Paddle Sports

Winter Escape to the Hot Beaches of Maui

Right about now is when people start getting cabin fever and need to get out in the sun. This fun trip lets you escape the winter doldrums by exploring the warm beaches in Maui.

Even though a dedicated road trip planner will still create road trips during the winter, after four months of a gray-sky backdrop, many start hankering for some fun in the sun and just don’t want to wait another four months for the climate to catch up to desire. So hop aboard a plane to Maui, rent a cool car like an SUV or Jeep and begin your road trip with nothing but blue skies overhead.

There are three destinations in the United States where you’ll find warm sandy beaches during the winter and only one of them is accessible by car: Florida Keys, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The bonus for visiting these hot spots is that you don’t need a passport to get there.

There’s something sinfully delicious about escaping the chilling rain and snow and stealing away to the warm tropics. It’s more than a sneak preview, it’s telling the local weather, “You’re not the boss of me!”

So pull off your gloves and warm up your fingers by adding entries to your road trip planner for a great escape that’ll have you basking in the sun while others back home are bracing for yet another chilly day. Here are a few fun-in-the-sun recommendations to get you started.

– NORTH SHORE – North Shore action centers around Paia and the popular windsurfing found in Hookipa Beach. A seemingly endless expanse of deep blue water, white rock and crashing waves, this beach has been called the windsurfing capital of the world and is popular with daredevil surfers as well. However, it is not recommended that you swim here. The surf is gorgeous, but dangerous and below the waves are sharp coral reefs.

Paia the starting point for the Road to Hana. This serpentine 55-mile drive offers jaw dropping views of the coastline as well as lush rain forest niches and picture perfect waterfalls.

Make a note on your road trip planner that, at about the 32-mile marker, you’ll find the exquisite Waianapanapa State Park. This park includes this gem of a black sand beach, great for swimming and will probably provide some of your best photographic moments. The park is rich with Hawaiian history and stairs will lead you to an icy cave pool, the secret hiding spot of a Hawaiian princess. It’s 122 acres big, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied for the entire day. Red Sand Beach is has a small cove great for snorkeling as well.

– SOUTH SHORE – The South Shore gets more than its fair share of sun and thus, you’ll find a multitude of fine beaches here. Check out the world famous, Maui Ocean Center at the Maalaea Harbor. You’ll find lots of local flavor at Kihei, and popular resort activities at Wailea. Further south, make sure you explore Haleakala National Park.

But since it’s beaches that brought you to Maui, here’s a few top beaches to add to your road trip planner: Makena State Park, a long stretch of golden sand. Visited often by dolphins and turtles. Go to Cove Beach Park off Kihei Road if you want to surf…or learn how to! Or have a blast sitting on the grass watching others surf…or learning to! Wailea Beach is a great place for a relaxing swim and snorkeling.

– WEST MAUI – Steep cliffs separate West Maui from the rest of the Island. Here’s where you’ll find the popular whaler community of Lahaina, the largest city on Maui and the gateway to the famous Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts north of town.

This is where you’ll probably do most of your souvenir shopping but a couple of beaches of note are: Napili Bay, a few miles south Kapalua, is a round, turtle filled bay in a perfect white crescent stretch of beach. Beach napping, swimming, kid-friendly and a favorite spot to watch the sunset. Kapalua Bay Beach, off Kapalua Place, is considered one of the world’s best beaches by travel magazines. Walk through the tunnel and your eyes fall upon a pristine bay, perfect for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing.

Upon your return, your tan will remind you daily that it’s always sunny somewhere and there’s no reason your road trip planner can’t take you there.

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Author: David Reichman