The Hawaiian Islands were one of the world’s last places to be found and settled, and when those early explorers did arrive, they did so by following the stars. Today, traditional voyagers still practice this art of celestial navigating and wayfinding, and their efforts are aided by a night sky that twinkles with thousands of lights. While some areas of the island—such as Kahului or Lahaina—have traces of modern day light pollution, the majority of Maui has a night sky that is like constellation soup. Here, a warm blanket, a telescope, or even the hood of the car are tools in one of humankinds most ancient and romantic experiences. So if a meteor shower is coming to town, or I simply need some silence and solitude, I head to one of the following Maui retreats where the stars are the stars of the show.
Hyatt Tour of the Stars
Despite the name, this rooftop stargazing is more about Hokule‘a than anything to do with Hollywood. Regarded as Hawaii’s zenith star, when Hokule‘a twinkles directly overhead it signifies the latitude of Hawaii. Learn this and more from celestial experts on the nine-story rooftop of the Hyatt, where the 16’’ telescope “Great White” lets you stare into the depths of the heavens. For couples, Friday and Saturday nights mix cosmos with romance by adding strawberries and champagne.
A Haleakala secret is that the evening stargazing is better than the morning sunrise. From the upper slopes of this dormant volcano, the Milky Way stretches like a celestial zipper connecting two gaping sides of the sky, and there are enough shooting stars racing across the darkness that you might even run out of wishes. At 9,300 feet, Kalahaku Overlook offers a dark and private corner, as well as the best view when a rising moon illuminates the crater floor. Just remember to bring a jacket!
In West Maui’s agricultural heyday, this rugged, volcanic, panoramic headland was completely blanketed in pineapples. Today, thanks to local conservation efforts that halted proposed developments, a blanket of stars still canvasses the sky above historic Honolua Bay. Watch the sun gradually set over the knife-thin ridges of Moloka‘i, and lay a blanket on the hood of the car for a private celestial theater.
Set along the world famous Road to Hana, the jet-black sands of Honomanu Bay are a mirror of the inky black sky. Taro-lined Ke‘anae—the nearest town—houses a scant 200 people, and while sightseers crowd the beach by day, the occasional fisherman and the crashing surf are the only nighttime companions.
The Pleiades meet pastureland at this rustic cabin in rural Keokea. Squired away on a country road at 2,900 ft. elevation, this is the perfect spot for sipping hot chocolates on from the privacy of a wraparound deck. No neighbors. No lights. No sounds. No problem.