Maui Favorites + Movie
Shay and I spent a week in Maui in June. It was our first time visiting Hawaii, and most definitely won’t be the last! I’ve come to realize that my “heaven on earth” is whenever the mountains meet the ocean. For some people, this is no big deal. However, living in Chicago without either of these things has made me appreciate them so much more. Whenever I have the opportunity to travel and surround myself with both I’m a happy, happy lady (see Vancouver and Positano).
There were 15 of us on this trip, some of which were close friends, and some were strangers (now friends). It was the perfect mix of group activities and alone time. Because there are A LOT of awesome things to do in Maui, we had to be careful not to over-extend ourselves. We wanted the full Maui experience, but also wanted to sleep in, relax, and read books poolside (which we did a lot of). As first timers, I realize I’m no expert. However, the below list feels good for a “top 5” first visit. When we go back, we won’t do the first three, and instead we’ll check out some new adventures, and maybe pencil in more pool time.
Haleakala Sunrise Bike Tour: Watching the sun rise at the top of a volcano and then riding a bike 23 miles downhill… sounds awesome right? It was! The views at the top were incredible, and the ride down was wild. We conquered 29 switchbacks and maxed out around 30 MPH. The only downside is getting picked up by a tour bus at 1:45 in the morning. It was a little rough, but we did this our very first day in Maui… so leaving at 1:45 am was really 6:45 am Chicago time. We were back at our hotel napping by the pool around 1 pm.
Doors Off Helicopter Ride: Shay and I agreed that this might have been one of the coolest experiences of our entire lives. If you watch the video at the bottom of this post, I’m giddy like a child from beginning to end. We lucked out with sitting in the front. I was next to the pilot, and Shay was on the outside - doors OFF. We saw parts of Maui that are inaccessible by car or foot. The scenery was truly breath-taking, and at times it brought me to tears. I whole-heartedly believe I can see glimpses of God’s character in nature, and this was one of those times I’ll never forget.
Road to Hana: Shay and I almost didn’t do this. Shay hates driving, and I generally don’t like being in the car for extended periods of time - which usually results in arguments on the road. This drive is called the “marriage wrecker”… so, why would anyone choose to do it? Ultimately, two other couples in our group talked us into going. One of the guys drove all 6 of us in a mini-van. It was definitely worth the full travel day. I’m glad we went. We used the “Shaka Guide” app to tell us when to stop and explore, which was super helpful. We did the entire drive, ending with the Pipiwai Trail hike and the Seven Sacred Pools. (We’re all still married, in case you were wondering.)
Poke at the Liquor Store: This might seem weird, but I promise it’s ligit. We were told it’s common for locals to stop at the liquor store to pick up drinks for a party and grab a big thing of poke to share. You order it like you’re at the deli counter, and it’s so fresh, tasty, and affordable. Our motto in Maui for the whole week was “poke every-day”. We ordered it at some of the “best” restaurants, but honestly the poke at the liquor store was our favorite.
Star Noodle: This was hands down our favorite meal in Maui. We made a reservation and definitely needed it. The place was packed with a huge line outside. The dishes were really unique and small so we could order a lot of different things, and every bite was incredible.
We stayed at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa. I would definitely stay here again if we decide to visit Kaanapali again. After walking around the area and seeing other hotels, I think ours had one of the better pools with an outdoor bar. We also had easy access to Black Rock for snorkeling.