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Surfing the waves off a Maui beach

Maui's scenery is superb and its landscapes diverse. The island's sunny western coast is lined with gorgeous white-sand beaches, and the warm ocean waters are teeming with humpback whales. You can explore jungle and waterfalls, windsurf with the pros or enjoy a drink at Lahaina's historic taverns.

Maui is known as 'The Valley Island' because of its two large extinct volcanoes divided by a central valley. It's the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands and the most developed of the Neighbor Islands. It's renowned for its fine beaches and some of the world's best windsurfing and surf spots.

Fortunately, the high-rise resorts are confined to the beach areas of West Maui, so it's easy to escape to the uplands or east coast where you'll find rainforests, eucalyptus groves and cattle ranches. Most of the tourist infrastructure is in Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kihei. Head to Haiku, Kula or Hana to escape the tourist scene.

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