Chapter 34 – Sport & Recreation
It will come as no surprise to those who have recently moved to Maui that recreational activities typically revolve around getting outdoors. If it’s to stroll along the shore of one of Maui’s breathtaking beaches or to participate in the numerous water or adventure sports that the island has to offer, Maui has recreational activities for the thrill seeker and low-key vacationer alike.
Recreation and Water Activities
Parks on Maui
Whether you’re looking for a place to fish or a youth basketball league, a good place to start your search is your nearest parks and recreation department. Maui Parks and Recreation Department oversees 130 parks throughout the island. Many offer soccer and baseball fields, basketball courts, and swimming pools in addition to facilities for those who need meeting rooms or just a place to play. The Parks and Recreation website offers a listing of county parks along with a search function for park facilities so you can find exactly what you’re looking for be it playgrounds or canoe rentals. County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation, 700 Halia Nakoa Street, War Memorial Complex Wailuku, 808-270-7230, www.co.maui.hi.us
There are eight Hawaii State Parks on Maui boasting stunning scenery in some of the more remote locations on the island. Many parks have areas for picnicking, hiking trails and campgrounds for the outdoor adventurer. A great place to start is Iao Valley State Park which was rated #3 in U.S. News and World Reports list of “Best Things to Do in Maui”. There are botanical gardens, hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty and, of course, the majestic Iao Needle—a green colored rock standing 1,200 in the remote Hawaiian wilderness. Located at the end of ‘Iao Valley Road (Highway 32), Iao Valley, visitors should contact the Hawaii State Parks Maui District Office for more information on all the state parks at 54 South High Street, Room 101, Wailuku, 808-984-8109, www.hawaiistateparks.org
When it comes to the parks of Maui it is truly case of an embarrassment of riches. Where to go first? It all depends on what you’re looking for but one “cannot miss” spot is Haleakala, the single National Park on Maui. More than 30,000 acres make up this park on the remote eastern shore of Maui that includes both mountain summits and gorgeous coastline. Visitors can hike to the summit of the Haleakala volcano where, if conditions are favorable, one can see five Hawaiian islands in the seascape below.
Haleakala National Park is home to endangered species and offers sweeping ocean vistas, waterfalls and miles of unspoiled wilderness for the nature-lover who wants to get away from it all. The park does not have a physical address but directions are available on-line. You may be able to find it with your GPS using these addresses: Haleakala National Park Summit area entrance: 30,000 Haleakala Highway, Kula (add 10 miles to this). Kipahulu area entrance: Mile Marker 42 Hana Highway, Hana. Call 808-572-440 or visit www.nps.gov/hale
Of course the first thing that most people associate with the state of Hawaii is the gorgeous beaches. There are numerous resources claiming to list the “best beaches on Maui” but when it comes to visiting the beaches of the island, it’s hard to go wrong. Maui has more than 120 miles of coastline and 30 miles of beaches many of which regularly make lists of the top 100 beaches in the world. As you decide where to begin, take a look at the suggestions below as well as this comprehensive listing of beaches on Maui for locations and directions: www.gohawaii.com/maui/guidebook/topics/beaches-of-maui and here www.mauisurf.com/beaches for information on water sports available at each site.
U.S. News and World Reports listed Kaihalulu, Wailea and Ho’okipa beaches among the top five “Best Things to Do in Maui” and it’s not hard to see why. The first is perhaps the most unique on Maui and even the world with red sand beaches thanks to volcanic cinders. Be aware that visiting Kaihalulu is likely not for those seeking a relaxing day of sunbathing as access requires a 10 minute hike down a steep slope. Still, if you’re up for the challenge, locals and visitors alike agree that it’s well worth the trip. For a change of pace, head to Wailea on the southwestern shore to experience what is Maui’s swankiest beach with white sands and great surfing. Ho’okipa is also a popular surfing location for true daredevils—the ocean is often too rough for swimming—but the scenery can’t be beat.
