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Exploring the Accessible Delights of Maui

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Breaking surf Maui Coastline, Hawaii Islands

Maui is Hawaii’s second-largest island and a dream destination with its incredible landscapes, numerous outdoor activities, and welcoming spirit. I’ve traveled to Mauia a couple of times – once long ago and the second time was a few months ago.  The level of accessibility has increased dramatically and you can have an amazing, accessible trip with the proper planning.

Travel and Accommodation

With numerous accessible attractions and facilities, the island is truly a destination for everyone. I found accessible transportation by booking/renting an accessible van through Wheeler’s.  It’s a small business, super helpful, and available on each of the Hawaiian islands.

Many hotels offer accessible rooms, just make sure to contact them in advance for your specific needs.  I stayed at the Kaanapali Beach Resort, a Sheraton property. Most of the property was accessible and it was close enough to other resorts and a beach walkway to enjoy shopping and restaurants.  I’ll also describe the most amazing experience with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters in a separate post.  I cannot wait to return to Maui and enjoy even more of the island. 

For now, here are my recommendations for you!

Attractions

For a very cool accessible island experience, check out the Maui Ocean Center, a state-of-the-art aquarium. Fully wheelchair-accessible, this marine park offers really cool close-up encounters with Pacific marine life, from colorful tropical fish to manta rays. The tunnel through the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit is an awesome accessible highlight.

For nature enthusiasts, the Maui Tropical Plantation is a must-visit. This working plantation offers tram tours and pathways through fields of tropical fruits and flowers, narrated with the rich history of Maui’s agricultural past. The tram tour, shops, many of the pathways, and restaurant are all wheelchair-accessible.  Be sure to bring sunscreen, bottled water, and a hat to keep cool in the sun!

Gardens, Parks, and more

Venture into the beautiful landscape of Iao Valley State Park. This beautiful park features paved walkways and picnic areas, making it largely accessible. Although the famous Iao Needle Lookout Trail isn’t wheelchair-accessible, the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens offers some accessible paths through culturally themed gardens that pay tribute to Maui’s heritage.

Be sure to spend some time in Lahaina, once the royal capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, is now a lively town offering a blend of history and fun. Its Front Street is a fully accessible area, dotted with art galleries, shops, restaurants, and historic sites. Don’t miss the massive, century-old Banyan Tree that fills  Lahaina’s Courthouse Square.

Explore Maui’s agricultural side at the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. With some accessible paths and facilities, it is possible to enjoy the calming effects and aroma of 45 different varieties of lavender. The  farm is located on the slope of Haleakala at an elevation of 4,000 feet so it’s on an incline and you may need help navigating this farm.

Beaches

Maui’s most famous beach, Ka’anapali Beach, is also notably accessible. The beach boardwalk is wheelchair-friendly, and beach wheelchairs can be rented from nearby hotels. The beach is known for its clear, warm waters and stunning sunsets.  You can also check out Wailea Beach with an accessible path and a beach wheelchair for rent.

Luaus

There’s no better way to end your day on Maui than with a traditional luau –  a feast of traditional Hawaiian food combined with Polynesian cultural performances. Old Lahaina Luau and Royal Lahaina Luau are renowned for their authenticity and hospitality. Both offer wheelchair accessibility as do many of the resort luaus and you should contact them to make sure your personal needs are met.

Tours

Touring Maui’s scenic Hana Highway is an unforgettable Maui experience, and it’s worth noting that many spots along this route are not fully accessible. However, some tour companies offer customized, accessible tours. One tour that should be on your list is the Haleakala Sunrise Tour!  On this tour, you’ll be 10,000 feet above sea level on the crater summit of the dormant volcano Haleakala! This Maui sunrise tour of the Haleakala National Park lets you see a beautiful sunrise from above the clouds followed by a  delicious breakfast

Maui is a beautiful island with so many accessible activities for people with disabilities. Words cannot fully describe the beauty of the Hawaiian islands and the hospitality of the Hawaiian people.  So, contact a reputable travel agent who specializes in accessible trips, such as Travel for All, create an amazing accessible itinerary, and experience the trip of a lifetime!  I can’t wait to get back to Maui!

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