The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles (1,883 km2) and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawaiʻiloa, the navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. According to it, Hawaiʻiloa named the island after his son, who in turn was named for the demigod Māui.
Maui’s diverse landscapes are the result of a unique combination of geology, topography, and climate. It is a “volcanic doublet,” formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another to form an isthmus between them. This isthmus separating its northwestern and southeastern volcanic masses has earned Maui the nickname “The Valley Isle”. The older, western volcano has been eroded considerably and is cut by numerous drainages, forming the peaks and valleys of the West Maui Mountains. The larger, younger volcano to the east, Haleakalā, rises to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, and measures 5 miles (8.0 km) from seafloor to summit. Haleakala is well known for its majestic sunrises.
Maui county welcomes nearly 2,800,000 visitors each year, and is part of a much larger group of islands, that includes Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, and Molokaʻi, The big tourist spots in Maui include the Hāna Highway, Haleakalā National Park, Iao Valley, and Lahaina.
The Hāna Highway runs along the east coast of Maui, curving around mountains and passing by black sand beaches and waterfalls. Haleakalā National Park is home to Haleakalā, a dormant volcano. Snorkeling can be done at almost any beach along the Maui coast. Surfing and windsurfing are also popular on Maui.
Lahaina is one of the main attractions on the island with an entire street of shops and restaurants which leads to a wharf where many set out for a sunset cruise or whale watching journey. Known locally as Lahainatown, it has a long and diverse history from its Hawaiian population beginnings to the arrival of travelers and settlers and its use as a significant whaling port.