Travel Photo Diary | Maui, HI
I really thought I'd get a lot of blog posts written while Joe and I celebrated our 15 years of marriage in Maui, HI. But I literally CHECKED OUT. I barely even looked at social media, much less posted. And I decided to leave my 'big girl camera' at home and use my iPhoneX as my primary source of photography.
It was a hard decision (photography is an obsession), but in the end I'm so glad I only brought my iPhone. I took more pictures because I used the camera I had with me--which is always your best camera!
This post is obviously self-indulgent, but I love the idea of this blog being at least partially a diary and I'll cherish this post in the years to come. At the bottom of the photo diary, I'll link to the highlights/our favorite things we did while in Maui.
I'll be back to regular posting on unschooling, keto diet, and some review posts soon. Thanks for stopping by and taking a peak at my photo diary!
I booked the entire trip through Expedia. We stayed a the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and out of all of the resorts we passed on the boardwalk, I think ours had the best pool(s) setup. If we come back with the kids, this is the hotel we'll choose.
Our Favorite Restaurants On Maui:
We stayed in Lahaina on Maui which is on the west side of the island, so most of these restaurants are located near there. We were able to explore to the south side of Maui during our last day and it was fun to hunt for good eats using yelp.
Son'z Steakhouse (on the Hyatt Regency property). The food was outstanding and the atmosphere overlooking the swan lake was beautiful. The only downside was the adorable duck who entertained us and then promptly went #2 right in front of our table. This was also the location of their breakfast buffet. We ate their on the first morning of our stay and once we saw the bill, we opted for less expensive options. I'm not saying it's not worth the price, but we're simple people. Eggs, sausage, hashbrowns....that's more our speed :)
Mama's Fish House came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. The fish is the star of the show here--nothing overdone with the dishes, yet they were so good. And the chocolate mousse pie with chocolate and macadamia nut crust was divine. It was the perfect place to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
808 Grindz is supposedly a local favorite that we found on Yelp. This place is TINY. There are seven tables and it's first come, first served. We were so hungry and didn't want to wait 45 minutes for a table so we opted to walk to KOA 156 the first morning we went into town and that was a great alternative right on the water.
We gave 808 Grindz a second try and only had to wait about 20 minutes. The food is cheap and good. I just wish it was within walking distance of the resorts! But it gave us a chance to walk back to Front Street and do some shopping and street photography.
The Food Truck park by the Costco (right by the airport) was recommended to us by a few of the bartenders. There were only two trucks open on the day we went (we were trying to kill time before our redeye flight home on Saturday)...a Thai place and an American place, Dino's Gourmet. I had a burger and Joe had a fish sandwich. Pretty good eats from a parking lot next to Costco LOL.
After exploring more of the island on that last day, we used Yelp again and found The Mill House. This was one of our favorite meals (and days!) of the trip. It's a farm to table restaurant and so much more. Our waitress had just moved to Maui a month before with a friend and was also going to school there. I love seeing people following their dreams and doing something unconventional like re-writing the script and moving from New Jersey to Maui. I never would've had the guts to do that at 19!
Lelani's on the Beach was a lot of fun--we went there three times during our trip. They make the BEST bloody mary's (I usually take mine virgin.). One of our last nights in Maui we went for the live music happy hour and had a BLAST. The ceviche and the burger (of all things!) were my favorites. Joe really liked the BBQ, but it was too spicy for me.
Right next door to Lelani's is the Barefoot Bar at the Hula Grill. Your feet are literally in the sand as you enjoy the view and the very good food. Our waitress had also flipped the script--she moved out to Maui to be a nanny 7 years before and decided to stay and live there after the gig was done. She was so happy and relaxed. What a life!
Other Random Thoughts about Maui, HI
The Road To Hana
We highly recommend the Road to Hana. I can't imagine we would've had nearly as much fun if we'd done the Road to Hana on a tour van. We rented a Jeep and had the BEST day. Who would've thought I'd love riding in an open Jeep on an island in the pacific ocean?! But I had my bikini, shorts, and denim shirt with my baseball cap and rolled with it.
I admit, the first 1/4 of the way made me a little nauseous because of my vertigo, but once I got past that, it was just a blast! We used the GyPSy app ($5.99) as our tour guide and thought it was worth every penny. The only thing
I wouldn't recommend was the nubby row of 'authentic' restaurants that the guide recommended. My coconut shrimp was almost inedible. Joe got some asian stir fry and it was okay. We should've stuck with the BBQ there or waited until we got closer to Hana.
One of the coolest stops was Pa'iloa Beach located inside Wai'anapanapa State Park. The black sand and lava rocks were really cool and Townes loved hearing all about it (#volcanoobsessed).
Also: Hana is a very small and untouched part of Hawaii, so the ride is really there and back is the best part of the trip. You feel like you're in the middle of a huge rain forest!
They're everywhere when you leave the resort area. It's bizarre to get out of your car and just hear a rooster crowing.
Joe visited an old friend who runs a hostel on the island of Oahu and he said it was stunning and the side he visited felt untouched by development.
We will definitely make the effort to visit more than one island especially if we go for longer than five days on our next visit.
One of our Uber drivers told us the ONLY Luau to do is the Feast at LeLe. She said it was great because you sit at your own private table and it's more geared towards adults versus most of the other family friendly luaus. I'm glad we did it, but we wouldn't do it again. The setting was stunning and the music and entertainment was top notch. The food was okay---it was very cool to try food from four different regions. But was it worth over $300 for our two hours? Not to Joe ;)
An awesome cafe or breakfast taco food truck would CLEAN UP close to the resorts. $32 for breakfast just isn't worth it when you really want some scrambled eggs and toast LOL.
I'm thrilled that we made the effort and spent the money to celebrate making it to 15 years. Marriage and parenthood is worth celebrating the milestones.
Let me know if you have any questions. I wish I had it in me to do a full diary, but entering pictures individually is cumbersome...this gallery format made it so much faster.
I don't like to bake in the sun, but my legs were practically glowing in the dark they were so white. I yelped up a great spray tan company and she CAME TO MY HOTEL ROOM. It was my very first experience with spray tan and I can't recommend it enough.
Wendy from Maui Elegant Tan was seriously the best. Call her if you're in Lahaina and she'll come to you. I got my spray tan on Saturday and it lasted until we came home, so over a week! (You can see the little pop-up tent she brought with her to spray me right in my hotel room.)
I'm very fair skinned, so a deep tan would not have looked right. You'll just have to trust me that it provided me the perfect vacation glow.
It made my vacation so much more fun :) I won't do another beach vacation without a spray tan.
Favorite Clothing Item
By a landslide: my denim/chambray 'button down' from Banana Republic. I wore this thing practically every day--the weather can turn on a dime in Maui and this staple served as a jacket, a cover up, an accessory. When I spent $90 on it last year and didn't really wear it that much, I wondered if it was worth the money. I don't think I'll travel without it (especially to a warm location) again!
Honorable mention: drawstring shorts. I had three different options that I rotated through basically the entire time we were in Maui. They're like sweatpants for warm weather (size up one or two sizes for the slouchy look!). And they are ridiculously cheap when you snag them at Old Navy and Target.
Ten Nights = Too Long!
I know, I know. Cry me a river, right? The price difference between a week and ten days was negligible, so I booked it last fall without giving it much thought. Seven nights is more than enough. Unless you go to more than one island. And even then....
A special thank you to Joe's mom, Barb, who stayed home with the kids. We couldn't have done it without her :)
Thanks for reading!