Best Way to Help Maui Right Now is to Visit It

A beloved and irreplaceable piece of Maui, the historic town of Lahaina, is gone—its homes, cultural and historic sites, businesses, and 99 people lost forever to the devastating Maui wildfires which burned through Lahaina and multiple properties in Upcountry Maui’s Kula district on August 8.

Though still grieving, recovering, and trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, the spirit and resilience of Maui residents remain strong. Maui welcomes others to discover for themselves that much of everything the world loves about the island is still very much there. And right now, what Maui needs most is for you to visit and mālama (care for) Maui.

A wide swath of Maui businesses dependent on steady visitor arrivals — not only major resorts and car rental companies, but, especially, smaller, locally-owned restaurants, retailers and activity companies — have suffered significant losses in income or have shuttered permanently. The effect of all this on tourism-dependent residents and businesses has, in turn, created negative ripple effects on the non-tourism-dependent businesses they buy from and patronize.

The fire-affected areas in Lahaina are closed and will be for a long time; however, the rest of Maui remains the home to some of the most scenic and sublime natural landmarks, cool places, unique towns and breathtaking landscapes you’ll find anywhere in Hawaii or the world. And it’s ready to welcome you.

If you already love it, return. If you’ve never visited, it’s time you did. Shop at Maui’s countless local-owned retailers. Eat at the island’s family-owned restaurants. Do something adventurous with a local activity company. Travel the island respectfully and mindfully, being gracious and generous to its residents as you explore.

Start here with this rundown of everything open and waiting for you on Maui:

South Maui

Wailea. This resort area offers a bit of everything for an idyllic Maui vacation, including five amazing crescent beaches, resorts with ocean views, world-class golf courses, and first-rate shopping and dining.

Kīhei. You’ll love this town’s miles of beaches and beach parks and assorted restaurants, shopping and lodging. It’s also home base for much of the south shore’s wide array of ocean tours and activities.

Molokini snorkeling. Speaking of ocean activities, one of Maui’s best is hopping on a zodiac tour to this offshore islet and major snorkeling haven to view some of the island’s myriad marine life up close.

Mākena Beach State Park and Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. Bookending the coast, one is one of the widest stretches of Maui sand, the other a unique oceanside wetland native bird sanctuary.

Central Maui

‘Īao Valley State Monument. This breathtaking emerald valley, cut by streams and rainfall over eons, is home to Kūkaemoku, also known as ‘Īao Needle, a lushly forested, spire-like ridge that is one of Maui’s most iconic landmarks.

Wailuku. Nestled against the green West Maui Mountains, this town’s wonderfully walkable street grid is filled with cool new and longtime local-owned shops, restaurants, food trucks, bakeries, coffee cafes and historic sites.

Kahului. Maui’s biggest town is where you’re guaranteed to find everything you could want for exploring, road trips and day-to-day life on the island. There are lots of must-nosh local eateries here, too.

Upcountry Maui

Makawao. Maui’s cowboy and historic ranching town is all about eclectic eateries, grocers, boutiques, galleries and one of the island’s most beloved bakeries. Horseback-riding stables and zipline tours are nearby, too.

Kula and ‘Ulupalakua. Prepare to be amazed by the diversity of Maui’s rich agricultural bounty at the farm stands, farmers markets, farm and agricultural tours, and, yes, even winery and spirit distillery here.

Haleakalā National Park. Reservations are required to see the breathtaking sunrise from Haleakalā volcano’s 10,023-foot elevation summit. The rest of this 30,183-acre park is as brilliant and unique too.

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. Hiking trails abound Upcountry and include mountain bike treks. But Polipoli’s nirvana for tree nerds and redwood — yes, redwood — nature hikes are exceptional.

East Maui

Hāna Highway. Set a day aside and start early on this nature-rich, famously winding coastal drive to quiet, remote Hāna town. Its 620 curves, 59 bridges and waterfalls aplenty are akin to a trip back in time. Please respect posted signage and drive with aloha.

Haleakalā National Park Kīpahulu District. So much natural wonder to love! First, a lovely coastal trail to the freshwater Pools of ‘Ohe‘o, then, the Pīpīwai Trail rainforest valley hike to 400-foot Waimoku Falls.

Wai‘ānapanapa State Park. The Hāna coast is home to Maui’s best black-sand beaches. At this park, you’ll also find coastal and forest hikes, blow holes, sea stacks, sea birds and a Hawaiian heiau (temple).

North Shore Maui

Pā‘ia. Maui’s charming and groovy surf town is a former sugar town now home to a fun and multifaceted collection of coffee cafes, juice bars, bar bars, restaurants, boutiques and, no surprise, surf gear shops.

Beaches, so many beaches. In an area stoked by surfing, it’s also no surprise great stretches of white sand abound in Pā‘ia, including Spreckelsville, Baldwin, Pā‘ia Secret and Baby beaches, and Kū‘au Cove.

Ho‘okipa Beach Park. As great as the above north shore beaches are, Ho‘okipa deserves a shout-out for its amazing surfing and, especially, windsurfing conditions year-round. Seeing the pros here is a joy.

West Maui

Kapalua. Maui’s luxe resort area is blessed with five azure bays and three white sand beaches open to everyone. Love golf? Kapalua boasts two scenic courses that have hosted PGA and LPGA tournaments.

Honolua Bay. A haven for pro surfers during winter wave season, this pristine bay and marine life conservation district offers superb snorkeling and scuba conditions and lots to explore come summertime.

Kā‘anapali Beach. The stars of this world-renowned resort area are its 3 miles of white-sand beach and calm crystalline waters. Away from the beach, there’s golf, shopping and an array of great dining choices.

Outdoor adventuring. Beyond ocean fun, higher upslope on the West Maui Mountains, activity companies offer horseback riding, ATVs adventures and ziplining courses. Nearly all of ‘em with a view.

Please do visit. Because visiting truly is the best way you can help Maui right now. And Maui does welcome you to come and stay awhile.

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