While I currently am an East Coast girl, I will always be a Hawaii girl at heart. Hawaii has eight main volcanic islands: Niihau (owned by the Robinson family since 1864 and home to a handful of people), Kauai, Oahu (state capitol of Honolulu), Molokai, Lanai, Maui (the locale for TIPS’s 2019 Fall Leadership Meeting), Kaho‘olawe (uninhabited), and Hawaii (the Big Island). I grew up on Kauai but have had the opportunity to visit Maui both during my childhood and recently with my children.
It is always a fantastic time to visit the Hawaiian Islands, with October featuring some of Maui’s best weather. You can expect highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s when you’re on Maui—with almost no humidity. Bring your bathing suit and sunscreen and enjoy The Grand Wailea’s nine blue water pools, three-story lava tube slide, and the lazy river with water slides and waterfalls. The hotel provides direct access to Wailea Beach where you can kayak, paddle board, boogie board, or snorkel (for a nominal equipment fee); or get complimentary scuba diving lessons for first-time divers. If water sport is not your calling, there are three championship golf courses nearby and eleven tennis courts on site.
It is not essential to rent a car because you can fill your time with plenty of activities on site at The Grand Wailea, but there is so much more to experience on Maui. Plan time to travel the famed road to Hana. I do not recommend this if you’re prone to car sickness, but it is a wonderful drive through lush rain forest and features breathtaking views along the coast line. Next, it is absolutely worth getting up at 3:00 a.m. to drive to the summit at Haleakala to view the sunrise. A couple of things that you must know if you’re going to make a pre-dawn visit to the volcanic crater rim of Haleakala: First, you must make a reservation with the National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/sunrise-and-sunset.htm. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance. Second, you will need to bring warm clothing because the temperatures get really cold at the mountain peak. If you go on any day but Wednesday, you can stop by T. Komodo Store and Bakery in Makawao for breakfast on your way down from the summit. They have excellent long johns (which sell out quickly) and donut-on-a-stick (which is delicious). If you’re not keen on waking at 3:00 a.m., Haleakala also boasts spectacular sunsets, which do not require a reservation.
If you’re seeking world-class windsurfing, it doesn’t get any better than Ho’okipa Beach Park where you can surf and lay about on the beach, too. While on Maui’s North Shore, be sure to check out the town of Paia for shopping, art (Maui Craft Guild), and food (Mama’s Fish Market). And speaking of food, if you want a very local experience, I highly recommend Sam Sato’s, which is in Wailuku. Get the dried noodles and teriyaki beef stick. Be sure to leave with some white bean manju (Japanese steamed cake). This popular restaurant is open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday–Saturday, and is usually very busy, so be prepared to wait.
If your travel permits, visit another island. Kauai boast the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and the Na Pali Coast. The Big Island offers volcanoes, coffee farms, and Kamuela’s huge cattle ranches. Oahu has the world-famous Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Iolani Palace (the only royal palace in the United States), and Pearl Harbor.
Be sure to have a mai tai at a luau. Aloha, and see you on Maui!