Every year we travel to a new and different destination for our summer vacation. We usually try to pick a place that we have not been to before, has lots of things do and teen friendly. This year we chose Maui, Hawaii!
Let me just tell you this was one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. Going to the Hawaiian Islands is like going to a different world. Maui is such a beautiful island with so much to see and do. We had a fantastic time. This is truly one vacation that raises the bar to all our other vacations. Not sure if we will be able to top this one, so instead we may just go again.
We chose to go to Maui instead of the main island because it is less touristy and more laid back. We stayed at the glorious Marriott Wailea Beach Resort (courtyard is shown above). I absolutely recommend staying at this resort, it is so beautiful with all its amazing flowers and trees. We loved lounging in the oceanfront cabanas around one of their two infinity pools. They also have a separate water slide pool for the kiddos.
You can rent snorkel gear, kayaks and paddle boards beachfront at the resort and walk straight out into the ocean to enjoy these activities. All without having to join a tour group. But they do have those as well if you need a class to learn first.
There is an upscale mall adjacent to the resort where you can grab groceries, souvenirs and have breakfast, lunch or dinner at some amazing restaurants. You don’t have to go far to have everything at your fingertips.
As with every vacation, we like to venture out to get the feel of the places we stay. We decided to rent a jeep to be able to drive the coastline of Maui and have the freedom to go where we please on the sometimes rough terrain and not get stuck.
Check out some of the pics from our adventures!
The first day we hung around the resort to get our bearings, get over the jet lag, etc. We rented snorkel gear and snorkeled at Ulua Beach (shown above).
This amazing pic is of one of the many sea turtles that hang out around the rocks. It was so cool to be that close to one of these endangered beauties in the wild! If you really enjoy snorkeling it’s a good idea to rent the gear for your entire stay because there are so many beaches that are really popular for great snorkeling.
Me, being the chicken that I am, I only snorkeled in chest deep water. My husband and kids went further out over the reef and saw the most spectacular underwater scenery. The fish at these beaches are right out of an aquarium. Sea turtles, eels, puffer fish, sea urchins and more. They had a blast!
Gorgeous pic of the Wailea Beach Resort Lanai at sunset.
One of the things that I loved the most about Maui was the flowers and greenery. I loved these Traveler’s Palm’s shown above. When we got home my husband said: “Ya know I’m not seeing anything tropical anymore, no flowers”. We got so used to seeing everything so lush and jungle like.
The next day we ventured out of the resort and checked out the coastal town of Lahaina. We dined on a fabulous lunch, seated oceanfront at the Lahaina Fish Company and shopped in the little local shops in this small quaint town.
We then we decided to drive north and check out Honolua Bay. We drank from coconuts while enjoying a short trek through the lush landscape that surrounds the bay. This is a very popular spot for snorkeling.
Next up, we decided to keep driving north of on the highway to find the Nakalele Blowhole.
We then drove on past the blowhole on the coast around the West Maui Mountains or Mauna Kahalawai. We were just going to admire the coastline, get some pics and leisurely make our way back to the resort. What we didn’t realize is just past the Nakalele Blowhole is one of the most dangerous roads in the world, the Kahekili Highway!
This is a 20 mile one lane road with cliffs, drops and hair pin curves. We were hanging on for dear life. You can not turn around and if someone is coming straight at you, that you have to pull over to the side to let them pass. Not fun! Especially since the locals fly around that mountain and the tourists rent giant SUV’s to drive it. I don’t recommend it. There were some spectacular views but I could hardly see them through my hands over my eyes! We went straight to the bar after that!
The next day we had planned to take the Road to Hana, stay the night in Hana and then come back through the Road Beyond Hana. But after driving the Kahekili Highway we decided to play it safe, go half way to Hana to see the Twin Water Falls and the Garden of Eden. After all, this was a vacation, not a torturous road trip.
The Road to Hana actually turned out to be pretty easy it had two lanes and guard rails! Plus there were a lot of people driving on it so you have to go slow and easy. I do recommend trying this one, it was beautiful!
This is a ground level pic of the Twin Water Falls Mile Marker #2 on the Road to Hana. You could climb the waterfall above these and jump off the top! Very cool.
Next stop was The Garden Of Eden, Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Mile Marker #10.5 on the Road to Hana. There are over 700 exotic plants and trees in this beautiful rainforest type atmosphere.
When in Hawaii you must always go to a Luau! We went to the Grand Luau Honua’ula and it was just wonderful. They portrayed the story of the Polynesians that discovered Hawaii just beautifully. For me, the best part of the luau was the food!! The traditional Hawaiian food was absolutely amazing. I definitely recommend this luau, however, it is hot until the sun goes down, so bring a hat to wear while waiting in line. The hula men and women were mesmerizing, but the fire throwers at the end stole the show!
Another place we decided to hike around was beautiful La Perouse Bay and the Lava Fields. The beaches are covered in lava rocks with a mix of black sand. It is also driftwood lovers dream!
One of the massive Lava Fields from the dormant volcano Haleakala (or East Maui Volcano) at La Perouse Bay.
On our last day, we took a red-eye flight home. Before the long ride, we took the day and hung out in the village of Paia. We shopped at the neat little stores and ate lunch at Willie Nelson’s favorite spot in Maui, Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon.
An interesting fence lined with wind surfboards in Paia, Maui, HI.
Local favorite surf spot Ho’okipa Beach Lookout.
Before I went to Maui I saw a tv show about Hawaiian Sunrise Shells. They are pink, yellow, and sometimes green seashells that depict the Hawaiian sunrise. The legend states they were made into extravagant necklaces and were only worn by royalty. You used to be able to find them on the beach in the morning after a storm, hence the name sunrise shell.
You won’t find them lying on the beach these days instead local divers dive for them. Then they either sell the shells to designers or make them into some extraordinary jewelry to sell. I bought a very pretty sunrise shell necklace of my own (shown above). If you are looking to get your hands on one you can try this Etsy Store.
I hope you enjoyed this post. This was such an amazing trip for us! If you ever get the chance to visit Hawaii, take it! You will not regret it. It is a magical place I know I will never forget! I want to go back!!
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Check out more of my Summer Vacation spots~
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