If you’re looking for more sedate water sports (think snorkeling and swimming), look no further than Kapalua and Kaanapali beaches. Kapalua features calm waters and gently swaying palm trees due to the lava rocks that reach into the ocean protecting the shoreline. Kaanapali hosts the Whaler’s Village Shopping Center as well as some of the best snorkeling on the island thanks to clear waters and a wide range of tropical fish who call the area home.
There are 14 golf courses located on Maui, several that are regularly ranked among the best in the world. No matter where you live on the island, there is likely a golf course near you. Check out the comprehensive list at www.gohawaii.com/maui/experiences/golf as well as these suggestions of some of the most stunning courses Hawaii has to offer.
- Kappalua Plantation Course is the site of the PGA Hyundai Tournament of Champions and was selected as the Best Golf Course in Hawaii by Golf Digest Magazine. 2000 Plantation Club Drive in Lahaina, 877-527-2582, www.golfatkapalua.com
- Wailea Golf Club features three challenging courses with stunning views rated among the best on Maui by Golf Digest Magazine. 100 Wailea Golf Club Drive in Wailea, 808-875-7450, www.waileagolf.com
- Waiehu Municipal Golf Course is one of Maui’s two excellent public golf courses. Enjoy the beauty of golf in Maui at an affordable rate. Lower Waiehu Beach Road, Waiehu, Wailuku, 808- 244-5934, www.co.maui.hi.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/157
Boating and Sailing
Perhaps the best way to appreciate Maui’s beauty is from the water that surrounds it. Charter boats, boat rentals and boat tours abound on Maui. Anyone over the age of 15 is allowed to operate a boat in Hawaii, but a recent law requires that all boaters complete a boating safety course by November 2014 and carry their certification with them when on the water.
Owning a boat on Maui may be the ultimate dream realized but, unfortunately, the limited mooring space has resulted in a waitlist multiple years long for the purchase of permanent boat slips. If you own a boat, your best bet will be to arrange off-shore mooring or to rent a slip. However, there are no guarantees that one will be available when needed. In some instances boat owners have been able to make a private deal with a permanent slip owner to rent space from them. For more information about purchasing or renting a boat slip, contact the harbor and ramp facilities found here: www.hawaiiocean.com/Directories/Marina%20Facilities/
Given the logistical challenges of owning a boat on Maui you may find it preferable to avoid the worry and charter a boat when you’d like or enjoy one of Maui’s many boat tours. Some highlights are listed below and a comprehensive list can be found here: www.mauivisitorsguide.com/boatcruises
- Blue Water Rafting, 808-879-7238, www.bluewaterrafting.com; For a slightly more adventurous experience on the water, Blue Water Rafting’s highly rated snorkeling tours, whale watching excursions and opportunities to swim with marine life can’t be beat. Private charters are also available on request.
- Lahaina Cruise Company, 658 Front Street in Lahaina, 808-667-6165, www.mauiprincess.com; A wide variety of boat tours including snorkeling expeditions, sunset cruises, whale watching, and private charters.
- Pride of Maui, 101 Maalaea Boat Harbor Road, Slip #68 in Wailuku, 808-242-0955, www.prideofmaui.com; A large fleet and every imaginable kind of tour in both length and experience available. Enjoy a snorkeling adventure on Molokini, a relaxing sunset cocktail cruise or charter a boat to experience second-to-none customer service.
The fish caught in the waters surrounding Maui are among some of the largest and most prized in the world. It is worth noting that Hawaii is the only place in the world where marlin weighing more than 1,000 pounds have been caught during every month of the year. Thanks to the gorgeous climate, nearly all species of fish can be caught year round.
Sport fishing from deep sea charter boats is certainly widely available but off-shore and shore fishing are also options and particularly good ones for those nervous about boating or for small children. You can always strike off on your own to do some shore fishing from Maui’s beaches although make sure to be aware of your surroundings and follow the rules and regulations of the individual beach. For deep sea charters and other guided experiences, here are some of the most popular fishing experiences on Maui.
