Thanksgiving on Maui with teenagers


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Week of October 31-November 6, 1996
Pampered honeymoon seclusion
Backcountry fun in the Canadian Rockies
Thanksgiving on Maui with teenagers
Moderate hiking trips in January
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Thanksgiving on Maui with teenagers
Question: What is your recommendation for an active Thanksgiving weekend with two adults and three kids: ages 12, 14, and 19? We like hiking and biking. Familiar with eastern Sierra Nevada. Looking for new places.

Rina Shapira
Los Angeles, CA

Adventure Adviser: That time of year, your best bet for an active vacation that involves hiking and biking (read, no snow) can be summed up in one word: Aloha. Not that I’d recommend Hawaii for any old Thanksgiving jaunt, but since you just so happen to live in L.A., it probably makes more sense than making the cross-country schlep to the East
Coast. And anyway, this will score you big points with the kids.

Of the seven islands, Maui probably has the most family-specific outdoor options beyond the beach. For lodging, talk to the experts at Hawaiian Island Vacations; they’ll set you up with week-long house rentals–in everything from rural cottages to waterfront condos to plush beach houses–that include car and boardsailing rentals for $483-$650. The Lahaina-Kaanapali area is
chock-a-block with condos, but you’ll pay dearly for the hustle-and-bustle convenience. Head south to the sprawling (and, admittedly, slightly tacky) beachfront town of Kihei, where the condos are slightly cheaper.

Once you’ve gotten your sun-and-sand fix on some of the island’s best south-shore beaches, head inland to Haleakala National Park and take your pick of some 36 miles of prime hiking trails both along the rim and inside the 10,023-foot dormant volcano itself. If you’re looking for a full-day commitment, consider trekking the Sliding Sands Trail from the Visitor Center, which
descends a steep 2,500 feet in four miles, or the Halemauu Trail at the parking lot off summit road. Pick up maps and information at the park visitor center (entry, $4 per vehicle; 808-572-9306), and don’t forget a warm jacket: Daytime temperatures at the top usually max out at a chilly–by Hawaii standards–60 degrees. If you’d rather go with a guide, sign on with one of Hike
Maui’s interpretive hikes to some of the island’s prettiest–and, better yet, least-traveled–mountain and coastal regions (half-day hikes, $70 per person; 808-879-5270).

While you’re in the Haleakala area, why not indulge in a hair-raising downhill spin from the volcano’s summit, down the rough and narrow Piilani Highway, through ocean-view ranchlands and fields, to rocky Nuu Bay. Chris’s Adventures guides these 46-mile descents for $110 per person, including bike rental and lunch. Call 808-871-2453 for details. For solo riding, rent
mountain bikes from West Maui Cycle in Lahaina ($19-$25 per day; car racks, $5; 808-661-9005) and try the 20 miles of unimproved coastal road–no rental cars allowed–that extend north from Kapalua, around the north end of West Maui, to Wailuku. Other fat-tire worthy routes: the Skyline Trail in Polipoli State Park in Upcountry Maui, or–and here’s something a little
different–the Munro Trail on neighboring island Lanai. To get there, take the Expedition ferry from Lahaina (round-trip, $50; 808-661-3756) and pedal to the trailhead at the base of the island’s highest point, 3,400-foot Lanaihale. For more details, talk to the fat-tire folks at West Maui Cycle.

Back on Maui, south-shore Makena’s Little Beach has some of the best snorkeling in the state–plenty of green turtles and butterfly fish just off the rocky shore. Be forewarned, however, that this is the island’s unofficial nude beach. For guided half-day tours ($50 per person), call Snorkel Maui at 808-572-8437. If you need additional Hawaii information, consult “The Sportif Guide to Hawaii” in Outside‘s 1996-97 Winter Travel Guide.

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