Keeping Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. Alive

By | Hawaii, Maalaea, Maui | 3 Comments

Visit Maui and chances are you’ll be intrigued by the ubiquity of signs for Alexander and Baldwin, from Wailuku’s H.P. Baldwin High to Makawao’s Baldwin Avenue.

But what’s the story behind it?

As two of the most influential (though controversial) figures in the Valley Isle’s history, Samuel Thomas Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin shaped the Maui we know today, having paved the way for its designation as one of the largest sugar providers on the planet.

sugarmill

Photography by Stu Soley

 

That legacy began at least thirteen centuries ago when Polynesians transported ‘ko’—or sugar—in their canoes before settling into the Hawaiian Islands.

“Native Hawaiian planters would typically maintain a patch of ko on the perimeter of their farm plots,” writes Paul Wood in Hana Hou. “They recognized some two dozen varieties and used the juice in food and as medicine, the leaves for thatch and the plumelike flowers in many ways.”

Operations for commercial sugar-harvesting began in the island’s Central Valley—specifically, Wailuku and Waikapu—during the 1820s. By 1870, Alexander and Baldwin made their first mark when they planted a sugarcane crop on their plantation below Makawao. Four years later, Wood writes, King David Kalakaua “helped persuade the U.S. government to enact the Reciprocity Treaty, allowing island sugar growers to sell their product duty-free.” As “boomtime” ensued, Alexander and Baldwin—childhood friends, both Protestants—expanded operations and created Maui Agricultural Company, an outfit that was incorporated with Claus Spreckel’s Hawaiian Commercial Co. and eventually became Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.—a corporation that included California and Hawaii Sugar Company (that of the iconic pink and blue C & H label) and went on to dominate the Western World as one of the biggest suppliers of the sweet stuff.

Maui agricultural company

By 1901, those original efforts by Alexander and Baldwin were palpable across the island. The construction of Kahului Railroad and Kahului Harbor provided greater means to transport both sugar and people, while the erection of a towering mill in “goose hill”—a small community in the center of the island that’s known as Pu’unene—allowed HC&S to reuse its cane wash water for irrigation. Through the acquisition of additional land, HC&S’s plantations went on to span an enormous swath of the island’s 727 square miles, ultimately comprising 36,000 of Maui’s acres and giving kama’aina and visitors sweeping views of the crop’s tall, green stalks.

Alexander and Baldwin

For years, Alexander and Baldwin’s harvest was a tremendous boon for Hawaii’s economy; it also served as one of the driving forces behind the “mixed pot” demographic for which the Aloha State is famous. Droves of farmhands arrived from as far away as the Philippines and Portugal, taking Maui and the other islands from a place inhabited primarily by native Hawaiians and missionaries to one that included a variety of peoples and their attending cultures. As Hawai’i Magazine puts it, “Everyone who lives here now can see, hear, and taste the effect of the sugar plantations on the islands, from the landscape carved out by acres of cane to the pidgin we speak to the foods we eat: teri beef, manapua, adobo.”

But by 2016, nearly a century and a half after Alexander and Baldwin planted that first upcountry crop, the island’s sugarcane era reached its end when A&B announced the closure of HC&S, citing a transition to a diversified farm model and huge economic losses as the chief reasons for shuttering up its site in Pu’unene and letting go of 675 employees. (Other factors, including weather challenges and community opposition to cane burning and water use, also contributed to the decision, A&B’s President and CEO Christopher Benjamin said.)

nostalgia in Maui

Many Mauians are mourning—and bemoaning—the closure of HC&S. Aside from the job losses and displacements it’s caused, there’s the whole aspect of nostalgia—and necessity. For some, the smokestacks in Pu’unene served as a weather vane, illustrating whether the winds coming across the Central Valley were Konas or trades. For others, the closure hammers home the end of island life as it was known. “There is that nostalgia about that community life,” says Dorothy Pyle, a former professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College, whose husband, Bill, served as a long-time employee of HC&S. “It’s changing us forever because I will never see 36,000 acres of agriculture again, it just won’t happen. So that whole feel of the island—flying in over these fields and driving through them going to Lahaina—never going to be again.”

“That smell, it’s nostalgic,” agrees Larry Lambert, a former field engineering technician. “That’s what I’m going to miss. The squeezed, juicy, hot molasses. You can still smell it out in the fields, that aroma of burnt cane.”