- Extreme Sport Fishing is a family owned and operated business specializing in day-long deep sea fishing excursions. Four charter boats are available. 808 250-6563 or www.extremefishingmaui.com
- Fish Maui offers everything from deep sea charters to shore fishing guides to spear fishing. Their website is full of great information on the best seasons to go fishing on Maui depending on what kind of fish you hope to catch. 808-344-3520 or www.fishmaui.com
- Luckey Strike is a small, family owned operation with two highly regarded fishing charter boats available. They offer four, six and eight hour fishing trips depending on what experience you’re looking for. 800-474-4606 or www.luckeystrike.com
No other sport is as iconic to Hawaii as surfing. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just starting out, Maui’s shores have the beaches, and the waves, you’ll need. For beginners, there is no shortage of surfing instructors and classes to help you get started. Before you start out for the day, check out www.surfline.com/surf-report/maui for the most comprehensive surfing reports and web cams available.
For the casual or beginning surfer, heading out in the calmer waters of beaches in Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kihei on the western and southern shores is advisable. Visit www.mauisurf.com/beaches for an overview of the beaches that offer surfing and other water sports to find the spot that will best meet your skill level.
For the professional surfer or those who want to watch the pros in action, head to Honoluha Bay during the winter months. The rocky bluffs make this area a poor choice for sunbathing but offer an exciting front row seat to watch experienced surfers ride the waves. The water is significantly calmer during the summer months making this a great place for snorkeling and swimming.
- Maui Beach Boys serving Kihei and Lahaina areas with highly-rated professional instruction, surf camps, and a fun atmosphere. 808–283-7114 or www.mauibeachboys.com
- Maui Surf Clinic is Hawaii’s oldest surfing institution offering group, semi-private and private surfing lessons and clinics as well as paddle board lessons in the Lahaina area. 808.244.7873 or www.mauisurfclinics.com
- Maui Surfer Girls is recognized nationally for girls-only surf camps with the mission of building self-confidence and empowering women and girls through surfing. They also offer highly rated surfing instruction to women, men and children of all ages with small class sizes of 4:1 in the greater Lahaina and Kihei areas. 808-214-0606 or www.mauisurfergirls.com
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding
For the thrill seeker on Maui, there are no better activities than wind and kite surfing. Windsurfing is a combination of surfing and sailing while kite surfing is similar but with a controllable kite, rather than a sail, that propels the user across the water and into even into the air.
Ho’okipa, Spreckelsville, Kanaha and Kihei are among some of the more popular sites for wind and kite surfers but there are some restrictions around where kite surfers in particular may be in the water. Maui Kite Boarder Association (www.mauikiteboarderassociation.com) has resources identifying the beaches where kiteboarding is allowed and other important regulations to be aware of.
For the beginning wind or kite surfer, connecting with the experts for instruction and equipment rental is advisable for safety and financial reasons. Purchasing your own equipment is very expensive!
- Action Sports Maui provides highly rated lessons as well as beachside rentals on the northern and southern shores. Instruction offered in kiteboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paddle boarding. 22 Alahele Street in Kahului, (808) 871-5857 or www.actionsportsmaui.com
- Aqua Sports Maui specializes in private kiteboarding lessons at every skill level—from beginner to semi-pro. Kite Beach Kahului, (808) 242-8015, www.mauikiteboardinglessons.com
- Kite Boarding School of Maui is designed to meet the every need of the kite boarder with equipment for sale and rent as well as lessons for every skill level. All instructors are registered with the International Kite Boarder organization. 400 Hana Highway Kahului, 808-873-0015, www.ksmaui.com
- Maui Wind Surf Company caters especially to the windsurfing enthusiast with private and semi-private lessons, windsurfing van rental and equipment rental at Maui’s only windsurfing equipment rental drive through!
Scuba and Snorkeling
Snorkeling is one of the most popular water activities for visitors to Maui although the conditions for snorkeling depend heavily on the weather and time of year. The shores on the southern end of the island have more favorable conditions in the winter months while the northern and western beaches offer gentler surf in the summer. There are numerous resources on-line to help you select the site that best matches your needs and skill level but one of the most comprehensive can be found at www.snorkelingdives.com which also includes maps.
