I'll finish up with a Hawaii trip wrap up tomorrow, but I can't do that without sharing about our absolute most favorite spot on Maui. Lahaina, Hawaii is the sweetest little town I have ever seen, bonus that it is right on the ocean!
It boasts the cutest little shops with unique art, fabrics, and paintings, yummy restaurants with views to die for, and history galore, including a thriving banyan tree planted in 1873! This was hands down our favorite area on Maui. We frequented here nearly everyday during our 10 day stay on the island. Whether for tours, eating, shopping, sight seeing, or just relaxing watching the boats go by between islands, it's an amazing, quaint spot for just about anyone.
The famous Front Street in Lahaina, Hawaii on the island of Maui.
The 140+ year old Banyan Tree in Lahaina Banyan Court Park.
Note: That is only ONE tree! It takes up nearly an entire block.
There is tons of historical artifacts located near and in the park.
Cheeseburger in Paradise & it's AMAZING views!
Cute little shops are all over Lahaina.
The Pioneer Inn where we enjoyed breakfast over looking Lahaina Harbor.
I LOVED their eggs Benedict.
We enjoyed just about every ice cream parlor in Lahaina! :)
Lahaina Pizza Company had amazing deep dish pizza, not to mention killer views!
The sunsets over Lahaina Harbor were the icing on the cake for this little town!
Lahaina made a lasting impression on both of our hearts. We speak of and long for it often. I imagine it to be the perfect place to raise a family. I think my heart will always long for Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. I don't think we've ever loved a place or felt more at home anywhere other than Lahaina. We have it in our hearts and minds to head back there someday. And I HIGHLY recommend a visit to this sweet little town to anyone heading Maui's way.
So I've saved some of the best for last to share from our Hawaiian Holiday! I'm so excited to share our adventures whale watching off the coast of Maui. November through March Humpback Whales migrate to the Hawaiian islands to breed. We were there right for the beginning of the peak of the season. Unfortunately, our first charter out to whale watch didn't bring us much luck in the whale department. However, we did see a pod of native Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins, which their name eludes only live in the Hawaiian islands. It was SO fascinating to me to see animals in Hawaii that you can only see there. It made these adventures that much more special! Anyway, even though we didn't see whales the first go round we loved seeing the friendly dolphins play & follow our boat. The sunset & views of the islands, well they weren't so bad either!
We were in a small raft, pontoon style boat so we felt SO close to the ocean, which I loved. Even though we didn't see whales, I'd say it was a successful boat ride! Our second chance at seeing whales was on our snorkel/snuba trip. We weren't out to see whales, but we saw several during the span of the morning. At the time, it was fairly overcast so the photos aren't that great, but it was the most AMAZING sight and experience of my life! It literally brought tears to my eyes. To see a creature in person with your own eyes that you have only dreamed of seeing, read about in books, or seen in photos was the most magical I've ever had!
Can you believe how close they are to the boats! Pretty spectacular! We also had the pleasure of seeing this majestic whales during a sunset dinner cruise. I didn't worry with photos then, and it was worth it to just take them in. Now I've become completely entranced by whales, and went out of the way to see killer whales during a visit to Seattle (more on that another day). Every time I plan a trip for myself or someone else now, I always check to see if it's whale season! I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on such an amazing adventure.
One morning on Maui, Lovely & I decided to head a bit further around the island, past Kapalua. Our main goal for the drive was to see the blowhole at Nakalele Point, but we ended up enjoying so much more than that! The drive was totally off the grid, and looked like a place that is rarely ventured to by tourists, or it seemed to be that way anyway, which made it that much more enjoyable. It was nice to be away from any touristy area, and see a different feel of the island, a more rugged side.
We took a nice, leisurely drive since there was little traffic, and made a few stops along the way. The drive took us on winding roads, past black sand beaches, above enormous cliffs, and around off the grid homes. We stopped at make shift "parking spots", aka sides of the road clear from rocks & grass, to take in the gorgeous cliffs. Some spots had me dreaming of Ireland and was the Cliffs of Moher might look like. Other spots were straight out of Jurassic Park, with mountains of green jungle. It was really a very scenic and cool drive!
Our stop at the blowhole, which is also home to the famous "Maui Ocean Heart" (made even more famous by Pinterest), was a bit different than I'd expected. The spot is so rugged, the signs are hand painted, almost adding to the danger of the climb. But we ventured down to the blowhole anyway, but not too far, of course. It was INCREDIBLY windy and misty with rain and sea spray at Nakalele Point, but we came prepared for trekking on rough terrain. Flip flops are NOT a wise choice here, so be sure you come prepared. The ocean heart is down, around, and to the right of the blowhole, but, because of the wind (and creepy signs) I was terrified to venture that far. Lovely attempted to get to it, and totally would have, but I begged him to come back, as the wind and being so close to the rocky waves was just too terrifying even to watch. Even with the wind, we enjoyed the stop and seeing the blowhole. It was fascinating just to sit and watch.
After spending a bit of time at the blowhole, we headed back towards Kapalua making a stop at Honolua Bay to catch a glimpse of the surfers. Our Haleakala Sunrise Tour guide told us this was a prime spot for surfing on the island. When we arrived there, we knew immediately it was the right spot as there were a ton of cars parked along the side of the road. Because it was so busy we didn't spend a lot of time here, just enough to watch a bit of surfing and snap a few photos. The surfers were amazing to watch! The navigated the waves so well. We could also see amazing views of our entire resort from Honolua. We really hadn't realized how big it was until then!
