Living 45 minutes from the beach, I never really vacation beach side. It’s just not somewhere I gravitate to. I love big cities, so naturally we have always visited one of the popular cities in the US. However, when my best friend decided she was going to get married in Maui, I couldn’t say no.
Hawaii was one of those places that “I’d love to go someday, but it’s not a MUST”. Let me tell you friends, it’s a must. The sites, sounds, and world is just different over there. It’s gorgeous, the land just captivates you and you just feel relaxed. I’ve been told this by so many people, for so many years it just didn’t seem possible that somewhere like that really existed.
When we decided we would be going to Hawaii, I was 8 months pregnant. So the decision to go alone was a no brainer–the flight is a long one, and bringing two little ones on that long of a journey just wasn’t on my list of things to do. However, I will say that I will be taking them next time we go–maybe 5 years from now? They will enjoy it so much more then they would have at this age. Since we were traveling along I made it a point to get some pictures taken. I highly recommend Stephanie Betsill Photography.
For the first half of the trip we stayed at the Grand Wailea, a beautiful Waldorf resort located in Wailea. Breathtaking can not even describe this hotel, the architecture, design, and landscaping was absolutely gorgeous. You could spend hours just walking around and looking at everything at the hotel. Our hotel room had a balcony that overlooked that ocean, and a gorgeous tub and separate shower.
After we had settled in, we ventured down to the shops and pool area. Grabbed a drink and laid pool side for a bit. They actually have 9 sparkling pools and an amazing lava tube slide! I love that they have restaurants, private beach access, and shops right there so you never have to leave for quick errands or a bite to eat. If your kiddos are lucky enough to travel with you, they have an amazing camp that offers full and half day options–the camps include lei making, water play, sand sculpting, and so much more. I’m pretty sure the kids would never want to leave this area.
When we decided to venture away from the hotel there was so much to do. Luckily I had planned ahead thanks to so many other posts and suggestions from friends.
The first morning in Maui we took a snorkeling tour with Maui Magic. It was an early morning, but they offered breakfast upon entering the boat which made it a little easier to get up. My husband and friend decided to try SNUBA instead of just snorkeling–I was honestly fine at the top of the water. We visited two different sites, one was beautiful coral reef and small colorful fish. The second was at Turtle Town.
We actually went back to Turtle Town the last day of our trip. My husband wanted to snorkel again so we rented gear and went. It was amazing the amount of turtles we saw. While his back baked from the sun, I enjoyed watching from above on a little cliff that overlooked the water.
2. Ulupalakua Ranch
On one of the days it was raining, so we decided to put the top down on our convertible and drive upcountry. This was an absolutely gorgeous drive and we stopped so many times along the way. Make sure and be hungry when you arrive, they have fresh cattle burgers made to order inside an adorable little shop.
3. Wine Tasting
After having lunch at the cattle ranch, head over to MauiWine for a wine tasting and tour. I also picked up some pineapple wine for my family back home. It’s definitely a different taste, but if you love pineapple you’ve got to try it!
Another hidden gem is Paia. Paia is definitely a locals spot, and doesn’t have any hotels in the surrounding area. The shops in Paia are adorable and such a quiet place to walk through. If you are down there for lunch make sure and try Paia Fish Market, and for dinner make early reservations at Mama’s Fish House (months in advance is recommended). Mama’s Fish House is a little pricey; I will say it was worth every penny. The design of the restaurant was perfection and the food was just divine.
There are some of my favorite restaurants when visiting Maui in addition to the ones above–Merriman’s, Hali’imaile General Store, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, and Longhi’s Wailea.
I will answer the question I know will be asked many times–no, I did not go on the Road to Hana. I have a very weak stomach and was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle it. My friends went and I hear it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you can do it, go!