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Have you ever wondered what paradise looks like? Well, look no further. I personally call Maui “Paradise #1 too” because for me, I really can’t choose between Oahu and Maui. In other words, they’re both equally beautiful. When we first landed we rented a car and drove to our lodging “Maui Island Sands Resort.” You can read more about our stay there under my blog page Lodging
As we were on the road we noticed the tropical vegetation, a lot of green fields, but also to my surprise, a lot of dry land. I think it has something to do with the past volcanic activity there. As you can imagine, Hawaii is known for great surfing and on the road we saw a home which had a fence made with recycled surfboards. I thought it was the coolest thing ever! I would love to have a fence like that instead of the traditional wooden slats. They make good use of old surfboards, for sure!
The Plumeria (frangy pangy) is native throughout all of Hawaii. It is beautiful, colorful, and fragrant. After our vacation, I made a trip to our local hardware store and bought one. It has since doubled in size and is a pink/red hue colors. It is not hard at all to grow. The Plumeria is the plant that Hawaii uses to construct lei’s. You can learn more about how to grow your own Plumeria plant here: Grow your own Plumeria
While on the island, we took some time to do some adventures & excursions to get to meet the locals and view the beauty of this island.
Adventure #1 – Helicopter Tour
Blue Hawaiian is a reputable helicopter tour company that will take you to specific island sites and will absolutely take your breath away! They are the only helicopter company that services all four main islands of Hawaii. We had an amazing pilot that explained all the sites as we flew over them. We are huge movie buffs and were ecstatic when we flew over one of the scenes from the original “Jurassic Park” movies!!! I was like “OMGosh!” If you visit ANY Hawaiian island, it would be a great family memory to budget for a helicopter tour!
Scene from original “Jurassic Park” movie
Adventure #2 – Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is another must do while in Maui. Hana is the name of the main highway that stretches and encircles all of Maui. It literally takes you on the edge of the island and makes many pit stops so you can enjoy the scenery, shops, and get some delicious local snacks. I have to admit, sometimes I was scared out of my mind because the tour bus came SO close to the edge of the cliff that I was holding on for dear life. The roads are two-way, but enough room for a one-way. The driver has to go really slow, honk to warn oncoming traffic, then proceed. If you love adventure, this is also a great tour for you.
These creatures are called Mongoose. They are worse than raccoons. They are little thieves! While on a rest stop from our tour, we witnessed one of these steal a lady’s small souvenir bag! I hope it wasn’t worth a lot because the mongoose called it his and went home.
Photo 1: Pools of O’heo (aka Seven Sacred Pools) is a stop that the Road to Hana tour takes you on. Sometimes it is closed due to rockslides in the foundation. It is a great stop to dip your feet in. You can’t swim, but great for cooling off if you’re hot. We did have to be VERY careful because it was slippery and as you can see, it leads straight to the ocean. I was watching our kids like a hawk! I would NOT recommend this stop with children younger than 5!
Photo 2: Pools of O’heo (aka Seven Sacred Pools)
Charles Lindbergh’s grave site is a unique stop. It is situated amongs a gorgeous backdrop of the ocean and a quaint little church.
Adventure #3 – Visiting the city of Lahaina
While in Lahaina, there are many things to do. It is a small city, but it is famous for great beaches and shopping. Don’t forget to visit the souvenir shops and stop for some shaved ice. If you’ve had shaved ice before but have never been to Hawaii, it is nothing like you’ve tasted before. They add ice cream in the middle as an option! So good!
The Sugar Cane Train is approximately a 30 minute train ride that takes you on a journey through agriculture crops such as, you guessed it, sugar cane. It is sweet and delicious, but you have to really bite into it to get all the juices. This would make an excellent stop if you are pressed on time and still enjoy some of Maui’s unique aspects.
Oahu has the Polynesian Cultural Center and Lahaina has this luau. It is one of the most authentic cultural luau’s you can attend while visiting Maui. It is on beautiful grounds and makes for great photos. The buffet was a wonderful array of traditional cuisine and a variety of foods for even the pickiest eaters. I should know, because our young one is one.
Adventure #4 – Iao Valley State Park
This state park
is iconic for it’s lush grounds and picturesque peaked mountain views. It is not a vigorous hike at all and can be done with the whole family. The views are stunning! There is a path you can stay on and will also take you to beautiful rivers that stream off of waterfalls.
Adventure #5 – Snorkeling
When in Hawaii, you must snorkel. If you’ve never done it before because of fear, you’re not alone. On this trip, I actually did not try snorkel because of fear. However, my husband and youngest son did. It was my youngest son’s first time and he absolutely fell in love with it. In fact, he would love to try scuba diving. As I mentioned, I did not snorkel on this trip. I was content just staying on the boat, eating snacks, and enjoying watching the dolphins.
However, when my husband and I took our second trip to Hawaii on the Big Island (another post on my blog), I did go snorkeling! Let me tell you, I was terrified going into the water the first time. I quickly overcame that when I realized I wasn’t going to sink! You don’t sink as much in salt water! Also, when I saw the beauty of the underwater world, I couldn’t keep my eyes away. I really enjoyed snorkeling. I enjoyed it so much that I tried it again on that trip.
There are many snorkeling tour boats that you can take while you’re in Maui and I wish I could remember or have jotted it down (my pre-blogging days), but we went on one that included the island of Molikini, lunch, and snacks on board. Everything we needed to snorkel as far as equipment was included in the tour or you can bring your own.
The island of Molikini is not an island you can embark and explore because it is a Hawaiian State Seabird Sanctuary. As you get closer to the half crescent crater, you will notice thousands of birds. If you are a bird aficionado, you will love bird watching here.