You could, of course, go lie on the beach or pick up 18 holes with the guys all vacation long. You can do that on Maui , sure. But that would be boring, and you aren’t boring.
This is your summer and this is Maui . Here’s what you’ll do instead.
Hang with the Honchos, or just watch. Back in the 1800s, Hawaiians on Maui learned to become paniolos, Hawaiian cowboys trained to work the wild cattle. Go ahead and ride with the cowpokes at Piiholo Ranch in upcountry Maui in the cooler plains of the interior. Stay for the 4th of July and watch the paniolos bull-ride, calf-rope, and barrel-race at the traditional holiday rodeo. Take a chair and a cool drink to the parade and watch the lei-decked horses dance in the streets. Let the kids play Bill Pickett and Annie Oakley on pony rides while you tuck into lots of chuck wagon fare (with a luau feel). Yipee kai yai ay, Maui!
You’re a Star, Baby
Exploding stars! Black holes sucking matter into their unholy centers! Active galaxies spinning like tops through a seemingly endless universe! Stardust! Vacuums! Multiverses! It’s all being hashed over on Maui. The islands perfect climate and dry air means its an unparalleled location for world-class astronomers to see the stars. At the observatory near the summit of Haleakala, the Maikalani Centermeaning what we learn from the starspresents free talks open to the public that feature top scientists from all over the world. Listen to astronomers and physicists get their geek on for you in conversations about the cosmos, life on other planets, business opportunities on Mars, and the birth of everything. Feeling lucky? Get there by April 14 and watch the lunar eclipse through professional telescopes in the company of folks who know what you’re looking at.
The kids cannot do another day at the beach and you’re burned redder than a well-slapped cheek. Have your concierge hire you a driver or rent you an SUV, chuck everyone in and then head for the hills. Specifically, get to the Maui Zipline at Maui Tropical Plantation . 5 side-by-side lines means you dont have to go it alone, and neither does 5-year-old Jessica. Which you have to admit is a kind of comfort given you’ll be swinging over the trees and past rocky outcrops. Just zip along if you like, enjoying the palms under your feet and the volcano there in the distance. Or get your zip on with a narrator, who’ll point out how fast you’re going and whats flying by under your feet. When you’re all zipped out, hang at the tree house for a while, or go enjoy the tropical flowers down by the lagoon. Yes, there’s a lagoon, too.
Don’t Whine. Wine.
Not another minute without that Mommy-juice, and you’re in luck because twice a day you can taste all you like at Maui’s winery at the Ulupalakua Ranch in upcountry Maui. You dont think grapes when you think Hawaii. And frankly, grapes aren’t where some of this wine starts. However, the Tedeschi vineyards, picturesquely tucked into the folds of mountain slopes, produce beautiful bumper crops of Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec, and Viognier fruit every year. Everything manages to grow in what the volcano spits up to make this island, that burnt-dark rich soil. That means you can sip award-winning wines made from local pineapples (try the bubbly with some smoked ukupalu). Or hand-picked, local raspberries douse that chocolate cake with local framboise. Go on, you know you want to. Or hey, stick with grapes if you want to, no one’s judging.
Fish are Friends AND Food.
We know. The turtles have been dodging you all week. The surf’s too rough to see much, and the dolphins have taken off for some other beach. You’re contemplating opening a wound to attract some sharks, just so you can get a few pictures and say you’ve seen tropical ocean wildlife. But seriously, put away the knife. There’s a solution. The Maui Ocean Center has sixty indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits with ocean creatures in habitats modeled on the ones you aren’t getting a chance to see. There’s a living reef, a turtle lagoon and a tidal pool. Best of all? You can experience being gathered up like krill and eaten by a whale in the Bubble Net exhibit. The kids will be re-enacting that one with your best sheets, over and over again at your rental luxury home.
And when you feel hungry enough to eat a whale, but want something less likely to damage your karma, head on down to Lahaina and tuck in at one of the farm-to-table locavore restaurants. Try the Feast at Lele (a luau themed dinner spot with amazing views of the sunset), or Pacific’O where the madako takosmoked octopus in miso precedes unspeakably good macadamia nut encrusted local mahi mahi. For dessert? Definitely the lumpia (pineapple and bananas in cheese and pastry) and a cup of Maui-grown and roasted coffee as the stars flicker on over the sea.