If there is any place in the US that is almost too perfect to have floating sunglasses....it's Hawaii. You're surrounded by all sides of breathtaking water and rock features. On the island of Maui alone you can experience 12 of the 14 microclimates on the planet (all but the High Desert and Arctic Cold). Here are a few of our favorite activity recommendations and memories from the trip.

But first, a sunrise to remember

Usually best done on your first day on the island because you want to be there by 5am, which usually means leaving closer to 3am, but man it is a gorgeous sunrise above the mountains in Haleakala National Park!

Surfing & Kitesurfing

The sheer quantity of water sports available is intoxicating. We visited the island during the holiday season and unfortunately missed the winds that Maui is famous for when it hosts the world championships for kitesurfing each year. Fortunately, calm winds make for great surfing, so we got a group and explored different parts of the island for surfing. Since it was a holiday family trip we started with the highly accessible areas in the Lahaina Harbor. The waves may have been calm (ok almost non-existent), but we had a blast! For beginner or intermediate lessons stop by our friends at Goofy Foot Surf School.

Whale Watching

Another must-do activity on the island is to find a good captain and watch in amazement of the humpback whales in the area. It's often said that for whales, if Alaska is their kitchen then Maui is their bedroom. This is the place they go to have and raise babies before journeying back to colder, deeper waters to feed. Having had a chance to see bubble feeding in Alaska and then see them swimming with kids in Hawaii is nothing short of spectacular.

Snorkeling with Turtles

Whether you're out by Mama's Fish Out waiting for a delicious meal or strolling the many northern beaches, the rougher the water the more likely to spot turtles wading in the waves. The density and variety of fish you can find right by the shores is often only found at much deeper depths in other areas often requiring a scuba tank not just a snorkel. Just remember, respect the reefs and respect the wildlife!

Cliff Jumping on the Road to Hana

Last but certainly not least, the Road to Hana is absolutely spectacular. Whether you choose to view the Haleakala National Park by helicopter or by car, it is spectacular. Perhaps that is a story for another day