Palm trees. ocean breeze. salty air. sun kissed hair. endless summer. take me there!
Yes, we went to Maui! It was such a dream and wonderful escape from the cold fall weather of northern Idaho. My family and I went for my Mom and Dad’s 25th anniversary (cue the clapping) and for my 15th birthday!
Our total travel day time was about 16 hours, including the layovers, driving, etc.. We woke up at about 4:30am and boarded the plane around 6:30am. We didn’t get to our hotel until around 8:00pm. (I totally did an eye mask the next day 😂). We took three different flights, the longest of which was the main stretch from LAX to Maui, and was about 51/2 hours. Our first flight to Seattle was delayed for almost 3 hours😐😩 but thankfully we were able to still make it to our next flight ( thank you Jesus!) which was literally around the corner of our gate and was waiting for us and for a couple other people from our flight!
Even though the travel day was long and stressful, it was so worth it! When we got off the plane and stepped into Maui for the first time ( the first time for me anyway) a blast of hot humidity smothered me. The night before we left Spokane, Washington, there was a snow storm and the entire city and some of Idaho went out of power. It was freezing and the reason why our flight was sooo delayed. So, we came from freezing cold dry weather to hot, humid tropical weather and it was quite a shock! The Kahului airport we arrived in was really unique because it was open to outside and so you were basically outside right away!
Here are some pics of flying into Maui! We were welcomed with a beautiful rainbow! The camera on my phone couldn’t really capture much of the colors or quality but it was beautiful!
Where we stayed plus Kaanapali Beach!
We stayed at the Westin Kāánapali Ocean Resort Villas- it was really awesome! It’s hard to explain this trip in words, but thankfully I took tons of pictures!
The pictures above are all from the resort and Kāánapali beach. As you can see, the water is GORGEOUS!! It was sooooo aqua blue and clear and literally the best beach I’ve ever been to. The snorkeling here was AMAZING and we saw almost all of Hawaii’s native sea life and swam with sea turtles. The coral was so alive in certain areas and there was colorful, crazy unique fish and sea creatures everywhere. You didn’t have to go far out at all to see ocean life. We snorkeled, swam and went to the beach every day for at least 2 hours and it was so amazing. I have such a good tan (but can’t show it off because its freezing back in Idaho😂).
We saw a lot of Green Sea Turtles and I even saw an eel 😳. I kinda panicked as it swam right under me into a crack in the coral. I was so freaked out I didn’t even move or really pay attention to its size or color I just knew it was an eel 😂.
But really, if you ever go to Maui, snorkeling is a MUST! Honestly, it was one of the biggest highlights of my trip. I was really worried at first (thanks animal planet and river monsters) but it was so magical and it really was a whole new world! Not joking, I really did have that song from Aladdin stuck in my head while snorkeling.
Molokini is a world famous tourist destination for snorkeling and snuba diving. My dad, my little brother, and I went on a boat ride tour to the crater ( which is the product of a volcano) and snorkeled and I snuba dived!
You may be wondering if I’m misspelling snuba diving but no- they are two different things. Scuba is where you have the oxygen tank on you and dive as far as you want. Snuba diving is more for beginners and tourists because it’s a little bit safer and easier. In snuba diving, there is a raft floating above you that holds the oxygen tank and a line/rope thingy is connected to you that only lets you go a certain depth. I went down 15 feet. I didn’t even wear a wetsuit and it was a colder day and I was perfectly fine temperature wise. It was a little bit difficult equalizing my ears as I went down, but it was a pretty cool experience.
Surprisingly, there was barely any coral or sea life there compared to Kaanapali Beach. The coral looked dead and there was only one type of fish. But the water was beautiful and like a huge swimming pool even though we were practically in the middle of the ocean. For the price of the trip (and the motion sickness), I’m not sure that I would do it again when in comparison we could go down to the beach where it was swarming with sea creatures and the coral was alive and flourishing.
The best restaurants, shopping centers, and stores
We stayed in Kaanapali, but everything was so close to each other that driving to another town or beach was no problem.
