Looking to get off the beaten track and ditch the overcrowded places on Maui on your next visit? You’ve come to the right place.

Although Maui is a small island, there is still a ton to be discovered – from sequestered snorkel spots to historic wildlife refuges and private nature preserves. With intrepid travelers in mind, we’ve put together a list of some safe, legal places on Maui to visit that aren’t crawling with people.

So, let’s take a walk on the wild side. Here are eight places on Maui you might not find in your guidebook.

Places on Maui Sights

 

The Backside of Molokini Crater

Snorkeling in Molokini Crater’s tremendous underwater bowl is fascinating, and every Maui visitor should do it at least once. But much remains a mystery when it comes to Molokini’s back wall. Few tour boats venture past the crater’s placid inner waters, and even fewer bring their guests to the backside’s lonely depths.

If you’re craving a more intrepid snorkel trip – say, one that involves snorkeling in deep-blue depths of up to 200 feet – then Redline Rafting’s five-hour Molokini tour is for you.

Places on Maui Molokini Backside

After a good old-fashioned Molokini visit, you’ll head to the craters’ back wall to explore a side of Molokini few have seen. The back wall plunges hundreds of feet into blue oblivion, which makes for a goosebump-inducing snorkel sesh. You never know what type of creatures might show up – from whale sharks and spinner dolphins to humpback whales.

 

 

Kanaha Pond

Kanaha Pond is often viewed as a stinky swamp – thanks to the nearby wastewater treatment plant.

But Kanaha Pond is actually one of Maui’s last healthy wetlands – and a great place to spot endangered native birds like Hawaiian stilts, black-crowned night herons, nenes, and more. The pond supports thousands of bird species, and some unusual visitors can show up in the winter months, like seagulls, Canadian geese, marsh hawks, and peregrine falcons.

Places on Maui Kanaha Park

The pond was also designated as Hawaii’s first wildlife sanctuary back in 1951, and 20 years later, it became the second Registered National Landmark in the nation.

So next time you’re in Kahului, grab lunch from one of the area’s killer food trucks and stop by the pond.

 

 

Science City

High atop Haleakala’s summit is one of the most intriguing places on Maui: Science City. Science City is a collection of shiny, rotund telescopes operated by the US Air Force and the University of Hawaii. These high-powered telescopes track deep space objects and once detected 19 near-Earth asteroids in a single night.

Places on Maui Science City

While you can’t visit Science City, you can get a good look at the 18-acre complex on a Haleakala summit tour with Haleakala EcoTours. This guided excursion is like Haleakala 101 – giving you the lowdown on the park’s history, geology, and ecology.

 

 

Pu‘u Kukui Preserve

The delightfully lush Pu‘u Kukui Preserve is the promised land for nature lovers – think endless greenery, dramatic mountains, native flora, and – most importantly – not another soul in sight.

The Pu‘u Kukui Preserve is the largest private nature reserve in the state, encompassing some 9,000 acres. Access is very limited, and there’s no legal way to enter the preserve unless you’re a conservationist, researcher, or guest of Helewai EcoTours.

Places on Maui Helewai EcoTours

Helewai EcoTours has exclusive access to private hiking trails within the preserve. You’ll go where few visitors have gone – literally – while gawking at rare native plants and trees, some found nowhere else on Earth. With the help of a passionate local guide, you’ll begin to see the forest’s vital role in watershed preservation and learn invaluable lessons about the Hawaiian connection to the aina (land) and wai (water).

 

 

Maluaka Beach

Okay, so you might have seen Maluaka Beach mentioned in guidebooks. But this silky stretch of caramel-colored sand deserves more love.

This rarely-crowded beach fronts the plush Maluaka Golf Club and delivers excellent views of West Maui and Molokini – especially around sunset. In the mornings, the beach attracts snorkelers hoping to encounter green sea turtles. (Maluaka is considered part of “Turtle Town,” a reef system near Makena known for its exploding honu population.) Come here for an a.m. snorkel, spread out for a sunny beach day, or stop by for postcard-perfect sunset views.

Places on Maui Maluaka Beach

Maluaka is also the home of Kai Kanani Sailing, one of Maui’s top-rated sailing companies. If you’d rather take your beach day out to sea, you can climb aboard directly from the sand at Maluaka (with a reservation, of course). Kai Kanani offers Molokini snorkel trips, sunset cruises, and seasonal whale watches.

 

 

Kipahulu Point Park

Beyond the famed Pools of Oheo at Haleakala National Park, you’ll find one of Maui’s most sequestered public parks. Kipahulu Point Park is as humble as humble gets, with a sole picnic table and a small grassy area. There are also some pretty coastal views beyond the fence line.

But what really draws people to Kipahulu Point Park isn’t the park itself – it’s the church graveyard next door. This is the site of Charles Lindbergh’s grave, an aviation hero who completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Lindbergh moved to Maui in 1968 and spent his final years in Kipahulu – a place he adored for its privacy, serenity, and tropical beauty.

Places on Maui Charles Lindbergh

Getting to this area of the island is quite a task and involves at least a 2.5-hour drive from Kahului. Make a day out of it and take a top-rated Road to Hana Tour.

 

 

Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens. Ever heard of it? Probably not.

This spot isn’t exactly a secret. In fact, you might have visited it and not even known. But unless you have a boat, Coral Gardens is near impossible to reach.

Coral Gardens is a remote snorkeling spot tucked beneath the Pali cliffs (below Honoapiilani Highway/Highway 30) between Maalaea and Papalaua Wayside Park. Sheltered by large sea cliffs, this spot is usually a Plan B for snorkel companies when it’s too windy to go to Molokini.

Places on Maui Custom Cruises

Despite its Plan B status, Coral Gardens offers some of the best snorkeling south of Lahaina. It’s like an undersea garden, blooming with luminescent lobe coral and home to myriad species of tropical fish.

So, how might one get to Coral Gardens for the snorkel sesh of a lifetime?

Private charters are the way to go – specifically Maui Custom Charters. This small, family-run charter business offers four-hour private snorkel charters out of Maalaea Harbor, and the crew knows all the best sections of the reef at Coral Gardens. And when you get tired of snorkeling, you can kick back on board and enjoy some of the best service you’ve ever had – on a boat or otherwise.

 

 

Honokeana Cove

Where’s the best place to snorkel with turtles north of Kaanapali? It’s not Honolua Bay – although that’s a good guess.

Honokeana Cove is just around the corner from Napili Bay. And although the snorkeling at Honokeana is superior to Napili, the cove sees a fraction of Napili’s crowds. Here, coral is abundant, sea turtles outnumber snorkelers, and visibility is excellent on calm days.

Places on Maui Honokeana Cove

But accessing Honokeana Cove can be confusing. You can walk from Napili Bay or try to track down the blink-and-you-miss-it beach access walkway off Lower Honoapiilani Highway. Likewise, getting in the water here is tricky and should only be attempted on calm days (summertime is best).

However, if you stay at Honokeana Cove Resort Condominiums, you’ll be afforded premier access to West Maui’s best snorkel spot. You can easily access the water from the resort’s beachfront staircase, and you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot or navigating the beach access maze.

 

 

Thanks for reading about Places on Maui, not in the guidebooks!

We can’t wait to see you enjoying your favorite spots on the island soon!


 

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