Some great spots to start for easy entry and fairly shallow waters include Kapalua Bay, Kahekili Beach Park, and Wahikuli State Park in western Maui. On the southern side of the island try Kamaole Beach Parks, Wailea Point, Maluaka Beach. Additionally, most boat cruises and charters in the area offer snorkeling expeditions as do the dive operators listed below.
Scuba diving is another popular way to enjoy the underwater beauty that surrounds Maui. Scuba operators launch dive boats from four locations on the island so which one you choose should depend on your skill and comfort level underwater. If you’re not scuba certified many dive schools offer course and certification in just a few hours’ time. The best time to go scuba diving on Maui is in the morning before trade winds move in during the afternoon making the water choppier. Since the western shore is more protected from the wind, some operators have excursions departing in the afternoon as well from that area.
- B&B Scuba is a good choice for beginning divers since they offer intro to scuba and certifications classes. There is a retail location for the purchase of wetsuits, fins and more for the experienced diver purchasing his or her own equipment. 1280 South Kihei Road in Kihei, 1-808-875-2861, www.bbscuba.com
- Lahaina Divers is the largest diving school on the island offering instruction, certification, dives for all skills levels, and private charters. Originates on the western shore. 143 Dickenson Street Suite #100 in Lahaina, 808-667-7496, www.lahainadivers.com
- Maui Dive Shop is a great choice for the beginning diver looking for instruction and certification or for the experienced diver who is seeking equipment rentals. Maui Dive Shop offers all of this as well as snorkeling in the popular Molokini area. 1.808.879.1775 ext#3 or www.mauidiveshop.com
- Mike Severns Diving is best suited for a slightly more skilled diver but focuses on the overall experience for its divers rather than time limits on the dive. Their dives originate in Kihei and the locations of dives are determined on a day-by-day basis depending on where conditions are most favorable. (808) 879-6596 or www.mikesevernsdiving.com
Recreational Sports and Fitness
Recreation on Maui isn’t limited to water sports and activities. There are many opportunities to get outdoors and participate in recreational sports for both adults and children. While it’s true that the climate is gorgeous year-round, for the days it’s a bit too warm for you or a rare rainstorm blows in, there are plenty of indoor facilities located on the island as well.
The Maui County Parks and Recreation Department lists many of the area sporting leagues both those associated with the Parks and Rec Department and those that aren’t. Search by sport and find out what leagues are in your area by visiting the Resource Directory at www.co.maui.hi.us
- Little League has three leagues on the island located in Kihei 808-385-6274, www.kiheilittleleague.org, Pukalani 808-214-4501, www.mauiupcountrylittleleague.com and West Maui 808-269-1840.
- Maui Adult Baseball League has multiple teams for adults on the island; email@example.com or www.mauiadultbaseball.com
- Maui Leagues- Hitter’s Paradise offers baseball, softball and T-ball for children. 386 Huku Li’I Place in Kihei, (808) 298-0262, www.hittersparadise.com
- Central Maui Youth Basketball League serving Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei and the Upcountry for children ages 6-15, 808-250-4370
- Menehune Basketball offers teams for boys and girls grades 6-8, 808-270-7392
- Parks and Recreation Department teams are available for men, women and children of all ages. Visit http://www.co.maui.hi.us/BusinessDirectoryII.aspx?lngBusinessCategoryID=48
- to find the most appropriate league or call 808-270-7230
Cycling is a very popular activity in Maui thanks to the climate, many paved shoulders and bike lanes and, of course, beautiful scenery. Many bike shops and cycling groups cater to the avid cyclists on vacation or the causal biker who wants to see Maui at a more relaxed pace. However, many of these groups offer rentals and bike maps to the cyclist who wants to strike off on their own or with friends.
