Last week we traveled to Maui, Hawaii, to celebrate my brother's wedding (congrats to Eric and Rebecca!). We spent a week on the northwest corner of the island in Napili Bay—and it was a lovely escape. Throughout our time we explored memorable towns, had some special adventures and ate delicious meals.
As the parent of a toddler, the week was also a major learning experience for me, as we adjusted to the time zone and tried to find environments and experiences that were entertaining and relaxing for both big and small people alike.
On one of our first days on the island, we drove the incredible Road to Hana. I think this is a must-do for anyone who visits Maui. They always say the journey is more important than the destination, and in this case it's totally true. The 64-mile road winds along the edge of the island, passing over 59 bridges through tropical rainforest. We also decided to go beyond Hana to Haleakala National Park, and then around the southern end of the island, rather than looping back. Although there were some questionable moments on gravelly roads, this detour was definitely worth it.
- Tips: Plan to bookend your trip in Paia. It's a lovely, historic town with trendy shops and interesting restaurants. Kick of your trip with breakfast at Cafe Mambo, then grab a picnic lunch at the Hana Bay Picnic Co. before you hit the road. Finish your journey with dinner at the Fish Market. Also, if you have a small child with you, it might be better to leave them at home for this adventure (thanks to my mom for watching Ry!).
One morning we also went whale watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. This was a lot of fun! We were just past peak season, but the ocean was still full of humpback whales, and I'm pretty sure we saw at least 10 of the majestic beasts.
- Tips: If you have a small child with you, sit on the bottom level—it's covered and boat's movement is less noticeable. Also, the boats take off in old town Lahaina, so make sure to plan some time to wander through the streets and shops. After our whale watching we grabbed lunch at Kimos, which had incredible views.
On one of our last days, we drove up to the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm. It's located in the upcountry region of the island on Haleakala mountain, and it presented a serene escape with cool winds and majestic views. On our way back from the farm we stopped in the historic town of Makawao. Full of art galleries and boutiques, this charming little town is famous for its Hawaiian cowboys, also known as paniolo.
After all of our exploration, I realized that one of my favorite things about the island was the diversity. I loved how the landscape changes from one mile to the next, and how the weather alternates within moments from sunshine to rain showers (bringing with it brilliant rainbows). The variety and abundance of life was a sweet reminder to slow down and take it all in.