Six of My Favorite Things about Maui – A Kamaaina’s Perspective

There are many things to love about this little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So much so that it’s been voted “Best Island in the World” for the past 20 years by Conde Nast readers. Having grown up here and later returning as an adult, my perspective might be a little different from the typical visitor’s. My favorite things make up the essence of this place.  They are constant,  essential parts of my life here.  If you’re looking for restaurant recommendations or secret hiking trails you may be disappointed in this post. But you might be pleasantly surprised.

Those bright, bold “Technicolor” days.

Usually it’s after we’ve had a good rain or breeze to take away the dust. The sky is crystal-clear and everything seems aglow.

tech spreck

Spreckelsville Beach

A view of Haleakala through the cane fields.

haleakapa kalapaiwi gap

Looking at Haleakala from Haiku.

A beautiful day in Haiku.

A beautiful day in Haiku.

Lanai

Looking toward Lanai from Kula.

Scents of Maui

Depending on where you are on Maui, there’s a specific smell. In parts of Kahului it’s the breeze off the Harbor – the ocean, seaweed, salt.  In Haiku it’s the pastures of sweet molasses grass warmed in the sun.  In Lahaina all I smell are flowers – the plumeria in trees overhead and sweet pikake in low bushes.

Plumeria Flowers

Plumeria Flowers

The North Shore

It feels like the edge of the world to me. Looking out to sea here there is nothing between Maui and the islands off the Alaskan Peninsula.  The water can be rough, the weather windy, but it adds to the natural, wild charm of this place.  This coastline extends from Kahului Harbor East along Kanaha beach, past Sprecklesville, Paia, Kuau, Haiku, Pauwela and through Peahi.  Surfers, boogie boarders, kite boarders, swimmers, divers and windsurfers all frolic in this ocean playground.  Ho’okipa, the world-renown windsurfing beach, is on the North Shore.

Looking North

Looking North

Ho'okipa Beach Park.

Ho’okipa Beach Park.

Our “Multi-Culturalness”

You don’t have to look for it. It’s just there. In the grocery store. At a party. At work. At the gym. At home.  While we respect and celebrate other cultures, there’s no need for any made-up “Diversity Day.”  It just happens naturally. Yep, that Filipino guy will kick your butt in the Japanese game of Hanafuda; this Japanese lady makes the best Hawaiian lau lau I’ve ever had;  and the Hawaiian guy who plays amazing Puerto Rican music.  It just happens that way. And I love it.

Maui "peeps."

Maui “peeps.”

Country Life

As an island, it’s easy to only think of the beach and ocean views when you think of Maui. But Maui has a very active farming and ranching community as well.  There has been a resurgence in small farms lately, and horseback activities of all kinds are popular. Rodeos, trail rides, and did you know the Maui Polo Club is the oldest polo club this side of the Mississippi?

Riding at Huelo

Riding at Huelo

At the annual 4th of July Rodeo

4th of July Rodeo at Oskie Rice Arena

polo

Watching Polo

sunset post

And finally…

The Best Beach in the World

Sorry, I can’t tell you were it is. But you may enjoy this picture :)

Beach

Of course this is not an exhaustive list. I could go on about the variety of food, fresh fish, amazing sunsets, cultural events, snorkeling, whale watching….there is a lot to love about Maui.   Do we have any favorite things in common? What are some of yours?