This summer, I was fortunate enough to go to Hawaii with my family as a graduation present. Though I’ve been back for two months, the trip is still fresh in my mind and I catch myself daydreaming of Maui sunsets and clear blue waters often. There are far too many incredible things to see and do in Hawaii to fit into one blog post, but I’ve rounded my favorite spots and adventures in case you decide to venture over to the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!
What to do:
- Watch the sunrise at Haleakala Crater – one of the rarest, most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Aim to get there by 5am at the latest to snag a good parking spot all the way up at the top (past the visitor’s center at the summit) and maybe even one inside the lookout because let me tell you, it is cold. And very, very windy. If you’re not excited about driving up there in the dark, at the very least go for a hike or visit during the day, this site is a can’t miss for sure.
- Road to Hana – hands down my favorite part of Hawaii. I highly suggest picking up a tour guide CD from one of the local shops ($20), it tells you all kinds of interesting facts about Maui’s history as well as where to stop and where to skip. Be sure to make a pit stop at Coconut Glen’s for dairy-free ice cream, it’s unreal!
- Big Beach – also known as Makena Beach, this spot is one for the locals, too. The surf was crazy huge when we got there so the red flags were up, but we spotted some brave surfers killing it out in the biggest waves I’ve ever seen! If you’re feeling frisky, just walk up a bit to Little Beach, no swimsuits required.
- Walk along Front Street – when you need a break from the sun, walking up and down Front Street in the town of Lahaina is a fun activity. There are a variety of stores from brand names like Rip Curl and Billabong to touristy ones where you can buy souvenirs, art galleries and other cute shops.
- ‘Lao Valley State Park – a super chill but beautiful walk/hike in the center of Maui. Go for lush greenery, some exercise and to see the ‘Lao Needle, where King Hamehameha I conquered Maui’s warriors in pursuit of uniting all the Hawaiian islands!
- Kapalua Beach – just above Lahaina where the snorkeling is insane! We saw 3 huge sea turtles here. I’d highly recommend paying $100 for a tour and just come here with some snorkeling gear instead + a waterproof camera.
What to eat:
- Ululani’s Shave Ice – first on my list for obvious reasons. I don’t know what it is about this stuff, but it’s creamy and cold and refreshing all at once. My advice: mix 2 or 3 flavors and put the custard on the bottom 😉
- Coconuts Fish Cafe – hands down the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. We visited the location in Kihei, but oddly enough they have a few in the states, as well!
- Flatbread Company – so good we almost ate their twice. In my favorite town on Maui, Paia, this restaurant was poppin’ and for good reason. Their pizzas are to die for with tons of options and even gluten-free crust.
- Down the Hatch – another one of my favorites in Lahaina. This casual but fun fish restaurant is one of those where you order up at the front and they bring it to you, but there’s also a cool bar to sit at if that’s more your style. I had the fish tacos (again, I know, I can’t get enough!) but the lava lava shrimp were a family favorite!
- Paia Bay Coffee – my favorite coffee shop on the island. Not only was the coffee and food delicious (go for the bagel breakfast sandwiches or a piece of banana bread!) but the super cute ambiance is the best part.
- Simply Sweets Bakery – a must after your visit to the ‘Lao Valley. They’ve renamed the malasada, or Hawaiian version of a donut with crunchy sugar and a cream filling, a “mauisada,” and you’ll need to try at least one in every flavor. When in Hawaii!
Where to stay:
- My family stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina, and I can’t lie, I pretty much felt like a princess the entire week. The hotel, restaurants, pool, beach and workout facility were all amazing. I know I speak for all of us when I say it was one of the most relaxing weeks of my entire life. I took full advantage of the acai bowls and drinks and one day we event rented a beach cabana. If you have the opportunity to stay here, I highly recommend it! There are also a ton of resorts along this same strip, as well as just north in Kapalua, south in Kihei and obviously other great parts of the island, too!
Well that’s all for now, I hope I’ve inspired you to visit Hawaii 🙂