Maui….Oh My!

We recently adventured to Maui and….oh my!!!! it was so much fun.  We were there for 7 days in August and made the absolute best of it.  Total cost was $5000.  Not bad for four people in my opinion.  Here is how we did it, everything we experienced while we were there, which was a lot, and what we would do differently.

How we did it

We had been planning to go to Hawaii for awhile but our schedules were not being friendly, so we wanted to be ready once an opportunity presented itself and did a few financial things to make sure funds were ready when we clicked “book it.”  We have a savings account that is specifically for adventures and traveling which a little bit of our paycheck goes into each month.  That covered air, hotel, and rental car which was $3500 through Costco Travel.  We left from San Diego, caught a connecting flight in San Francisco, stayed at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, and rented a Chevy Trax which we thought was a great car for the island.  We also made an envelope that said “Hawaii Spending Money.”  Whenever we found ourselves with left over cash, it went into the envelope.  Over the course of 10 months we ended up with $1500 cash which included some garage sale money we made.  That cash was food, gas, luau, and random stuff.  We stuffed a suitcase with snack foods before we left which was our breakfasts and snacks while we were out exploring, much cheaper than shopping on the island.  Stocked our hotel room fridge with fruit, drinks, etc.  Lunch and dinners were all out.  We avoided expensive restaurants, ate as local and healthy as we could, and planned our own excursions instead of paying insane amounts of money for them.  Bottom line, we made the trip affordable and still managed to experience everything we wanted and more.

What we Did

Lahaina Baby Beach (West Side) 

Best snorkeling spot for families hands down.  Water is clear, it is reef protected so it stays calm, it is shallow, and a sea turtle sighting is likely.  My gosh I loved swimming with sea turtles.  We got full face snorkel masks for our kids which they loved, highly recommended.  Don’t feel like you need to have kids to go here either, I would go here even without my kids.  It is a beautiful spot and Lanai makes for a beautiful back drop.




Makena Beach State Park (South Side) 

My youngest daughter’s name is Makenna so this was top of our list.  This beach is beautiful.  Turquoise water crashing into golden sand, backed up to lush green trees, surrounded by black lava rock.  The waves here break on the shore and it gets pretty rough so be careful.  Also be prepared to get covered in sand if you go into the surf.  I felt like I washing sand out of kids hair for days.  Technically there are two beaches here, Big Beach and Little Beach.  We tried going to Little Beach but luckily Brandon saw it was a nude beach before the kids did.  So unless you want to be really adventurous, I recommend you stay at Big Beach.




Haleakala (Upcountry)

This place was breathtaking.  It is a dormant volcano crater over 10,000 ft high.  You are literally above the clouds and feel like you were transported to a different planet.    You can see the surrounding islands and Maui’s entire westside.  The drive is gorgeous as you cross different climates heading to the summit.  The Leleiwi Overlook is a must stop when driving to the top, where this photo was taken.  Trust me, it is worth the quick stop.  Definitely one of my favorite experiences on the island.  Oh, stop at the Kula Lodge for lunch on the way down and eat on the patio, you will not regret it.



Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farm (Upcountry)

Loved, loved, loved this little place.  Stopped here on our way back from Haleakala.  The farm is gorgeous and views of the island amazing.  Great for kids too as they have a scavenger hunt map that gets kids to explore the entire farm.  They loved it.  The gift shop everything lavender you can possibly imagine including lavender flavored chocolate, tea, and coffee.  We almost didn’t go here but so glad we did.




Ka’anapali Beach (West Side) 

We stayed at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel which was perfect for us.  We did not need to spend a ton of money on a super nice hotel room as we did not plan to spend a lot of time in it.  This is a resort area with a long walking path that will take up or down that entire beach front.  It is a busy area resort area, still nice though.  The black rock area near the Sheraton is a great snorkeling spot.  Sea Turtles!!!!



Old Lahaina Luau (West Side)

Absolutely do not settle for a resort luau on Maui.  This is the best, guarantee it.  It is traditional, well organized, performance is fun, drinks are already paid for, and food is fantastic.  It is a bit pricey compared to some of the resort luaus on the island but it is worth every penny.





Kahakuloa Head (West Side)

We did not go all the way to Kahakuloa Head but was able to find a fantastic vista point.  When you stand at this point your are breathing air that has traveled untouched thousands of miles across the Pacific.  There is plenty to do and see on the west side including Makalua-puna Point, Molule’ia Bay, Honolua Bay, Nakalele Blowhole, and Olivine Tide Pools.  We tried to stop at Honolua Bay but parking was horrible.  We also had to save Olivine Pools for another trip as we were not comfortable taking our kids down the trail.



Nakalele Blowhole (West Side)

A geyser on the cliffs.  The ocean has cut its way under the lava rock and found a man sized lava hole to spit water out as waves crash underneath it.  Bring good shoes to walk down here from the road as it is rocky hike.  The blowhole was active while we were there but not nearly as much as can be when the tide and surf is high.  It was loud, misty, and we loved it.  Just before you get to the blowhole there is heart shaped rock which makes for a great photo.  Don’t miss it, it will be on right as you approach the blowhole.




Road to Hana (Southeast Side)

The most amazing experience on the island.  Do not leave without taking this adventure.  Waterfalls, black sand beaches, red sand beaches, jungle, views, bays, hiking, narrow and windy roads, bridges, and cute towns.  Save an entire day, start early in the morning, and absolutely download the Road to Hana Maui GyPSy Guide app.  It literally guides you through the entire road and does not miss a thing.






What we Would do Differently 

Stay longer for sure.  7 days was great but a few more days would not have hurt.  Watch sunrise on top of Haleakala now that we know how amazing that would be.  Plan to stay one night in Hana not because of time, but because it was a very beautiful and relaxing area to be in.  It would also allow you to spend more time at places along the road.  We would also consider getting a small place to rent on either VRBO, or Air BnB.  We drove past some cute small little homes on the beach in Lahaina which I think would be great to stay at instead of a hotel or resort.  In my opinion, this would give more of an island life experience.

If you are planning a trip to Maui and have never been there before feel free to contact us directly with any questions, we would love to help out any way we can.