- Boss Frog’s Cycles provides bike sales, rentals and service as well as resources and tips to riders from their Lahaina and Kihei locations. www.mauiroadbikerentals.com
- Go Cycling Maui’s bike tours are intended for the more experienced cyclist visiting Maui. They also offer rentals, cycling camps, a full service cycling shop and bike maps on their website. 99 Hana Highway in Paia, 808-579-9009, www.gocyclingmaui.com
- West Maui Cycles offers sales, service and rentals from their location in Lahaina. 1087 Limahana Place, #6, (808) 661-9005, www.westmauicycles.com
Gymnastics is as popular as ever, and many of these gyms are now also offering cheer classes. Not just for the sidelines anymore, cheerleading is a serious competitive youth sport. In addition to school teams, these facilities offer classes and some have their own independent teams.
- Maui Elite Gymanastics and Cheerleading Academy, 200 Waiheu Beach Road in Wailuku, 808-877-5800
- Maui Tumblers, 808-205-7922, www.mauitumblers.com
- Valley Isle Gymnastics, 250 Alamaha Street Suite N-3 in Kahului, 808-871-6116, www.valleyislegymanstics.com
- Aloha Dance provides Latin and Ballroom Dance lessons and competitions to the community from their location in Kihei. www.alohaballroom.com
- Konomi Dance Works is Maui’s hip-hop dance studio with classes for adults and children. They also offer classes in other styles of dance such as ballet, tap and jazz. 70 Kanoa Street Suite 103 in Wailuku, www.konomidanceworks.com
Disc golf or Frisbee golf, has a loyal following locally that enjoys a host of local places to play both competitively and just for fun. DG (Disc Golf) Course Review, www.dgcoursereview, provides a search engine for players to find the course that best meets their skill level including several on the island of Maui.
There are few better ways to explore Maui’s many beaches and rugged hiking trails than on horseback. Many tours cater to visitors wanting to explore the island in a unique way but many also offer challenging trail riding for the experienced rider. Make sure to call ahead as many stables are located on remote parts of the island and you’ll want to verify space before arriving.
- Ironwood Ranch can be found in the west Maui mountains. Rides vary in participant skill level from beginner to advance. 808-669-4991, www.ironwoodranch.com
- Lahaina Stables offers historical, lunch and sunset trail rides, 808-667-2222, www.mauihorse.com
- Makena Stables is located in a remote, eastern area of the island to better offer the most rugged trails and physical strenuous rides for advanced riders. 808- 879-0244, www.makenastables.com
- Piiholo Ranch offers a variety of different types of rides as well as lessons for those who want to develop their horsemanship skills, (808) 270-8750, www.piiholo.com
This sport is up and coming in Hawaii schools and now also has some independent teams, too. Try Hawaii Lacrosse, www.hawaiilacrosse.com to get started with this fast-paced sport.
Adult or child, amateur or pro, you can find a place to learn and practice judo, karate and other martial arts in Wilmington and surrounding areas. A listing of Martial Arts Academies and Do-Jos can be found here: www.onzuka.com/maui. The groups below hold classes on Maui or can help you find a school that best meets your needs:
- Kiffman Tae Kwon Do and Fitness, 111 Hana Highway in Kahului, (808) 877-4311, www.mauiinternationaltkd.com
- Maui Jiu Jitsu, 810 Haiku Road in Haiku, 808-575-9930, www.mauijiujitsu.com
- Maui Martial Arts, 830 Kolu Street in Wailuku, 808-333-2980, www.mauimartialarts.com
- Ohana Martial Arts, 255 Alamaha Street in Kahului, 808-877-5435, www.ohanamartialartsmaui.com
- USA National Karate-Do Federation, www.usankf.org
- USA Taekwondo, www.usa-taekwondo.us
There are a number of canoe clubs on Maui with Maui Canoe Club, www.mauicanoeclub.org, being the largest. Outings are schedules daily on weekdays and meet at Sugar Beach on North Kihei Road. Kihei Canoe Club, www.kiheicanoeclub.com, is among the oldest clubs on Maui and offers racing for adults and children with a focus on preserving Hawaiian culture. To find other rowing groups throughout the state of Hawaii, browse the “Rowing Clubs by State” list compiled by U.S. Rowing, www.usrowing.org
While driving through Maui on the weekends, you’re likely to see runners participating in one of the many local races or group runs for charity or for sport. These events are indicator of how big running is in Hawaii and across the country. Running in the USA, http://www.runningintheusa.com/Club/List.aspx?State=HI, provides a list of clubs by state or you can search for one by zip code at USA Track & Field, www.usatf.org/clubs/search/. The largest local group on Maui is the Valley Isle Roadrunner’s Club, www.virr.co/, which has races, trainings and youth programs.