Meanwhile, there is, pressingly so, the logistics of the land that was once devoted to cane—an area of Maui, Hawai’i Magazine reminds us, that is the twice the size of Manhattan.

Maui sugarcane fields

“The challenge and opportunity we face is 36,000 acres from sea level to 1,000 feet, with 60 inches of rain on the windward side to 12 inches of rain on the leeward side and all the conceivable soil types and typography,” says Jerrod Schreck, director of land stewardship and renewable energy development at A&B. “We were spoiled by sugar, it’s a really forgiving crop, and the market facilitated it for a long time. But the circumstances have changed, and we’re not convinced an industrial monocrop is the solution.” In the meantime, A&B is, Hawai’i Magazines writes, “experimenting with biofuel crops including sorghum and is in the process of converting 4,000 acres into pasture for grass-finished beef.”

As Maui adjusts to this shift, a number of islanders are determined to keep HC&S’s heritage alive. Pyle, Hawaii Public Radio reports, lives in an upcountry home created by “sanded slabs of redwood from leftover molasses crates that floated across the Pacific”—remnants from the Paia Mill, which closed in 2000. Others keep photos and keepsakes from the epoch. But it is The Mill House, and the Maui Tropical Plantation upon which it sits, that is going above and beyond to both honor and sustain sugarcane’s history in Hawaii.

historic mill pieces

A brief glance at the history behind Maui Tropical Plantation and The Mill House suggests why. The name of the restaurant itself was inspired by its rich history in Waikapu—a region, near the original site of The Cornwell Mill, that once housed mill workers and their modest homes and camps. When production increased and The Cornwell Mill closed, Wailuku and other mills opened in the area, and the extended acreage of the Maui Tropical Plantation was leased for harvesting sugarcane.

Maui Tropical Plantation

When news that the Wailuku Mill would be closing, Mr. Atherton—one of the owners of the Maui Tropical Plantation—felt it was vital to salvage and preserve some of its pieces. For years, these vestiges rested at the plantation, but as the idea of opening The Mill House came to bear, it became clear how these relics could be celebrated. Over time, and in conjunction with local artists and the plantation’s co-owner, Mr. Boyce, it was decided that the larger pieces of the Wailuku Mill could be installed at The Mill House as part of its infrastructure and to serve as displays. The effect, in a word, is stunning—and one of the many draws that lure people to the plantation and its award-winning restaurant.

gear pond

The impending closure of the Pu’unene Mill deepened The Mill House’s resolve to pay proper homage to the island’s past. The closure, says The Mill House’s Director of Communications, Marketing, and Education Amanda Hall, “affected Maui Tropical Plantation as much of the land, which had been leased for sugarcane growing, would now be available for other farmers. At the same time, we realized it also meant we would no longer see the mill in operation—and we felt it was important for our employees to get a chance to see what the mill looked like in all of its glory.”

Maui Tropical Plantation history

To that end, Mr. Boyce “reached out to his connections at the mill and we were afforded the chance to tour the mill in full operation,” says Hall. “For the chefs this was an exciting experience as they got to see the full production process of an ingredient they use every day. For many of us, we left the mill feeling closer to each other and closer to Maui. We all commented that the connection to the sugarcane fields that we passed as we drove back to the plantation and the pieces that we see here every day had a much deeper meaning for us.”

maui sugarcane plant

When the Pu’unene Mill completely ceased production, Hall and other plantation employees were invited to save and restore pieces from the mill. “These visits to the plant were far different than the ones before,” she says. “They were sad and eerie as there were no workers around and the machinery had come to a halt. There was a strong realization among all of us of how many lives have been involved in the history of the plant.” Vast rooms that once hummed with the sound of large machinery had gone silent. Employee lockers were left untouched, still containing bits and pieces from the laborers’ lives. Stations in the blacksmith shop were peppered with tools from previous operators just walking away. “You could hear the clink of a piece of metal if you dropped it on the floor a hundred yards away,” Hall adds, saying that the mill was “reminiscent of a ghost town.”

sugarmill in Maui Hawaii

But in the wake of these trips, Hall says, “we became even more closely connected with what this mill had stood for and the impact it had on Maui. Our desire to preserve these items became all consuming. Where once we had salvaged large 12-ton gears from the Wailuku plant, now we were in search of small treasures. Blacksmith goggles, hammers, calendars from employee lockers, bolts, nuts, anything that a human hand had touched. A chalkboard with blacksmith measurements written across it still intact. Locker doors lined with Playboy magazine centerfolds and photos from coed softball championships. Lamps strung over workstations were dismantled and brought to The Mill House in hopes to repurpose them and allow a new electricity to flow through.”