The best places to shop:
- Whalers village (in Kaanapali)- they have lots of good restaurants, and good quality popular brand shops. Some of those were Billabong, Ripcurl, Roxy, Vulcom, super cute boutiques and lots others. There were local artists and companies and LOTS of bathing suits!
- Old Lahiana town (in Lahaina)- A super cute and touristy place to walk up and down the streets window shopping while listening to the ocean waves in the background.
- Whole Foods – our favorite health food store. It had lots of local Maui produce and products, and all of our favorite brands like Simple Mills, Synergy kombucha, Rebel drinks, and more. Also, there were 2 LB ORGANIC LOCAL GROWN AVOCADOS. I had to take pictures because avocados=my happy food. 🥑🥑
- Monkeypod (located in Whalers Village)- One of the best restaurants to go to out there! They serve local, organic foods and FRESH caught fish– fresh meaning they have fishermen that go out the same day and catch the fish you eat in the afternoon! They don’t have any freezers in the restaurant. There are also local singers and musicians that perform live music everyday and give the place a relaxed Hawaii vibe. The first time we went, I got a salad with fresh raw kale, Hawaiian macadamia nuts, onions, and oranges. it was the perfect portion size (the ginormous salads really get on my nerves), very fresh and refreshing. My mom got macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi and my dad got a seared ahi sandwich. They had lots of good options and we went four times in a row! Also, they serve kombucha from a local kombucha company and fresh coconut water. 🍹🥥
- Choice Health bar🥑🥥🍍🥝 (in Whalers Village, Lahaina, and Paia)- This place is totally a hippie, save the planet, vegan, eco-friendly, organic, surfer dude, island vibe type of place and I loved it! there were açaí bowls, smoothies, juices, tonics, avocado toast with homemade rosemary cashew chèvre, wildflower tacos, raw pizza, and buddha bowls just to name a few. Almost everything was organic and completely local and fresh and they made it all right on the spot for you. I also discovered an amazing vegan protein powder while there called Warrior Protein powder. I’m not vegan (I really like my meat, okay) but I do avoid dairy. My mom is also allergic to pumpkin seeds, so we hadn’t found any good vegan protein powders that didn’t have pumpkin seed protein. (So for those of you who can’t have dairy or pumpkin seeds, you’re welcome). They also use macadamia milk ( so cool right?!) in almost all of their smoothies and bowls and in their iced coffee. So when we came back home we got macadamia milk because it’s a reminder of Maui and why not? The only warning I have is that you are going to forsake your calorie/macro counting and fitness app while here. It’s ok. You are in Maui. Just go snorkel it off afterwards. Anyways, this place had an awesome vibe, tons of fresh amazing foods, and free stickers -which was a bonus!
The road to Hana
So, as much we wanted to drive this whole road with beautiful views and tropical jungles, waterfalls and swimming holes that you have to hike to, and fun local farmers market stand pit stops, we didn’t. Because there are small children in my family (3 & 6) they didn’t have the patience or forbearance to do all of that so we ended up turning around after the second stop. We did go to mile marker 2 which is the bamboo forest and Twin falls and it was so perfectly lush and tropical and gorgeous. And the town of Paia that you have to pass through on the road to Hana is super cute and has lots of good açaí bowl places and popular restaurants. So maybe next time we will be able to go through the whole road to Hana and do all the long hikes to waterfalls, but it isn’t the most kid friendly activity to do in Maui.
Drums of the Pacific luau
This was a pretty cool experience of learning about the Hawaiian’s culture and beliefs and seeing their dances and traditions. It wasn’t as exciting as I imagined, but it was still neat. You got to eat a lot of food including authentic Hawaiian food and see all of the dances and such. They gave us a lei of fresh flowers when we arrived which was really beautiful. I didn’t take a lot of pictures so, sorry!
What to pack and what not to pack
Basically, I just cycled through three pairs of linen shorts, four tank tops, and a dress and a couple jumpers. It was so easy to dress and layer your bathing suit under your clothes ( since you never knew when you would happen upon a beach that you just had to jump into!). I loved the easy, relaxed, and natural vibe you got while being out there. Nobody wore makeup or worried about their hair, and you just let the sun and the salt water be your beauty treatment. My skin loved the salt water. That and getting a sun kissed tan was way better than wearing makeup. And your hair gets highlighted from the sun too☀️. So it was really nice to just slip on some comfy linen shorts and tank, pull my hair back, and slip on my Birkenstocks and be ready for the day! There are several things that I wish I didn’t pack and did pack, so hopefully the info below is helpful if you plan a trip out there!
