Ka’anapali Beach and the Westin Beach Resort
Maui, Maui, Maui… This trip came and went so fast. There were so many good memories. And so many things to go back for. When planning a trip to Maui the most important thing is time. Ask yourself how you can stretch your money and time to stay as long as possible because a typical week or week and a half is too short. The island life is easy to get used to. I would wake up early every morning and feel so good to wake up in such a beautiful tropical surrounding. Because of the time change, my inner timer went off at 5 am-6 am. So by that time it was up it was the perfect time to get out for a run.
We stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali Beach Resort. A prime location in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There is a coastal boardwalk right along the beach. It is the perfect setting for a morning run or strolls with an ocean view. After the run, we would brew freshly grown Hawaiian coffee and find a spot on the property to enjoy the sunrise. We spent a lot of time at the Ka’anapali beach. It is a long stretch with plenty of space for everybody. And it is the perfect location for snorkeling and scuba diving. The only harp about the beach is because of all of the coral right off the beach it isn’t the safest location for a swim. Unless you have swim shoes.
My Maui Travel Tips
The Westin had several huge pools in two locations with plenty of pool chairs. For a good day at the pool, I recommend getting there early to grab seats with an umbrella. They also have a great set up with grills that we used to cook freshly caught fish. Served with a farmers market salad and potatoes it was probably the best meal that I had during the entire trip.
Another tip of mine, while you are staying in Maui, is you must make sure that you catch every sunrise and every sunset. The Ka’anapali beach is the most magical location to see the sky change color and reflect on the water. As you can see in the photos below.
2. Kapalua Bay and Coastal Walk
Kapalua Bay is located a little more North of Ka’anapali and has two other beaches that we were able to check out. We really enjoyed Napili Bay. It is a small beach that gets a little crowded but it was a great spot to get in the water. After enjoying the beach for a bit. I set off to check out Kapalua Bay and the Coastal Walk. It was a beautiful way to spend the day taking in the picturesque views of Molokai across the water.
It was quite a walk just to get to the coastal trail. But by the time I got to the beginning of the trail on top of a lava cliff with panoramic views I wish I would have been prepared to walk the entire trail. The two-mile trail would have been a great day hike but walking about half of the hike was one of my favorite things I did on the whole trip. I am always down for a good coastal hike no matter where I go. Just prepare yourself for this one with good shoes and lots of water.
3. Maui Grown Coffee Company
When visiting the Hawaiian islands it is a must to find locally grown coffee and get your coffee buzz on. Maui was pretty disappointing when it came to the selection of coffee plantations offering tours, specifically on the Kaanapali/Lahaina side. There were only a couple on the island and they were hard to get to where we were staying.
Kona on the Big Island has way more options and is the best location to visit for plantation hopping. I was able to find a 100% Maui grown coffee shop, not a plantation, in Lahaina. The coffee shop was really nice with gifts and lots of coffee options to take home. They also let you sample some of the coffees, not all of them though. The coffee is still some of the best coffee I have ever had and worth the stop. But I was missing the plantation experience and wish we could have had the chance to tour their farm.
Lahaina is beautiful but it is a bit of a tourist trap, you don’t get much of a truly Hawaiian experience. Lahaina has a great strip of historic buildings filled with shops and restaurants. The shops are pretty disappointing, mostly all cheap souvenir shops. There are some really unique art galleries that are worth a look if your in the market for that kind of thing. But all together I would avoid shopping. There are better locations in Maui that I will share that have one of a kind gifts to take back to your family and friends.
Lahaina is a great spot to grab some food. With so many choices there are fancy restaurants, casual restaurants, and everything in between. A few places we liked were Cheeseburger in Paradise, I had an awesome turkey burger here. We also stopped at Down the Hatch for happy hour a couple of times. I recommend the coconut shrimp, it is piled with fresh mango salsa, and they had the best Mai Tais I experienced on this trip. They also have boozy shave ice that you can order too.
Right across the street from Down the Hatch is the Bonsai tree park and the warf is right behind the park, both really worthwhile places to check out. I recommend buying ice cream at Banyan Treats and sitting under the banyan tree to cool down on a hot day. They have banana macadamia, chocolate macadamia, and vanilla macadamia, Kona coffee mud pie. Need I say more.
5. The Waikamoi Preserve Hike and Makawao
We stopped in Makawao to grab some malasadas and coffee before our all-day hiking adventure in the Waikamoi Preserve. Makawao is a historic town with lots of local shops and restaurants. We stopped at T Komoda for our fix of malasadas, a Hawaiian specialty doughnut that is a must when visiting the islands. This shop had every doughnut you could possibly want. We got doughnuts on a stick and malasadas filled with guava jelly. They were pure heavenly morsels, I wish I could have ate ten of them.
