South Maui might not get the fanfare of West Maui, but this area of the island sees even more sun and less rain than its more popular sister. As a result, South Maui offers all the glory of West Maui without the crowds. There also tends to be better snorkeling and is where you’ll often find the locals hanging out.
Location & Information: Located about 9 miles northwest of Las Cruces, the trail head offers access to the Ridgeline, Discovery, and SST trails.
Directions: Coming from the South (Las Cruces): Travel on Picacho Ave./Hwy. 70, at the stop light with Shalem Colony Trail. Go north on Shalem Colony Trail for approximately 5.5 miles. Prior to reaching the Rio Grande, you will reach a county road, Rocky Acres Trail. Turn west on Rocky Acres Trail. Go west approximately 1/4 mile to a dirt road entrance on the left-hand side. Cross over a cattleguard and continue to the west. This road, past about a mile, is for high-clearance, 4wd vehicles only.
Discover one of the world’s great natural wonders, the glistening white sands of New Mexico. The seemingly endless sea of white sand engulfs nearly 275 sq. mi. of desert, with nearly 230 sq. mi. for recreating, makes up the world’s largest gypsum dune field. White Sands was established as a national monument in 1933 and re-designated as a national park in 2019. The park is open daily year-round except for December 25. Hours of operation vary throughout the year and unexpected closures may happen on occasion, so visitors are encouraged to check the park website before heading out.
- The 16-mile round-trip down Dunes Drive takes about 45 minutes, but visitors are welcome to stop along the way for a picnic, to take some photos, go on a hike or slide down the dunes.
- The park offers several ranger-led programs that allow visitors of all ages to experience the park in a more immersive way. Sunset strolls, full moon nights, full moon hikes, Lake Lucero Tours, Mothapalooza and a variety of community events take place throughout the year. White Sands Full Moon Night
- Make sure to stop by the visitor center, a great example of “Pueblo-Revival” architecture constructed in 1938. Learn more about the park’s programs, browse the bookstore and gift shop or learn about the animals and plants that have adapted to survive in the harsh environment and the amazing geological processes that create the dues through the interactive educational exhibit.
Hike the dunes in the full moon light with one of the most popular programs at White Sands National Park. Offered once a month, the 90-minute program is a ranger-lead hike that begins at Dune Life Nature Trail. In addition to park entrance fees, the program is $8 per person ages 16 and older and $4 per child ages 15 and younger. Tickets go on sale online at 8 a.m. MST two months prior to the scheduled hike. Tickets sell out fast, so plan ahead and view the schedule for dates.
Directions: The trail is east and southeast, of Las Cruces. There are several trail heads. One is along the Soledad Canyon Road. From Exit 1 on Interstate 25, take University Avenue/Dripping Springs Road east for about 4.5 miles, then turn south on the Soledad Canyon Road. That road will turn east in a mile; follow it until you come to a parking area on your right. You can also access the Mossman Arroyo Road trailhead by exiting Interstate 10 at the Mesquite exit. Other trailheads can be reached by taking the Vado Exit off Interstate 10, and NM 404 at Anthony Gap.Soledad Canyon
However, the United States has a lot to offer travelers willing to spend the time exploring it. There are stunning national parks, gorgeous landscapes, incredible and diverse culture, world-class music, and a variety of delicious cuisine that varies from region to region.
I think the U.S. is one of the best destinations in the world to road trip. While the coastal cities are fun, the U.S. really reveals itself in the middle and countryside (it’s much more affordable there too). It’s in the nooks and crannies of America that you get a sense of its quirks.
The city that never sleeps is one of the most amazing cities in the world. There’s nothing you can’t do or see here. From world-class museums and art galleries to innovative theater performances to unique restaurants to the expansive Central Park, everything about New York is amazing! Don’t miss the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and walking the High Line.
Words can’t describe how epic the Grand Canyon is. It’s breathtaking. Make sure you hike down the bottom too. Most people just look out at the canyon from the overlook at the top, but its vast size and beauty are best appreciated with a hike down to the Colorado River. You’ll also avoid the crowds, as only 1% of visitors actually go down to the bottom. Just be sure to bring plenty of water if you’re going in the hotter months!
The warm weather, lively honky-tonks, funky house bars on Rainey Street, amazing hiking and biking trails, tons of outdoor activities — Austin has it all. It’s one of the best cities in the U.S., boasting a combination of nature, city, and delicious food. There’s also a fantastic music scene, not only with the SXSW music festival in March but year-round with live music taking place somewhere in the city on a nightly basis. I’m proud to call the city home! Be sure to binge on BBQ while you’re here!
Kihei is the main town in South Maui. It’s the most popular spot on the island for surf lessons and tends to be much less expensive than Lahaina. The town has great restaurants and fantastic attractions. It also has far fewer Maui resorts and big hotels. Much of the accommodations tend to be condos and vacation rentals.
Wailea, which is further south than Kihei, is a resort community that offers much of the grandeur of Lahaina without the crowds. Wailea is the up-and-coming community on the island and offers an amazing place to base yourself for your island adventures.
Wailea Beach Resort isn’t just one of the best resorts on Maui; it’s been rated as one of the best Marriott properties in the world! This property was built with everyone in mind, and somehow they make it work.