Oahu gets most of the attention, but seasoned Hawaii travelers know Maui is often where you’ll find the most pristine beaches and exclusive resorts. Really, with Hawaii you can’t go wrong, everywhere is nice, but even as you go from island to island, different parts of the state have so much to offer.
If you’re thinking about a Hawaii vacation, there’s a lot to learn. Most of the first-timers will go to Oahu where you get a bit of the city life in Honolulu right next to a world-class beach in Waikiki.
There’s a row of incredible surfing beaches along the North Shore where you can watch the best surfers in the world if you time it right.
But what about mixing things up and going to Maui for a change? There are a million gems there and some of the best resorts you can find anywhere.
Here are 21 cool facts about Maui.
1. Maui Is the Second Biggest Island
Oahu gets a ton of shine, but Maui is a bigger island, it comes in second place after the aptly-named nicknamed “Big Island” of Hawaii.
That means there is a ton of room to explore, especially with its smaller population. You’ll see fewer crowded beaches and more pristine landscapes in Maui.
2. Maui Used to Be Home to Hawaii’s Capital City
Honolulu only became Hawaii’s capital city in the 1850s. Before that, Maui’s Lahaina city was the Hawaiian capital, underscoring what an important role Maui has in the island chain’s history.
3. There Are Over 120 Miles of Beaches
There’s something for everyone in Maui, but most of the people come for the beaches.
You’re going to find amazing beaches all across the island, and Maui has incredible black, red, and white sand beaches. Grab a camera and snap some once-in-a-lifetime shots while you’re in Maui.
4. Billboards Are Outlawed
One thing you might notice as you drive around Maui is all of the incredible mountain and beach views you get while you’re driving.
That’s no accident. In the 1920s, the government instituted a ban on billboards to keep roads clear and preserve the environment. It’s not something people always notice, but it makes a huge difference when you’re there.
5. The Weather Is Usually Perfect
On average, the water temperature in Maui hovers around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you asked most people what their idea of a perfect ocean temperature is, they’d probably put it around there even if they didn’t know the exact number.
In Maui, you get incredible waters for most of the year that is perfect for swimming and other water activities.
6. There Are No Private Beaches
On Maui, it’s against the law to prevent anyone from accessing a beach or the ocean. That’s why you’ll never see any roped-off beaches at exclusive resorts.
Property lines stop at the beach, and no one can own them. It’s a great law that makes the ocean accessible to everyone no matter their socio-economic class.
7. Maui Is Home to Super Pineapples!
Did you know that Maui’s proprietary brand of pineapple, the Gold Brand Pineapple, carries almost three times as much Vitamin C as your average pineapple does?
It takes over 18 months to grow and ripen, but man is it worth it when you take a bite.
8. You Can See Space From Maui
Haleakala is a mountain on Maui that reaches over 10,000 feet high. Its height and its geographical position made it an ideal location for the High Altitude Observatory that sits atop it.
It is regarded as one of the best space and astronomical observatories in the world. When skies are clear, it can feel like you can see forever.
9. Per Capita Spam Eating Champions
Most Hawaiians love spam. If you’re vacationing there and you’ve never had spam before, try it with some eggs over rice for breakfast or in a spam musubi (sort of like spam sushi) to see what all the fuss is about.
On Maui, they take spam eating up a notch, and people there eat more spam than anywhere else in the world.
10. People on Maui Live Longer
There’s something about the beaches, perhaps, or the constant access to sunshine, but Hawaiians live longer than anywhere in the U.S.
It is the state with the highest life expectancy, and people there live to be over 80 years, on average. Maybe that’s why so many people are trying to move there.
11. They Will Let You Mail a Coconut
A fun fact about Maui is that the postal system will let you mail just the coconut. No box and no packaging necessary. Just grab a sharpie and scribble the address straight onto the coconut and you can put it in the mail.
Some people use the coconuts as a fun way to send a postcard while they are on vacation in Maui.
12. The Birthplace of Surfing
Surfing is believed to have been invented in Hawaii hundreds of years ago, and some of the first big wave surfers started their sport on Maui.
If you have the chance, you should schedule a surfing lesson in Maui to learn how to catch some waves and experience this time-honored sport.
13. There Are Two Official Languages
Did you know that Hawaii is the only U.S. state with two official languages? As part of joining the republic, Hawaiian was listed in addition to English as the official language there.
Fewer people on Maui speak native Hawaiian than did a couple of generations ago, but locals work hard to keep the traditions and language alive.
14. You Can Learn Some Pidgin There
Pidgin is sort of like a form of English mixed with a local dialect. It’s technically English what locals in Maui speak, but if you’re a tourist from Kansas, odds are you’ll have no idea what people are saying.
They have their unique way of saying things that will be fun to learn if you’re there on vacation.
15. Maui Was Traditionally Ruled by a Monarchy
Kings and queens ruled Hawaii for hundreds of years.
The royalty and royal traditions in Maui still hold strong today, and people there celebrate Kamehameha Day every June 11.
16. People in Hawaii Share
There’s a communal feel to island living that exists in Maui and the other Hawaiian islands. People are quick to share food, give people rides to the beach, and lend a hand when required.
It can be quite a shock for people who move there who are used to living in places without those customs. Once you taste the local community feeling, though, you’ll be hooked and know that giving is often receiving.
17. One of the Biggest Banyan Trees Is in Maui
At the center of Lahaina, there is a banyan tree that many people believe is one of the biggest banyan trees in the world.
It’s at least the biggest one in the U.S. Walking around Lahaina, you can gaze at the intricate system of roots and branches that make up this magical tree.
18. Maui Customs Is Famously Strict
Hawaii, and Maui of course, are fragile ecosystems. To protect all of the islands’ natural beauty, customs going in and out of the island is incredibly strict.
You can’t bring food items or seeds into Maui, and there are a lot of restrictions on dogs and other pets.
The island has no rabies and goes to great lengths to keep things the way they are by not letting invasive plants or animals in.
19. People in Maui Hug
Handshakes happen in formal settings, but if you’re meeting someone for a bbq, or your friend introduces you to a sister or friend, be ready for the hug.
A lot of hugs are accompanied by a polite kiss on the cheek as well.
20. Aunties & Uncles
In the continental U.S., we’re a lot more formal than in Maui. That doesn’t mean people in Maui don’t emphasize respect. In fact, they do it in their own unique way by addressing older males as “uncle” and older females as “auntie.”
It’s respectful with a familial flair that makes everyone feel more like family.
21. Hitchhiking Still Flies
Hitchhiking may be taboo because too many scary stories made people stop, but it still very much exists in Maui and the rest of the Hawaiian Islands.
People will stick out their thumb as they tuck in their surfboard under their other arm. Odds are, someone will pick them up soon enough and drop them off at a beach that’s on the way.