The appeal of Maui goes well beyond the world-class beaches. Although those beaches – along with unblemished visuals that span from towering mountains to tropical expanses – are landmarks in their own right: accessible and breathtaking. But Maui is also where culture thrives, where the culinary scene is regionally driven and where activities don't discriminate, wowing kids and their grandparents alike. Let's face it: a lot of us love playing tourist on Maui and we come here to seek out the luau, the mai tai and the laid-back attitude that always makes us consider moving here. But this magical island also has something fresh to offer every time. Here are some ideas to help create a brand new aloha moment.
Skip the Helicopter Ride, Ride the Line Those popular chopper tours offer spectacular bird's-eye views of Maui. But the vistas as you soar down thousands of feet of zip line are tough to beat, too. Kapalua Adventures features one of the country's largest zip line courses – with eight spans and two lines that are more than 20,00 feet long – and their parallel system allows two of you to zip side-by-side. You'll find the state's longest suspension bridge here, too, so let the adrenaline flow!
Eat, Then Visit the Farm Upcountry Maui, located on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano, is fertile ground that produces much of the produce that ends up on the tables of the island's ritziest restaurants and resorts. Several gardens and farms are open to the public here, like Alii Kula, which grows more than 25,000 lavender plants. At the sustainable Oo Farm, which is owned by Chef James McDonald of Pacific'O fame, dozens of vegetables, fruits and herbs thrive; $50 gets you an interactive tour followed by a gourmet lunch. And one of the tours at Surfing Goat Dairy, which produces 25 cheeses, even lets you milk the resident goats.
Skip the Pool Party, Meditate Many Maui visitors will tell you: being here can be a spiritual experience. The new Lumeria Maui takes that concept to heart, offering what it touts as "a sanctuary for authentic transformational travel." This deluxe hotel is charming – just 24 rooms set amidst six acres of tropical, edible gardens – and it makes meditation and yoga the crux of any stay. Guests are treated to outdoor and indoor classes daily, and the organic, farm-to-table dining is remarkably good. Ohm to yum. The resort is 20 minutes from Kahului Airport, just outside Paia on Maui's North Shore, which puts you close to gorgeous beaches, famed surf spots and some of the island's best trails.
Drive to Hana, Stay Hana, on Maui's eastern coast, is a spectacular natural wonder. No wonder so many of us are willing to make the 50-mile drive from Kahului there; the visuals along the way, like the rainforests and the plunge pools, are breathtaking. But the drive is a commitment, too, with 600-plus curves and dozens of narrow bridges. So why are we always in a hurry to drive back the same day? Next time, stay. The posh Travaasa Maui features plantation-style residences sprinkled along the coastline while the cabins at Wai'anapanapa State Park offer an affordable alternative. And don't stop at Hana; head another 10 miles south to discover the soaring Waimoku Falls and the Pools of Oheo, any water lover's dream.