Oh, Maui. You beautiful, gorgeous, insanely lovely island. Zach & I went to Maui earlier this year for a very special surprise that we were beyond honored to be a part of. Zach’s Dad had been planning a multitude of surprises for our trip to this island that is just charming beyond words. It just so happened that he and his beautiful wife (and my amazing mother in law) Edie, were celebrating over 30 years of marriage, and would be in Maui for their anniversary. We plotted and planned, and helped Bill scheme up an epic surprise vow renewal. Added surprise? Edie had no idea that Zach, Bailey, and I would be joining them for this incredible occasion. More on this to come in a later post!
Since vow renewals aren’t apart of a typical Maui trip, I’m rounding up my Top 5 Must Do’s in Maui, that you can absolutely do on a any trip there! This island really has everything your sweet heart could ever desire. So maybe pop in Moana, mix yourself up a Mai-Tai, and let’s dive in to this little piece of paradise.
I was very hesitant to forge ahead with the iconic Road to Hana. Sure, I had heard it was beautiful, breathtaking and potentially life altering (just kidding about that last one…kind of) But I was also a bit nervous to give up a potential day of relaxation-station worthy beach time. I mean come on, why would I trade this idyllic state of mind for a long day driving around in a car?
Oh man, I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier to have been proven wrong. Sometimes, some of the most iconic things to do in an area are iconic for a reason and The Road to Hana was no exception. I can wholeheartedly say that you absolutely will not regret taking the time during your trip to experience this scenic route. If you decide that this unforgettable road trip is something you want to experience first hand, I have a few tips to make it a peaceful, easy and enjoyable ride.
- Leave early. Seriously. You will be SO happy you did this. The Road to Hana is one lane each way (sometimes less) and congestion definitely happens. Beat the crowds and leave early, and you’ll be the leader of the pack. Plus, if you leave before the sun rises, you’ll be able to catch a pretty epic show by mother nature herself as you watch the sun come up over the Pacific. Pretty memorable, if I do say so myself!
- Don’t be afraid to head off the beaten path. While you should definitely have some spots in mind during your excursion (The Black Sand Beach is a must see!) Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled. Half of the fun of venturing to Hana is finding twists and turns along every corner along the way. You might just find a place to hit a golf ball off the edge of the world (see below for exactly what I mean…)There is so much to see, don’t be afraid to get out and explore it!
- Rent a Jeep if you can. This is one we didn’t do, and regret immensely!
If(I mean when) we do The Road to Hana again, we will absolutely rent a jeep for this experience. We rolled our windows down the entire time, but it would have been even better to have the top down during each and every of the 600 turns you encounter on this incredible ride.
Sun rise on The Road to Hana
The adventures you’ll find along your journey to Hana will stay with you long after the car ride ends. Speaking of adventures you need to go on…
There was a point in my life where I was somewhat terrified of open water. I’ve (somewhat) gotten over this fear, but it still lingers. I may/may not blame this on my older brother, who had me completely convinced when I was growing up that Jaws lived in my grandparent’s pool…
To help break this fear, Zach & I decided the best way to face it is head on! And by Zach and I, I really mean me. He’s not scared of open water at all, and is actually a certified scuba diver! I was able to get certified to go with a scuba instructor that day, and let me tell you, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Swimming underwater with those majestic creatures, man, I truly felt a part of their world (shutout to anyone who sang that in The Little Mermaid’s voice!) If you have ever had dreams of becoming Ariel too, I can promise you this might just be the closest you’ll ever get. There are tons of scuba shops in Kihei that will help you get started and lead you in this area! If you can, I would definitely recommend getting your scuba on over snorkeling. There’s something peacefully serene and fascinating about swimming next to these admirable turtles underwater. On that note, brb, going to finish listening to the rest of The Little Mermaid soundtrack now…
Do you really think there could be a list of things to do in Maui without including the gloriousness that is beach time? Think again, dear. The beaches of Maui have been touted as amongst the most beautiful in the world, to good reason I might add. These sandy shores are perhaps the most splendid place in all the lands to fully get into a real relaxation zone. Do you have your Out of Office on? Good. Because, honey, you won’t be checking that email anytime soon.
