Aloha! I’ve been back from Hawaii for just over a week and all I can day dream about is when I’m going to go back. I think Hawaii is probably if not top 5 then top 10, on everyones list of must-see destinations, and for good reason. We spent two weeks in Maui and I fell in love. From the beauty of the water, natural plants, the culture, the sunsets, it’s all incredible. If you haven’t been, I suggest you quickly add one of the Islands to your list. If you have been, than I hope you can relate when I say that Hawaii is magical and majestic! I’ve already started a list of all the reasons that I should make a trip back next year (hasn’t been difficult) ha!
To really experience that amazing-ness (yes, I just used that as a word), that Hawaii has to offer, you must go for yourself. I don’t know if pictures or descriptors will ever do this place or the feeling you get when you are there any justice. I’m sharing some of my favorite shots from the trip as well as our top places to eat, shop, and adventure.
I’m not joking when I say that I didn’t have one bad meal while I was in Hawaii. It seemed that everything I ordered, from the seafood dinners to lunch at our hotel, was just absolutely delicious. About 5% of that could also be that I allowed myself to eat a bit out of my normal home eating habits. Hello gluten.
Sea House Restaurant – Napili Beach
We ate at the Sea House Restaurant four times in the first two days of our trip and I’m so glad we did because everything we tried was amazing. Sea House was conveniently located right near our hotel for the first two nights, the Mauian Inn. In the outdoor seating area we caught the most amazing sunset our first night there and enjoyed breakfast listening to the ocean the next two mornings. If you are near Napili Beach and looking for delicious food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I highly recommend stopping here. Ahi Tuna Nachos, the Haleakala Pancake, and the Chicken Papaya salad were my favorites.
Leilanis – Whaler’s Village, Ka’anapali Beach
Lelanis is right down the way from where we stayed and in the Whaler’s Village outdoor shopping center. They have two sections – the inside restaurant, a bit more formal and than the Beachside Grill, where we sat, right near the beach (per the name). They are known for their fish tacos so this was an obvious choice when ordering. I will say that the fish tacos were some of the best I had ever had. I got the Ginger Hoku to drink and it was so refreshing and light. This will definitely be somewhere we go next time. If you like Ahi, the Ahi Poke bowl as a starter was devoured in minutes! So good.
Island Vintage Coffee – Whaler’s Village, Ka’anapali Beach
I’ve posted before on Instagram about my love for acai bowls and Island Vintage Coffee did not disappoint. We asked someone at the resort if they knew of any good local places that served acai bowls and it happened to be a quick walk from our hotel. We got these one day for lunch and it was delicious! Healthy, refreshing, and a great way to cool off. I ate the whole thing and was super full, so you can definitely share this with someone else. If you aren’t into acai bowls someone in our group got the Strawberry Spinach salad and said it was probably one of the best ones they have ever had.
Scoops – Front Street, Lahaina
If you like ice cream I highly recommend Scoops. Cash only and make sure to get there before 10pm! My favorite flavor was the Chocolate Espresso Chip but the Mud Pie was a close second.
Whaler’s Village – Lahaina
If you are staying on Ka’anapali Beach like we did, Whaler’s Village was about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. What I loved about Hawaii was that most of the stores were unique to the Island and a lot of items that the stores sold were made in Hawaii. Whaler’s had one store called Sand People with cute clothes, local handmade jewelry, and home decor pieces. This was probably my favorite!
Pa’ia – Pa’ia
Pa’ia was a stop we made going and coming from The Road to Hana. A cute little town with various colored buildings and local boutiques that sell touristy t-shirts, local artisan works, clothing and bikinis. We spent a few hours exploring the shops and then ate dinner at Cafe Mambo. We didn’t get to pop into all the stores we wanted because things started closing earlier, some around 7pm, so this will definitely be on the top of my list when back in Maui.
Front Street – Lahaina
Besides Whaler’s Village, Front Street was a place we visited probably five times on our trip. Right along the water, Front Street has unique shopping, restaurants, art galleries and great views. Everyone can find something here, so it’s a great place to take the whole group, but make sure you guys are OK with splitting up because there is a lot of shopping group to cover. There is another larger Sand People location here, the only Hurley store in Hawaii, the famous Pakaloha bikinis, and famous art galleries. A must visit in my opinion.
The Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is definitely something a lot of people know about before they head to Maui. The Road to Hana is exactly what it’s name says. Hana Highway takes you from one side of the island to the town of Hana. To get there though is an adventure in itself, as Hana is a 3 hour drive from Lahaina, including roughly 600 turns and 54 one lane bridges. The road was so windy that I thought I was going to get sick (cue, motion sickness). Despite the car sickness the views are really incredible. We only made it a little over a 1/4 of the way, so I’m determined to make it the whole way one day (with the help of dramamine). We stopped at Twin Falls, a kite surfing beach, an arboretum, and some other little places where the ocean collided with volcanic rock remnants. Add this to your list if you have some time on the Island!
Captain Steve’s Adventures in Rafting – Lahaina
Across the ocean from Maui is the Island of Lana’i, and we crossed the water to spend the earlier part of one of our days snorkeling in some of the bluest water I have ever seen. One snorkeling spot in particular called Shark Fin Rock had some of the prettiest water and sea life I had ever seen. I had never been snorkeling so this was a whole new experience. This was one of my favorite excursions of the trip! The captain and deckhand were so friendly, lunch was delicious, and the underwater views were awesome.
Black Rock Cliff Jumping – Ka’anapali Beach
About a mile walk from where we stayed at the very end of Ka’anapali Beach is Black Rock. I believe at one time this was something that locals did, but now it is definitely a must-do for thrill seeking tourists. In order to get to Black Rock you must swim out 75 feet or so into the ocean and then carefully climb up the slippery rock. There are tiki torches that light the way and a local man who lights them, throws the torch in the water, and then jumps off. After a brief moment of hesitation, I also launched myself off into the deep blue water below. About a 20 foot fall, my adrenaline was definitely pumping after I hit the water. If you like an adrenaline rush, climb up and jump off, just be careful!
Slaughter House Beach – Lahaina
After a few looooong flights of stairs, we stepped foot onto Slaughter House Beach. A natural public beach, Slaughter House Beach has huge rocks that surround it on either side and right beyond the shore you can swim with the sea turtles in their natural habitat. Truly amazing! We were careful not to touch, but got some awesome GoPro pics and videos of the turtles swimming, some just a few inches away. I don’t know if a lot of people didn’t know about the turtles there because there weren’t many snorkeling, but if you visit Maui I would say this is a must!
Currently I’m brainstorming where my next destination will be. If you have any recommendations of MUST visit places, leave them in the comments below!