- Hawaii Soccer Association offers adult leagues on four different Hawaiian islands, including Maui. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join a team or visit www.hawaiisoccerassociation.com for more information.
- Hawaii Soccer Federation has the most competitive league play on the island for adults and young people. 1683 Nana Street #3 in Wailuku, www.hawaii soccerfederation.org
- Maui United Soccer Club offers soccer teams for children and teens ages 4-18 at a variety of skills levels. (808) 463-4414 or www.mauiunitedsoccer.org
- Maui Girls Softball Association, (808) 276-3315 or email@example.com
- Maui Parks and Recreation Department offers fast-pitch softball for girls in south Maui, 303 East Lipoa Street in Kihei, (808) 879-4533
For recreational swimming, head to one of Maui’s city pools, (808) 270-6137, www.co.maui.hi.us/Facilities which offer swim classes and open swimming. The County Parks and Recreation Department also manages a lifeguard program. Here are a few other places you can visit to find places to join a local swim team:
- Maui Dolphins Swim Club provides competitive swim teams for children of all ages. 90 Pukalani St, Makawao, 808-280-4257, www.mauidolphins.org
- Maui Masters Swim Club is for adults ages 18 and up who want to participate in fitness swimming or competitive swimming at four different locations across Maui. Membership is required. www.swimmaui.com
- Valley Isle Masters Swimmers hosts workouts and swim events at several locations across the island. www.mastersswimmingmaui.org
Public tennis courts abound throughout the island. Check your local parks and recreation department and the listings below. There are also high-end private tennis clubs with state of the art facilities and instruction available to members.
- Makena Tennis Club, 808-891-4050, www.makenaresortmaui.com/tennis
- Maui Country Club, 808-877-7893, www.mauicountryclub.com
- Wailea Tennis Club, 131 Wailea Ike Place, 808-879-1958, www.waileatennis.com
- Wailuku Junior Tennis Club, 1973 Wells Street, 808-242-0069, www.wailukujuniortennisclub.com
- Aloha Volleyball Association offers indoor and beach volleyball play as well as summer camps, 808-298-9623, www.alohavolleyball.com
Health Clubs and Gyms
A complete listing of health clubs grouped by geographic location can be found at www.mauiinfosource.com. Here are some of the larger facilities on Maui:
- 24 Hour Fitness, 150 Hana Highway in Kahului, 808-877-7474, www.24hourfitness.com
- Body in Balance providing Pilates and weight training to the Lahaina area, 142 Kupuohi Street, Building F2, 808-661-1116, www.bodyinbalancemaui.com
- Curves with multiple locations on Maui, www.curves.com for the one nearest you.
- Powerhouse Gym, 1279 South Kihei Road Suite 118, 808-214-6737,
- Sports Club Kahana, 4327 Lower Honoapiilani Highway, 808-669-3539, www.sportsclubkahana.com
- Upcountry Fitness, 810 Komono Road in Haiku, 808-575-7334, www.upcountryfitness.com
- Valley Isle Fitness with two locations in Lahaina and Kihei, www.valleyislefitnesscenter.com
Maui Family YMCA
The Maui YMCA, 250 Konaloa Avenue is located centrally on Maui in Kahului. The facility offers sports, group fitness, child care, and much more. It has an aquatics program and other activities such as summer camps for children. For more information on programs, rates and membership, go to www.mauiymca.org or call 808-242-9007.
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