Escape to Maui

Aloha means hello—again—on the Valley Isle.

A waterfall at the entrance of the Grand Wailea resort. / Photo by Larry Geddis/Alamy Stock Photo

Close your eyes, and you are practically there…the cascading waterfalls, the black-sand beaches, the unforgettable sunsets, the verdant hills in the distance. Maui is a place that needs little exposition. And for nearly two years, many could do only this—daydream of visiting the Aloha State due to travel restrictions. Thankfully, the welcoming spirit has returned in full, so pour a mai tai and grab your best Magnum shirt—it’s time to rediscover the magic of this Hawaiian island.

For the perfect start to your Maui adventure, we recommend a morning hike in Haleakalā National Park as dawn breaks over the majestic 10,000-foot volcano. Humble Tours offers an all-day hike through the national park, including a descent into the volcanic crater and lunch in a eucalyptus forest.

With this must-do excursion checked off, try something off the beaten path: a trip to Pa’ako Beach, a cove on the south side of the island, also known as Maui’s “secret beach.” Stroll between lava rock walls to access this slice of heaven, which boasts crystal-clear, protected waters. While the area is ideal for snorkeling, it’s also worth booking PacWhale Eco-Adventures’ “Maui Nui Wild Side Lahaina” experience in West Maui to spot dolphins, reef fish, sea turtles, and, possibly, octopi in some of the best snorkeling holes around the island and off Lanai.

If waterfalls are more your flow, follow the Road to Hana, where you’ll find them around nearly every hairpin turn of this euphorically beautiful highway (which also happens to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world). Book a tour through Epic Maui Hikes and let someone else do the driving.

For more thrills and a bit of Hawaiian history, follow in the wake of the Ali’i on a Hawaiian Outrigger Experience. As you paddle along the coast, learn about the intrepid Polynesians who sailed all the way to New Zealand using only celestial navigation. For more local flavor, head to Lahaina for a tour of the Ku’ia Estate Chocolate Factory, a local cacao farm where you’ll learn the secrets of the chocolate-making process and enjoy sampling nine different treats.

An island appetite can’t be satiated by chocolate alone, so you’ll want to indulge further at one of Lahaina’s newest oceanfront restaurants, Waicoco, at the Westin Maui, Ka’anapali. Sip on the house mai tai (with three types of rum!) while perusing the locally influenced menu, which showcases poached prawn cocktail, volcano-spiced ahi, and mouthwatering baby back ribs. The sun is setting, and the waves are crashing…Hawaiian dreams can come true again.

A suite at the Grand Wailea hotel. / Photo courtesy of Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort

Getting There

Hawaiian Airlines operates several nonstop flights a week from Logan to Honolulu. From there, it’s a quick 40-minute flight on to Maui.

Staying There

Ideal for families, the Grand Wailea is fresh off a property-wide overhaul, with new dining spots, refurbished rooms and suites, and an updated 50,000-square-foot spa coming in 2023. Or leave the kids at home and head for the Hotel Wailea, the only adults-only resort on the island. The 15-acre property features just 72 suites, a cabana-equipped pool, and three restaurants, including the decadent yet intimate Treehouse, where you can savor a seven-course meal under a canopy of mangoes.