It’s official – America’s best island paradise is found right here in the Aloha State. With so many incredible islands to choose from, we’re not surprised at all. According to
Conde Nast Traveler, the best island in America is Maui, a magical paradise home to stunning beaches, rugged terrain, and the towering Mount Haleakala. Conde Nast refers to Maui as “the place to be for snorkelers, hikers, and food lovers alike,” and while these are excellent points: here are 17 reasons we agree that Maui is truly the best island in America – and maybe even the world.
1. Maui is home to countless world-class beaches…
Kapalua Bay, Hamoa Beach, Ho’okipa Beach, Waianapanapa State Park, and Ka’anapali Beach: What do these beaches have in common? They have all been recognized as some of the best beaches in America, and are all located right here on Maui.
2. ...including those in a wide variety of colors.
On Maui, you will not only find pristine white sand beaches, but beaches with black and red sand as well. Both located on the Hana Coast, Kaihalulu is one of the few red sand beaches in the world, and Waianapanapa is one of Hawaii’s few magical black sand beaches.
3. There’s little more iconic than a sunrise from the summit of Mount Haleakala.
Just 27 square miles short of equaling the entire size of Oahu, Mount Haleakala is a gentle giant – a dormant volcano that has inspired those who make the journey to its summit for centuries. Translating to "House of the Sun," Haleakala rises more than 10,000 feet above sea level, comprises 75 percent of Maui Island, and is home to desert-like conditions, rainforests, and everything in between. Oh, and you can’t forget about the iconic sunrises.
4. The Road to Hana is one of the most famous drives in America.
Maui’s Road to Hana is perhaps the most popular scenic drive on the island – and possibly all of Hawaii. This infamous 64.4-mile highway stretches from Kahului to Hana is popular not for the destination – Hana Town – but for the incredible journey it takes to get there. The highway passes over 59 bridges and features a whopping 620 turns.
5. You’ll find several charming small towns…
While all of Hawaii’s small towns are incredible, there’s something so much more charming about the quaint country towns and surfing meccas on Maui. There’s Makawao, Paia, Hana, Makena, Kula, and Wailuku - just to name a few.
6. ...and even cities like Lahaina.
Once a crazy whaling town and the original seat of Hawaiian royalty, Lahaina has since been tamed and is now full of restaurants, surf shops, boutiques, and galleries lining the city’s Front Street. Perfect for those who want to be on the water as much as possible, Lahaina Harbor is home to a variety of fishing charters, whale watch tour boats, snorkel tours, and sunset cruise options.
7. Where else will you experience bamboo bliss?
While you’ll find bamboo forests across the Hawaiian Islands, this bamboo forest, found along Haleakala National Park’s Pipiwai Trail, will make you feel as though you’ve instantly entered a fairytale.
8. There are magical farms everywhere...
From the stunning - and fragrant - Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm and the breathtaking Surfing Goat Dairy to Hana Ranch and the Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery, Maui is home to some of the best farms in the state. There’s also a
magical farm trail through upcountry Maui
you’re sure to fall in love with.
9. ...and restaurants serving up the most mouthwatering food.
Several of Maui’s top restaurants have been recognized as the best in the country, according to Yelp’s annual Top 100 Places To Eat In The U.S. Mama’s Fish House, Lahaina Grill, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, and Shark Pit Maui have all made the list in the last two years.
10. The surfing is epic.
There’s no sport more iconic in Hawaii than surfing - and nowhere better to catch some waves than on Maui, except maybe Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline or Waimea Bay.
11. Iao Valley State Park is a total dream.
Located just south of the West Maui Forest Reserve and near Wailuku is Iao Valley State Park, a lush, 4,000-acre valley with miles of hiking trails, stunning vistas, and the famous Iao Needle. The fern covered lava formation rising 1,200 feet from the valley’s floor was formed from millennia of erosion of the softer rock surrounding the peak, and is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture.
12. You’ll find countless enchanting waterfalls.
From the magical 400-foot Waimoku Falls located on the iconic Pipiwai Trail to the countless charming waterfalls you’ll find along the scenic Hana Highway, Maui is home to more incredible waterfalls than you’ll find anywhere. See:
the ultimate Maui waterfalls road trip.
13. The Garden of Eden is absolutely heavenly, as are Maui’s other gardens.
These lush botanical gardens are set on 26 acres full of trails, picnic spots, waterfalls and coastal views. Visitors should be sure not to miss these incredible grove of rainbow eucalyptus trees, which look as though they have materialized here from the pages of a storybook.
14. You can easily head to Molokini for an unforgettable adventure.
A small, uninhabited islet between the islands of Maui and Kaho’olawe, Molokini is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater. The islet has an approximate area of just 23 acres, and is a world-class snorkeling and scuba diving destination.
15. The sunsets are unreal.
Seriously, if you’ve ever seen a Maui sunset in person, you’ll understand.
16. There’s plenty of fascinating history and culture.
The Hawaiian Islands are home to plenty of fascinating history and native culture, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the island of Maui.
17. The Aloha spirit is like no other.
On Maui, you will find that the Aloha Spirit surrounds you everywhere you go - unlike Oahu, where you’ll struggle to feel the Aloha while sitting on H-1 going westbound at 5 p.m. on a weekday.