Mill House History

Since then, the Maui Tropical Plantation has done just that—literally and metaphorically—by spending a great deal of time installing vignettes throughout the property to tell the story of the mill’s importance. “In a way, the story is universal,” Hall says. “Myself and our owner grew up in areas where steel and lumber mills once stood and now as a result of globalization have moved to other countries. The abandoned sites that dot the American landscape and the stories of those who worked in them still resonates with many.”

“Sugarcane growing and processing is such a big part of Maui’s history,” she says, so much so, “it’s important for us to have guests at The Mill House get to see that story in as much of its entirety as possible. For us it’s about connecting the dots between the farmland that was grown for sugarcane, to the ways it was transported to the processing plants, to the large machinery that operated within those plants, down to the small tools used each day by the many workers whose lives were supported by this industry—and then now, to reflect upon what we learned.”

Hawaiian Commercial Sugar Company

As for the sugar museum itself? The Pu’unene-based exhibition hall, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in July of 2017, isn’t just thriving—it’s stronger than ever.

“We have nowhere to go but up,” museum director Roslyn Lightfoot told The Maui News. “The closing of the mill has been a death in the family…but it is opening up other opportunities for us. People are recognizing the value of what we support.”

Accordingly, The Maui News reports, “expansion plans are underway,” including a train museum (that will feature the Kahuku steam engine and the locomotives on display at Maui Tropical Plantation), and a plantation village, as well as “increased outdoor displays of the mill and field equipment, and a large grassy area for community events, including cultural festivals and plantation camp reunions.”

Those who visit the museum in Pu’unene often pause outside its entrance to snap shots of what went down as the last functioning sugar mill in Hawaii. Posterity may be one of the aims, but the impact sugar had on Maui will always remain. “It might be a few different shades of green,” HC&S’s former General Manager Rick Volner said of the future of Maui’s cane fields, “but it will still be green.”

Maui whale watching

Insane Maui whale watch!

By | Hawaii, Maalaea, Maui | One Comment

Now that our whales are officially home for the winter, we thought we’d share our favorite whale watch from last season.  Here we are off the coast of Maalaea with a group of humpback whales that mugged our boat for over 30 minutes.  We saw over a dozen breaches, and this playful pod observed us with incredible proximity.

This is one of the live videos we shot from the boat.  It starts getting really fun around 60 seconds into the video:

 

Photographer Natalie Brown was onboard and shot these amazing shots below.

humpback whales

They swam below the boat over 10 times!  It was as exciting as it gets.

Maui whale watch

Are you ready to go on a whale watch?  Check out these Maui whale watch boats.

amazing whale watch

This is going to be another amazing season with record number of returning humpback whales, we can just feel it!  Having been on a sunset cruise last week and seeing 3 breaches and plenty of whales so early, we’re confident it’ll be a season to remember.

whales Maui

Find the right whale watch for you and your family by calling (808) 419-3065 and speaking with an expert.

Maui whale watching

hawaii snakes

Are There Snakes in Hawaii?

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Hawaii is paradise in more ways than one. Not only is the weather perennially sublime, but the islands are also literally peaceful—at least when it comes to the animal kingdom.

Endemic flies are flightless. The native spider—fittingly called the Happy Face Spider—is non-poisonous; the cave cricket is blind. Even flora in the 50th state is passive: raspberries are thorn-less, nettles are nettle-less, and mint is mint-less—mint being, of course, an evolutionary strategy to ward off potential hunters.

Does Hawaii have snakes?

 

But even amid all this natural diplomacy, one of the biggest questions visitors ask is: Are there snakes in Hawaii?

Technically, yes—but not necessarily in the way you’re probably thinking of. Read More

aloha olympics

Aloha Olympics

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We’re not sure about you, but the Summer Olympics are one of our favorite things to watch! And as much as we support all of our U.S. teams and athletes, we can’t deny our excitement for the Aloha Olympics, open only to Hawaii residents.

