Updated: Apr 20
If you're going to Hawaii I recommend picking at least 2 islands to explore - each island really has its own magic. Early on I decided on Maui & Kauai and this was my experience.
Day 1: Appreciate the beauty:
Our first night we stayed in Kihe (key-hey) a cute town with a lot of shops and stores. We also stayed in Paia, (pie-A-uh) which proved to be the PERFECT location for exploring The Road To Hana. Paia is exactly where Hana Road starts and we were very happy staying on that part of the island.
Day Two: Eat like a local, explore like a tourist:
A couple on the plane told us about Kihei Cafe and when we arrived there the next moring - there they were having breakfast! Kihei Cafe had great food items and a lot of interesting choices with fair prices. Just keep in mind that there is usually a wait - our 20 minute wait wasn’t too bad but it did get much busier after we left. Also this is a cash only place so don’t forget your dollar bills.
Our next stop is Lahaina (La-Hane-Uh). Along the way we found plenty of turn offs to enjoy and take in all the views of Maui. The town of Lahaina is charming, filled with banyan trees - we had fun going into all the shops and galas.
We decided to keep going North on the highway and eventually ran into Slaughterhouse Beach. I loved how private and secluded it felt - the waves were great and the sea cave was cool to explore. When you pass Slaughterhouse Beach, you can't miss the purple food truck. Just across from the food truck is Honolua Park, a short walk will take you to a renowned reef. Take the highway all the way around the island and at Mile 38 pull over because you've reach the Nakalele Blowhole. Give yourself 4 hours to complete this task of going around the island that will eventually take you back to Paia. It was stunning!
Day 3: Molokini Crater & Haleakala Sunset:
Haleakala (Halle-ah-kala) Crater translates into the "House of the Sun". It is UNREAL and you feel nothing but euphoria driving into and eventually above the clouds. If you go for sunrise (which many people do) you now need a permit and you'll have to visit the website for more information on that. I'm glad we went for sunset. There were way less people and it was just as beautiful.
4. Day 4: Taking The Road To Hana (hah-nah):
I highly recommend buying the Road to Hana CD for about $10. The CD breaks done some history of Maui as well as the Hawaiian culture as you drive. Be sure to Oorganize your time wisely so you don't miss out on the bamboo forest or the Venus Pools in Hana. There is a free arbotoreum on on the road where you will see those vibrant eucalyptus trees - don't miss out! Keanae was one of my favorite places and you'll see the sign after that arboretum. You are warned not to swim in these currents but when we saw the locals jumping in we couldn't resist. I don't recommend jumping in and to proceed with EXTREME caution if you do. Add a stop at Black Sand Beach and do the hike to Red Sand Beach once you reach Hana. Red Sand beach is a little tricky to get to, but totally manageable and worth it! Here are the instructions on getting to Red Sand Beach -> Once you arrive in Hana, you want to get to the Hauoli and Ua Kea intersection - walk toward the ocean and on the left you'll see a yellow gate - walk through and find the path that will take you to Red Sand Beach. Important side note - we took the back half road of Hana around the island home to Paia. A lot of it was dirt, so we don't recommend driving it unless there is at least 2 hours of daylight left. Doing that in the dark was not worth it and we cursed it the whole way home.
Day 5: Fly To The Garden Isle: Kauai
Once we landed in Kauai we went directly to the farmers market that is held on Saturdays. It was right by the airport so it was really convenient and fun! I Personally like the North side of the island near Princeville where the Kings Bath is located! The parking lot at the baths are small but don't lose hope - hang out and wait for somebody to leave. Whatever you do - do not block cars. The walkway down to the bath is beautiful go barefoot or wear a good durable shoe because it does get slippery! There were many people at the baths when we went and we watched as they jumped into the Sea turtle infested water. It took a minute for me to decide to jump in, but I'm glad I did! After swimming in one of the deadliest tide pools in the country we headed to Ke'e Beach (key-ay) or better known as "the beach at the end of the road." While we we were there we enjoyed the company of a monk seal who came up to itch himself on a lava rock that we were sun bathing on.
Day 6: Raft Adventure with Captain Andy Exploring The Napali Coast:
A bit pricey but 100% worth it! Kyler and Iki where fantastic guides! Enjoy a 6 hour tour on a raft boat that is small enough to enter the sea caves of the coast. We swam at Polihale Beach, saw pods of Spinner dolphins and entered the sea caves while going under waterfalls. The Napali coast is breath taking and Captain Andy's Raft Tour was the ultimate experience. They also take you to Napali Coast State Park (Nualolo) where you snorkel and eat lunch on the beach. We really appreciated the fact that you need a permit to enter the State Park so the exclusivity is unmatched. This State Park also houses ancient Hawaiian ruins. Afterwards, head to Waimea Canyon. It is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. You're right there - check it out.