Dangling from a parachute high above the water off Lahaina provides some of the best views of the islands that make up Maui County. The steep valleys of the deeply eroded West Maui Mountains pop in and out of view to the east as clouds form and recede along the sharp peaks. Kaho'olawe sits low, dry, and red to the south, baking in the rain shadow of Haleakala. To the west and north, Lana'i and Moloka'i leap out of the water, closer and more defined from the high vantage point. Looking down, the intricate curves of the coral reef create a patchwork of light and dark in the crystal clear, tropical water. Remarkably quiet despite the engines of the boat below, parasailing is a tame way to gain some perspective on the landscape and get a great look at four of the eight Hawaiian Islands.
Note: Parasailing is almost like being a human kite. A long line attached to a boat reels you up to 800 feet above the water as you hang in a seated harness below a parachute. The views are spectacular, but anyone afraid of heights or suffering from motion sickness should skip this activity. In addition, parasailing is available only between mid-May and mid-December due to boating restrictions during the humpback whale season.
West Maui Parasail: Located at Lahaina Harbor and Ka'anapali Beach, West Maui Parasail operates from May 16 to December 14. Reservations can be made online, by contacting the company directly via phone, or by walking up to the reservation booth in Lahaina Harbor. Single, tandem (two people), and triple rides are available, and guests can also choose between the 600-foot line and the 800-foot line. Each ride lasts about eight to ten minutes.
- Location: Located at 930 Wainee Street, Lahaina - Lahaina Harbor, Slip # 15, and Ka'anapali Beach, just south of the Hyatt.
- Phone: 808-661-4060
- Website: www.westmauiparasail.com
UFO Parasail: Located in Ka'anapali, UFO Parasail faces the same boating restrictions as West Maui Parasail and operates from May 16 to December 14. Guests can request single, tandem, or triple rides, and all launches and landings take place from the back of the boat. You may request to dip your feet into the water during your ride, and the company also offers photo packages to capture your entire experience. Rides last between seven and twelve minutes and vary in price from $60 for a single 600-foot ride to $200 for a tandem 800-foot ride.
- Location: Located on Ka'anapali Beach in front of Leilani's Restaurant at Whalers Village - 2435 Ka'anapali Parkway.
- Phone: 808-359-4836
- Website: www.ufoparasailing.com