When island-hopping in Hawaii, you just gotta stop in Maui (it's the rules)

For many people a Maui vacation, indeed, a trip to Hawai'i, is the vacation of a lifetime planned for years. After all the anticipation, visiting more than one island may be a smart thing to do — you've come all this way, make it count! What you need is an islandhopping adventure on Maui and Kaua'i.

Spend your Maui vacation at the WorldMark Valley Isle

WorldMark Valley Isle (Ask about availability for your next Maui vacation) is situated directly on the beach just seven miles north of the infamous beach town of Lahaina in West Maui. Lahaina, a former whaling town, is now a lively tourist center with a nice selection of shops and restaurants. Here you have a choice of 14 studio, one- and two-bedroom units. Resort amenities include an outdoor pool, fitness facility (fee required), and barbecue area.

See: Formally it's the Lahaina Ka'anapali & Pacific, but you can call it the Sugar Cane Train. Enjoy awe-inspiring views of...

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...West Maui as you traverse six miles and cross a 325-foot, high stretch of wooden trestle. From December to April, keep an eye out for whales in the big blue beyond. (7 miles from resort)

Shop & Snack: More than 90 stores ranging from souvenir to unique boutique and a fine selection of eateries await you at Whalers Village. And the sight of a gigantic whale skeleton at the adjacent Whalers Village Museum is sure to make the kids squeal with delight. And isn't that why you brought them along on a Maui vacation? (4 miles from resort)

Snorkel: For superior snorkeling for novices and experts alike, head to Black Rock (known by natives as Keka'a). Little splashers will see plenty near shore; swimmers going beyond the sandy shallows will be rewarded with larger fish, rays and possibly a glimpse of a hefty turtle nicknamed "Volkswagen." (4 miles from resort)

Swim & Surf: If rolling out of bed and into the water in front of your resort is just too easy, head to the dramatic waves of Honolua Bay. The sand beach is small and there is no lifeguard, but the surf break is said to be one of the best in Hawai‘i. (3 miles from resort)

Swing: Considered the crown jewel of golf on Maui, Kapalua Golf Club has the privilege of hosting the PGA’s first event every January. The Plantation Course presents tricky slopes and wind considerations; the Bay Course’s fifth hole requires a shot over a finger of Onelua Bay. (3 miles from resort)

Enjoy your Maui vacation at the WorldMark Kihei

The closest resort to WorldMark Kona (about 45 minutes by air) is WorldMark Kihei (Ask about availability) on Maui, also known as the "Valley Isle." Located in the South Shore district off Ma‘alaea Bay, WorldMark Kihei has a generous 200 air-conditioned units in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations. Resort amenities include an outdoor pool, spa, children’s pool, clubhouse with exercise equipment and a bustling activities desk. An on-site massage center can accommodate you with a poolside massage, facial and even an aquacranial floating massage in the Pacific.

See: Visit the moon without time-consuming astronaut training by touring Haleakala National Park. Although the park includes rainforest, desert and subtropical beaches, it’s the lunar landscape of the Haleakala Crater that’s truly mind-blowing. Witnessing the sunrise here is said to be the best way to transform your Maui vacation into a transcendent experience. (50 miles from resort)

Shop: The upscale and trendy Shops at Wailea might have the same stores as the mainland in Tiffany & Co., Gucci and Louis Vuitton. But they also have island exclusives like Honolau Surf Co., Martin & MacArthur and Honolulu Coffee. Think how much fun it will be to say, "Oh, this? I picked it up in Hawai'i." (3 miles from resort)

Sip: Maui's only commercial winery, Tedeschi Vineyards and Winery, operates on the historic grounds of the old Rose Ranch. Their first offering was (surprise!) pineapple wine, which they still produce along with a blush, nouveau, rose, red and sparkling wine. (26 miles from resort)

Snack: Now that you’ve tasted pineapple wine, go see it in its natural state at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Take a mini-tram ride through fields of the spiny golden fruit and sample more deliciousness at the gift shop. Also in residence are sugar cane, papaya, coffee, banana, macadamia nuts — and some attentionstealing spider monkeys. (11 miles from resort)

Snorkel: Make a trip to the Activity Zone desk in the lobby and book a boat excursion to the Molokini Crater. This protected cove is a sanctuary for a glittering universe of marine life. With visibility often reaching 100 feet, you'll canoodle with colorful tang, parrot fish and triggerfish, as well as reef dwellers playing hide-and-seek in the coral. (30-minute boat ride from resort)

Swim: Across the street from the resort lies Kama‘ole Beach Park, ideal for safe family fun. Actually a connected series of three beaches, the park offers great swimming with lifeguards, restrooms, showers, volleyball nets, picnic tables and even a spot of shade.

Swing: Duffers will delight in the proximity of the Elleair Maui Golf Club. It's a challenging course with narrow fairways and frequent trade winds that challenge your swing, but well worth the effort for the unique bragging rights of maneuvering through coconut hazards. (2 miles from resort)

During your Maui vacation, be sure to try these three things

Snorkel/whale-watching tours: Few places in the world allow you the awe-inspiring adventure of snorkeling among playful dolphins, elusive green turtles, sleek rays and magnificent humpback whales. Though every tour boat excursion is different, Hawai'i's sea-critter bounty is so great you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience whether you plunge into the surf to frolic among them, or stay aboard and admire them from your watercraft. (Book at Activity Zone desk in lobby)

Luau: Yes, it’s traditional and expected, but never think you’re too cool to attend a genuine Hawaiian luau. And the granddaddy of them all is undoubtedly the Old Lahaina Luau, a waterfront gala that includes arts and crafts, Hawaiian history, hula dancing, and (of course) multicourse feasting accompanied by Mai Tai cocktails. Come for the roast pig, stay for the unforgettable journey into island culture. (Lahaina; 26 miles from resort)

The Road to Hana: Whether you make the drive yourself or go with a tour company, the famed 42-mile drive throughout the North Shore, Upcountry and East Maui sectors of the island provides total immersion in its infinite beauty.

Maui vacation facts on Hawai'i airports and carriers

Maui: Kahului Airport (OGG), 9 miles from WorldMark Kihei, 33 miles from WorldMark Valley Isle. Kapalua West Maui Airport (JHM), 1 mile from WorldMark Valley Isle, 31 miles from WorldMark Kihei. OGG serves mainland flights; JHM serves inter-island jaunts.

Carriers: Major airlines offering flights from the mainland to all three WorldMark resort islands include Alaska, American, United, US Airways and Canada’s Westjet; Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air and Mesa Airlines are your inter-island flight experts.

This article was based on an article in our timeshare owner's magazine about Maui vacations.

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