For our Second Anniversary, my husband and I decided to go to Maui. (Actually, it was my choice since he chose to go to Walt Disney World for our First Anniversary last year.) We’ve both been to Oahu, separately, so we figured Maui would be a different place we could travel to together so we could relax and not have too much to plan.
A lot of people told me that Maui is a lot slower than Oahu and that it didn’t have as much stuff to do or see. That may be true, but Maui had enough attractions to keep us occupied for eight days and it blended the perfect amount of fun + relaxing activities. We went there with a list of things to do, but we didn’t get to do everything. More reason to go back. I love Maui.
Here are just a few things we got to experience while we were there. (And click here to see our favorite places to eat in my Maui – Food Trip post.)
Aston Maui Lu We stayed around Kihei because it was cheaper and I figured it would be in the middle of everywhere we wanted to go. Not too fancy, but EJ upgraded to ocean view! Every morning we woke up and stood out on the lanai to watch the sunrise, and every night we tried to watch the sunset and went to sleep hearing the waves crash the shore. EJ surprised me with the upgrade and I was so grateful he did!
(Left: first morning sunrise – excited and had the “bagong gising” look (“just woke up” look), Right: last morning sunrise)
Three main things I looked forward to while on Maui were:
1) the Road to Hana, 2) the Haleakala Sunrise, and 3) Old Lahaina Luau (will be posted separately). *EJ didn’t have anything specific he wanted to do, except for the luau. All he wanted was to sleep in, go to beaches, and eat in general.
Road to Hana We scheduled this trip on our first full day in Maui. The two things I really wanted to see on this mini road trip were Twin Falls and the black sand beach. I made to sure to check out all the stops we could take, but these two were the ones that stuck out because we didn’t have to hike very far to get there, and they were things we don’t normally get to see, especially in California. See all the sights along the Road to Hana here.
Twin Falls is one of the first waterfall stops a little past Mile Marker 2. Again, I chose this stop because of the easy access. There is also a fruit stand along the highway that stands at the entrance that’s hard to miss. The entrance to the path to the falls is through a small gate to the left of the fruit stand. It wasn’t raining on our way to the falls, but the mud paths were already moist. We didn’t have a problem walking up the paths, but it’s when we hit the small pool that separated us from the falls that made this hike a little challenging, especially for me. We didn’t bring hiking shoes, so we went through the pool to get there in slippers!
In the third picture below I’m standing in one of the three more shallow “pools,” only up to my calves. The pool in front of me and behind me were about waist deep, very rocky, and cold. The water was warm enough that I could walk through it, but I definitely couldn’t get myself to swim in it because it was too cold for that. It was also hard walking through the pool because the bottom was mostly rocks and I had a hard to balancing, but I got past that!
At least we were able to get all the way to see behind the falls! Some people saw the first pool and turned around because they were wearing sneakers. That’s when we were grateful we brought slippers instead. We didn’t come all this way to look at the falls from afar, I wanted to get as close to it as possible. Wish it was a little warmer so we could swim, but that’ll be an adventure for another day. It started sprinkling, and that’s when we headed back to the car to continue to adventure.
Wai’anapanapa State Park is where one of the black sand beaches is located (Pa’iloa Beach). The black sand was made from lava that flowed through that area a long time ago. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side that day, so we were hesitant to get too far in the water. It even started pouring after we took some selfies!
Hopefully next time we can check out the freshwater caves.
Hana When we got to Hana, we tried to find the red sand beach, but there was some construction that wouldn’t let us park near the area we were heading towards. A lady selling Shaka Pops from a cart told us a “local way” to get to the red sand (I don’t remember the directions though, SORRY!), but she said we couldn’t go in slippers because it would be too slippery down a hill. So we ditched that idea and went around town instead.
We got Shaka Pops and walked in some gift shops. We also found a grocery store and bought some snacks for the trip back to Kihei. Read my Maui – Food Trip post if you want to see what we thought about and bought at Shaka Pops!
This photo is from Hana Bay Beach Park. This was our last stop before going back to Kihei. There wasn’t much to see here, but they had public bathrooms! There were also picnic tables and a shave ice stand for those that want to bring food out here. We ate ours in the car on the way so we didn’t have much to eat when we got there!
Towards to start of our journey, we passed by this lookout, but missed the stop because there were so many cars in the lot next to it that there wasn’t much space to squeeze in. Luckily, on our way back to Kihei, there were only two cars, so we took our chance and parked and got out for pictures. The lot is also on the same side as the road going back anyway, so it was just easier to get to on the way home.
I love this view.
Haleakala We scheduled this trip on our second day (because Komoda’s is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays!) Sunrise was around 530am the day we decided to go up Haleakala. We woke up around 2am, left the hotel by 245am, drove two hours, and got there around 445am. We stayed in the car while it was still dark and daylight broke around 515am, which is when we got out of the car and went to the viewing area. The drive up was pretty crazy. I’m glad we got up and back down alive! It seems like another world up there: it was super windy and cold! It was about 45 degrees according to the temperature on the dashboard when we parked (75 degrees when we left Kihei). I’m sure the view is better when there aren’t so many clouds, but we ended up going on a super cloudy day. Their website said it would be like that all week, so we didn’t miss out on anything. Entrance fee is $10 because it’s considered a national park.
