What is Maui Known For? 22 Things You Didn’t Know

You may have seen photos of the sunny, sandy beaches of Maui and assumed that it’s just another tropical island with beautiful beaches.

But once you get to know the place better, you’ll realize there is much more to this Hawaiian island than what meets the eye.

While some of these facts might not be completely new to you, there are many other interesting facts about Maui that might not have crossed your mind before.

Here are 22 surprising things that Maui is best known for:

Quick Answer: What's Maui Known For?

Maui is best known for its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and volcanic landscape. Maui is also home to some of the best windsurfing in the world, as well as Haleakala National Park, which features hiking trails and stunning views of the crater.

Maui's culture is also a big draw for visitors, with its rich history and vibrant Polynesian influences.

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1. Haleakalā Volcano

Maui is home to the largest dormant volcano in the world, Haleakala. At 10,023 feet, it’s the highest point on the island and one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Although it hasn’t erupted for centuries, Haleakala is technically still an active volcano! Studies and recent activity predicts that this volcano will erupt again in the future.

Spanning more than 33,000 acres and full of incredible sights like barren volcanic landscapes, lush valleys, and waterfalls, Haleakala is also home to an incredible range of plant and animal life.

The summit area is blanketed in a thick layer of volcanic ash, which provides a unique habitat for native plants. Meanwhile, the slopes of the volcano are dotted with native forests and streams.

Sunrise tours are wildly popular; don’t miss out in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Haleakala Crater
Haleakala Volcano

2. Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of the most scenic drives in the world, a winding highway that hugs the coastline and provides breathtaking views of the ocean.

The journey is not for the faint of heart: with over 600 hairpin turns and 59 one-lane bridges, it’ll push your driving skills to the limit.

But the rewards are more than worth it! Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and explore, whether it’s hiking to a waterfall or taking a dip in a secluded pool.

A drive down the Road to Hana is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you return home.

3. Honokalani Black Sand Beach

There’s something alluring about a black sand beach, and Honokalani Beach is no exception. This secluded stretch of coastline is surrounded by high cliffs, giving it a dramatic and otherworldly feel.

The black sand itself is made up of tiny fragments of lava that erupted from Haleakala hundreds of years ago and were cooled by the ocean water.

It’s a stark contrast to the white sand beaches that are more common in Hawaii!

In addition to its distinctive appearance, the black sand also absorbs more heat than other types of sand – make sure you wear proper footwear if you plan to visit.

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4. Molokini Crater

Situated just 3 miles off the coast of Maui, Molokini Crater is a part of a marine reserve and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hawaii.

This crescent-shaped island is home to a variety of marine life and thanks to the coral reefs that line the crater walls, visibility is excellent and water conditions are calm. As a result, Molokini is ideal for both beginners and experienced divers.

Being a volcanic crater, the origins of Molokini are fascinating. The crater is thought to have formed over 230,000 years ago, when a volcanic eruption created a caldera that eventually filled with water.

Taking a snorkeling tour to Molokini is the best way to experience this natural wonder.

Molokini Crater in Maui SP
Molokini Crater in Maui

5. Golf Courses

If you’re looking for a place to perfect your golf game, Maui is the place for you. The island is home to 14 courses and each one offers a unique challenge. It’s paradise for those who love a good round of golf!

And with the island’s year-round sunshine and gentle breezes, it’s no wonder that Maui has become a mecca for golfers from all over the world.

Whether you’re looking to tee off at one of the championship courses or just enjoy a leisurely round with friends, Maui’s golf courses have something to offer everyone. So grab your clubs and hit the links!

6. Whale Watching

Every year from December to April, humpback whales migrate to the warm waters surrounding Maui to mate. These massive animals can grow up to 50 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons.

These whales can be spotted from the shore if you’re lucky, but whale-watching tours are popular and come with guaranteed sightings, providing an up-close look at these amazing animals.

Whether you’re watching from the shore or from a boat, whale watching is an unforgettable experience.

