Millions of travelers visit Maui each year for its amazing beaches, luxury resorts, and epic nature activities. Yet, there is so much more to this unique Hawaiian Island! Before you hit the soft sands, dive into our 20 fun facts about Maui Hawaii and learn about the history of this special destination in the Pacific.
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Maui Travel Inspiration
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- 25 Fun Things to do in Maui Hawaii for Every Type of Traveler
- Waihee Ridge Trail: Why it’s the Maui Hike you Absolutely Can’t Miss!
20 Fun Facts About Maui to Know Before you Go
1. Haleakalā Volcano
Did you know Maui is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano? The first of our Maui facts is something you’ll see from all over the island!
Haleakalā is over 10,000 feet tall and even gets the occasional snowfall. Today you’re able to hike partway down into the massive crater which is 21 miles wide and over 4,000 feet deep.
2. 2nd Largest Hawaiian Island
Maui may feel large, but it’s actually only the 2nd biggest in Hawaii. The big island which is officially named “Hawaii” is the largest of the 8 major Hawaiian islands. Maui is 727 square miles in area, yet chances are it’ll feel much bigger once you start exploring it!
3. Early Years of Maui History
Maui was first inhabited by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands sometime around 450 AD. Although they may have been the first, it was the Polonesyians from Tahiti that brought much of the culture and native characteristics still seen today.
Up until the 15th century, the island was split into three Chiefdoms. It wasn’t until around 1550 when they merged with a marriage between kingdoms.
4. James Cook’s Discovery
Although there are reports of shipwrecks in Hawaii as early as the 16th century, the first European credited with discovering the islands was James Cook. He would’ve landed on Maui, but the waves were too ferocious so he settled for nearby Kauai in 1778.
The following year James Cook would return to the Hawaiian islands and get killed in a skirmish with the locals. Nevertheless, Captain Cook’s visit would signify the movement from the west to Maui and beyond.
5. Maui Gold Pineapples
Now that you know some Maui history how about a little tropical fun?! One of the most delicious facts about Maui is that the island grows some of the best pineapples in the world.
Aside from their sweet flavor, Maui Gold Pineapple are known for being low in acidity and high in Vitamin C. Make sure to eat as much of this fruit as possible on your visit to Maui!
6. Waterfalls Galore
It should come as no surprise that many of these facts about Maui involve the beautiful nature of the island. There are dozens of waterfalls on the island of Maui and Waimoku Falls is one of the most scenic. The Pipiwai Trail will take you through a bamboo forest that leads to an epic 400-foot waterfall!
7. The Name Maui
One of the most interesting facts about Maui is how it got its name! According to the legend, Maui was a Polynesian demigod.
He got his superhero status from lassoing the sun with a strong rope to slow it down and provide more light for the people of the islands. This allowed them more time in the day to fish and grow crops.
8. Sea Turtles
Sea turtles are amazing marine animals, and you can see them in the clear blue waters of Maui! The most commonly seen are the Green Sea Turtles in Maui followed by the hawksbill.
Green Sea Turtles are the largest hard-shelled sea turtles in the world. They can grow over 4 feet long and weigh up to 300 lbs, so these sea turtles would be hard to miss! Just make sure to keep your distance! These beautiful animals are highly protected.
9. Huli Huli Chicken
Food is a big part of Maui history and culture and that is easily seen in the heart they put into every meal. While driving around Maui you will see a delicious-looking meat spinning at roadside stands. This is Huli Huli Chicken!
The chicken is roasted with a local marinade and spices and BBQ’d to perfection along with ribs and other meat. Definitely give this a try when you’re in Maui!
10. Kamehameha I and the Kingdom of Hawaii
Hailing from the Big Island, Kamehameha was the first chief to unite the Hawaiian Islands. After gaining control of his own island, he used weapons from American and European traders in an attempt to conquer the rest of Hawaii.
After much bloodshed, King Kamehameha was able to do just that. However, the island of Kauai held strong! Kamehameha would be forced to create an alliance with Kaumualii of Kauai before the islands could officially be united as a kingdom.
11. Humpback Whales
During the winter months, thousands of humpback whales migrate to the warm shores of Maui. They can be seen regularly jumping out of the ocean! The best part is that you can view them directly from shore.
