Wailea is a resort community on the south side of Maui, Hawaii. Wailea has some of the most beautiful golden-sand beaches in the country, and is also known for its luxury hotels such as the Hotel Wailea, resorts and condos. There are world-famous golf courses along with the beaches as well as the Kula Forest Reserve with miles of trails for hiking and biking as well as views of Kaho’Olwe Island in Maalaea Bay. There are budget hotels in the area especially during the off-seasons, which are spring and fall. The beach is the most popular place on the island, but when you learn more about Wailea, you’ll see there are other things to see and do. Here are five activities that are often overlooked.

Mike McCune
Mike McCune

1. Wailuku is a town that has become trendy in the last few years. Don’t be put off by the ugly government buildings and distance from the beach. If you look a little deeper, you’ll find fascinating shops from the old plantation era and small Japanese stores and clubs. There’s the Bailey House museum that shows how the missionaries took over the islands as well as the Wailuku Coffee Company where you can get the best coffee on the island. There are no crowds of tourists. You get a step back into the past and meet welcoming, friendly people.

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2. Hamoa beach is considered by some as the best beach on Maui. Most tourists haven’t heard of it. To find it you drive past Hasegawa’s General Store on the Hana Highway. It’s a pristine beach, and you have a good chance of being the only one there. The shoreline is crescent shaped and was the lip of a small volcano.

3. Surfing is a big activity all over Hawaii, but bodysurfing is also a lot of fun and not much talked about. You can catch the perfectly-formed waves and scoot along the face. You don’t need a board or lessons. Just keep trying until you get it. You may not want to stop.

Warren Antiola
Warren Antiola

4. Food is another overrated item in Hawaii. Most tourists run to experience a luau, which is fine for entertainment, but there is better food in Wailea. One example is a ranch-grilled burger at the Honolulu General Store and at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Grill. The meals are served outside near old, plantation-style buildings.

5. Summer is the popular season in Wailea, and the time when the crowds gather, but fall is the time when the summer crowds have flown and the snowbirds haven’t arrived. Spring is always packed with college kids on spring break, so fall is the best time to visit. The prices are less at hotels and resorts as well as restaurants and shops. It’s recommended to visit Maui right after Thanksgiving when the fares are still low.

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One thing that is hugely popular and not overrated is the sunset. Make sure you find out the right time and arrive at the beach early. It’s definitely worth the effort. When visiting Wailea, you should go ziplining and snorkeling. You may attend a luau and visit a blow hole. However, there are some other, not so famous, things to do that will give you a completely different experience to tell your friends.

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