7. Windsurfing

While you may associate Hawaii with surfing, Maui is actually known as one of the best windsurfing destinations on Earth!

The island’s strong trade winds and consistent waves make it a playground for windsurfers of all levels, from beginners to pros. And with Maui’s world-famous beaches, there’s no shortage of stunning places to enjoy the sport.

Ho’okipa Beach Park is world-renowned for its windy conditions, which make it a mecca for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Every year, people from all over the globe come here to test their skills on the waves.

Maui Gold Pineapples
Maui Gold Pineapples

8. Maui Gold Pineapples

Maui is famous for many things – its stunning beaches, its lush rainforests, and of course, its delicious pineapples!

Maui Gold pineapples are a particularly special variety, prized for its sweetness and juiciness. These pineapples are grown in the rich volcanic soil of Maui’s Haleakala crater, and they receive plenty of sun and rain.

The resulting fruit is truly a delight, and it’s no wonder that Maui Gold pineapples are so sought-after.

If you’re lucky enough to visit Maui, be sure to savor a few of these succulent treats – join a pineapple tour for the best experience!

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9. Gorgeous Waterfalls

Maui is an island paradise, and one of its most popular attractions are the waterfalls. While there are many different types of waterfalls on the island, they all have one thing in common: they’re absolutely gorgeous.

From the small trickle of Twin Falls to the multi-tiered cascade of Wailua Falls, there’s no shortage of breathtaking beauty.

And if you’re lucky enough to visit during the rainy season, you might even be able to see some of the island’s hidden waterfalls that only flow after heavy rainfall.

10. Rich Cultural History

The island has been a popular destination for travelers from all over the world for centuries, and its colorful culture has been shaped by its diverse population.

From the early Polynesians who first settled on the island, to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants who arrived in the 1800s, to the Portuguese sugar cane workers, Maui has always been a melting pot of cultures.

Today, visitors can experience Maui’s rich culture through its music, dance, food, and art.

Whether it’s watching a hula performance, sampling local cuisine, or admiring traditional Hawaiian arts & crafts, there are endless ways to immerse in Maui’s unique culture and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s unique history and traditions.

andaz maui
Photo by Andaz Maui

11. Luxury Resorts

Maui is all about luxury and you can see it in every corner of the island. From super-luxurious resorts on the beach like the Andaz Resort in Wailea to beautiful residential stays, this Hawaiian island is truly a delight for the senses.

But be warned: once you’ve experienced the luxury of Maui, it’s hard to go back to anything less.

12. Stunning Landscape

With its towering mountains, verdant valleys, and pristine beaches, Maui is truly a sight to behold. But what makes the island’s landscape so unique?

One of the most striking features of Maui is its volcano, Haleakala. Rising more than 10,000 feet above sea level, Haleakala is the tallest mountain in the state of Hawaii.

The volcano’s summit is also one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, offering stunning views of the surrounding ocean and islands.

Another notable feature of Maui’s landscape is the Iao Valley. This verdant valley is home to a lush rainforest as well as the Iao Needle, a towering rock formation that looms over the valley floor.

And of course, no discussion of Maui’s landscape would be complete without mention of its sparkling beaches. With their powdery sand and turquoise waters, Maui’s beaches are truly paradise on earth.

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13. The Oldest Banyan Tree

The Lahaina Banyan Tree is a sight to behold. At over 60 feet tall and spanning an entire city block, this massive tree is the largest banyan tree in the United States.

And it’s not just its size that makes it impressive – the Lahaina Banyan Tree is also the oldest in the country!

Originally a gift from Indian missionaries, it was planted in 1873, and today it stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of the Hawaiian people.

The tree is also a popular spot for locals and visitors alike; the sprawling branches provide a cool oasis from the heat of the day.

The Lahaina Banyan Tree is simply an awe-inspiring sight, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in Maui.

