5 Must See Places In Maui

Aloha! There are so many fun things to do and see on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Since you can travel anywhere on the island within a day it is easy to see and do a lot in only a few days. My husband and I traveled to Maui for the first week of our honeymoon. We fell in love with the picture perfect sunsets and island spirit. Maui doesn’t have big sky scrapers, but does have plenty to keep you occupied. Below is a list of 5 of our favorite things to see on the island.

The Nakalele Blowhole

The Nakalele Blowhole is found on the north end of the island at Nakalele Point. The blowhole is just past a road side hut for Julia’s Banana Bread. There is a small hut with refreshments by the entrance of the hiking trail to the blowhole. You will hike up a hill and then down into the basin towards the bay where the blowhole is active. For best views, make sure to head over when the ocean starts to kick up and be a little more rough. The blowhole is most active around that time.

Once you get down into the basin you will also find the heart shaped rock. Many honeymooners and couples stop here to take a photo with the heart or kissing next to the heart. The easy part is getting down to the blow hole. Take heed of the warning signs posted in the area and DO NOT jump into the blow hole or stand over it. When the blowhole goes off it can suck you down into the ocean and many people are killed here yearly.  Nevertheless, this is a stop you will for sure need to make on your next trip to Maui. The views are beautiful and you can’t take a bad picture at any angle.

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is the volcano that formed part of the island of Maui. The summit of the volcano is now a national park and they offer many types of tours. You can always hike the park for the beautiful views of the ocean and waterfalls, but you can also watch sunrise or sunset at the summit over the crater.

There are so many beautiful hiking trails in this park, but one of the most amazing views you can get is the first glimpse of sunlight over Haleakala crater at sunrise. The summit can drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit at certain points of the year, so you might need to pack a winter coat if you plan on visiting this location in the tropics. Cheer as the sun reaches over the clouds and watch the sunrise while natives sing welcoming the new day. You will need tickets for both sunrise and sunset to get into the park so check out their site. You can also book a sunrise downhill bike tour and get your pass into the park that way.

The Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of the most famous road trips to complete in Hawaii. The road itself has some of the most beautiful landscapes and dangerous twists and turns on the entire island. You will need to make sure you have a travel guide book with notes for gas stops along the way since you could run out of gas without stopping at the last station before Hana. Tons of tourists run out of gas on their way around the island.

Depending on the time of year, you may or may not want to continue to drive around the island completely. if you continue be sure there hasn’t been a lot of rain or once you get into the Haleakala national park the road may be completely covered with water in certain areas. So be prepare and aware of your surroundings and the dangers. The road gets much more narrow once you pass Hana and it goes on for miles as a grated dirt road. If you are not driving a four-wheel vehicle you might want to rethink your rental car.

The road to Hana has so much for all ages. There are stands every mile or two with tons of different types of food, from BBQ to juice stands, to shave ice, and so much more. Make sure you bring cash and enjoy the ride by stopping as much as you want along the way. If you love hiking there are over 20 hiking trails along the Road to Hana. Some are harder than others so make sure you have a good guide book to tell you where to pull over since some trails aren’t even marked with a sign.

Lahaina

Lahaina was the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii from 1820-1845 and there is so much history to the city. The old courthouse building and some of the original homes are still standing. You can read all about the history as you walk the avenue. There are a ton of shops, art galleries, and restaurants that line the streets. They have a park full of Banyon trees that provide a nice shady spot to rest in front of the old courthouse. Shave ice is a big thing in Hawaii and it’s basically “water ice” or “Italian ice”, but the ice is shaved instead of crushed. It’s really refreshing, especially in the Hawaiian sun.

You will enjoy every minute of your time in this quaint and beautiful town.

Black Sand Beaches

One of the coolest things to do and see in Maui are the black sand beaches. There are a few of them on the island and they are magnificent and beautiful. There is one black sand beach you can see on the way to Hana that many people stop at. The black sand beaches are not small course sand, but instead large pebbles. Be sure to wear water shoes and bring a beach chair if you plan on staying for a while since walking and sitting on the beaches can be pretty painful. These beaches are mostly flocked with tourists who are passing through. Not many people spend their entire day lounging here so be ready to see a lot of people hiking through in a steady line.

Either way, the beaches are a must see. They have a unique beauty that set them apart from beaches in other places on the island.

Maui includes so many fun and relaxing things to do for people of all ages. Make sure you check out my post about tricks to save money in Maui!

Our Non-Stop Honeymoon in Kauai

Excited for the second leg of our honeymoon and exhausted at the same time, Brandon and I stepped off the plane in Kauai. I had been so busy with wedding planning that I honestly didn’t even look up what to do hehoneymoon in kauaire. I knew I had booked excursions for various days of the trip, but I wasn’t sure where they were. Luckily, Brandon was a little less occupied with the wedding than I was and he looked into the best things to do for our honeymoon in Kauai.

