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At the End of the Road on Maui

When you’ve soaked up all of the rest and relaxation that a Maui resort provides, it’s time to go off-the-beaten-path to explore La Perouse Bay. When I visited The Valley Isle as a guest of Visit Maui, I took time out from the luxurious fun for a scenic drive to the end of the road in Makena, on Maui’s south side.

The rugged coast of La Perouse Bay at the end of the road on the south side of Maui.

The rugged coast of La Perouse Bay

After leaving the manicured resorts in Wailea, another writer friend, Sally Clausen, and I motor along Kihei Road past Makena and the beautiful Big Beach. We leave one paradise for another as the narrow, winding road hugs the coast. Rather than pristine and luxurious, this paradise is a jumble of rural life, one with fruit stands, palatial vacation homes hiding behind rock walls of native stone and the jagged, black lava flows of Ahihi Kinau Reserve.

The reserve, which houses archaeological ruins as well as some of the best snorkeling in Maui, is closed for rehabilitation efforts until July 31, 2016. See what overuse and disrespect for the rules can do to a place? But visitors are still allowed to drive the road as it bisects Ahihi Kinau to continue to La Perouse Bay.

Watching the surfing action in La Perouse Bay is just part of the fun on an off-the-beaten-path drive in Maui.

A paddleboarder surfs in La Perouse Bay

A gravel parking lot marks the end of the road and the beginning of an off-the-beaten-path Maui adventure exploring La Perouse Bay. After exiting the car, Sally and I stand at the edge of the parking lot to watch surfers and paddleboarders negotiate the waves.

When parking at La Perouse Bay, lock your vehicle after hiding all valuables. Better yet, leave the valuables back at your hotel.

A trail leads through the lava, evidence of Maui’s most recent volcanic activity, scientists estimate it flowed sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD. Part of the historical King’s Highway (or Hopaili Trail), this path once circumnavigated Maui. It’s a fine place to photograph wave action as the wild Pacific powers over the black rocks in La Perouse Bay.

Waves crash against lava rocks in La Perouse Bay at the end of the road on Maui. It's a photographer's paradise.

Waves crash against lava rocks. Photographers will fine plenty of scenes to capture.

Sally and I walk as far as time and the wrong shoes allow. The sharp rock is unforgiving if you fall or wear thongs or open-toed shoes. The lack of proper shoes and cooler clothing (it’s hot when the lava absorbs the sun) curtails our explorations.

The ocean escapes through a blow hole at La Perouse Bay on Maui.

The ocean escapes through a blow hole.

Although we don’t walk the entire path, the graded trail continues along the coast to a scenic point. Along the way, you’ll see blowholes, protected archaeological sites and beaches with good snorkeling. Yellow tape marks areas in the lava field that are off limit.

Wear a hat, sunscreen and closed toe shoes on a trip to La Perouse Bay. And bring extra drinking water!

The next time I visit Maui, a return to La Perouse Bay is on the to do list. And I’ll be wearing the proper shoes.

Did you explore La Perouse Bay on a trip to Maui? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

Check out Boomer Adventures in Hawaii for more fun things to do.

Disclosure: Visit Maui provided this travel experience the opinions are strictly my own.

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