Let’s take a break from all this chilly weather and go to Hawaii, shall we?!? Ahhh, if only!
Today I’m sharing details from our recent trip to Maui in August. As I told you already in my Portland post a few weeks ago, Nate and I were lucky enough to spend our summer traveling up a storm. Our last trip of the summer was to MAUI for a week, stopping in Portland on the way and San Diego on the way back to ease the jet-lag.
I seriously fell in LOVE with Hawaii on this trip. The colors, the ocean, the vegetation, the sunsets, the serene environment. It was out of a dream! But before I start babbling, let’s get into the good stuff!
Where We Stayed
We were so lucky to stay at the Marriot Wailea Beach Resort during our week in Maui. This place is seriously magical. From the moment we turned off the main road and onto the resort drive, we were in awe of the beauty of this place. It almost didn’t seem real!
If you really wanted to, you could just stay on this resort for your entire Maui stay and be totally content. There are multiple restaurants, two infinity pools (one was adults only. clutch. especially because they brought you drinks in the pool 😉 ), the tallest waterslides on Maui (which, of course, we tried and loved!), oceanside yoga and fitness classes, and a beautiful beachfront walkway straight to the beach!
We obviously took advantage of all of these amenities during our time here, but also left the resort most days for snorkeling excursions, hikes, restaurants, and of course, the Road to Hana (scroll to the bottom for more details). There are a bunch of other resorts in Wailea that are right down the road from the Marriot, and they all looked amazing, but we were really happy with our choice and loved every minute here!
What We Ate
If you’ve ever been to Maui, I’m sure you’ve heard of (or been to) Mama’s.
Mama’s Fish House is set right on the beach, with a gorgeous view of the sunset, especially if you come around 6-7 pm (see our pic below). The restaurant is a beautiful open air design, with tables right along the windows looking out onto the beach. I must say, the ambiance is on POINT here! Watching the sunset as you eat, old Hawaiian music in the background, amazing service. What’s not to love?!
As for the food, Mama’s is well-known for serving freshly caught fish. Like I’m talking it was caught that morning by their fisherman – crazy right?! They also have an incredible cocktail list. I totally recommend splurging on one (instead of dessert). It was one of our favorite parts of the meal!
We really enjoyed our dinner here and are so glad we got the chance to eat at Mama’s. Our only complaint – the price. You’ll find that on Maui, food is very highly priced, sometimes unnecessarily so. But overall, I would definitely recommend going once, especially if you’re celebrating like we were!
The Mill House was by far my favorite meal we ate in Maui.
Set near the mountains on a gorgeous plantation, the Mill House has a stunning, serene ambiance AND a unique, plant-focused menu. They grow much of their produce right on the plantation, and the rest comes from local farms on the island – so cool!
We ordered their kale fritters and the roasted local vegetables to share. For my main course, I decided on their crispy chickpea cakes with a summer corn and vegetable broth. Everything was pure HEAVEN. The best part of our meal may have even been the roasted local vegetables. They were so beautifully seasoned and roasted – I was blown away them!
The Mill House also has a great happy hour, so look that up before you go. We grabbed a glass of wine before dinner and it was just lovely in this setting!
After our two fancy meals at the Mill House and Mama’s Fish House, we were ready for some casual eats. And Flatbread Company was definitely my favorite casual spot we tried!
Flatbread Co is a pizza shop in Paia, this adorable hippy area of the island (with great shopping too btw!) They try to use as many local and organic ingredients on their pizzas and they are packed with lots of unique flavors. Total win in my book! We started with their house salad – which was AMAZING – and shared their vegetarian pizza. This pizza was so delicious and flavorful, topped with kobocha squash, spinach, and macadamia “cheese”. I was in love!
Nate’s favorite casual spot, of course, involved fish tacos. Fish tacos are one of his favorite foods of all time, so he was in heaven at Coconut’s. They boast that they serve the best fish tacos on the island, and I must say, they were pretty freaking fantastic!
We ended up going here twice because Nate loved the tacos so much. I ordered their brown rice poke bowl one of those times, and it ended up being one of my favorite meals on the trip!
Some other restaurants we went to, but I didn’t photograph:
Monkeypod Kitchen: They have an incredible happy hour and lots of veggie-options!
Gannon’s: We went here for happy hour as well – are you noticing a pattern? Taking advantage of happy hours for dinner was a great way to save money on Maui, because most restaurants have a large happy hour menu at reasonable prices. You just have to be ok eating dinner early! This place is pretty fancy, so it would make for a nice dinner, too.
Pita Paradise: Pita Paradise was right down the road from our resort, hidden away in a shopping plaza, but was a great find! Their “fresh catch” pita was just delicious!
Hali’imaile General Store: Again, we went here for their happy hour, and while the food was good, it didn’t have as many veggie-options as I would have liked.
What We Did
1. Road to Hana
Have you heard of the Road to Hana before? Basically, it’s about a 60-mile road from the town of Paia to Hana. BUT the road is set right on the coast and it’s comprised of about 600 curves (like I’m talking 180 degree curves) and 54 one-lane bridges. So it makes for a very nerve-wracking, but VERY beautiful drive. Like, we were literally driving 10-20 mph the ENTIRE way.
And along the way, there are various mile markers where you pull off and explore. Some involve trekking through a bamboo forest, others involve rock climbing down 30-feet to a waterfall and natural swimming pool. But each of these “sights” are very off-the-beaten-path. You really need to keep your eyes peeled for entrances to waterfalls and hikes. It makes for quite an adventure!
Right near Hana, we stumbled upon a gorgeous state park with black sand beaches, caves, and stunning cliff-side hikes. I couldn’t believe how blue the water looked! It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
The whole trip, to and from Hana, took us an entire day, but it was SO worth it. If you’re planning on driving the road to Hana, definitely do some research first on the different mile markers you want to stop at and pack LOTS of snacks. There aren’t too many food options on the way, so we prepared a full day’s lunch and snacks to get us through.
Has anyone else done the Road to Hana before?! I would love to hear about your experience!
2. Snorkeling Molokini
The Molokini Crater is a submerged volcanic crater a few miles off the coast of Maui. We spent one morning on a snorkeling tour in Molokini and it was so much fun!
Here’s how it works. You head to the marina early in the morning, hop on a boat, and take the 45 minute journey to Molokini. You spend the morning snorkeling in these gorgeous, crystal blue waters, then hop back on the boat for a barbecue lunch and drinks. It was such an exciting way to spend our morning!
3. Wailea Beaches
There is certainly something to be said about Wailea beaches. We spent every morning walking the beaches, watching the sunrise, dipping our feet in the beautiful warm water.
And at night— those SUNSETS! They looked like paintings, they were so beautiful. I captured one particularly brilliant sunset below and the picture barely even does it justice. You must see it for yourself one day!
So that is our Maui trip in a (large) nutshell! We were so sad to leave this picturesque place and already want to go back!
Has anyone else been to Maui or Hawaii before? We hope to go to Kauai next, but who knows when that’ll be. One things for sure, Hawaii certainly is one special place.
If you’re interested in reading more about our pitstop in Portland on the way to Maui, check out this post. And be sure to stop back soon for our quick 2 days in San Diego on our way home to D.C!