Things to do

Spend the day on the beach at Napili Bay

Whether you’re staying in Napili or not, the crescent-shaped bay has a sandy beach with waves that are easy for kids and adults to handle. Swim, snorkel, boogie board, play by the shore or just dip your feet in the water after lying on the sand. The best part about this bay is that because Napili is less crowded, the beach will be too.

Eat the best pancakes at The Gazebo

If you’ve heard of Boots & Kimo’s on Oahu, then you need to know about The Gazebo restaurant at Napili Shores by Outrigger. This is where Kimo started, we were told by the waitress on our visit. “The toppings are a little different, but the pancakes are the same,” she said. The pancakes she’s referring to are its famous macadamia nut pancakes with original sauce. We also really liked the “combo” even more with macadamia nuts, pineapple and bananas. Open daily 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., park in the front lot and walk through the resort towards the pool. 5315 Lower Honoapiilani Rd., Lahaina.

Down one at Maui Brewing Co.’s brewpub

Five minutes away from Napili is the Maui Brewing Co. brewpub off of Honoapiilani Highway. It’s the original Maui Brewing Co. with all of your favorite brews and pub food, if you’re looking for a bar to mosey to during the day or after sunset. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. with $5 house beers. Kahana Gateway Center, 4405 Honoapiilani Hwy., (808) 669-3474, mauibrewingco.com.

Road to Hana

To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty.

Helicopter Tours

After you've experienced Maui through the eyes of a fish, consider getting a bird's perspective on a helicopter tour. Recent travelers describe this experience as a "splurge" (tours can cost between $150 and $350 per person, depending on the tour operator and the duration of your flight), but they also concede that seeing Maui from the air is an incredible sight. What's more, helicopters can access parts of the island unreachable by boat, car or foot.

Kaanapali Beach

One of Maui's most popular strips of coastline, Kaanapali Beach stretches across 3 miles of the island's northwest coast, offering plenty of space to surf and sunbathe. (Be careful while swimming, however, as travelers say the currents can be deceptively strong.) But coveted sand is just one of this beach's many highlights: Kaanapali was Hawaii's first planned resort area, and today it features several notable hotels and restaurants, two championship golf courses and the lively Whalers Village open-air shopping center.

Yet for many recent visitors, Kaanapali Beach's man-made comforts don't come close to trumping its natural and more traditional features. This is also an excellent place to catch sight of the many diverse creatures that call the Pacific home. The waters here are shallow, making them good for snorkeling, and many travelers report seeing whales off the coast. Another highlight of a visit to Kaanapali Beach is the daily sunset cliff diving spectacle at Puu Kekaa (Black Rock), which pays tribute to King Kahekili, Maui's last independent king who ruled in the 18th century.

Snorkeling Tours

It can be easy to become mesmerized by Maui's multicolored beaches, verdant hiking trails and breathtaking sunsets, but don't forget about the world that lives beneath the surrounding Pacific Ocean floor. According to travelers, setting aside a morning or afternoon to explore Maui's underwater creatures is an unforgettable experience. With the help of a snorkel or scuba mask, you'll see a bevy of colorful fish, sea turtles and intricate coral formations around the island's reefs.