Maui is one of the most spectacular places 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 want to add Maui to your bucket list! So, come along with me on this travel journey and enjoy these unique adventures in Maui!
The Early Flight on Hawaiian Airlines
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 departing from 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. Thinking we had everything planned out! Lesson: Always expect the unexpected when it comes to flight travel.
Parking For Flying from San Diego
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. Now, I am feeling we are in the clear. 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).
Arrival into Maui Hawaii
We finally find a parking spot and catch the shuttle bus to the airport. Finally, we make it to the security line and then the gate seating areas, and now time to sit and relax until boarding. 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. Time to regroup again. 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! Lesson: Never make reservations with restrictions on day of arrival to your travel destination.
Day 1: WHALE WATCHING IN MAUI
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. But in the end, it all worked out okay, and I enjoyed this wonderful experience! Whale watching is probably one of the top outdoor activities on Maui.
Day 2: ROAD TO HANA MAUI
Today, our plan is driving the infamous Road To Hana! Recently, we’ve heard stories about this drive taking 7 hours for the day! And this all depends on you. There are many viewpoints and several stops along the way. Each of these stops are full of nature, waterfalls and overlooks.
It is a great idea to set out early in the morning because you may encounter 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 THE WAIHEE RIDGE TRAIL
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: HIDDEN BEACH IN MAUI
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 is 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 named 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
You had me at Maui! I’ve pinned this for a trip in the offing for October. It doesn’t look like I’ll be whale watching though. Thanks for the info!
Lol,.. I love that! Thanks Shona,.. I admit, we did see several whales not too far out from where our hotel was (Royal Kahana Maui) so every evening we walked over to the pool and grass area to watch the sunset and whales. It was spectacular!
Wow, you started out with a bang with the whale watching, then taking the road to Hana next day! Waihee Ridge Trail, what a gorgeous hike, and what a perfect way to end your trip, in a hammock at a serene secluded beach. I love your little kitty friend you made. Thanks for sharing your trip to Hawaii. Not jealous at all 😉
I love that – “Started out with a Bang!” indeed I did! So happy I was able to make it! I loved how you summed up my trip in a nutshell! Thank you for reading my dear!
Great photos and thanks for the inspiration I need to really start looking into a holiday in Hawaii. Living in Australia with my family all in Canada, they keep telling me it’s a great place to meet ‘halfway’!
Aww, that would be a perfect meeting place! Thank you for the compliments, and thank you so much for reading. I think you and your family need to start working on that little meeting reunion in Hawaii! Lol!
I would love to go to Hawaii. Maui looks great, love the secluded beaches and hiking paths. The whale watching looks great too, we did that for the first time in south Africa, and it was amazing seeing them breaching.
Maui is pretty awesome, it still has its ‘small town’ feel without large buildings and crazy city like things; the whales were everywhere; we were even able to see them from our condo/hotel area, as my hubby captured two whales breaching together. Wow, I imagine the whale watching is incredible in south Africa as well.. they are truly amazing animals.
The blue of the water is so deep! I would especially enjoy the long hike and then relaxing in the hammock on the beach. I’ve been to Maui one time and I’m ready to go back!
The whale watching was so awesome, it is amazing to see those gentle giants just flowing through the water! We enjoyed that hike with the views, and it was a pleasant surprise to just see a random hammock there.. we had such a great time! Yes you need to go back! 🙂
The hammock and cat are really calling to me:) I know we will make it to Hawaii one day, I can’t wait!
I knew you’d love that Kitty,.. he had quite a personality! Yes, you need to experience Hawaii, some of the airlines are offering lower prices now since Southwest has entered the market. We love it there!
Such a fun trip! Glad you had a great time. I miss Hawaii. I need to plan a return trip soon. Thanks for the inspiration!
We had a blast! Encountered a little stress at first, but didn’t last long,..and we were in paradise! We are looking at tickets already for a return also! Thanks for commenting Donna!!
I’ve been trying on and off for a week to get to this blog but life has been horribly busy and distracting. Maui looks and sounds amazing. I have my doubts if I’ll make it there ever, it seems to be so distant. The whale watching, waterfalls, and trails though look fantastic. So beautiful. You really captured the place well too, in words and photos. Great blog
Thank you so much John! I really appreciate your kind words. I am sad that you think you probably won’t ever make it there,..well, hopefully, you can see and experience it somewhat through me. We may be making another trip over there this year. Thanks again for reading and commenting!
Delighted to hear you are going back. I will definitely be living vicariously through you when you return. Who knows what may happen in the future but right now Hawaii seems a step too far
It is hard to believe that at one time I never wanted to visit Hawaii. And now it is moving so high on my travel wish list. Thanks for the tease on Maui. So great that you got to go whale watching. I will need to visit when they are in season. The waterfalls on the road to Hana look beautiful. Definitely worth the drive. I am certainly craving some of those beach days with a hammock! Thanks for the tease.
Wow, I hope to have changed your mind about Hawaii, Linda! Yes, I love whales, and the relaxing culture of the islands. Oh and the hammock was a surprise,.. we enjoyed it! 🙂
Maui ticks a lot of boxes for me! I just commented on your whale photo today on Instagram – how wonderful seeing these magical creates free in the wild. Definitely want to visit Maui after reading this. Pinned! #feedotravel
Oh, Maui is such a magical place, and yes those whales are such amazing creatures to observe in their natural setting! Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comments!
What a fabulous read! Makes me want to go back again!! 😁
Thank you so much! I know, every time I read it, I want to go back again too! Lol! Hope you have the opportunity to return to Maui, because I know I will be! Thanks again for reading!
[…] 52 mile journey on the Road to Hana to reach the beautiful and majestic Haleakala National Park in Maui, Hawaii. Primarily, Haleakalā is a dormant volcano as the park covers an area of 33,265 acres, of […]
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