One thing I will say about Kauai is that we learned the power goes out quite frequently. When we arrived, the entire island was in an outage. There was no way to purchase anything and everyone was on hold. In other words, if you are traveling here, make sure you have cash on you at all times. Neither Brandon or myself drink very much, so we tend to explore and stay active often.

beautiful sights to see

Honeymoon in KauaiThere was so much to see and do on this island even though it is the smallest Hawaiian island. We booked most of our excursions online through Viator which is a pretty cool and easy website to use. We saw multiple state parks, we hiked and even took a helicopter ride. If you do any excursions at all in Kauai, the best one to do is to take a helicopter. Kauai contains some of the wettest places on the entire earth, so by mid morning clouds tend to cover the top of the island. Make sure that if you book a helicopter tour it is one of the first ones to leave. You might be really tired, but the views are worth it. We used Island Helicopter tours and they were really great and accommodating.

The helicopter tours are breathtaking. You will definitely want to bring a good camera and brace yourself for one of the most thrilling views of your life. The tours are one of the only ways to see the Napali coast, other options include; sunset cruises, hiking, and fishing boats. There are no roads that go all the way around the island so you will need to hike from Hanalei.

great food to eat

One of our favorite places to eat was Little Fish in Poipu. We stayed at an amazingly beautiful resort; Kiahuna Plantation which happens to be across the street. At Little Fish, you can order ahead of time online and then pick it up if you have the app. The acai bowls and the coffee shakes were healthy, delicious and filling. We were in absolute heaven and enjoyed many a morning breakfast here.

honeymoon in kauai

Kona Coffee is another really awesome place we enjoyed on our trip to Kauai. Since we don’t drink a lot of alcohol we thoroughly enjoyed the coffee tasting on the deck. They have a store with really cool souvenirs and coffee to take home and you can order food, drinks, or ice-cream. The coffee brewery also offers tours of the plantation and the history of Kona Coffee. The last tour usually leaves around 4pm during the week so make sure you get there early.

 

what the heck happened here?

Like I said, my husband and I do not drink very often and so it does not take much to get us drunk. The first day we arrived in Kauai we decided to check out the resort restaurant which was rated very highly. The food and drinks were amazing. However, things started to go downhill when I decided “one drink won’t hurt right?”. Well, one drink turned into 3 strong drinks off the cocktail menu because our server completely forgot to put our food and appetizers in. We waited for over 2 hours for our food watching people come and go all around us. Instead of the manager comping a dessert or a drink or anything on our receipt he stood 5 feet from our table and stared at us. He never said a word, just stared. Needless to say we never went back. I worked many jobs in restaurants for over 8 years and never had I ever been treated that way. Regardless of how good the food was. We would recommend take out over that experience. The food was great, but completely overpriced and the service was terrible. No thank you.

exploring the hidden falls

Honeymoon in KauaiOn one of our last days in paradise, we had an excursion to Wailua River and secret falls. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but Duke’s Kayak was a great guide. The hiking portion was beautiful and the falls were amazing to see. If you go with a tour guide, you will most likely be there with many other groups and it can get crowded. Check it out later in the day if  you are knowledgeable of the area and there are a lot less people around. Be careful though, because you can get lost easily while kayaking.

Our tour guide had a small dog who kayaked and hiked with us the entire day. He kept us entertained and made sure the group stayed together. There are really awesome views and cool historical information shared about Hurricane Iniki and the damage on the island. Like everywhere else on the island, there are roosters and chickens everywhere. Brandon and I enjoyed our lunch by the waterfall and then jumped in the water. One thing we should have been aware of was the amount of large unforeseen boulders under the water. Brandon and I both banged ourselves up pretty good. Luckily, no blood just large bruises, but they still hurt. We were so glad we invested in waterproof Keens for this hike.

waimea canyon

Honeymoon in Kauai

One of the most beautiful views on the entire island are of Waimea Canyon. Brandon and I took the long drive up to the top of the national park one early morning and were one of the first people there. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea canyon is a popular attraction in Kauai. There is access to hiking trails along the way, but for the sake of time we chose to drive to a look out point and just take in the view. We bought fresh fruit and banana bread from the fruit stand nearby and tried to take in the view. Our photos do not do it any justice. The canyon is gorgeous and definitely comparable to the grand canyon. On a future trip we would definitely hike this awesome attraction, no matter how difficult it may be.

Polihale State Park

Honeymoon in KauaiBrandon decided on our second to last day of our honeymoon in Kauai that he wanted to take me to the Polihale State Park. I had no idea what it was and when we arrived I was even more skeptical. We drove down atleast a 5 mile dirt road to get into the state park and on the beach. The road was note graded and it was extremely rocky. We did this in a ford mustang convertible so it was a little risky for us, but it was totally worth it. The sand is extremely hot (like all other beach in the dead of summer) and the beach is large so you’ll have to run to the water. Although we didn’t do it, you can also camp here by the beach or under the trees further off shore.

