Maui is one of the most spectacular islands in the Hawaiian islands chain. Its pristine beauty, abundant nature, and stunning hiking trails are all a dream for an adventure seeker. If you are looking to create lasting memories, then you might consider these adventurous things to do in Maui.
We had no problem waking up around 3:30 a.m. to prepare for an early flight to Maui, Hawaii. The early wake up call is because of an early departure time of 7:50 a.m. on Hawaiian Airlines out of San Diego. The plan is to park our car in the economy lot near the airport, conveniently located next to the large car rental facility. We thought we had everything planned.
As we proceed with our trip plan of action, we are thinking we have plenty of time at this point. Flying can bring a lot of additional stress if you are not prepared. All is going well so far. Suddenly, we hit a bump in the road. We arrived at the parking lot and noticed a sign that stated “Employees Only.” The parking lot is closed. After a moment of shock, we take a deep breath, and regroup.
We decide to head closer to the airport. Parking is expensive in San Diego, because long-term parking located close to any airport is expensive. Now we are paying $20 a day versus $13 which was the price at the economy lot. Heads up, there is no longer an economy parking lot in San Diego. TIP: (There are still various choices for long term parking off site, and prices are not much lower than the airport long-term parking lot).
We finally find a parking spot and catch the shuttle bus to the airport. We make it to the security line and then the gate seating areas, we’re able to sit and relax until its time to board. However, as we made our way to the gate, we notice the flight to Maui has changed and is delayed.
We already reserved tickets to go on a whale-watching catamaran. If the flight arrived on time, we would of had 2 hours after landing to make it to the marina on time.
So much for wishful thinking, our flight ended up being a little over an hour late, then it took 10-15 minutes to disembark the airplane. Regroup time! The new plan is that I will continue on and attempt to make it to the whale watching excursion on my own. This is just the beginning of our adventurous things to do in Maui!
Day 1: WHALES
Anyway, I was able to enjoy an amazing whale watching experience on the catamaran by the Pacific Whale Foundation! I made it on time, and joined others in the group to walk out to the dock and board the catamaran.
Did you know? The official whale season in Maui runs from December 15-May 15.
Did you know? The kinds of whales typically migrating to this area during this time are the North Pacific humpback whales. They travel from the bitter cold waters of Alaska of which is the time for feeding, onto the warmer waters in the Hawaiian islands as well as to the Southern areas near Mexico. They migrate for the reasons to breed, give birth, and raise their young calves.
I wasn’t able to get all the best photography shots that I wanted because my husband usually captures several photos for me. I usually film video and take photographs with my other cameras. By the end of my whale watching excursion, my husband successfully reserved the car. He was able to pick up a few groceries, and came back for me and we settled into our condo to enjoy a lovely evening. I have to say, seeing the whales was the highlight of my 5 amazing days in Maui adventure!
Day 2: ROAD TO HANA
Today, our plan is driving the infamous Road To Hana! Recently, we’ve heard stories about this drive taking 7 hours for the day! (Possibly referring to there and back) as there are several stops and points of interest to see. These awesome stopping points include waterfalls and overlooks.
We set out early this morning because we wanted to avoid possible heavy traffic. The Hana Highway 36 had a little bit of heavy traffic for a few miles, but then traffic was great the remainder of the day.
We made a restroom stop at Kaumahina State Wayside because it was a great time to take a break. Then we continue on with our 52 mile Hana journey along the coast encountering all the 600 curves, twists and turns, 54 bridges, and numerous waterfalls.
We are so happy to add another visit to a national park to our checklist; Haleakala National Park. We made a goal to revisit the Seven Sacred Pools of which we haven’t seen since 2002, which made my amazing 5 day Maui adventure extra special. This area has since been included within the national park.
The day of our visit to the pools, several people are milling around the pools and jumping off the side cliffs into the water. We took photos, lingered around for a while, and found a new hike to explore.
This area has been cleaned up nice because on our previous visit it was primarily wild, no defined hiking paths, lots of tree and shrub growth. Now there is a visitor center, sidewalks, manicured grass areas, and drinking water fountain.
We enjoyed this easy, short hike and then returned to the car and headed back to the condo.
Day 3: LAHAINA
Our day today includes a quiet, easy, relaxing one that includes sleeping in. Which means waking at 7 a.m. versus 5:30 a.m. We make our oatmeal and enjoy breakfast on the lanai. Shortly thereafter, we hit the road for the small quaint historical whaling town of Lahaina.
Lahaina is an interesting small whaling town that has become the trendy place to be in Maui. It’s a great place to shop at the boutiques, enjoy lunch on the peer, and browse through art galleries.
As we walk towards the end of the peer and sit in this little park like setting, we look around and try to imagine what life was like in this area so many years ago. We came upon this bit of info about this particular set of rocks in the water here. The Hauola Stone: This flat rock years ago, was a birthing place for ancient Hawaiian Royalty to give birth during the 14th and 15th centuries. A very interesting piece of history.
We then walk back through town and enjoy the world’s largest banyan tree, and also browse through a museum.
The Mick Fleetwood bar and restaurant (owned by Fleetwood Mac band co-founder) is neat to see. As we walk through the lower photo museum here, I feel a bit nostalgic of when I was a kid and listened to these artists. It is especially cool to see old photos of Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, and several other musicians.
Day 4: HIKING
We are feeling a little adventurous today and I did a little online research for hiking trails. We are looking for a trail that offers rewarding views, a moderate challenge, and a little off the beaten path. I found the Waihee Ridge Trail as we filled our water containers, put on our hiking gear, and head out the door.
This gorgeous hike has it all! Starting off with a steep incline at the second parking lot trail head. If you park at the lower lot, it is an additional mile or so of incline walking to reach the official trail head. There are no restrooms anywhere nearby, so be aware.
We hiked about 5 miles of this beautiful and scenic trail. At the top, we encountered a small amount of rain, but overall a beautiful day. There are areas that are a bit steep, but the good thing is that this trail is not very highly trafficked. The day of our visit here it was quiet, serene, and we found waterfalls. It is a moderately challenging hike, so fewer folks hike this trail. Most tourists probably look for something easier and not so strenuous.
Views on the way up.
Day 5: BEACH
This was to be our day to enjoy the beach and the ocean. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach, dipping in the water, and even found a random hammock for anyone to enjoy.
The beach area where we spent the day at was not an official designated beach or picnic area. We found a quiet, hidden cove spot with only a few people here in the area between Kahana and Napili before you reach Kapalua. It was great.
Although our trip began with a unexpected challenges, we realize that it is nothing to worry about. We feel very lucky and fortunate to be able to experience this short time in Maui. Our last visit to Maui was for our honeymoon, 17 years ago. We enjoy reminiscing of our Maui trip from back then. In making a few comparisons of today versus back then we notice a few things. We noticed a few pop up retail boutiques and a couple small shopping retail centers. Other than that, not too many changes.
The weather was spectacular, the beaches and water were perfect, and the sunsets were stunning! The highlight of our trip was meeting a new friend, the beautiful friendly kitty we called Tiger. He was visiting us at our condo every day we were there. We can’t wait to go back again.
Other details of our trip:
Royal Kahana Maui by Outrigger
Pacific Whale Foundation
Haleakala National Park
PO Box 369
Makawao, HI 96768