This past August I traveled to the beautiful island of Maui with my Dad and sister to stay in a lovely condo right on the beach in Maalaea. This trip was special because the last time we visited Hawaii I was eight years old and we were now returning and staying in this exact same unit and the exact same location as we did in the 1990’s.
The trip was a great refresh and gave me time to recollect myself and take a pause from my worries. I had so many wonderful adventures during my week in Maui that it is hard to compile them all into one post so here are my top 5.
Eat at Beach Bums
Maalaea lies on the North West side of the island of Maui and is conveniently located between the hopping Kihei and Kaanapali tourist areas.
The region is home to one of the windiest harbours in the world, from which you can charter boats and take group tours to neighbouring craters and local hot spots such as Turtle Bay. The harbour is also home to a yummy and funky breakfast spot called Beach Bums. The restaurant/bar serves great American breakfasts and is known for its happy hours and island famous bbq.
Many restaurants in Maui are decorated with the license plates of visitors and Beach Bums is no exception. As you sit at your table all around you you can see fun and funky signs from places near and far. We were lucky enough to spot more than a handful of Canadian plates from provinces ranging from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.
Support the Pacific Whale Foundation
Do your part for the planet and our oceans while also having a ton of fun. The Pacific Whale Foundation protects the worlds oceans through science and advocacy, and one of their great services is the Eco Adventures.
We chose the Molokini and Turtle Arches snorkelling trip. This day long tour takes you out to Molokini Crater to swim with over 250 species of friendly tropical fish. If you are calm and stay perfectly still, just floating away your cares, the braver fish will swim right up to your face and look you right in the eyes!
After the crater the boat takes you off to Turtle Arches, known for being a home to Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles. At the arches, if you are lucky, you will spot some of these beautiful giant amniotes and get a chance to swim with them amongst the coral. You might even get a picture or to, as the foundation rents out GoPros!
Visit the Garden of Eden
A must do while on the island of Maui is to drive at least part of the road to Hana. If you don’t have time to drive the full length of the curvy island highway then block off a half a day and make your way out to The Garden of Eden, Maui’s arboretum and botanical garden. There are many great stops along the way, such as raging mini waterfalls at Twin Falls, but the highlight of this drive is the garden.
The lush garden escape has many things it could boast about but a key attraction is its views of the ocean. One most notable view is the Keopuka rock overlook, the view from this overlook may be recognizable to many as it is featured in the opening scene of the original Jurassic Park movie.
Catch a wave with Maui Surfer Girls
I love a good female run business and Maui Surfer Girls did not let me down! The female lead surf lessons were informative and so fun.
My Dad and sister were great sports and decided to join me on there waves for their very first surf lessons. We met our instructor down on Launlupoko Beach Park. Maui has many small beach pullover type parks along its waterfront. You can pull over off the highway and set up a tent or hop out and surf in any of these parks no problem. The design reminded me of our provincial parks here in British Columbia.
The beach park our surf instructor had picked was great for beginners because the surf was quite calm, the waves were predictable and the beach had coral bottoms. I learned that unlike in Tofino, where the beach is sand bottomed, the coral creates channels which, for me anyway, made it much easier to surf. Instead of being hit by a wave every 10 secs I had the time to pick my wave in peace and was up on my board on my first wave! Throughout our two hours on the water I only fell once, a marked improvement from my Tofino surfing where it was more common to find me under my board than on top of it. Dad and Alice did awesome too! We learned a new pop up technique that utilized your back knee and we all managed to catch a few waves and even take in a view or too while we rode our waves. I can totally see why people get really into this sport and the peace that it can bring them. I can’t wait to surf again soon.
Visit Haleakala National Park
Possibly one of the most unique national parks I have ever visited in North America, Haleakala National Park is famous for its sunrise views, but be warned due popularity you now need to visit the parks website and make a reservation in order to drive up for the sunrise views.
The major attraction at the park is the Haleakala crater. At an elevation of approximately 3,000 meters above sea level the crater will literally take your breathe away through a combination of high elevation and above the clouds views.
Many native species live on the volcanic mass but the most impressive is the Ahinahina or Haleakala Silversword. This beautiful silver plant, that looks much like a spiked alien is only found at this one location and lives about 50 years, blooms once and then dies. When in bloom the Silversword turns a beautiful purple, red or yellow colour and is a must see when exploring the crater.
Visiting Maui again was a real treat and to be able to share the experience with my Dad and sister made it even more fun. I can’t wait to hopefully go back next summer and have my Mom join us on our adventures.