Situated between Maui’s two most popular tourist destinations (Kihei/Wailea and Lahaina/Kaanapali), the quiet community of Maalaea sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But within this tiny village on the southwest shore, residents and visitors alike can enjoy some of the island’s most fun and interesting activities.
In operation since 1998, Maui Ocean Center features one of the world’s largest live Pacific coral collections, teeming with an incredible array of marine life, some of which is found only in the Hawaiian Islands. Guests can stroll through a clear acrylic tunnel within a 750,000-gallon open ocean tank, where several shark species coexist with a huge variety of fish and rays. Marine biologists and a team of divers care for the underwater ecosystem and oversee exhibits like “Humpbacks of Hawai`i” and “Turtle Lagoon,” where visitors can experience Pacific sea creatures up close and learn about the ocean’s powerful influence over centuries of Hawaiian culture.
What do two 18-hole miniature golf courses, a 4,000-square foot lava lagoon with bumper boats, a 25-foot rock-climbing pinnacle, and a bungee trampoline have in common? They’re all at Maui Golf & Sports Park! From the volcanoes, caves, and lava tubes on the golf courses to the waterfalls flowing into the bumper boat lagoon, the activity center provides a uniquely Hawaiian version of fun. Visitors can choose from four climbing paths on the rock pinnacle (ranging from easy to challenging), fly 30 feet into the air on the trampoline, and of course visit the snack shop once they’ve worked up an appetite. Established in 2002, this one-of-a-kind park is great for all ages.
In 2021, PacWhale Eco-Adventures received Hawaii Magazine’s readers’ choice award for best guided tours on Maui. PacWhale offers whale-watching, dolphin-watching, snorkeling, sunset dinner, evening cocktail, and even private charter tours that are popular with both tourists and kama`aina (residents). And with a monthly or annual contribution, Pacific Whale Foundation members can contribute to ocean conservation efforts and enjoy perks like priority boarding on eco-adventure tours and access to member-only events.
Leslie MacKenzie Smith, REALTOR(S), RS-42147