2021 Shaka List: 20 Reasons to Love Maui

Every year we publish our Shaka List — the multitude of reasons Maui is nō ka ‘oi (the best) — and this time our staff offered up their personal lucky-to-live-on-Maui suggestions. From trees to seas, shoes to views — these intimate, inspirational details are what make our island home the magical place that it is.

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16 Hale Hō‘ike‘ike

Attention history buffs: Hale Hō‘ike‘ike — home to the Maui Historical Society — is a must-see stop in Wailuku. With 2,000 pre-Western-contact artifacts and more than 10,000 historic photos, maps and genealogy records, the museum is a great place to learn about Maui’s rich and storied past. Remember to visit the gift shop for one-of-a-kind locally made souvenirs. Entry by appointment only. mauimuseum.org. Photo courtesy of Hale Hō‘ike‘ike.

17 The biggest Banyan

You can’t say “Lahaina” without thinking of the enormous banyan tree in front of the Lahaina Courthouse, but in 1873 when it was planted, it was just an eight-foot sapling. Today, the tree is more than 60 feet high and a quarter-mile in circumference, making it the largest banyan in both Hawai‘i and the US! For nearly 150 years, its branches and aerial roots have slowly marched outward, and the dense canopy with 16 individual trunks now covers almost two acres of oceanfront real estate. Photo by Rob DeCamp

18 Holy Ghost Church (aka Holy Ghost Mission)

In the 14th century, Queen Isabella the First of Spain prayed to end a devastating drought and offered her crown to God if He would make it rain — and rain it did. Designed by Father James Biessel, the octagonal Holy Ghost Church in Makawao is said to have been built to recall the shape of the queen’s crown. (Though others argue that an eight-sided building can better withstand the wind.) The large gilded altar and artwork depicting the stations of the cross were carried up the mountain by oxcart. Holy Ghost Church is listed on the State and Natural Registers of Historic Places, and services are held regularly. Photo by Daniel Sullivan 

19 Watersports at Kanaha Beach Park

Even if you’re not the daredevil type yourself, you’ll appreciate the incredible flying feats of the kiteboarders, windsurfers and foilboarders at Kanahā Beach Park. When the wind kicks up, these athletes pull off some aerial acrobatics that rival any Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. Settle in along Kanahā’s stretch of sand and parkland between Kahului Bay and Spreckelsville Beach to spectate, with the West Maui mountain and ‘Īao Valley beyond making for a beautiful backdrop. Photo by John Giordani

20 Kama‘ole Beach parks

The three Kama‘ole beach parks (affectionately called Kam I, Kam II and Kam III) comprise the majority of the Kīhei coastline. With sandy bottoms for swimming, rocky outcroppings for snorkeling and grassy areas for picnicking, these parks have everything you need to enjoy a fun-filled day — including lifeguards! 

Fun fact: “Kama‘ole” means “barren” in Hawaiian and was the original name of what is now called Kīhei — which makes sense considering that the area typically gets less than 13 inches of rain per year. Photo by Andrew Shoemaker

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