Suggestions for anyone deciding see the sunrise:
- Plan to go towards the beginning of your trip when you’re still somewhat jet lagged. The 2am alarm will be more forgiving before you get used to the Hawaiian time zone.
- Make sure your windshield wipers and breaks are working. There was a lot of mist up there, in addition to the cold, it started sticking to the ground and to our windshield. And if you don’t want to deal with the drive, go with a tour group! Drive slow and pull over if someone wants to tailgate you. There are residences on the way up, so the person behind you might be a local that’s just waiting to get home. Be considerate.
- Wear half the stuff you brought to Maui and layer, layer, layer! I wore my bathing suit, a tank top, a sweater, and a warm running jacket, with ankle pants and I was freezing! I should’ve added some long leggings and high socks to my outfit because my ankles were really cold. And a beanie or scarf and/or gloves…
- …which brings me to my next suggestion, TAKE THE COMFORTER FROM YOUR BED! You’ll look crazy, but if you plan on lasting up there longer than 10 minutes, you’ll need it. I took the throw blanket from our hotel and that was too thin. It didn’t block any wind and after about five minutes of readjusting, I ended up just rolling it up and not using it.
- There’s a building you can go inside of with a view. There were many people pushed up against the windows, so get there early, hopefully when it’s still dark. Use a flashlight app on your phone, or bring a real flashlight.
- I didn’t realize until we were about to leave, but instead of crowding around everyone at the viewing spot, hop the barrier and take a seat on a rock. You’ll still see the same thing as everyone else, but you won’t have to fight for a view. You can sit on the comforter from #3.
- If you’re gung ho and plan on getting there early and getting a good spot, bring a hot drink! I wish had time to do that, but it would’ve helped my a lot in warming me up with my lack of layers.
Big Beach (Originally known as Oneloa Beach) Of all the beaches we went to, this one was my favorite. Ample parking, lots of space on the sand, and the water was warmer than any of the other beaches we went to. (Ka’anapali came in at a close second). There were couples and families, groups of young people and older people. It seemed like a beach for everyone and anyone. Getting there also wasn’t a hassle from Kihei. Locals were boogie boarding like I’ve never seen! I got wiped out by a wave, and when we got home, there was a handful of sand that fell out of my bikini bottoms when I took a shower! TMI? LOL! Wish we had time to go to Little Beach also. You have to hike past some rocks, but I read that waters are calm and the sunset is amazing. Another place to add for our next trip!
Makena Beach (Not sure what its official name is) I passed by this beach on a run and didn’t realize it was a beach! It’s hidden in a Makena residential area behind lots of trees, orange fencing, and signs that say “Do Not Enter.” On my run, from the street view, it looked a housing lot about to get bulldozed add a new residence. The eye doctor at Costco on Maui told me about it when I had to get an eye exam. (Story for another time.) I was hesitant to go at first because I wasn’t sure if there would be a lot of locals that would mind if we went, but no one cared haha. We passed Polo Beach and turned onto Makena Road. Once you hit a woodsy looking tree area where there’s a break in the houses, park your car (watch out for the chickens), and take the path behind some big rocks through the trees. And you’re there! Ka’anapali Beach We wanted to explore some of West Maui and randomly decided on this beach. We went through a hotel area with lots of construction and a slight detour to get to the parking lot of this beach. Then had to trek through a grass field. Once we got to the beach, I was surprised at how small it was. There was barely any shore before the water started. We threw our stuff as high up the shore as we could and EJ forced me to jump in (which is how I lost my contacts). The water was a lot warmer that Ho’okipa, and the waves weren’t so bad. We went on a nice day. It was sunny and there were a lot of families from the nearby hotels around us. As I said this was my second favorite beach, the water was warm and there were a lot of parking spaces, but the walk from the car to the beach seemed a little far. I think this beach is more for the guests of the hotels around the area where they can just go back to their room and wash off.
Ho’okipa Beach We checked this beach the morning we got down from Haleakala. We brought our donuts here and ate them on a beach blanket while watching the surfers. The water was very rough and very cold at 830am, but I think this beach is more popular for the waves. I couldn’t get in the water past my calves, the waves actually scared me. We also saw a turtle under the water hanging on a rock for dear life near the shore. It popped its head up a couple times, but we weren’t able to get a good picture. It was pretty huge! I wanted to check this beach out because of the morning surfers, and it was near Makawao. In the afternoon, windsurfers instead. Both enjoyable to watch. We even saw some beginner surfers getting taught by locals! I don’t think I’m brave enough to try that yet.
It was a fairly laid back trip. We didn’t get to do many things that were on our list, so now I can make a post of all the things I still want to do in Maui! Check back for a separate post on our experience at Old Lahaina Luau!