Those traveling to Wailea, Maui, will find they do not need to venture far in order to discover plenty of exciting things to do. The Wailea area is home to a wealth of activities to suit the whole family.
Wailea is a small community on the south end of Maui, consisting of around 6,000 residents according to the 2010 census. Tourism is its major business with most of employers being resorts, golf clubs, retail shops and tourist-related businesses. It was built with a master plan that conserves the island’s environment during building projects. There are a number of facilities available including golf courses, tennis facilities and beaches. There are also a number of restaurants and shopping areas for tourists to enjoy.
Top 10 Activities
- Whale watching. There are number of tour companies available in Wailea. The best time for this is from December to April, although winter is considered to be by far the best time for viewing. The best place to see whales is a shallow basin between the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe. However, you can also see Humpback whales from the beach in the South Maui coastal areas. One of the best places you can view Humpback whales in winter is the Wailea Beach Walk. As many as a dozen whales can be seen from the path during the middle of winter.
- Snorkeling trips to Molokini. There are companies offering both large and small group excursions throughout the area. One of the most interesting tours is to Molokini Crater, a volcanic cinder that lies primarily underwater. The area has many different types of life forms around its crescent moon islet and coral reef, making it one of the most breathtaking areas you’ll ever experience. There are a variety of trips available including early morning tours and excursions that include breakfast, lunch and cocktails afterward.
- Shops at Wailea. These luxury shops along Wailea Alanui Drive include Tiffany & Company as well as Beach Bumz Gift Shop. The area also offers a number of restaurants in a variety of price ranges with a diverse food selection. There are a lot of outside walking areas for an easy stroll with palm trees and lovely architecture lining the streets.
- Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach & Little Beach). This is 165 acres of pristine beauty consisting of two of the best beaches in Maui along the coastline off Wailea. The sand is white and orange on Big Beach and the beach is large enough for everyone to have space. The beaches are situated between two lava points, contributing to the uniqueness of the area. This is a great area for swimming and the moderate surf is terrific for body surfing. Little Beach is equally as lovely and awesome for swimming and body surfing as well. However, Little Beach is a clothing optional area, even though local laws prohibit nudity.
- Horseback Riding – Makena Stables. The stables have been in place since 1983 and are highly rated, largely because stable masters match horses with riders on an individual basis. The stables offer a number of riding options from a two-hour beginner ride to advanced three-hour rides. Private tours are also an option. The stables are open 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. They are closed on Sundays.
- Wailea Golf Club. The gold course, designed by famed Robert Trent Jones II, was honored in 1994 of being named one of the top 10 new resort courses. It is considered a challenging course with narrow fairways and more bunkers that the other two courses at the club. One interesting element is the course has prehistoric lava rock walls, which were preserved during construction. The conservation effort was lauded by the Maui Historical Society.
Luau. The Grand Luau at Honua’ula offers best of traditional dance, chant and ancient stories of the island. There is much more to the evening that a show and dinner. There are hula lessons before the show, an open bar and a full Imu Ceremony. Food includes appetizers, salads, a number of Hawaiian entrees, and island inspired desserts. Plan for an entire afternoon and evening because luau activities begin at 4 p.m. and end around 8 p.m.
Te Au Moana, the luau offered by the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, also offers an excellent experience in ancient Polynesian culture. This experience includes traditional Hawaiian underground cooking, hula dancing, storytelling, flower and Polynesian crafts and an extensive menu that includes baked Kalua pig, shoyu chicken, poi, and a variety of traditional Hawaiian side dishes and desserts. It also has an open bar with blended tropical drinks. This luau is available on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Spas. Spa Grande Grand Wailea. If you are someone who is looking for a relaxing, warm and comforting stay in a beautiful environment, this is exactly what you’re looking for. Spa Grande offers up a luxurious experience for everyone. With many soothing experiences and lots of open space, you will feel relaxed and at home. All of your cares will melt away when you visit this place and you will feel complete again. The staff is able to use all of the skills at their disposal in order to provide you with a top-notch experience in relaxation. Whether you just want to get away from it all or are so stressed out that everyday life has become something you dread, one visit to Spa Grande and you will be well on your way to being centered again.
Mandara Spa Wailea. The Mandara Spa at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on Wailea Alanui Drive offers a full array of services including salon services for hair, make-up, and nails. Spa services include body treatments, massages and facials, along with a steam room and private showers. There are both single and couple suites for spa services. The view is relaxing as it overlooks the ocean and the nearby island of Kaho’olawe.
- Wailea Beach Path. This a 1.3-mile path that twists along jagged lava points and then heads to the shore. The path serves as a connector between luxury hotels and beaches. An interesting point along the path includes the remnants of Hawaiian homes dating back to 1300 A.D. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset.
- Kayaking and Canoeing. There are a number of companies offering quality kayaking and canoeing adventures in Wailea. There are also companies, like Maui Kayaks Eco Adventures, offering a combined experience of kayaking and environmental education. This adventure also includes snorkeling, and observations of whales, turtles and dolphins. There are also companies offering clear kayaks, which give you a different perspective of the water and its marine life.
There are other things to do as well among the various resorts and tourism offerings, like helicopter tours, hiking and cultural history tours. Whether you choose a relaxing time away with food, music and long, sunset strolls or an adventure full of horseback riding, snorkeling and kayaks, there is no better place to do it than in Wailea, Maui. The time you enjoy will be like no other and one to remember for a lifetime.