So without further ado, we present the Aloha Olympics.

volcano volleyball

Volcano Volleyball 

This Aloha Olympics team sport begins with a qualifier round on flat ground to see who will be given the advantage of the higher elevation side of the net once the official games begin on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano. The two teams of 6 will be challenged not only by the intensely sloping ground, which must be played at elevation levels of no less than 8,000 feet, but the added challenges of occasional fly-by clouds or Nene goose visitors.

Read More

sailing around Maui

Treat Yo Self!

By | Maalaea, Maui | No Comments

luxury resortRaise your hand if money has ever stopped you from doing something absolutely amazing.

Right.

Now assuming you’re not Larry Ellison, and everyone else has answered in the affirmative, let’s now assume that you have the opportunity to explore Maui with the ultimate ‘treat yo’self’ mantra in mind. You don’t need to be Ellison to enjoy some luxurious Maui experiences.  It’s worth holding back on consistent and extravagant vacation indulging in order to enjoy one or two truly sumptuous life long memories.

While everyone’s list would obviously vary based on their specific desires and interests, we hope you enjoy the following treat yo’self suggestions! And get a +1 to join you. Ahem.

Read More

Maalaea boats

Maalaea Webcam

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Come back soon to see a live feed from our new Maalaea webcam.  This web camera will show the boats in the harbor, any potential surf, and show current weather conditions.


Maalaea Video

In the meantime, check out our aerial video of Maalaea Harbor.

Maalaea Activities

Things to do in Maalaea

Maalaea History

A quick look into the past

Maalaea Harbor Map

Slip Numbers, Parking and More!

Look, no waves!

“I was really excited to check out the webcam to see if there were any waves at Freight Trains or Buzz’s.  Then I remembered that it only breaks once every 100 years.  HAHA!”

Justin Cooper – Wailuku

Nicole Portman

“I look forward to checking the weather before we go on our boat trip out of Maalaea Harbor.  We’re on the fence whether to do a sunset cruise or a luau. Now we can make that decision before driving down there!”

Nicole Portman – Quebec, Canada

Have questions?  Give us a shout!

accommdations in Maalaea

Maalaea Harbor Map

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Finding Maalaea is a cinch.  It’s one of the most central spots on Maui.  But finding your boat slip, parking, or your restaurant is much easier with these Maalaea Maps.

Maalaea Harbor Map

 

Maalaea MapDirections from Central & North Maui

Areas: Kahului, Wailuku, Waikapu, Paia

Approximate Time: 20 minutes

From Central and North Maui, take Honoapi’ilani Highway (Hwy 30) and go south until you reach the stoplight near Carls Jr. and the Maui Ocean Center. Make a left and drive down into the parking area for the harbor.

 

Directions from West Maui

Areas: Olowalu, Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Napili, Kapalua

Approximate Time: 30 minutes

From West Maui, take Honoapi’ilani Highway (Hwy 30) and go southeast. After passing through the tunnel, you’ll see a sign for Maalaea Harbor. Turn right at the sign near Buzz’s Wharf, and arrive at the parking area for the harbor.

 

Directions from South Maui

Areas: Kihei, Wailea, Makena

Approximate Time: 15 minutes

From South Maui, take Pi’ilani Highway (Hwy 31) and go north. Alternately, you can also follow South Kihei Road to Hwy 31 until you get to the stoplight. Turn left towards Lahaina onto Honoapi’ilani Highway (Hwy 30), and make another left at the stoplight near Carls Jr. and the Maui Ocean Center.


 

jeepDriving Around Maalaea:

Although Maalaea is easily reached from almost any area of the island, why not get there in style! Rent an all new lifted 2018 Jeep Wrangler from Maui Lifted Jeep Rentals and rest assured you’re in the best vehicle possible to explore Maui’s most stunning areas. Crank the aloha tunes and enjoy views of Maalaea Harbor and nearby areas like Baby Beach, Haycraft Beach Park and Sugar Beach from the seat of your lifted Jeep at an excellent price.

Types of Boat Tours Available

Maalaea Harbor has a huge variety of ocean tours available, including snorkeling, scuba diving, SNUBA, bottom fishing, sailing and more. Slip numbers are listed on the piers. Even numbers are further out on the ocean side, while odd numbers are on the land side. To book these boats, call (808) 892-3177.

