Is there any place more perfect than Maui for a honeymoon or romantic getaway? This Hawaiian island has it all: gorgeous beaches, palm trees, tropical flowers, and a huge crater that’s perfect for hiking, biking, or enjoying magnificent sunsets. In addition to those unforgettable activities, romantics can also revel in Maui's great restaurants, fun shopping – and a culture that includes sensual hula dancing, mai tais, and outrigger canoes.
While no couple on a Maui honeymoon could run out of things to do, these are some things they shouldn’t miss. By Cynthia Blair.
1. Drive to Hana
Although maneuvering the twists and turns on the island’s craggy coast highway can be daunting, the views of the island’s north coast are worth a few squeals. Stop along the Hana Highway to see waterfalls, huge archways made of volcanic rock, and other natural wonders. Those who dread hairpin turns and one-lane bridges can hire a driver.
2. Ascend to Haleakala Crater
One of the things that make Maui unique is Haleakala crater, a 10,000-foot volcano that’s been dormant for more than 200 years. Many couples arise when it’s still dark to get to the top in time for sunrise, perhaps biking down the slope on a tour afterward. Those who aren’t early risers can still enjoy the sunset – or hike or ride horses across the crater.
3. Go Snorkeling
Take a peek at what’s under the sea.
There’s no better way to frolic with Maui’s colorful underwater residents than on an expedition to Molokini with Trilogy Ocean Adventures, owned and operated by the same family since the 1970s. At Molokini, snorkelers and scuba divers can view 400 species of fish, including colorful parrotfish, Hawaii’s own humuhumunukunukuapuaa, eerie eels, and perhaps even a three-foot whitetip reef shark.
The second stop, at “turtle town,” provides the chance to swim with serene Green Sea turtles while viewing even more fish.
4. Learn to Surf
There’s no better place to learn how to surf than where it all began. Instructors at the Maui Surf School work with newbies on techniques, timing, and of course safety. Two-hour lessons are taught in small groups to ensure individual attention and surfing gear is provided.
5. Sail on a Sunset Cruise
Maui is famous for its sunsets, and there’s nothing more romantic than watching one from a boat. The Pacific Whale Foundation’s Sunset Dinner Cruise sails out of Lahaina Harbor while a guitarist sings Hawaiian songs. Although the setting sun is the main attraction, couples can also enjoy a dinner that includes taro bread, Maui Cattle Company steaks, teriyaki chicken, cheesecake with lilikoi (passion fruit), and wine, beer, and tropical cocktails. Cocktails-only cruises are also an option.
6. Revel in Nature
Feel as if you’re the only people in the world as you tromp uphill on a dirt path along Honolua Ridge. Kapalua Adventures provides shuttle service to the Maunalei Arboretum, where a small covered pavilion with a picnic table awaits. First, enjoy a romantic lunch.
Then make the hour-long trek along the Honolua Ridge Trail, admiring the views of the deep canyon below and marveling at the banyan trees and other exotic plants. Hikers can take a second shorter hike along that highlights local botanicals before the shuttle bus brings them back to civilization.
7. Explore Unique Towns
Rent a car and check out the seaside town of Pa’ia, a funky town with a New Age flavor. A couple can pick up picnic ingredients at the Mana health food market. Another fun stop is the Aloha Shirt Museum, with both originals and reproductions of some of the island’s flashiest Hawaiian shirts. Makawao’s cowboy heritage lives on in its Dodge City-style wooden buildings, but any resemblance to the Wild West ends there. Today, Baldwin Avenue is lined with art galleries and upscale jewelry, clothing, and houseware boutiques.
8. Drop into a Spa
Maui has brought the art of pampering to new heights. Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea Hotel is often cited as one of the world’s top spas and features Eastern, Western, and Hawaiian treatments. The Western section includes five different baths, including mud, papaya enzyme, and seaweed; Swiss showers with 50 car wash-style jets; and cascade showers, in which 1,000 gallons of water rush down waterfall-style to soothe aching necks and shoulders.
9. Stuff Your Suitcase
In addition to fragrant leis, couples may want to stock up on splashy Hawaiian shirts and colorful sundresses, Macadamia nuts, Maui and Kona coffee, pineapples, coconut syrup, and jewelry ranging from elegant black Tahitian pearls to inexpensive shell necklaces.
The island’s shopping mecca is Lahaina, a seaside town once filled with rowdy whalers but today crowded with credit-card-toting tourists. Batik-lovers will be tempted to collect Blue Ginger’s clothing and accessories. And no visit to Maui would be complete without a stop at Hilo Hattie’s, a decades-old institution stuffed with resort wear, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and grass skirts.
10. Savor Local Products
Coffee aficionados will want to sample 100% Maui Coffee at Maui Grown Coffee, the island's largest grower of estate coffees, at the company store in Lahaina. At Ali'i Kula Lavender in Kula, a couple on a Maui honeymoon can inhale the unforgettable fragrance of fields of lavender. And visitors to the Surfing Goat Dairy can learn how 30 varieties of goat cheese are made and meet some of the 200 actual producers romping on this 42-acre farm in Kula.