“I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five. I never spent so pleasant a month before, or bade any place goodbye so regretfully. I have not once thought of business, or care or human toil or trouble or sorrow or weariness, and the memory of it will remain with me always.”
― Mark Twain
It’s a destination that transforms and lingers on the soul. There is a reason the escapist island paradise of Maui, Hawaii, has been voted number one on Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards “Top 25 Islands in the World” for more than 20 consecutive years.
If that alone isn’t enough to convince you—although we’re not sure it ever takes too much convincing to understand why the Hawaiian Islands should be on your timeshare exchange radar—consider the fact that Maui receives a staggering 3 million annual visitors in comparison to its approximately 170,000 full-time residents.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and where there’s one of the world’s most booming tourism industries, there’s a reason. Let’s explore.
The Valley Isle: Travel Details
Located in the most isolated population center on earth, the Hawaiian Islands—and more specifically, Maui—offers plenty to see, do, and explore for all kinds of travelers; including those looking to push their physical limits on land or in the ocean, those whose main goal is to take as many Mai Tai-induced beachfront naps as possible whilst avoiding total sunburn annihilation … and everyone else in between.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and, with an area of 727 square miles (or 1,880 square kilometers), still offers plenty of room to spread out, get off the beaten path and enjoy the serenity and rewards of traveling to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
A flight time in excess of five hours from California is the shortest travel time you can expect to reach Maui’s Kahului Airport, located conveniently in the center of the island.
Popular ride share and public transportation services are available, but it is strongly recommended to rent a vehicle while on Maui, as you will need it to reach the majority of the island’s most scenic locations.
Best Areas to Timeshare Swap on Maui
While visitors who return to Maui year after year may eventually opt for more remote accommodations in towns like Haiku, Makawao, and Wailuku, visitors seeking the convenience factor of nearby beaches, restaurants, shopping, and local activities frequently head to one of two areas: the South or West shore.
South Maui—comprised of the lovable towns of Kihei, Maui Meadows, Wailea, and Makena—offers prime access to some of the island’s most stunning white, gold, and black sand beaches, as well as a welcome mixture of laid back local restaurants, ritzy resorts, and charming boutique shops. A popular choice for locals and visitors alike, Kihei is excellently positioned for further exploration of the island, located only a short drive from Central, West, and North shore Maui.
Choose from Trading Places International properties like Maui Schooner Resort in North Kihei, with perks like beach access, private lanais (balconies), a heated pool, putting green, hot tub, tennis courts, fire pit and more, or South Kihei’s Maui Hill, including nearby access to Kama’ole Beach Park III and Keawakapu Beach—local favorites for swimming, paddleboarding, and sunset views—as well as a jet spa pool, hot tub, BBQ grills, shuffleboard courts, putting green, and in-unit wet bars.
Alternatively, another highly sought-after Maui location option is that of historic Lahaina Town, located in West Maui near other popular resort areas of Ka’anapali, Napili, and Kapalua. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii and former home of the legendary King Kamehameha, Lahaina has a rich cultural importance within the Hawaiian Islands, and continues to pay tribute to its historical legacy through activities like the self-guided Lahaina Historic Walking Tour.
With plenty of local art galleries, surf spots, restaurants, luaus, and town parties to attend, we recommend staying at one of three Trading Places International accommodation options in the heart of Lahaina Town: Paki Maui, Kuleana Club, or Ka’anapali Beach Club.
Top Ocean Activities
Sand and saltwater on your Maui agenda? Game on.
Travelers looking to reunite with their sea legs will have plenty of opportunities to do just that on The Valley Isle. From December to May, visitors flock to Hawaii to witness the part-time population of humpback whales. Thousands of which swim from Alaska to the land of aloha to mate, birth, and teach their calves how to swim in the warm, shallow waters. Their stomping grounds include the ‘Au’au Channel between west Maui and its neighbor island of Lana’i, specifically—before making their way back for feeding season.
Take a traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe tour or rent a kayak to see the Humpback whales up close and personal, or head out on one of many boat whale watching tours from Māʻalaea Harbor, South Kihei Boat Ramp, or Lahaina Harbor.
