Welcome back!! I'm so excited you are here, and I'm even more excited to begin sharing details about our Hawai'i trip with you. For the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing tidbits and details about our trip that I hope will help you in planning your trip to Maui or Oahu, or that you'll enjoy traveling along with me. We spent an amazing 10 day holiday on Maui, Hawaii, and had many, many exciting adventures while we were there. There was something magical to do or be seen with each turn. We saw an endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal basking in the sun, snorkeled with Green Sea Turtles, snuba dived at the famed Molokini Crater, witnessed Humpback Whales breach, Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins play. We traveled to Oahu for one day for a tour of the incredible Pearl Harbor Historic sites, walked along the famous Pipeline Beach during the Billabong Pipe Masters competition, and explored pineapple fields. On Maui, we saw the most amazing sunrise atop the summit of Mount Haleakala Volcano, braved the 620 curves along the Road to Hana, shopped and ate in the most peaceful town I've ever known, Lahaina, beach hopped around the island. The adventures go on and on. We spent days exploring, relaxing, and genuinely enjoying life and each other. It is a time and feelings I will never forget. My heart will always long for Maui. All of that being said, I am so excited for the privilege to share it all with you.
I wanted to start out with--beaches! We spent one of our days on Maui just beach hoppin' around the island. We started our morning with breakfast near our hotel which was in Kapalua, on the eastern coast, from there we drove as far as we could on the southern side of the island. I should note, the west and far northeast sides of the island are pretty difficult to navigate, so we stuck to southern and southeastern Maui for this adventure. On our drive, we passed a beach where an endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal was basking in the sun. We saw this seal, likely the same one since it was in the very same place, while coming back from a tour earlier in the week, but since we were on a tour bus we didn't stop. I should have had Lovely stop that morning, and totally kick myself now, because we didn't see another the whole trip. But what a treat to see an endangered, elusive animal with our very own eyes!
We drove from Kapalua all the way to Makena Beach, where we began our beach hopping adventure. Makena beach consists of what the locals call "Big Beach" and "Little Beach". Little beach is the island's unofficial nude beach. Haha! We didn't venture there (it's separated from Big Beach by huge volcanic rock, and there is a trail that leads there if you want to check it out), but I did accidentally (honestly by accident!) take photos of the beach from our snorkeling boat, and ummm well when you zoom in the photos (which I did not do until we were home), it's definitely a nude beach! Now, I can't say I wasn't intrigued, but I kept my big booty on the family friendly beaches! Hehe! I enjoyed people watching nonetheless. The surfers & view of Molokini (famed crescent shaped "island") at Makena Beach were a real treat!
Our next stop was just up the road at Wailea. This is a hugely popular spot for tourists. In fact, we almost chose to stay at a resort on Wailea Beach, but ultimately decided against it. After visiting the beach, I must say for popularity reasons, I am so glad we didn't! As you can see from the photos it was packed with people, much different from the smaller, quieter beach at our resort. We didn't spend a whole lot of time here, but still enjoyed seeing it.
From Wailea, we headed toward Kihei (pronounced key-hey), and stopped out Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts a lovely boardwalk, informational signs, a protected wildlife area, and a great beach called Sugar Beach. We spent quite a bit of time here walking along the beach, enjoying the sun shining on the water making it sparkle like diamonds, splashing in the waves, and collecting shells & coral along the sand, that I later returned to the sea.
A little story on that, before we went to Hawaii, I did research on collecting shells, rocks, etc., and read that if you removed volcanic rock from Hawaii, you would be cursed. Now, I can't say whether or not I believe in superstitions, ok maybe I do, but I decided to stay away from the rocks--photos only. Well, as our time went on on the island, I read more about shell collecting and such, and found information and opinions on both sides of the fence. Some saying taking anything would bring a curse, was wrong, or would eventually leave nothing left in our oceans. Some said finding shells in Hawaii is pretty rare, and it indeed was--there are no huge shells or tons of shells along the sand, so if you found them it was said to be a sign from Mother Earth that she knew you appreciated the Earth, so she put shells on your path. I went with the latter, because I do, indeed, love this Earth! But, ultimately, my superstitions, or love for Mother Earth, got the best of me, because let's face it those shells were only going to collect dust in a jar on a shelf somewhere, and I returned the shells to the sea on our last day before departing for the airport.
From Kihei, we stopped along Honoapiilani Highway at a scenic walk area with a "beach" of lava rocks. It was really quite beautiful, though a stark contrast from a sandy beach. We just walked around for a few minutes here, taking in the sunshine, then headed on back towards Kapalua.
Before Kapalua, we drove through our favorite town on Maui, Lahaina. Though we frequented it just about everyday on our trip, we didn't stop this time. We kept going towards Kaanapali. We didn't stop on this particular day, but I still wanted to share some photos of Kaanapali Beach since it's next geographically. :) This is a popular place for tourists. There are some really great resorts here, along with a mall. I'll share more on that later, but here are some photos of the beach you can enjoy.
After Kaanapali is the Napili area. We were told by one of our tour guides that Napili Bay is a great spot for snorkeling, so we put it on our list. We found a spot to park along the road, and walked to the beach. It was very busy, so we didn't stay long, in fact I didn't even get any pictures! There was a residential area around it, so I feel like it is a popular spot for locals along with tourists, but that is only my own assumption. From there, we were back at our resort in Kapalua, where we hit up our last beach of the day, D.T. Fleming beach. "Our" beach wasn't necessarily the prettiest, but it was small & quiet and our resort was the only one in the area. We heard in high whale watching season you can often see whales right from the beach here. We enjoyed our beach very much!
This was one of my favorite adventures on Maui, beach hopping. We went at our own pace, didn't waste time there if we didn't care for a particular beach as much, and really enjoyed a slow, quiet day. If you visit Maui, I highly recommend doing this. It's great to see the different areas, beaches, and sights. Remember all beaches in Hawaii are public, so you'll never be unwelcome--even at the nude beach! Ha! Thanks for stopping by!