a beat-up rental car or a jeep.
My second favorite memory was going to Haleakala. If you do this, it is worth getting up super super early and getting to the top for sunrise. Our drive to the top was literally through the clouds and the landscape at the volcano is like being on the moon. There are a lot of hiking trails if you are into that.
Have a great time!
Number one favorite memory was snorkeling Molokini (http://www.molokini.us/) Took a sailboat charter out there and spent the day on and in the water. Remember that if you take any of the package charter trips to different islands that the large boats equate to a lot of people. I don’t remember the company we used, but it was a smallish sailboat (not a catamaran!) that had about 5-6 couples on it in addition to the 3 or 4 crew. The larger charters can have dozens of people. Not too fun.
Second memory would be Haleakala as well. Just driving it was beautiful. If you have the gusto, do a trip where you are taken to the top, and you bike down the volcano. I wish I had done that.
Otherwise, get off the tourist path. Hana is a good suggestion, or just head around the northwest side(?) of the island. We stayed in Kihei, but a great day was had by heading past Kaanapali and to the more secluded beaches over there. You’ll have to park the car, and hike down some rough terrain here and there, but you’ll be by yourself with just the ocean. Great time.
I haven’t been to Maui yet, so I can only talk about Kaua’i.
If you like hiking, head over to Waimea Canyon. It’s a bit like a small version of the Grand Canyon with exotic foliage and animals (mostly birds); very beautiful. Of course, there are wild chickens EVERYWHERE in Kaua’i.
On the beach (between Lihue and Waimea, IIRC) is a wonderful seafood restaurant called The Beach House, highly recommended — but make reservations if you want beach-front seating.
Definitely go to Kilauea Point — I was there in late April, and missed the humpbacks by only a couple of weeks. You should be able to catch the last few humpacks before the head north, and Kilauea Point is a park worth visiting to begin with, and it’s also a favorite play area for humpbacks and bottlenose dolphins.
We took one of the helicopter tours around the island, it was well worth it. You can get views of Na Pali that are simply not possible any other way.
In case you’re particularly adventurous, there is a hiking trail that takes you out onto the Na Pali cliffs… it was raining when we went, so we didn’t go very far along it… but I would like to get back there someday with my 4×5 :)
I hope this helps… have a great trip and tell us about it when you get back!
My wife and I spent a week in Kauai, and here are my thoughts. ..Don’t waste your time trying to surf in Kauai. There are too many other things to see and do. You can learn to surf somewhere else.
In Kauai, definately take the drive on the south side of the island up to Waimea Canyon, and while you’re up there you’ve gotta see the Napali Coast overlook too.
Something else on the south side of the island is the National Botanical Gardens. My wife had a great time there. All kinds of crazy trees and plants and elegant gardens. Kipu falls is around there too.
Other than those things, try and spend most of your time on the north end of the island. We made the mistake of staying on the south side for most of our trip, but the really great scenery and beaches are all way up north.
I don’t know where you would get surf lessons, but my favorite beach on Maui is Makena and Little Makena (aka. Big Beach and Little Beach respectively) Big Beach is very nice and spread out, the locals hang out there and the surf is not too crazy. Little beach has bigger waves, but it’s also the Nude beach, if you are fine with the nudity then you will love Little beach: It’s a tiny cove at the end of Big beach. You have to know how to get there since there isn’t a marked path. The locals will tell you or just follow everyone over the hill. When you drive through Kihei to get to Makena there are some surf shops where you can rent boogie/surf boards. ***Also, a must is the taco stand on the way to Makena, the guy that owns it used to be the executive chef at one of the hotels and now he’s just a surfer dude with a taco stand. You have to eat the shrimp tacos and a smoothie. Best tacos ever!
If you want to watch the professionals surf then head the other direction past Lahaina to Paia. It’s a tiny, tiny surf town but it’s amazing to watch everyone surfing on the huge waves avoiding all the rocks. Also a great place to watch the sunset.
I agree with everyone else on the Haleakala and Molokini. The road to Hana is beautiful but you need a full day to get there and back (it’s windy and very dangerous to drive at night… the locals drive crazy on that road and you have cliffs, no lights, and one lane in many spots.)
The 7 sacred pools are also nice.
Hope that helps!
I’ve never been to Maui or Kauai. But I would be careful about surfing: right now is the peak season with the really huge, dangerous waves and coral can be pretty nasty if you fall. There are plenty of places to learn but, I suggest watching the surfers instead…they are completely insane. Other than that, make sure you eat some shave ice and spend a couple of days just driving around or hiking or something. I’m sure you will have plenty to do once you get there.
Hope I was some help!
As cheesy as it sounds, I would recommend an early morning mountain bike ride down Mt. Haleakala. You’ll start in the clouds and end at the sea. No pedaling required :).
You’ll drop from 10,023 feet to sea level. Sweet.
If you want to surf, I can certainly recommend the surf classes at Lahaina. HOWEVER, be SURE not to be as stupid as me (unless you want an unexpected experience that you will never forget): DON’T forget to put sunscreen on the back of your neck. Don’t let all the “chatter” about whether or not you are “goofyfoot” get you addled: make sure you put sunscreen on the back of your neck.
The thing is: if you surf, you must needs lie face down on the board and at the same time paddle and crane your neck to see the incoming waves. This can lead to neck strain, which in turn can lead to an unfortunate desire to relieve the same.
When all is said and done, however, when you emerge from what should be a satisfying escapade, do not…I repeat….do NOT ask your significant other to put BenGay on your neck.
Just don’t do it.
Get yourself a MaiTai instead. It will be a much more pleasant experience.
Just my two cents.
In An Ice Cave Among The Penguins
the absolute BEST place to eat in Kuai is at “The Shack” can’t say I remember where it is, but it had amazing burgers and the like. snorekling is a MUST too. sooooo amazing
Add bike riding down Mt. Haleakala to your list. You start at the top of the volcano (a bit chilly) and end a few hours later at the beach. It’s a great ride with plenty of great views. I think you bike 17 miles, however you don’t have to pedal!
Maui’s awesome. You can miss the morning bike-ride crowds at Haleakala if you go for the sunset instead. It looks exactly the same! You can hike around the crater a bit beforehand and settle in for the amazing scenery at sunset. Be sure to take a warm jacket — it gets really cold really fast up there.
More Maui must-dos: Olivine Pools, Warren & Annabelle’s magic show in Lahaina (it’s more like a comedy show — I have seriously never laughed so hard in my life), Road to Hana.
I highly recommend the book Maui Revealed…it’s the best.
Kauai is one of the most lovely spots on this plant and Maui is nice if you get away from the tourist areas I also recommend the hikes and other info but as far a surfing the waves in the winter can be very extreme in fact during the 2 years I lived on Oahu from 1985-87 there were about 20 days each winter when there closed the north shore beaches which they only did when the waves averaged over 50 feet and one day while I was there they were averaging over 80 feet so if you did want to try and get some lesions there I recommend the south shore of leeward side of the island which still get good waves but not the extreme waves
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