Maui is full of alluring beaches, but my absolute favorite has to be Big Beach in Makena. This place is aptly named, as it sprawls as far as thee eye can see. The benefit of this? You’re guaranteed to find your own strip of dazzling sand all to yourself. So, pick out your favorite beach read, lather on the SPF (mother nature is a feisty one!) and take a sigh of relief. Because you, my sweet, may have just made it to heaven on earth. P.S. if you do end up making it to Big Beach, don’t miss out on the chance to get Fish Tacos from a nearby local food truck. You can’t miss it on your way out there, it’s bright as the sun is yellow, and has a giant shark on the side. Slightly terrifying image, deliciously worth-it fish tacos. The food truck is appropriately named “Jawz”. Do not skip this. My aunt recommended this to us, and it was by far one of our favorite pit stops!
Find some of my favorite items below for optimal beachy relaxation
This past trip to Maui was the first time Zach and I had ever actually ventured to get our hike on. We love hiking in our homeland in the beautiful PNW, but Maui gives our scenic Northwest wilderness a definite run for it’s money! There are so many incredible hikes on this island in the Pacific, but we ended up deciding on Waihee Ridge Trail. Let me tell you, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s nearly 5 miles round trip, and it’s quite the vigorous hike up (but you will be rewarded with beyond stunning views!) I wouldn’t recommend this hike for kiddos, either, there are a few points that have jaw dropping cliffs.
But if you’re an avid hiker, and up to the challenge, this one is definitely worth your while.
Bring water and a snack with you, and you’ll be golden. Tip: leave in the morning to avoid clouds, which can detract from the view at the top! Plus, it will definitely be less crowded (and much cooler). Another benefit about leaving early? You’ll be done early enough to reward all of your hard work by having time to hit the beach, cool off in the ocean, and enjoy your favorite adult beverage. Go you! You’ve earned that refreshing Mai-Tai, girl.
Post-hike, sweaty as all get out, but so worth it!
It’s a universally known fact that working out and being active is much easier when you feel good in what you’re wearing! Check out my favorite Maui activewear below, and get your sporty spice on. Plus working out releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy…so the infamous Elle Woods tells me, at least.
Okay, okay. You might be rolling your eyes at this one. It can seem over the top touristy, and I totally feel you on that. BUT. But, but but. As I mentioned previously, sometimes some of the best things out there are popular for a reason. We were able to snag a heck of a deal on a sunset whale watching cruise on Groupon (there are TONS of deals on there, I would check it out before you pay full price somewhere!).
We left from Lahaina, and our cruise had about 40 people on it. They provided complimentary Mai-Tai’s, beer, wine, and pu-pu’s. Sure, okay. That just sounds beyond heavenly. Count me in. Peak whale watching season is November-May, so if you find yourself in Maui during that time frame, it would be worth your while to get your behind out onto one of those irresistible boats in the ocean!
I can’t say I was holding my breath too much to actually see whales, it was charming enough just to be out on the water sipping on that Mai-Tai as the sun went down, as one of the crew members was playing the ukulele in the background. Sigh….
But just as I was drifting off into a Hawaiian dream, Zach hollered at us from the other side of the boat, because there was a whale RIGHT below us. This grandiose creature of the sea was turned on its side, and staring at us right in the eye! I have chills just thinking about it. He hung out with us for a while (thankfully, he didn’t choose to splash our little catamaran…or tip it over…) and we were able to watch him in his natural habitat. Nature is so cool, man. It was so beyond worth it to have experienced such a memorable moment.
Well, I think I’ve officially listened to the entire Little Mermaid soundtrack as I wrote this post, and am already itching for our next trip to Maui. Have you been? What are your favorites things to do there? Let me know in the comments, or #CurateThatMoment with me over on Instagram! (@thelyonbadger)