Maui, Hawaii, USA
White sand beaches might be good enough for some coastal destinations but on the Hawaiian island of Maui, sun worshippers can also choose among red, black and golden sand.
Abundance is Maui’s best characteristic. The island is lush, the northwest trade winds are comfortable and the sunsets are magical.
The island is named after a beloved, if mischievous, demi-god said to have pulled the Hawaiian islands from the sea and lassoed the sun atop its highest peak, Haleakala. Stress here is deciding whether to hike the 10,000-foot-high crater’s peak at sunrise or sunset.
Maui’s beaches routinely find their way onto best-of lists, as do its scenic drives. The Road to Hana, a spin over 54 bridges along the east coast, is one of the world’s most dramatic. Maui’s towns are lively and sophisticated, places for vacation home owners to recharge and retirees to enjoy their rewards in a low-rise condominium, upcountry estate or beachfront villa.
On the south coast, the luxury resort of Wailea features oceanfront homes and condos in gated communities along crescent-shaped beaches. Nearby Makena is small, secluded yet it’s home to “Big Beach,” one of the island’s largest and favorites. Lahaina is the historic capital of the Hawaiian kingdom. Today it’s a hot spot of art galleries, waterfront restaurants and beachfront estates.
Maui represents not only a change of address but a change of lifestyle. A beach, golf course or tennis club is never far away. On the spectacular northwest shore, Kapalua stretches from the foothills of the West Maui Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It is a premier destination of bays and beaches, golf courses and pineapple fields. It’s also the place for big wave surfing at Honolua Bay. The town of Kaanapali is a land of sumptuous landscapes and waterscapes. In olden times, Kaanapali was the playground of the Maui royals. It became Hawaii’s first master-planned resort and a sophisticated playground it remains to this day.