Best Sports and Leisure on Maui
Best Free Activity
C’mon, you live in Maui for goodness sake, how could it be anything but? Readers voted the beach their #1 destination for free activities and you don’t need me to tell you why, folks. Lots of votes on this one, with “surfing” and “swimming” a close second but strangely related. “Hiking” also scored well, as did “Little Beach Sundays”.
Best Place for an
Why not get it out in the open? Just you two and the opihi to listen in. Marriage counselors might want to begin holding sessions at the water’s edge. It seems the beauty and healing properties of the Big Blue help loosen the tongue as well.
Other entries include Hana, “church” (shhh!), Ha`iku lighthouse and of course, “in bed”.
Best Scuba Dive
Backside of Molokini
No contest with this one, Maui divers like the backside of Molokini drift dive over Cathedrals, 5 Graves, Honolua Bay (summer) or backside Lana`i. The careful attention and thoughtfulness of Maui’s dive operators will ensure the success of this spot remaining on future Best of Maui ballots to come. Keep diving.
Best Snorkel Spot
The bay that attracted that swashbuckling Frenchman in 1786 also attracts hordes of those looking for underwater excitement; but not too far underwater. La Perouse’s clear waters, protected bay and natural features make it a shoe-in for this year’s Best Snorkel Spot award.
Running a close second was Molokini, with Black Rock in tow and Honolua Bay not far behind. Not to be missed, Makena Landing also commanded it’s fair share of votes, but it was La Perouse at the final bell.
Best Surf Casting Spot
Without going into too much detail, voters wanted us to know that they prefer to do their on-shore hunting somewhere near Ho`okipa Beach Park. When the Ulua are biting, the ‘pole-bendas’ prefer Kipahulu, Red Hill, Olowalu and Makena if ‘Ho`okipa no good’.
Best Sunrise Spot
Haleakala in a big way! The crater carved up the competition in the Best Sunrise Spot category, and anyone who’s made the sleepless trek to the House of the Sun can attest that it defies description.
Other votes include Red Sand Beach, Hana, Waimoku Falls, surfing at Olowalu and of course “my bed”.
Best Sunset Spot
Kamaole Park III beach
You can’t have a Best Sunrise without a Sunset, and this year’s readers gave the award to Kamaole Park III in Kihei for its blazing, unobstructed sunsets and perfect stretch of beach. Kam III just beat out Ka`anapali for top honors and runner ups include Poli Poli, Makena, Front Street, Keawakapu and of course “my lanai”.
Best Swimming Hole
A true swimming hole, Twin Falls is an easy hike and a beautiful swim; great to take the friends and family from the Mainland. The competition is no slouch, however, with Venus Pool, Ching’s beach, Dog Pond, Blue Pool, and `Ohe`o Gulch all duking it out for second. Other responses include Flat Rock, The Fish Bowl and “Ditch 88”; all delightfully vague and hard to find.
Big Beach took it by a landslide, with Napili Bay second and Kam III taking third place. Makena’s beautiful stretch of sand and sea offer locals and visitors plenty of beach to enjoy, and you can’t get much closer to Little Beach!
Best Golf Course
Kapalua Plantation Golf Course
If it’s good enough for the PGA’s annual Mercedes Tournament, its good enough for us! Voters put the Plantation at the top of the list of Best Golf Courses with the competition coming from Sandalwood, the Grand Wailea Gold course, the Bay Course at Kapalua, The Dunes Maui Lani, Manele Bay and a few others.
Best Hiking Trail
This one could have gone four ways. Voters who submitted their favorite hike on Maui fell into the Swinging Bridges, Hana Bamboo Forest (`Ohe`o Gulch), Poli Poli or Iao Valley camps. All winners, the wide range in ages probably played a part in the number of Iao votes, with readers preferring the gentle paved slopes of lush Iao Valley to the guts and glory of the “Commando” hike, Swinging Bridges or Pu`u Kukui. Of course, there were more than a handful of votes that let us know that their favorite hike on Maui shall remain a “secret”!
Best Paddling Spot
With a name like Canoe Beach, what did you expect? The heart of west Maui’s paddling communtiy beats strong at Canoe Beach, and not just for six-man outriggers, but one man kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Canoe Beach’s easy entry sheltered waters and proximity to one of Maui’s few lifeguard towers makes it an easy pick for beginner paddlers of all levels.
Other votes include Makena, Maliko Gulch, Kam III, Sugar Beach, Thousand Peaks and even Jaws (?). Doesn’t say what season of the year, though.