OK, folks, it’s the moment you have all been waiting for. All the best and all the worst of our little Maui adventure. (and yes, despite 8 days of awesomeness, there were definitely some “worst” moments). Eight days is a long time to try and remember everything. I’ve covered the highlight of each day, but I have not gone into a ton of detail about most of it and I definitely have not mentioned a few of the more “trying” moments…
Best Place that we stayed… This was a toss up. Ken’s place Kihei wins out over the Hana AirBnb for proximity to the Kam III beach which we went to several times. It was also nice that Kihei was walkable and had easy access to groceries, food options, and sort of “central” for driving to all the different parts of the island. The Kihei house was $100 a night and the Hana Home was about $300. However, Ken also let me have unlimited use of his “beach car”, which was a huuuuge bonus!
Worst place was the first AirBnb in Kihei. The roosters at 2AM made trying to sleep unbearable and though our “host” was very knowledgeable about the area and things to do, I found it a tad annoying he was there and seemed to want to chat when we crossed paths (since he lives at the house, it was quite often). That place was also about $100 a night.
Best and Worst Food/Meal.. Also a tough call. We had Stewz Maui Burger the first day we were there and it was awesome. I ordered the Kihei which was topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, 2 fried onion rings and bbq sauce on a sweet Hawaiian sweet roll. All of that was just under $10, not including fries. That entire meal cost about 30 with the kids’ food included. We actually thought it was so nice, we tried it twice. The second time was well below average (and we ordered practically the exact same food). This is the reason I’m going to give the “Worst” in the food category to Stewz and the “Best” to Coconuts Fish Cafe.
Yes, my kids don’t eat fish, so when we went to Coconuts it was mac and cheese and french fries for them. Actually, I’ve discovered that Z can live on french fries alone and C can do the same with mac and cheese. These were things they ordered at just about every restaurant. Coconuts was also so nice that we tried it twice. They are famous for their fish tacos and also reportedly had superb fish and chips. So I had to try both and both lived up to their reputation. I would highly recommend. A meal for the three of us was about $30 as well.
The runner up in the category for “Best”, would be “Three’s Bar and Grill” in Kihei. I had sushi and an appetizer of fried brussels sprouts. I also tried both the kid’s food (yes french fries, chicken fingers, and mac and cheese) and they were delicious as well. Three’s was also the most expensive dinner at. about $75, but we were all super hungry that day and totally ordered more than we could consume. I made the kids eat leftovers just like at home. I also ordered a drink and that was part of the $75.
The cheapest meal, not counting leftovers or groceries for breakfast and lunch, was probably the Sunset dinner on the grass with a $14 medium pepperoni pizza and a bottle of water. We did spend $20 on ice-cream after that, but when one scoop costs $5 without a cone or toppings, it adds up fast.
Best decisions.. Renting the Mustang ($200) and Helicipter ride ($600) were both totally worth it! The car I would do again. The helicopter was a little to $$$ to do again.
Worst decision.. Going off path on our Haleakala day to try and get to PoliPoli state park (we drove 1.5 hours out of our way and never actually made it). Runner up on this one was the yoga class I attended at 7AM, oceanside, one morning. I was attacked by bugs the entire time and I didn’t like the instructor or the way she conducted the class.
Biggest eeeek moment.. Walking into my bedroom in Hana and finding the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in the “wild” on the ceiling. I definitely slept with one eye open (ok.. I may not have slept at all).
Best view.. Tough to pic the top one so I’ve picked three. In no particular order… 1.) The view from the Leleiwi Overlook on the way to the Summit of Haleakala. 2.) The view of the cliffs on the north coast of Moloka’i. 3.) Views from our drive up the east coast of West Maui (no single place on the map that I could pinpoint, but some of those were incredible).
Worst view.. The jet engine out my window on the plane from
MSP to Omaha.
Best day.. Really tough to pick. Probably the day we drove to Hana. Great car, everyone in a good mood, beautiful scenery, and a really fun drive.
Worst day.. Ironically, the day we drove back from Hana when it rained all day and we just wanted to get home, eat, and relax.
Best beach.. Ka’anapali, by Black Rock on the Sheraton property was my favorite. This is the beach where we saw the giant sea turtles, just passing through really close to the shore. The beach was free, but it cost $6 an hour to park there. The kids liked Kam III the best.. and it was the one we went to most because it was so close to the house.
Worst beach.. Hana Bay beach was the worst beach we stopped at (and did not swim). The least favorite of all the beaches was the one way down south past the gorgeous Wailea area. I’m actually not sure where we were at, if it was Mckenna beach or big beach or little beach. Several of the beaches in that area go by different names and we basically got to a spot that had parking and walked from there.
Wrong beach.. Napili Bay beach. This is the beach we went to when I wanted to go to Kapalua beach. Kapalua supposedly had great snorkeling. We had all the right gear but only saw sand.
Biggest rip off.. Snorkel Bob’s charging us $10 each for a one day rental of snorkeling gear (fins and masks). When we got back to Kihei that day, they were $1.50 a day at Boss Frog’s. And then free at Ken’s. If we would have known that we would have waited.
Biggest overcoming fear moment.. Me snorkeling. Overcoming my fear of drowning enough to have my head in the water for over a minute. It’s too bad we were at the wrong beach (see my previous comment) though we were in really calm waters and it was good that is where I had my “lesson”. If the water would have been rough, I may never have even tried it.
Biggest disappointment.. The seven sacred pools being closed when we arrived. Plus, we could not even get in the area without paying ANOTHER $25 to enter the national park.
Biggest regret.. I never did get to a black sand beach. There was one on the road to Hana and I should have taken the time and walked to get there and not been in such a hurry to get back on the road. There was also one south of Wailea but we just ran out of time. I also wish we would have packed towels for our Hana trip. We didn’t have enough time in the rental house to use theirs before we had to check out.
Best parenting moment.. Being huddled up in the freezing cold on top the volcanic valley waiting for the sun to set with my arms around my two beautiful children.
Worst parenting moment.. My daughter and I yelling at each other because she would not get off her phone to help me with directions when my phone battery died and it was pitch black on our way back from Haleakala. Somehow it was my fault for not telling her it was more important that she stop what she was doing to help. At the time, I had taken a wrong turn and we were clearly on the wrong road and there wasn’t even enough light for me to see a place to stop the car and figure it out.
Most emotional moments.. 1) Standing at the ocean at the Nakalele blowhole location. 2) Sunset at Haleakala. 3) Coming over the top of Moloka’i in a helicopter.
My don’t sweat the small stuff moment.. Losing my sunglasses on Haleakala.
Yes.. In the grand scheme of things my $8 pair of sunglasses will be easily replaced. As one can guess from following along, this was vacation was not a cheap one to go on. However, it was an amazing trip and the time I was able to spend with my children in one of the most beautiful places was priceless. It’s a moment in time, now in my history book, that will never happen again.
Sure, I may go to Hawaii again, but never with the kids at this age and in this stage of our lives. We are all so very fortunate to have had this experience.
Eia au Mahalo,