• Caitlin McAninch

Escape to Maui

For spring break this year we headed west to Maui, Hawaii. I’ve visited Hawaii before, stopped on Oahu and Hawaii, but this was my first time visiting Maui. It was Dylan’s second time visiting.

Truly, this was one of those vacations that I genuinely felt sad driving to the airport to leave. It was the perfect week – amazing weather, gorgeous beaches, always in a good mood, good food. Just truly, a perfect vacation.

Traveling with Family

My family going biking down Haleakala Mountain.

This was the first family vacation Dylan and I have had in two years. Two years exactly! Spring break 2017 Dylan’s parents took us all to Disney World. So this was our first big trip since then.

Big reason for the trip was because Dylan’s youngest sibling Kendra is graduating high school in June, so his parents wanted to take us on one last family trip before she’s off to college. So there were seven of us: me, Dylan, his mom, his dad, his sister, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend, Briana. And then we met his aunt, uncle, and cousin in Maui. BIG family! Every dinner out required a reservation for ten. Which surprisingly was never an issue.

But, as you can imagine, traveling with that many people isn’t always easy, and we did hit a few bumps, but even with that many people, all crammed into one room, we did okay!

Q&A About Our Maui Trip

Thank you to my Instagram followers that submitted questions for my Q&A, I’ve done a few of these in previous blog posts, and I love them! So enjoy the following answers to these questions about Maui!

Did you love Maui?

Yes! Of course! We’ve never really visited anywhere that we didn’t love. And truly, I loved the vibe of Maui to the point that I could see myself living there. I loved how kind every local was, and the overall feeling I got while being there. It’s funny because it wasn’t what I expected, but yes, I truly loved Maui and the parts of the island we visited.

What was your favorite part about the trip?

No surprise here, for me, the best part was the wildlife. Going snorkeling and seeing sea turtles, and holy cow, the whales! We saw whales almost everyday that we were there, which nothing is more magical than that.

Sea turtle spotted!

What did you dislike about your trip?

Not that I didn’t like it, but the very first day within the hour that we got our rental car, while driving around I was really shocked at the lack of greenery. I don’t want to say the island was brown, but I definitely expected more lush and greenery just based on other Hawaiian islands I have visited. But, quickly after the first day I didn’t think twice about that again.

What made you pick Maui over the other Hawaiian islands?

We didn’t! My in-laws actually planned this whole trip (like mentioned above), so this was a vacation we didn’t have to do a lot of planning, SO NICE! They had been to Maui before and my mother-in-law’s sister has a timeshare in Kaanapali, Maui, so we went where they went!

Where did you stay?

We landed in Maui on a Thursday, left the following Saturday. But Thursday-Sunday we stayed at Honua Kai Resort and Spa. We checked out on Monday, and then went to Kaanapali Beach Club, two doors down from the first hotel. We stayed there for the remainder of the trip, Monday through Saturday.

Why did we switch hotels (bonus from me), the second hotel was a timeshare, and when we tried to book it first, we could only secure 3 rooms for 5 nights. So we did 5 nights there, and then just found another hotel to stay at to make up the difference.

Here are photos from the first hotel, Honua Kai Resort and Spa:

Here are photos from the second hotel, Kaanapali Beach Club:

What are some tourist must do’s in Maui?

I have no shame in saying that I love the extra touristy things when I travel. And with Maui, the most recommended activities were some of the best. So I wanted to be sure to reiterate when you go to Maui you should definitely go:

- Snorkeling

- Whale watching

- Ziplining

- Do the Road to Hana

Other than that, just chill by the pool and relax. Which, honestly I have a hard time doing. I don’t like just sitting on vacation. But, I did get a few pool days in.

Did you eat out for all meals?

Nope! Our first hotel had a full kitchen – stove, oven, dishwasher, huge fridge – so the first 4 days, we had dinner and breakfast in the hotel everyday, cooking ourselves, and by that I mean my father-in-law cooked for us!

The second hotel was a bit harder, but we still had a fridge and microwave, so we had the option to reheat food, so I did that a few times for our lunch and dinner.

Many times for lunch we would be in town, or on the other side of the island, so it would just be easier to eat out, but again, everywhere we went the portions were so big, we had always had extra to take back to the room.

MAJOR TIP: I can’t say this is true for all Maui hotels, but both of our hotel rooms had blenders in them, so we saved money by making our own blended strawberry daiquiris in the room, and then took them to the pool in our hydroflasks! Because every fun fruity cocktail was at least $9, and it adds up quick to have a few drinks!

Shot of me enjoying a $9 cocktail at the hotel bar.

We also bought beer and soda at the grocery store and would take that down to the pool, too.

Was it expensive to rent a car?

Dylan and I are officially adult travelers! This was the first time we ever rented a car while traveling. We booked through Costco Travel, and then chose Alamo because they had 4-seater Jeeps, which is what I wanted. The Jeep by itself was about $500 for 10 days, but we added insurance for $32 per day, making our total $745 with tax. So definitely not as expensive as I thought it would be, but most definitely totally worth it. Especially because we traveled with family, so we wanted our own means of transport just in case. Having a Jeep was also nice for the Road to Hana because we did the full loop, and 4-wheel drive was necessary for the dirt roads.

How did you get so many professional photos on this trip?

Months before we go on a trip, I follow as many accounts as I can to do with the destination we are visiting. For Maui, back in November I began following the tourism boards, hotels, restaurants I wanted to go to, and as many locals as I could; many of which were photographers. For me it’s a great way to get inspiration for my trip and make my bucket list of stops to visit while we’re on vacation.

Professional photos taken with @kassidymariephoto and @kindredsoulphoto

About three weeks before we left for Maui, I reached out to about 10 professional photographers to see if they wanted to collaborate while I visited, and I had two say yes! So I was able to work with two professional photographers during this trip. Of course, both of these photo shoots were only about an hour long, so the rest of my content was shot on my own Sony Alpha 6500 camera.

Here's a selfie with my-to photographer, my sister-in-law, Kendra!

Where was the best place you went snorkeling?

We opted not to take a snorkeling cruise or tour just because in Maui, it’s easy to get to places on your own, and there’s so much sea life right off the beach, you really don’t need a boat to take you anywhere.

Plus! We were able to rent snorkeling equipment from our hotel for $35 for the entire week, so it was easy to go whenever we wanted.

With that said, in Whaler’s Village, between Lahaina and Kaanapali, if you go towards the end of the beach towards the Sheraton, there’s an area known as Black Rock, and that was definitely my favorite! We saw sea turtles, eel, octopus, tons of colorful fish, and Dylan’s uncle even saw a starfish! It’s a super easy spot to get in and out of, and was definitely my favorite.

It’s crazy though, even while you walk along that beach, you’ll see sea turtles just swimming in the shallows, that’s how we saw a turtle one day! We saw him swimming there, and we hopped in the water and found him!

Would you go visit Maui again?

Maui was amazing; we definitely had a fantastic vacation. But, Dylan and I have a rule of trying not to visit anywhere more than once, simply because the world is too big and there’s too many places we want to go visit. So, in the immediate future, no, I definitely don’t see us revisiting Maui anytime soon.

But! Maui was probably the most family friendly place we’ve ever visited. So it’s definitely a place I see us brining kids one day. We saw so many families, so many children. It seems like a super great place to bring little ones once we have them!

Here are a few more great photos that I wanted to squeeze into this blog post:

Escaping to Maui for ten days was truly a dream. I really loved it, and it’s definitely a place I think everyone should try to make it to.

#Hawaii #Maui