Learn to surf in the land where it was invented by taking a private surf lesson with an experienced local guide, or join a snorkeling or scuba diving tour to the famed offshore isle of Molokini Crater and south Maui’s Turtle Town, where you’re guaranteed to swim alongside the majestic and utterly gentle Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.
For a more leisurely ocean experience, a romantic sunset cocktail cruise with live music, snacks, a champagne toast, and a direct South Maui beach departure with Kai Kanani is a worthy venture. Or for those who are simply looking to soak up the sunshine in the sand in between the occasional ocean dunk, some of our favorite beaches include south Maui’s Makena “Big Beach" and Charley Young Beach, West Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach and Napili Bay, the North shore gem of Paia’s Baldwin Beach Park, or the remote and memorable black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park.
Maui’s Can’t-Miss Land Activities
When you’ve grown tired of discovering sand in places you never knew existed, it might be time to add a few of Maui’s endless land activities to your itinerary.
Pack your picnic supplies and head to ‘Iao Valley State Park for a stroll through the lush grounds along ‘Iao Stream, then head to the delightful town of Wailuku to browse local mom-and-pop shops, record stores, and coffee shops afterward.
People watch to your heart’s desire in the surfer hippie hangout of Paia Town; which doubles as the stomping grounds of local resident, Willie Nelson. Spend a day exploring the island’s top distilleries, brewery, winery, and boutique farms on an excursion with Maui Craft Tours.
For those who aren’t afraid of a little white-knuckle driving, the world class Road to Hana road trip is a must. With more than 600 curves and 50 one-lane bridges, this remote rain forest paradise offers some of Maui’s most intriguing roadside hiking trails, exotic landscapes, lava tubes, cascading waterfalls, tropical gardens, and photogenic bamboo forests.
Home to Haleakala Volcano—dubbed the world’s largest dormant volcano, despite not actually being dormant—Maui offers several otherworldly opportunities to live out your wildest volcanic adventures. Reserve a spot to witness the sunrise from above the clouds at the 10,023 foot summit of Haleakala Volcano, or enlist the help of experts during a nighttime stargazing tour that will make you see why Hawaii is one of earth’s most desirable stargazing destinations.
For daytime adventures, take a downhill biking tour descending the slopes, embark on a tandem paragliding tour, or take a self-guided driving tour to visit hotspots like the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, rolling hills of Ulupalakua, and Grandma’s Coffee House.
Where to Drink & Eat on Maui
We didn’t forget about you, foodies. With a selection of world-class farm-to-table, international, and local-style cuisine, Maui’s restaurant and bar scene leaves little to be desired.
For casual “ono grinds” such as plate lunches, kalua pork, fish tacos, spam musubi, and poke, head to Da Kitchen, Paia Fish Market, Tin Roof, 808 Deli, and Sam Sato’s. Get your caffeine and breakfast fix at places like Kihei Caffe, Paia Bay Coffee, and The Gazebo, and be sure to try the malasadas and stick donuts at Sugar Beach Bakery or T. Komoda Store & Bakery.
If a world class meal in a gorgeous setting is what you’re after, make dinner reservations or purchase tickets to the weekly Maui Chef’s Table experience at The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation, a farm-to-table restaurant overlooking the West Maui Mountains and a sparkling lagoon. Splurge on a seafood dinner at the award-winning Mama’s Fish House, or enjoy sweeping sunset views of the Pacific with a memorable dinner at The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea.
Indulge in seriously stellar handcrafted cocktails and happy hour specials at places like Monkeypod Kitchen, Fleetwood’s on Front Street, Down the Hatch, and Cafe des Amis, or do as the locals do and grab a pack of locally-brewed Maui Brewing Co. cans and walk down to the beach for sunset views in the sand.
When you’re ready to make your Maui vacation dreams a reality, contact our Trading Places International travel experts to book your ultimate Hawaiian getaway or reserve your ideal timeshare exchange on our convenient online platform, and spend more of your time traveling instead of guessing how to travel.