Slip #37: Aloha Blue Charters – Snorkeling, Whale Watching

Slip #42: Island Star Excursions – Snorkeling, Whale Watching, Sailing

Slip #44: Quicksilver – Snorkeling, Whale Watching, Sunset Dinner Cruising

Slip #47: Mahana Naia – Snorkeling

Slip #55: Maui Magic – Snorkeling, Whale Watching

Slip #55: Pacific Whale Foundation – Whale Watching

Slip #56: Alii Nui – Sunset Cocktail Cruising

Slip #62: Trilogy – Whale Watching

Slip #65: Maui Fun Charters – Bottom Fishing on the Pamela

Slip #68: Pride of Maui – Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, SNUBA, Whale Watching, Sunset Cocktail Cruising

Slip #68: Leilani – Snorkeling, Whale Watching, Sunset Cruising

Slip #68: Maalaea Sportfishing – Sportfishing

Slip #70: Shadowfax – Private Snorkeling, Whale Watching, SUP, Sunset, Live Aboard and Sailing Cruises

Slip #72: Paragon Sailing Charters – Snorkeling, Sailing

Slip #76: Lani Kai – Snorkeling, SNUBA, Whale Watching

Slip #80: Four Winds II – Snorkeling, Whale Watching

Slip #88: Malolo Charters – Snorkeling, Whale Watching

Slip #97: Maui Fun Charters – Bottom Fishing on the Marjorie Ann

Slip #99: Trilogy – Whale Watching

Looking to book a snorkel trip to Molokini Crater or Coral Garden?  Call (808) 892-3177.

Ferries to Neighbor Islands

For travelers and residents who would like to visit Maui’s neighbor islands of Lanai and Molokai, the only current departure sites for the respective ferries is from Lahaina Harbor, though Expeditions’ Maalaea to Lanai ferry is set to reopen sometime in 2016.

 

Maalaea Lodging

Hotels, Resorts, Condos in Maalaea

Maalaea Restaurants

Quick Grinds and Dining in Maalaea

Maalaea Beaches

Sun, Sand & Surf!

Maalaea Activities

Things to do in Maalaea

Maalaea History

A quick look into the past

Maalaea Harbor Map

Slip Numbers, Parking and More!

The Center of Things to do in Maui

“We went to to Molokini for our anniversary. The snorkeling was superb and the crew really fun. We also did a sunset cruise, which turned into a whale watch! It was unreal! So many whales. February apparently is the best time to go. NOTE TO SELF.”

Frankie Smits – California

Great Food!

“We ate at Beach Bums as well as the Oceanside Restaurant. Beach Bums was fun and perfect for hanging with friends with beers. Oceanside was something completely different. Each dish was other worldly! We ate there 4 times in 6 days. SO GOOD!”

Jenny Henderson – Georgia

Have questions? Give us a shout!

whale watching

Maalaea Activities

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While Maalaea is often overlooked as a full day destination, there’s actually a ton of wonderful activities and attractions worth exploring. From departing on one of Maui’s best boat tours to seeing Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles up close and personal, there’s plenty of fun to be had for every member of your group.

 

Some of our favorite Maalaea activities include:

 

Snorkeling, Scuba Diving & SNUBA at Molokini Crater

Departing daily from Maalaea Harbor, snorkel boats are perfect for travelers looking to explore some of Maui’s best snorkeling and scuba diving destinations, including Molokini Crater and South Maui’s Turtle Town. Whether you want to snorkel, scuba dive or give SNUBA a try, they offer options for every preference. Their most popular morning tours usually include snorkeling at Molokini and Turtle Town (with optional scuba and snuba), all necessary gear, complimentary BBQ and lunch, fully stocked open bar, impeccable service, spacious boat decks, top safety standards and optional underwater photo and video services. Highly recommended for all ages!snorkel and scuba in Maui

Book your seats on a Molokini snorkeling tour or call (808) 892-3177.

 

Whale Watching

From December 15th to April 15th, Maui is one of the best places in the world to whale watch! Trilogy offers daily whale watching tours from Maalaea Harbor aboard their comfortable catamarans, offering perfect views for a fun day on the water with friends and family. Their staff of expert naturalists share valuable information about the most popular humpback whale behaviors, and even have hydrophones on board to allow guests to hear as the males sing underwater! Tours include breakfast and lunch, cocktails, sodas and water, and they limit tour sizes to only 40 people for better viewing purposes.
Maui whale watching

Book your seats on a Maui whale watch by calling (808) 892-3177.

