WHY WE LOVE IT
- World-class beaches everywhere you turn.
- Haleakala, a.k.a. the House of the Sun, a volcano that lives up to its name with every sunrise.
- Thousands of humpback whales slashing through the winter waters.
- A crowded field of celebrity chefs trying their best to outdo one another with super-fresh local ingredients.
- Countless waterfalls, hundreds of switchbacks, and four dozen one-lane bridges on the long and winding road to Hana.
- A sybaritic spectrum of accommodations, from beach-resort pleasure palaces to cozy bed-and-breakfast love nests.
- The world’s best windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions, and surf that ain’t bad, either—from knee-high beginners’ breaks to the 40-plus-foot faces of Jaws.
WHEN TO GO
Maui is a year-round destination, with visitor numbers peaking around U.S. holidays, especially between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Oddly enough, most people come during Maui’s wet season, though wet is relative—there are still plenty of good beach days. Still, April through September is optimal for sunshine. Shop for deals mid-September to mid-November. To see the humpbacks, come from mid-December to mid-March. Winter is the big-wave season on the north shore. Summer is when gentler surf hits the south shore.
WHAT TO PACK
Smart casual works just about anywhere, from the ritziest resorts to the finest dining rooms—think silky Hawaiian prints rather than jacket and tie. Pack rain gear for hikes off the sometimes drizzly Hana Highway. Bring a warm blanket and lots of layers for catching the sunrise up on Haleakala. For the beach, it’s whatever you look best in—plus a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen, because nobody looks good in a sunburn.
WHAT TO BUY
Lavender honey, soaps, and body butter from the farm store at Ali'i Kula Lavender; hand-carved bowls, hand-blown glass, and fine art from Maui Hands; goat-cheese truffles from Surfing Goat Dairy; pineapple and passion-fruit wine from Tedeschi Vineyards; something fun and flirty from Enchantress Boutique.
For information, contact the Maui Visitors Bureau (1727 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku; 800-525-MAUI; visitmaui.com).
GETTING MARRIED ON MAUI
Most of the resort hotels have wedding coordinators who will be happy to handle all your arrangements from afar. If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer (and you want to cut costs), the Maui Wedding Association (mauiweddingassociation.com) has a directory of vendors handling everything from bridal gowns to videography. Wedding requirements are minimal: Present a marriage-license application, government-issued photo ID and $60 in cash to a licensed marriage agent (along with a divorce decree or death certificate if you’re divorced or widowed) and you’re in. Download applications at hawaii.gov/health. You can locate a licensed marriage agent on Maui by calling 808-984-8210.