12. Banana and Mango Bread
After you’ve tried Huli Huli chicken and Maui Gold Pineapples, there is another roadside treat for you in Maui! Our first taste of banana bread was one morning on our way to the Iao Valley. It was warm and flavorful, and must-have when it’s fresh out of the oven.
Now we have all heard about banana bread, what about Mango? This uniquely flavored bread is one of the most mouthwatering Maui facts you’ll find on this list.
13. No Private Beaches
All beaches in Maui are public! That means you’ll have access to all the most exclusive and beautiful beaches even in front of luxury resorts. There are even several trails that go directly in front of the hotels so you can beach hop all day!
14. Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is an epic all-day drive that will take you on Maui’s most stunning road. It’s full of over 600 twists and turns, amazing scenery, waterfalls, hikes, and over 40 one-way bridges! At the end, you will pass through Hana town and Haleakalā National Park.
15. Lahaina Banyan Tree
In the town of Lahaina in Maui you can find one of the largest Banyan trees in the United States! The sprawling branches take over practically the entire park in the center of town. It was planted in 1873 and stands at over 60 feet tall!
16. Farmers Markets Galore
The farmer’s markets in Maui are a staple of the island. They range from large to small and are set throughout the most popular towns. At the local farmer’s markets, you can find many crafts, art, and unique foods to try. Don’t miss the many roadside stands too when you’re driving around!
17. Millions of Travelers
Can you believe Maui welcomes over a million travelers per year? In general, Hawaii is known as one of the top tourist destinations in the United States and Maui is one of the most traveled too.
This makes it easy to get to with direct flights from several main cities in the U.S. We flew direct from San Diego on Hawaiian Airlines and paid just over $100 to Maui! If you’d like to experience Maui with fewer crowds try traveling outside of peak season which runs from December to March.
18. Lava Fields
The Haleakalā volcano hasn’t erupted since around 1600, but it left lasting effects on the island of Maui. Today you can walk right through the hardened lava fields along the Southeast coast of the island! There are even wild goats that will keep you company along the trail.
19. Endless Beaches on Maui
There are over 80 beaches on Maui all with their own unique features. The colors range from red and black to white and golden sands. Some you have to hike into while others you can drive right up and park! Whatever kind of beach you’re looking for, Maui has it all!
20. Tropical Flower Paradise
The last of our facts about Maui is something you’ll surely see plenty of! Tropical flowers bloom in abundance all over the island and bring out colors from your wildest dreams.
The Plumeria is Hawaii’s most famous flower, and you will also see the state flower yellow hibiscus to name a few. Take a visit to one of the many botanical gardens, or simply take in the beautiful nature wherever you go!
Have any questions about our Maui facts or want to share some of your favorite Maui history? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Maui Hawaii
For a complete look at the island check out Where to Stay in Maui: 4 Top Areas With Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – Four Seasons Resort Maui – Wailea – Known as one of the most elite hotels on Maui, the Four Seasons has three swimming pools, 5-star service, and is just steps from the beach.
Fun Vacation – Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – Wailea – This modern, upscale hotel is packed with swimming pools and ocean views. You also be close to some of best local food in Maui.
Bed & Breakfast –Maui What a Wonderful World Bed & Breakfast – Wailea – Get all the local charm you can handle at this unique bed and breakfast. Awesome location that will also provide a homey welcome to the island.
Aparthotel – Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort – Lahaina – Great for travelers looking to have a little more space and a kitchen.
Hostel Life – Hakuna Matata Maui Hostel – Lahaina – Walking distance to the town center, this hostel is set in a beautiful garden. Also, Hakuna Matata offers free bikes for guests and is close to the beach.
Remote Resort – Hana Maui Resort A Destination by Hyatt – Hana – Located in the far remote part of the island along the road to Hana. Amazing resort by Hyatt offering seclusion and luxury.
For more places to stay in Maui you can explore the latest prices here!
Hawaii Travel Planning
Rental Car: Hands down the best way to explore Maui Hawaii is with a rental car! We used Discover Cars to explore the island. Just make sure to book in advance because there are limited cars on the island in the high season!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad (if you’re traveling to Hawaii from outside the USA) without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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