Kahului Maui

Kahului Hawaii is the largest community and the main commercial center on the island. Kahului travel is part of pretty much all visitors’ Maui vacations because the city is also the location of the main commercial passenger airport. This is the first port of entry to Maui for just about everyone. It is where they pick up their car rentals, and it is the last place they visit before their final departure. A fairly low percentage of the island’s visitors actually take a vacation to Kahului for their entire stay, but it is well worth a visit. Set on the north central coast, it has a protected, deep-water port and harbor, and the town is easily accessible to the highways that head east to the Road to Hana, west to the resorts of Kapalua and Lanai, and into the uplands of Haleakala and Makawao.

Established in 1850, Kahului Hawaii was the island’s main trade and commerce hub as far back as the time of King Kamehameha I. This is one of the ports where the ships of the world’s whaling fleets stopped to re-supply with fresh water and rations. Kahului travel was later important to the growing agriculture industry, especially the sugar trade supported by the many cane plantations located across the island. One of the Kahului attractions that reveals the fascinating history of this industry is the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, located about a ten-minute drive from the airport. The Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Company built the first sugar mill in Maui. The mill and plantation were centered in the nearby town of Paia. One of the most important Kahului attractions is the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, which is a center and performance theater that promotes Hawaiian dance, cultural arts, and music.

Other Kahului attractions include the most comprehensive shopping on the island, numerous restaurants and dining venues, and one of the two best windsurfing beaches on the island, Kanaha Beach. Second only to Hookipa Beach in Paia, Kanaha Beach is also excellent for Maui surfing when the swells are up. A section of the beach is called Kite Beach due to the increasing popularity of kite-boarding here. Near the beach is the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary a wetlands area that shelters two endangered Hawaiian wildfowl species, the stilt and the coot. Once a royal fishpond, it is also a stopover for migrating Canadian geese. Admission is free, and there are some easy hiking trails.

Adjacent to Kahului Hawaii is the town of Wailuku, site of another attraction—the Bailey House Museum, which has lovely gardens, fascinating Hawaiian artifacts, and plantation-era furnishings. These two communities (Wailuku and Kahului) comprise the gateway to the beautiful Iao Valley. One of the things to do in Kahului, or anywhere else in the island, is to head off on tours of this valley. Often missed along the way is the hidden gem of the Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens, which showcases the diverse cultures that make up the heritage of Maui. There are exquisite buildings representing the people of Japan, Korea, Portugal, the Philippines, and native Hawaiians, as well as beautifully landscaped formal gardens. As you can see, Kahului travel can be very rewarding.

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