 

Surfing, Stand Up and more…

Maalaea is pretty much the most central spot for any surfer.  If the waves at Freight Trains or Buzz’s aren’t working, you’ve got plenty of options from 5-30 minutes in any direction.  And who needs waves if you’ve got a stand up board?  Some of our favorite ocean experiences have involved being on a SUP with calm waters and plenty of beautiful views (above and below the surface.)  No matter where you’re staying, the best option for convenience and price can be found when renting from Island Surfboard Rentals.  They offer free delivery and pick up and every 3rd board is 50% off.
surfing Maui, Hawaii

Rent surfboards from Island Surfboard Rentals by calling (808) 281-9835.

 

Rappel down Waterfalls along the Road to Hana

With a central meeting point only a few minutes’ drive from Maalaea Harbor, Rappel Maui offers a unique opportunity to boost your adrenaline along the famous Road to Hana. Choose from three available rappelling tours based on your level of previous experience – none required! – and head out for a full day of waterfall adventure on the Hana Highway. One of Maui’s most bold adventures, guests will be transported to a 30 acre botanical garden, where they will hike a short distance and receive full a briefing and demonstration from professional guides before attempting their first rappel down a 60 foot dry jungle wall. After honing their skills, guests will then rappel down 50 and 30 foot waterfalls, taking plenty of breaks for a swim and catered lunch in the garden. Guests must be at least 10 years old and weigh between 70 and 250 pounds to participate.
Maui rappeling

Reserve your spot on a rappelling tour by calling (808) 445-6407.

 

See Marine Life at Maui Ocean Center

The largest and most prestigious aquarium in Hawaii, Maui Ocean Center is an excellent place to learn more about Hawaii’s variety of marine life, spend a rainy afternoon with the kids, attend a special talk from one of Hawaii’s marine specialists, or even scuba dive in the 750,000 gallon saltwater shark tank! Located in the heart of Maalaea, guests will enjoy seeing special exhibits like the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Lagoon, Hammerhead Harbor, Sea Jelly Gallery, Marine Mammal Discovery Center, The Tide Pool, Hawaiians & The Sea, and more. Keep an eye on their events calendar for unique opportunities and tours!
Maui Ocean Center

By your tickets by calling (808) 892-3177.

 

Bottom Fishing

Like the idea of catching your own dinner, or interested in seeing what Maui’s marine life has to offer? Head out for a day on the water with the bottom fishing pros at Maui Fun Charters. The 4 hour morning tour aboard the Marjorie Ann or Pamela departs from Maalaea Harbor, and includes personal attention from the crew, as well as an opportunity to try a greater variety of fishing styles, thanks to the small group sizes on each tour. This makes for the perfect family activity, and the views can’t be beat! They also use the newest electronics and offer plenty of comfortable seating for all guests.
fishing in Maui

Book your Maui fishing trip by calling (808) 572-2345.

 

Sunset Dinner & Cocktail Cruise

One of the best budget-friendly evening boat tours on Maui, Quicksilver offers a fun sunset and dinner cruise departing directly from Maalaea Harbor. Cruise along the Pali coast while enjoying spectacular sunset views, and enjoy live music entertainment and dancing aboard their spacious double-decker boat. Tours include table seating, full dinner, tropical cocktails, beer, wine, and epic sunset views, and whale watching during winter months! Children 6 and under are free, and service is always friendly and welcoming.
Maui sunset cruises

 

BE A MERMAID!

Visiting Maui is always memorable.  But learning to swim like a mermaid will set this trip apart from the others with great memories and incredible photos.  Spend 2 hours learning to swim with your tail as your instructor takes you through it step by step.  You won’t regret it!be a mermaid

Book your mermaid swim lesson by calling (808) 492-8919.