There is a beautiful view of the start of the Napali Coast Park. We chose to sit on the beach for a few hours watching the Navy Battleship off the coast. A lot of people were sunbathing on the beach in their bathing suits. The park was not crowded at all and the beach was huge, this place is high on the recommendation list if you have a Jeep. Or if you don’t have a Jeep and you just wing it like us.

pizza in lihue

To our surprise we found a New York pizza counter in Lihue called Pietro’s. We were so overjoyed it was insane. Not only was the pizza actually affordable, but it was just like home for us. We can never find great pizza out in the midwest and deep dish is too greasy and messy. It’s always a pleasure to find good tasting regular crust pizza we can fold in half and enjoy. We stopped at the pizza place just before we head over to the airport in Lihue for our connecting flight to Arizona. We sat outside and in the shade enjoying our slices with a slight breeze. Pietro’s is definitely on our list of need to visit places if you want authentic New York pizza.

lihue airport

We didn’t quite get the memo that the first American Airlines flight out of Lihue was ours. When we arrived at the airport we returned our rental car and walked over to the ticket counter. It was completely empty and the lights were off. It was 4pm. We thought we would get there early, go through ticketing and security, eat and then catch our flight. Unfortunately, we were not able to go through security until 7:15pm. We sat out front of the airport counters for three hours before we could check our bags. Since we had to check out of our condo so early in the morning we had nowhere to go. The rental car was sent back to the rental place so we couldn’t leave and we were stranded. It was a rookie mistake. ALWAYS check your airline’s schedule before you head over to the airport. You might want to have dinner in the city.

Visiting Hawaii soon? Here are some tips we have for saving money.
Leave a comment below of your honeymoon or vacation experiences on Kauai!

How to avoid paying the “tourist tax” in Hawaii

That cheeseburger and fries you ordered was HOW MUCH?!? One of the downsides to vacationing in Hawaii that you always hear about is the outrageous prices of EVERYTHING. You’ve already spent thousands just getting to the island and now you have to sell your first born child just to afford lunch, no thanks. Especially in tourist towns like Lahaina or Hanalei you are going to run into this everywhere. Here is a list of the top 5 ways to avoid spending your entire year salary on your vacation to Hawaii.

#1 Pose as a local.

One of the best ways to cut costs when food shopping is to open up a card at the grocery store so you can receive the discounts they give to the regular customers. Just pick an address you saw somewhere and fill it in or make one up. No one is going to know the difference. The grocery stores jack up the prices for tourists knowing damn well they probably aren’t going to open a card. Also, know that they will not offer this option to you, you will need to ask them for it. However, you’ll need to find a Safeway or larger chain grocery mart. Smaller businesses may not have this option.

#2 bring your own snorkel gear/bum them.

The shops that sell and rent snorkeling equipment are insanely expensive. You can either buy snorkel gear at home and pack it in your suitcase or you can buy everything except the flippers at Walgreens in Lahaina. It is significantly cheaper. You will probably pay between $40-$50 there opposed to $90 a person at the snorkel equipment shop. Another option is to go down where the cruise ships are and find a beach nearby where all the tourists from the cruise ships are snorkeling. You will very likely be able to find snorkel gear for free.

#3 coupon like the god/goddess you are

Good ole coupons. You can find coupon books both in the airport and in your hotel. Check with the concierge if your hotel has one or your front desk representative. If no luck there, you can head to downtown Lahaina where there are literally coupon books for free you can pick up in stores and in little wire holders along the sidewalks. There are excursion deals/packages, and coupons for food that can help with the prices. We used this when we were in Kauai and were able to book a helicopter tour for half the normal price.

#4 eat less meals

It’s kind of obvious, but cut down to two large meals per day on your trip and if you’re super hungry stop at one of the road side stands all over the island and grab some banana bread. (Julia’s Best Banana Bread is by far my favorite. It literally melts in your mouth and you can have it delivered to your home back on the mainland. Click here to see their website.) So eat strategically and you will spend less money overall. If you’re still hungry after all that drink a couple cups of that good Kona coffee. Coffee is a natural appetite suppressant and that should help curb your appetite until you can eat again.

#5 stay in a condo

By staying in a condo at a resort you will automatically have more space and privacy to do as you please. Being in a condo means you don’t need to go out for every single meal of the day. This means you can cook in your condo. Choosing this option, you won’t need to add gratuity to your list of expenses. If you are also shopping at the grocery store with a local grocery card than you can get your food cheaper. Staying in a condo at a resort is also helpful because many of the necessities you might have to buy may be provided. Many resorts also have grills outside in common areas for guests to use so you can grill that ribeye steak you bought at Safeway instead of ordering it in a restaurant for three times the cost.

 

Do you have any additional tips or tricks you’ve used in Hawaii? Leave a comment!!