Afterward, we wandered down the street in the search for a coconut milk latte. We came across the cutest shop called Sip Me. They had healthy and quick breakfast options like smoothies, quiche, and breakfast sandwiches. Perfect for on the go and perfect for hanging out and getting some work done. I love a good coffee shop that has a good setting for a workday. The cutest thing about this shop was it was decorated with little succulents in tiny teacups, I wanted to take them all home with me.
Hiking Through Ancient Hawaii
We headed up to Haleakalā to get to the Waikamoi Preserve hike. This hike is not something everyone will get the chance to do. They only allow access to this hike once a month. And only allow a certain amount of people to join this exclusive hike. The area of land we got to see is protected by the state. It is surrounded by fencing so the wild pigs and people don’t get in. Because they cause damage to the land and native plants that are crucial to sustaining a thriving ecosystem.
This area of forest is all native Hawaiian plants that are fragile. They need protection against the non-native plants and animals that were introduced to the island when foreigners started to settle the land. Keeping these native plants intact is crucial to the survival of Hawaii’s native and endangered birds. This hike attracts birders from across the world in order to see these rare and hard to find species. I am not much of a birder, that is all my dad. But this hike was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Walking through these ancient old plants and seeing these rare birds truly felt like I was walking through a different time period. The real Jurassic Park. Crazy cool if you get the chance to experience it.
I was dying to explore Paia. This quaint little hippy town was right up my alley. When I was researching where to eat in Maui the restaurants in Paia seemed the most appealing. Lots of spots to try for foodies and health nuts. The town seems to harness a lot of what is locally grown into the food they serve. I mentioned in my Road to Hana post that we stopped for breakfast at a cute coffee shop called Paia Bay Coffee and Bar. The coffee bar was uniquely set in a garden outside with no indoor seating. It seemed like a great place to spend a lot of time if you are a local. Great little hideaway.
Paia Shops and Eats
Before we hopped on the plane to head back home I insisted that we spend more time in Paia. It was a town I fell in love with after only spending an hour on it. We were able to check out the local shops set up with unique souvenirs and fashionable clothing shops that fit my taste perfectly. I picked up a uniquely designed t-shirt and canvas bag at a little shop called Wings. All of the clothing graphics were drawn up by a local artist, giving me a truly one of a kind item to take back home with me.
Then we had lunch at Paia Fish Market. The best selection of locally caught fish made however you want it. On a plate with sides, on a sandwich, or on a taco, you name it. It was so fresh and mouthwatering, I ate it to fast to take a picture of it. I was hungry, ok? But you have to check out this town on your visit to Maui. It is a must. And during the day they have windsurfing you can watch, I saw as we were passing through and wish I could have stopped.
Kihei was a great spot for a new beach to try and a weekday farmers market. We stocked up on all kinds of locally grown produce mid-week. I got to try a few different things that I have never tried before, dragon eyes (a lot like a lychee with more of a sweet honey taste) and a mountain apple, a crisp little red fruit that didn’t have much flavor but was a nice topping on a salad. They also had the best mangoes that are so fresh and juicy that you will never look at mangoes on the mainland the same.
Kalepolepo Beach Park
Kalepolepo beach was a beach we just happened to stumble across when we were trying to get to Makena beach. It was a hot day so the water felt especially lovely and there was no coral I had to worry about so I could plant my feet on the ocean floor and just sway with the waves into pure heavenly bliss. I wish we would have made it to Makena beach but it will be a trip for next time on Maui.
The award for the best fish taco in Maui goes to Coconuts Fish Cafe. So fresh with locally caught fish and topped with the most amazing mango salsa. Never have I ever had a fish taco so full of flavor. Plus right next door to this place is Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade. Choose from several different handcrafted flavors like pina colada lava flow. It is the perfect treat to sip on during a hot day at the beach.
8. Kumu Farms
When visiting the Hawaiian islands your first stop right off the plane (if it’s early enough in the day) is a farmers market. Stock up on all kinds of locally grown goodies so you can indulge in the freshest and most unique tropical produce every day of your stay. Kumu Farms is open every day and was on the way from the airport to Ka’anapali. Most of it is organically grown and is located on a plantation that gives tours.
Plus there is a farm to table restaurant called The Mill House that I must go back to try. We stocked up right away with huge avocados, Maui onion, tomatoes, turmeric, lychee, papaya, pineapple, mangoes, and more. Some of it wasn’t very ripe but softened mid-week. Definitely, a great spot to check out if you’re a health nut like me that needs nutrient-dense produce from a farmers market as often as possible. No matter what the cost, it is worth every penny.
There is my round-up of my trip to Maui. I hope you enjoyed reading along and found some interesting spots that you would like to try on your trip to Maui. Let me know if you need any more help planning your trip or if you have any questions please let me know in the comments. Next up I will be sharing where to find summer flowers in Denver plus a ton of summer style inspiration that you will not want to miss, trust me!!????????
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