 

 

Flying High at Maui Zipline

Located only a 5 to 10 minute drive from Maalaea Harbor, Maui Zipline is one of our favorite activities in central Maui. Hosting guests anywhere from 5 to 88 years of age, you’ll be treated to a 5-line zip tour over some of Maui’s prettiest, most stunning areas. Guides are all very patient and safety-conscious, and we especially love that each line is side-by-side, giving you the opportunity to ride alongside your friends and family! Check out the amazing views of the nearby West Maui Mountains and swaying palm trees, tropical grounds and sparkling lagoon of Maui Tropical Plantation, as well as distant views of Maui’s Haleakala Volcano. Then continue exploring the property, home to The Mill House restaurant, Kumu Farms fruit stand, Tropical Tram Tour, shopping and more.
Maui zipline

Book your seats on a sail by calling (808) 892-3177.

 

Mini Golfing at Maui Golf & Sports Park

Also located conveniently in Maalaea, Maui Golf & Sports Park is a fun, kid-friendly place to test your adventurous side. Play a round of mini golf, or choose from one of their other onsite activities, including rock climbing, bumper boats and x-treme bungee trampoline. Open daily from 10am to 6pm, this makes for a great midday break (and workout).

 

Maalaea Lodging

Hotels, Resorts, Condos in Maalaea

Maalaea Restaurants

Quick Grinds and Dining in Maalaea

Maalaea Beaches

Sun, Sand & Surf!

Maalaea Activities

Things to do in Maalaea

Maalaea History

A quick look into the past

Maalaea Harbor Map

Slip Numbers, Parking and More!

Maui Ocean Center Rocks!

“We stay on Maui for 2 months every winter.  My family bought the annual passes because we end up going to the aquarium so much.  What a great spot!”

Renee Hopkins – North Carolina

Great snorkeling at Coral Gardens

“I’ve been to Molokini twice.  I was really impressed with how good the snorkeling was at Coral Gardens too.  Protected by the sea cliffs, this spot was teaming with turtles.  So much fun.”

Mike Johnson – Victoria, Canada

Have questions? Give us a shout!

Maalaea Beach

Maalaea Beaches

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While not known as the most beautiful or swimmer-friendly beaches on Maui, Maalaea and the nearby stretches of beach provide great areas for walking, sunset viewing, whale watching and lounging. Enjoy our list of the best beaches around Maalaea, and be sure to practice the proper safety precautions when opting to swim in the ocean!

Maalaea Beach

Maalaea Harbor Baby Beach

Located at the eastern area of the harbor, this beach is protected from waves and boat hazards, making it perfect for small children or inexperienced swimmers staying nearby.

  • Calm conditions
  • Small parking area
  • Convenience store nearby
  • Near Coast Guard station
  • No lifeguard on duty

 

Maalaea Beach

Just east of Maalaea Harbor, Maalaea Beach is ideal for sunset walks, shell collecting and relaxed days spent enjoying the sun in an uncrowded area of Maui.

  • Secluded and quiet
  • Lots of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles
  • When conditions are right, great for watching surfers
  • Often windy with choppy waves, especially in afternoon hours
  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Street parking – be sure to keep valuables out of sight

 

Haycraft Beach Park

Connecting Maalaea Beach and Sugar Beach, this County Beach Park is a great place to enjoy an afternoon picnic or take a peaceful walk.

  • Small parking area
  • Shower and restroom facilities
  • Picnic tables
  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Good for relaxed swimming, but beware of sporadic rocks and reef
  • Access point to ‘Freight Trains’ surf break

 

Sugar Beach

Including Maalaea and Haycraft Beach Park, this is longest uninterrupted stretch of beach on Maui. Though swimming isn’t great here, it’s a perfect place to enjoy the views and natural surroundings in paradise.

  • Reef just offshore
  • Watch for Kiawe thorns!
  • Street parking and small lots, depending on which area of the beach you begin from
  • Restroom and picnic facilities
  • Take-off point for outrigger canoes
  • Decent snorkeling opportunities with lots of marine life and turtles
  • No lifeguard on duty

 

Maalaea Activities

Things to do in Maalaea

Maalaea History

A quick look into the past

Maalaea Harbor Map

Slip Numbers, Parking and More!

Quiet Maui Beaches

“Living here, you get to know the beaches.  Some of my favorite spots are near Maalaea.  You can always find a beach to yourself!”

Jason Hacker – Maui

Easy Access

“My kids and I were on our way back from lunch, and we jumped in the ocean right off the road.  It was nice to have a quick dip without much walking.  No one at the beach too!”

Frankie Harper – Illinois

Have questions? Give us a shout!