Sweeping sandy crescents, lush rainforests and lava-carved landscapes make Hawaiʻi an unbeatable destination enriched by world-renowned snorkeling, tasty tropical produce and a rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat or a fun-packed family getaway, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island offers all that and more.
La Perouse Bay Lava Formations
Also known as Keoneʻōʻio Bay, this dramatic cove at the southern tip of Maui is known for its striking turquoise water and jagged ribbons of black lava rock that jut into the sea. It’s a fantastic spot for peeking into tide pools, as well as a popular hangout for pods of spinner dolphins and wild goats. Just remember to admire them from a safe distance! Explore archaeological traces of settlements from pre-contact Hawaiʻi, including salt pans and heʻiau or temples. The Hoapili Trail, or King’s Highway, circumnavigates Maui. Once a route for Hawaiian aliʻi or royalty, this bay portion of the trail is a great 5.5-mile round-trip path, which traverses craggy lava fields to Kanaio Beach. If you plan to hike it, it’s best to get an early or late start because the mid-day sun can be a scorcher. You’ll also want to keep in mind that there is limited, if any, cell service and no services on the trail.
A Taste of Maui
Maui’s tropical climate and rich volcanic soil create ideal conditions for growing juicy fruits, macadamia nuts and root veggies like sweet potato and taro. The stand at fourth-generation Kula Country Farms is a great place to stock up on strawberries, blueberries and honey. The Upcountry Farmers Market on Saturday mornings offers fresh fish, elixirs and tropical seasonal fruits, including coconuts, mangos and papayas, in addition to local flowers such as protea, lavender and ginger. Nearby Surfing Goat Dairy runs a variety of tours where visitors feed and milk the goats and learn about cheese-making before tucking into more than 20 types of craft cheese. Coffee lovers should make a beeline for Oʻo Farm; their early-morning tour includes a gourmet breakfast, French press coffee and a stroll through the plantation. A VIP guided tour at Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei location takes you behind the scenes in the brewhouse, cellar and the production line with an expert beer curator. The tour ends with a guided tasting. For something more spirited, Hawaiʻi Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery offers a guided tour and tasting experience. You’ll learn what makes their water special, their organic philosophy and taste the different spirits they bottle.
Connect with Hawaiʻi’s Aloha Culture
An invigorating sunrise paddle on a 6-man outrigger canoe is among the fun lineup of cultural experiences curated by Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. Originally used by the Polynesian explorers who settled Hawaiʻi, this traditional boat has played a vital role in the islands’ history. The resort hoʻokele, or navigator, teaches you key commands and sings a chant requesting permission from ancestors to enter the sea. Once on the water, you might encounter curious honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles), spy a whale or jump off for a swim. Back on dry land, you can try mastering a few phrases at a Hawaiian language lesson.
Shopping and Lunch in Pāʻia
Located on Maui’s laid-back North Shore, Pāʻia is a surfing hub with a bohemian vibe. The town’s pastel-painted buildings are home to one-off boutiques and indie cafés. Family-run Moonbow Tropics has been specializing in Hawaiian shirts since 1994 and stocks a wide range of bold prints from labels that include Pete Huntingdon and vintage-inspired brand Pineapple. Across the road, Maui Girl sells eye-catching, functional swimwear worn by supermodels Chrissy Teigen and Gigi Hadid. Treat yourself to sashimi and ahi tuna with a generous side of onion rings at long-standing eatery Pāʻia Fishmarket before cooling off with one of Tobi’s Maui Hawaiian Shave Ice. It might be difficult to choose with refreshing flavors like passion fruit, lemon lime and guava.
Snorkeling with Manta Rays at Night
Over on Hawaiʻi Island, plunging into the ocean is like floating in a gigantic aquarium. The startling array of marine life includes huge manta rays, best spotted off the Kona coast at dusk or after dark when they gather to feed. Sunset and moonlight snorkeling tours offer an unforgettable, close-up view of these magnificent creatures, with spotlights illuminating the water as the rays feed on plankton and dart gracefully beneath you. Another go-to snorkeling destination is Pauoa Bay, right beside Fairmont Orchid, where you’re likely to catch sight of turtles as well as schools of vividly hued fish and a colorful coral reef.
Hiking in Pololū Valley
Pololū is one of a series of long, spectacular valleys along Hawaiʻi Island’s Kohala coast, gouged from volcanic terrain by centuries of rain erosion. Pololū Valley Lookout, at the end of the highway, delivers exceptional views over the verdant valley and towering sea cliffs. From there, you can follow a 25-minute hiking trail, descending steeply via switchbacks to the valley floor where you’ll arrive at a black-sand beach backed by ironwood trees and dotted with boulders. It’s worth coming first thing in the morning before temperatures rise, as the hike back up can be warm.
Bubbling Lava at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
This Hawaiʻi Island favorite never ceases to thrill, whether it’s your first or fifteenth visit, as the ever-changing topography means each visit differs from the last. In September 2021, fissures erupted at the foot of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater of the active Kīlauea volcano, generating a molten, fiery orange lava lake, which spectators can see from a safe viewing spot. For outstanding views of the massive caldera and jagged crater, head to Kīlauea Overlook. But check the National Park Service website for updates on local conditions before you head out. An easy hike along the Crater Rim Trail passes steam vents, rainforest and white-tailed tropical birds swooping above the dramatic landscape. You can also take the birds-eye view of the eruption by helicopter.
Discover the Buzz about Honeybees
When you stay at Fairmont Orchid, you join a resident population of 80,000 honeybees. Housed in four on-site hives, these busy pollinators produce rare kiawe honey, a smooth, creamy and truly delicious variety. Guests can learn about these insects and how the honey is incorporated into hotel menus on an Aloha ʻAina-Botanical, Bees and Chef’s Garden tour led by Director of Hawaiian Culture Kaʻiulani Blankenfeld. You’ll visit the hives and botanicals collection, as well as hear local legends about native plants like the naupaka. Tours are complimentary and run weekly.
Inspired to hit tropical shores? Your Hawaiian adventure awaits.