Maui County, Hawaii Information
Maui County consists of a small chain of 5 islands within the Hawaiian archipelago.
“The Valley Isle” of Maui, is the 2nd largest island in the Hawaiian island chain that consists of eight major islands and 124 islets. The entire Hawaiian archipelago is made up of numerous volcanic islands in the central Pacific Ocean stretching in a 1,500-mile crescent from Kure Island in the far northwest to the Big Island of Hawai’i in the east, encompassing an area of 6,459 square miles.
“The Friendly Isle” of Moloka’i, also known as the most Hawaiian island.
Lana’i, once called The Pineapple island, is a “private” island, owned by Billionaire Larry Ellis.
Kaho’olawe, which is uninhabited. During World War II, the island was used as a training ground and bombing range by the Armed Forces of the United States. After decades of protests, the U.S. Navy ended live-fire training exercises on Kahoolawe in 1990, and the whole island was transferred to the jurisdiction of the state of Hawaii in 1994. The Hawaii State Legislature established the Kahoolawe Island Reserve to restore and to oversee the island and its surrounding waters. Today Kahoolawe can be used only for native Hawaiian cultural, spiritual, and subsistence purposes.
Molokini, also uninhabited, is a very small, crescent shaped caldera type of an island, is a very popular place for snorkeling activities.
Maui contains a number of microclimates. It is generally drier on Maui’s leeward side where you’ll find the spectacular beaches and resorts of Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina,Kihei and Wailea along the western coast. On the wetter windward side you’ll find lush Iao Valley and the scenic road to Hana. It’s warmer along the coast than Upcountry Mauiwhere temperatures are typically 8-10 degrees cooler. If you’re driving up to the 9,740-foot Haleakala Visitor Center atop Haleakala National Park, expect temperatures in the 40s or lower, so bring warm clothes.
There are generally two seasons in Maui. Winter (November through April), when temperatures typically range in the low-70s to mid-80s, and summer when the high can run into the low-90s. The trade winds keep you comfortable year-round so any time of year is a good time to visit Maui.
Legends say the demigod Maui pulled the Hawaiian Islands from the sea and lassoed the sun atop Haleakala, the island’s highest peak. The island of Maui was named after this mythological being, perhaps because the shape of the island is said to resemble his head and body.
King Piilani was the first ruler to unite all of Maui under a single family of alii (royalty) in the early 15th century. In 1790, King Kamehameha I defeated Kahekili, Maui’s last king, after a fierce battle in the iconic Iao Valley. Kamehameha took control of Maui and made Lahaina the new capital of the unified Hawaiian Kingdom. For nearly five decades, Lahaina served as the center of government for Hawaii. Simultaneously, the town experienced a surge in its whaling industry. At the height of the whaling era (1840-1865) as many as 500 ships anchored in Lahaina’s port.
Maui was known for 2 major agriculture operations, pineanpple and sugar cane. Maui’s first sugar mill began operations in 1828. As the sugar industry in the islands grew, an influx of plantation workers from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal and Europe arrived in Hawaii. These immigrants became the foundation of the multi-ethnic culture of Hawaii today. You can experience these influences at places like the Lahaina Jodo Mission and in the fusion of flavors found in Hawaii Regional Cuisine.
Since the old “plantation days” of Hawaii, many competing pineapple and sugar cane growers such as Puerto Rico and Central America, has all but wiped out this viable production here in Hawaii. The last sugar mill operation in Hawaii is located in Pu’unene, and has ceased operations in 2016.
The Lahaina Historic Trail and other notable attractions allow you to explore Maui’s rich past today, adding a fascinating new dimension to your visit.
Maui is separated into 6 distinct regions: West Maui, South Maui, North Shore, Central Maui, Upcountry Maui and East Maui. The Hawaiian Islands are generally drier on the western, or leeward side, and wetter on the eastern, or windward side. Most Maui resort area’s can be found in sunny West Maui and South Maui while you can find the lush drive to Hana in East Maui. Haleakala volcano dominates the southeastern region of Maui with a crater 3,000 feet deep and 21 miles around.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,398 square miles (6,210 km2), of which 1,162 square miles (3,010 km2) is land and 1,237 square miles (3,200 km2) (51.6%) is water. The 5 islands that comprise Maui County correspond to the remnants of the ancient landmass of Maui Nui. The highest point in the county is the peak of Haleakala at 10,012 ft. Haleakala is a shield volcano located on the eastern side of the island of Maui.
Whale watching: In the winter months, the Auau channel between Maui, Lanai and Molokai is one of the best places to whale watch in the world. Whale watching season begins in December and ends in May. Peak whale watching months are between January and early April. Winter is big wave surf season on Maui’s north shore.
Maui beaches: Maui has more than 80 incredible beaches with a combined shoreline that spans 120 miles.
Haleakala National Park: Watch a memorable sunrise from 9,740 feet atop Haleakala Crater.
Road to Hana: With 600 curves and 54 bridges, this is one of the world’s most scenic drives.
Lahaina: Once a thriving whaling port in the mid-1800s, Lahaina is now a lively gathering place for dining, shopping, art and entertainment.
Maui’s main airport is Kahului Airport (OGG). There are smaller commuter airports in Kapalua (JHM) and Hana (HNM).
Maui Resort Areas:
Kapalua, Kaanapali, Wailea, Makena, Hana
2015 Census – 164,637
Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), 5 hours behind the US East Coast, 6 hours behind during Daylight Saving Time (Hawaii does not observe Daylight Saving Time).
Average temperature: 75° – 85° F. It is generally drier on the western, or leeward side, of the island, wetter on the eastern or windward side. Temperatures in Upcountry Maui are typically 8-10 degrees cooler than the coast. On the summit of Haleakala, Maui’s highest point, you can expect temperatures in the 40s or lower where, on rare occasions has had snow.
Area Code/Cell Coverage
The area code for all of Hawaii is (808). Cell phone coverage is readily available in most places.
What is the time difference from the continental US?
Hawaii follows Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), which is 5 hours behind Eastern Standard Time and 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time so add one extra hour to the time difference during this period (March through November).
Where are the major hotel and resort areas on Maui?
Most Maui resorts and hotels can be found in West Maui and South Maui in Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina, Wailea and Makena.
Where is the main airport on Maui?
The main airport on Maui is Kahului Airport (OGG). There are smaller commuter airports in Kapalua (West Maui) and Hana (East Maui). It’s about a 45-minute drive from Kahului Airport to Lahaina. Both Molokai and Lanai are served by their own airports..
How far is it from Kahului Airport (OGG) to:
Haleakala: 1 hour, 50 min
Hana: 2 hour, 30 min
Kaanapali: 50 min
Kapalua: 60 min
Kihei: 25 minutes
Lahaina: 45 minutes
Wailea: 35 minutes
Wailuku: 45 minutes