Relaxed, light, and breezy clothes
🌴 I packed a pair of jeans and jean shorts thinking that I’d wear them sometime, but I didn’t wear them once. I didn’t even wear the linen pants I got. It was pretty hot and very humid, and anything more than the very least was kinda smothering. I also found lots of cute things in the shops out there, and so make sure you have room in your suitcase for all the things you’ll want to get! The shorts and tank tops I wore practically everyday were from Old Navy (one of my favorite clothes stores!) and so was one of the jumpers. I also got a dress from aerie ( my other favorite store) that screams island vibes!
🌴 Also, if you’re someone who loves to hike or run, there are lots of amazing hiking and running trails on the road to Hana, Haleakala, and other places, so be sure to pack some tennies and running shorts!
🌴 You’ll also want to make sure that you bring a hat and sunglasses because that Hawaiian sun is hot! My scalp got sunburned while at the beach ( so now it looks like I have dandruff because it’s peeling🙄), so a hat would have been helpful but I just put it in a pony tail.
🌴 For shoes, I basically just wore my Birkenstocks (I’m in love with them😍) all the time or went barefoot, because, hello it’s Maui! So I guess you could say I looked sort of like a local 😎🤙🏻.
A book or two, self care, and more
🌺 I really enjoy reading, and during drives, lazy days on the beaches, and down time in the hotel room I read. Even if you plan on being go, go, go during your vacay, you should still bring a book for the plane rides and winding down at the end of the day.
🌺 Aloe Vera gel is a must!! I used it everyday after the beach and it is so refreshing and cooling. I also love to use it on my face to help with sunburns and blemishes.
🌺 Young Living’s sunscreen, after sun spray, and personal care items are so good! I love how their sunscreen doesn’t clog pores or cause breakouts because it is all natural and made with zinc- and did you know that zinc actually helps with acne?! So it protects your skin from sunburns and helps to make blemishes disappear 🙌🏻. Their after sun spray is also a lifesaver for itchy hot sunburns or just for a refreshing spritz after a long day at the beach. It’s made with lavender EO, menthol from mint, and aloe vera- which are all amazing key ingredients for a refreshing and cooling spray!
🌺 Some of the main YL personal care items I brought were the Orange Blossom Charcoal bar soap, Geranium EO, Royal Hawaiian sandalwood EO, Grapefruit chapstick, and of course my Savvy Minerals! I love the charcoal bar because it draws out toxins and impurities and is good for my oily skin. Geranium EO is such a gem of an oil- it gives such a glow to my skin! It’s a little bit of a spicy oil, so if your skin is sensitive it would be best to dilute it a little bit with a couple drops of jojoba oil😉. And how could I not bring Royal Hawaiian sandalwood?? But honestly this oil is super good for your skin and has healing and glow-enhancing properties too! The savvy I brought was pretty much the bare minimum- foundation, mascara, and my DIY palette. But it was perfect and I really didn’t use it that much.
🌺 I also brought a couple green tea eye masks from 100% Pure because I knew that I would be out in the sun a lot, and that I might need a little bright eye boost after a long travel day. They are really refreshing and a nice little self care bonus. My mom and I also did Young Living’s ART beauty sheet mask for a little pampering. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and looking really glowing.
Maui was so surreal and amazing! I’m so grateful that God has blessed my family and I with the ability to travel and have crazy awesome experiences together. I really love the island vibe and the gorgeous beaches and hope to return some day🏝. But honestly, I really did miss home and I’m so relieved and happy to be back!
Thank you for reading this post and I hope that you enjoyed it and got some good information from it! Have you ever gone to Maui or plan on it in the future? Let me know in the comments! Bye for now- Hope Leilani🤙🏻🌺 ( P.S. that hand sign is actually called the Shaka. Didn’t know that before!)