Green sea turtles having a restful sleep on Hookipa beach maui
Green sea turtles having a restful sleep on Hookipa beach maui

14. Diverse Wildlife

Maui is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from the endangered Hawaiian monk seal to the playful dolphins that can often be seen swimming offshore.

The island is also home to a number of native birds, including the brightly-colored apapane and the nene (which was once endangered).

Even more creatures can be found in the waters around Maui, from turtles and eels to a variety of colorful tropical fish.

In short, Maui offers visitors the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife, both on land and in the sea. So whether you’re looking to spot a rare bird or simply enjoy the sight of dolphins at play, Maui is sure to disappoint.

15. Amazing Snorkeling & Diving

Maui is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world; the clear waters and vibrant corals make for an unforgettable experience. Beneath the surface of the water is a whole other world, teeming with vibrant coral reefs and exotic fish.

There are plenty of tour operators that can take you to the best spots, but there are also plenty of hidden gems that only the locals know about. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask around and see if you can find a secret spot or two!

Snorkeling and diving in Maui is an incredible experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.

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16. Beaches

Maui is an island paradise, and its beaches are a big part of what makes it so special. With over 30 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of room for everyone to find their perfect spot.

And the best part is that the beaches are never more than a short drive away. No matter if you’re staying in Kihei, Lahaina, or any other part of Maui, you’re never far from the sand and sun.

From secluded coves to popular swimmable beaches, get ready to sink your toes into golden sand and take a dip in its warm waters!

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach maui sp
Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach maui

17. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach

If you’re looking for a beach that’s truly off the beaten path, Kaihalulu Beach is the place for you. This secluded spot is located in a small bay on the east shore of Maui, and it’s well worth the effort to find.

The sand at Kaihalulu is red, due to the high iron content in the surrounding cliffs. It’s also extremely isolated – you won’t find any crowds here!

To get to this beach, you’ll need to take a fairly short but difficult hike. However, the effort is more than worth it when you arrive at this hidden gem. Just be sure to bring everything you need, as there are no facilities at the beach.

18. Hiking Trails

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you’ll be happy to know that Maui has numerous hiking trails for adventure seekers.

From easy coastal walks to multi-day treks through the wilderness that will test your endurance, you’ll find a trail to suit your needs.

And with stunning views of the ocean, mountains and forests, Maui’s hiking trails are sure to please even the most skeptical hiker.

19. 2nd Largest Island in Hawaii

Maui is the island that most closely resembles the postcards you see of Hawaii. It’s got it all: gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests, dramatic cliffs, and even a volcano.

The “Valley Isle,” as Maui is nicknamed, was formed by two volcanoes merging together over millions of years.

Maui is also the perfect size – big enough to never be bored, but small enough that you can easily get around effortlessly. And believe us, you’re going to want to spend as much time outdoors as possible on this island paradise.

From kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to hiking and biking, there’s no shortage of things to do on Maui.

Along Route 30 in Wailuku Hawaii on the island of Maui sp
Along Route 30 in Wailuku Hawaii on the island of Maui

20. Growing Art Scene

When it comes to art, Maui is bursting with creativity. It’s home to some of the most talented independent artists in the world who have perfected their craft by using traditional Hawaiian techniques such as wood carving and weaving.

Maui’s art scene is booming and the Four Seasons Resort Maui is at the forefront with their Artists of Maui program – a unique opportunity to meet local artists.

21. World-Class Restaurants

Maui is a foodie paradise, with world-class restaurants serving up everything from fresh seafood to savory steaks.

Whether you’re looking for casual fare or haute cuisine, Maui has something to suit your taste. While the prices may be high, the quality of the food is worth every penny!

22. Breathtaking Sunsets

As the day comes to an end, there’s nothing quite like watching the sun dip below the horizon and Maui sunsets are truly something to behold.

The colors of the sky seem to change by the minute, painting a beautiful scene that’s impossible to forget.

Whether you’re watching from the shoreline or from the top of a volcano, the views are always spectacular!