Maui has always occupied a special place in the hearts of Hawaiians. The great warrior King Kamehameha, who united the islands under his rule, chose to make Lahaina his capital and Ka'anapali was once the favorite playground of Hawaiian royalty. And no wonder - Maui boasts stunning landscapes and superb beaches. Mt. Haleakala, a dormant volcano, rises 10,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Once hailed as "The Valley of the Kings," Maui's Iao Valley is a tropical paradise dominated by the Needle, a volcanic monolith towering over the valley floor. Then there is Lahaina, once home to a royal court and a raucous port-of-call enjoyed by 19th-century Yankee whalers.
Haleakala means "The House of the Sun." To the Hawaiians, it appeared that the sun both rose from and set in the depths of its massive crater. Today, the centerpiece of Haleakala National Park, it is one of Maui's major attractions.