Maui Is Like Your First Kiss, You Never Forget It

by : Elizabeth Ann Wares

Hawaii is actually made up of six separate islands. Maui issmall compared to the "Big Island". But that doesn't meananything, because what Maui lacks in size, it makes it up init's atmosphere and personality. Maui serves up plenty ofhistoric and cultural attractions that will captivate yourimagination, while exposing the timeless traditions of thismagical island. For example, the town of Lahaina is aNational Historic District. This was once a thriving whalingport. History buffs will enjoy Lahaina-Kaanapali and thePacific Railroads provide history lovers with anunforgettable journey into the area’s plantation past.

"Paradise" is a word that that has been used to describeMaui. Any way you slice it, vacationing on Maui is anexperience that will bring families closer together. Thegood news is that there is also a focus on fun andeducation. You have your pick of outdoor activities, and theNative Hawaiian culture adds to the world-class atractions.The Hawaiian culture focuses on the importance of childrenand family, and many hotels and resorts have kid and studentdiscount programs available.

Maui's climate (or better yet climates), is a very uniquesubject in itself. You can go from a desert to a rainforest,all in a matter of hours. And because Maui is small, you canplan a daytrip easily and know that you are going to catchall the sights. It's commonplace to visit the top of Haleakaat 10,000 ft, and still have time to go snorkeling in thecalm blue ocean, all within the same day.

Maui's marine environment is spotlighted at the Maui OceanCenter in Ma'alaea. With a wide variety of hands-onexhibits, aquarium displays and a "touch pool", visitors canget close and personal to various ocean creatures like seaurchins and starfish. Some of the other features includelive jellyfish, colorful reef fish, shrimp, eels, skipjacktuna, octopus, lobsters, all sorts of different types ofrays and even sharks

The Maui Tropical Plantation is another attraction whichspotlights the Island's agricultural history. Visitors cantake tram tours and see how plantations have played animportant part of Maui's growth. You will see acres of sugarcane, papaya, guava, mango, banana, pineapple, kona coffeeand macadamia nuts. It's very interesting, and guaranteed tohave you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Be sure to make time to visit the Hawaii Nature Center.Here you will discover more more than thirty hands-onexhibits that will enable you to learn about Maui'senvironment. Would you like to be able to experience theability to see a hundred directions at once? "Life As ADragonnfly" is just one of these exhibits that kids andadults will find fascinating. The Naturalists offer a guidedtour called the "Rainforest Wilderness Walk" which gives youa detailed background of the history of the area called the"Tao Valley." You will walk away with a greater appreciationfor the gifts that nature gives us.

Of course the beaches are another great way to spend yourtime getting to know the area. Kaanapali Beach (which hasalso been referred to as "Dig Me" beach), is one of Maui'sbest beaches. Kaanapali Beach is four miles long, and runsalongside the sea channel for almost it's whole length. Thesand is a golden color and has a paved beach walk path. Theswimming is awesome and there are many beach activityvendors, offering any type of water activity or equipmentthat you could imagine.

Whether you stay in the upscale resort hotels or Maui'sbeach parks and camping facilities, you are guaranteed tohave great memories. Don't be surprised if you find yourselfback in this beautiful island again. There's just somethingabout the magnetic attraction of Maui.