Maui is surrounded by gorgeous beaches and the looming shadow of Mt. Haleakala. It’s enough to make most visitors forget all about the middle of our island. However, don’t overlook sightseeing in Central Maui, or you’ll be missing out on a very special part of our island that contains many hidden treasures.
About Central Maui
It’s kind of hard to miss Central Maui, since you will, in all likelihood fly right into it when you land at Kahului Airport. Central Maui lays between Mt. Haleakala and West Maui’s Mauna Kahalawai volcano and includes Kahului, Puunene, Wailuku, and Waiehu. It is a unique part of the island that is a mix of city, small town, and countryside. In Central Maui, you can stock up on supplies at the Costco and Target, wander around the small town shopping district of Wailuku, catch a concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, or explore the island’s dramatic past at Iao Valley State Park.
Things to do in Central Maui
Central Maui includes a lot of city. If you need a big box store or want to hit the mall, Central Maui is the place to do it. (Check out the Queen Ka’ahumanu Shopping Center). It also provides unique shopping opportunities. Check out the massive Maui Swap Meet that takes over the UH Maui Community College campus every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. This is the perfect place to grab some souvenirs for all your friends and family members. If you prefer to shop in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, make your way to Historic Downtown Wailuku. Market Street offers lots of darling boutiques, art galleries, antique stores, snack shops, and more.
Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Maui doesn’t have to be all about the outdoors. If you’re itching to see a show, catch a concert, or watch your favorite comedian perform, it’s likely happening at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, (known as “MACC” to the locals). MACC hosts the Maui Film Festival each year, along with the Made on Maui Festival and Maui Brewers Festival. On any given weekend it can host a ballet, a symphony performance, a play, and more. Check the schedule to see what’s happening during your stay.
Iao Valley State Park
Iao Valley State Park is a gorgeous park filled with frothing streams and verdant vegetation. It’s worth visiting just for the views, especially if you snap a few shots of the famous Iao Needle. However, if you happen to be a U.S. or Hawaiian history buff, this park will have even more meaning for you. Long ago, it was the battleground where King Kamehameha the Great defeated Maui’s tribes as he worked to unite the Hawaiian Islands.
Here at Ali’i Resorts, we have a special fondness for South Maui where most of our vacation rentals are located, but that doesn’t mean we think you should skip the rest of our beautiful island. Central Maui is definitely worth taking a day to explore for sightseeing and shopping.