This is definitely a drive and spot I highly recommend venturing if you travel to Maui. The views, various terrains, and blowhole were amazing to see! If we ever make it back to Maui I'd love to give the heart another whirl, IF it's not too windy! :) Either way, I wouldn't be mad about taking the drive again. Do you have any off the grid spots you recommend in Maui? I'd love to hear them! Thank you for stopping in. See you back soon.
I had planned to share this post on Easter Sunday, because I just felt it fitting (you'll see why in a minute). But well, life happened and I was having too much fun with family. :) So today will do.
I want to share our magical morning atop Mount Haleakala Volcano on Maui, Hawaii. We woke up super early (like 1:30 am early!) on our first full day on Maui (my idea was to help with the jet lag...it semi-worked) to make the long drive to the summit of Haleakala, which means House of the Sun, to watch the sun come up. We booked a tour for this venture via Viator, and we were so glad we did! The drive was a bit treacherous being that it was SO windy and steep, so it was great to have someone else do the driving. We were in a small group of 6, and had a great tour guide named Scott. He gave us a wealth of information and answered all of my questions.
On our way up, Scott gave us some background info on the volcano, which last erupted 400-600 years ago. That doesn't sound like a long time ago in volcano years! 8-] So I prayed the whole time. Ha! Anyway, we got to the summit 10,023 feet above sea level very, very early. Our guide wanted to make sure we had a prime, front row spot, and he did not disappoint. Leaving a little bit early than necessary was completely worth it to get such a great, unobstructed views. While we waited for the sun to appear, we bundled up, yes bundled up in Hawaii, to protect ourselves from the 40 degree temperatures and 30 mph winds! HOLY COLD! I think the cold I felt was far worse than the cold, snowy December I spent in New York City the year before. But again, worth it! We stargazed, catching glimpses of Saturn, Jupiter, the Big Dipper, and a massive lunar halo. The stars alone we magic. But around 5:40 am is when the magic began to happen. This is the part of why I wanted to share it on Easter, I feel like it was SO close to Heaven! We were literally above the clouds, and watched THE most incredible sunrise I'd ever seen.
The sun fully rose about 6:20, and watching every step was magical! Once the sun came up (there are no lights at this spot of the summit), we could see just how many people were there! There were 200-300 people there to catch this phenomenon above the clouds. After the sunrise, we went up another few feet to check out the visitor center. Here we saw silversword plants--that ONLY grow on this very spot, like in the world! That was something very cool to see and know only people who make this journey every see these plants. They live 3-50 years, and only bloom once in their lifetime. Incredible!
After warming up with some hot cocoa, we began our journey back down the volcano. Our drive took us through upcountry, which is packed with trees: pine, blue gum eucalyptus (smelled amazing!), macadamia nut, and kukui nut. Our tour included a stop in Kula for breakfast and shopping. We spent an hour or so here, and saw a ton! Our breakfast was at Kula Lodge, a sweet little spot with a fire place (yes, it was needed), hot cocoa, and lush gardens in the back. There were what seemed like thousands of plants thriving there: figs, bananas, avocados, roses, succulents, and so, so much more.
Around the restaurant were a few shops we enjoyed. We picked up a flower bouquet, courtesy of the tour, at a flower shop called Proteas of Hawaii. They ship all over the world! In fact, Lovely sent me flowers from there on our anniversary last year--dreamy! We also picked up our first souvenirs from Maui at a little shop that sold goods from local crafters My kind of people! Outside the restaurant and shops I noticed a HUGE, TALL patch of poinsettias growing. Who knew this Christmas plant was tropical! AND that they grew so tall! Notice the electrical line in the photo in comparison to the height. Amazing!
An amazing rainbow topped off our trip down the volcano. The Haleakala Sunrise Tour was the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. The view was so magical you could hardly tell where the earth & Heavens met. A view & experience I will never forget! That is what discovering this world is all about. :) Thank you for spending this sunrise with me. Aloha!
I thought the fun title to this post might grab some attention, and even though the Atlantis Submarine was called Atlantis and not "Under Sea Adventure," it was, indeed, a great adventure under the sea. Once afternoon in Maui, we took an Atlantis Submarine tour our of Lahaina Harbor to do a bit of exploring under the surface. I was admittedly nervous at first, afraid of being claustrophobic, or just straight panicking under there, but all went well, and we really enjoyed the adventure! I'd been on a submarine before, you know the old military ones "docked" on land for touring, but never in an actual working one that took me under. But it was pretty darn cool! A boat took us to the submarine out in the bay, where we watched the sub ascending from the depths of the ocean. Pretty incredible to watch! Once we boarded the sub, we began our descend. Right away I was blown away! Even though the sub was pretty cramped and the seats were small, I didn't seem to notice when we began seeing the ocean in a whole new way. We saw SO much sea life, and it was incredible to to reflect and know all this had been beneath us the entire time!
I think one of the coolest parts was the sunken ship. It was purposely sunk to create a reef for the sea life, and to create the perfect spot for the submarine to venture us. I really enjoyed this little adventure, and look forward to trying it at other tropical destinations as well. It would be so fascinating to see under the sea in many different places to see the variations of wildlife. Sorry of all of the "seas" & "sees" today! :) But I hope you enjoyed it anyway.
Note: To board and deboard the sub, the boat and sub park side by side in the ocean, and you walk from one to the other. The sub has as small, steep ladder. That being said, this wouldn't be the best adventure for someone with trouble climbing.