big swell ipa, black rock maui, family vacation, flatbread pizza paia, hula grill, lappert's hawaii, mama's fish house, maui brewing company, maui with kids, monk seal sighting, pride of maui, running, sheraton maui, traveling with kids
In Part I, I wrote about the awesomeness that was running in Maui. For Part II, I pretty much wanted an excuse to share the cool parts of my vacation, edited down from a gazillion photos to just a few. You’re welcome.
Going to Maui with my family was a much different experience than it was when we didn’t have kids. Instead of trolling the coastline for the best waves or hiking up the gorgeous red dirt trails for hours on end, much of my focus for this vacation was ensuring that my mini me and Blondie had a good time.
**Note: nobody likes a hungry, tired kid (or runner), so we made a pit stop at the Costco right down the road from the airport to stock up on snacks and drinks.
I’m sure there are other super awesome things to do with small people on Maui, but these are a few of the things that made our trip memorable:
1. A good local IPA always makes traveling special! Maui Brewing Company’s Big Swell IPA can only be found in cans or (rarely) on tap.
2. The Luau at the Sheraton Maui filled our bellied with excellent food, kept us hydrated with an open bar, and put on a decent show. This luau is one of the smaller ones, but it was great for the kids because there was lots of room to run around. It was great for the adults because we were staying at the hotel, so we didn’t have to drive anywhere! (Island traffic is no joke).
The luau incorporates the Black Rock cliff diving ceremony honoring the last chief of Maui, Kahekili. Which brings me to…
3. If you don’t want to jump off Black Rock (this Haute Chocolate Runner doesn’t like heights so much), there is no shortage of other people who willingly and enthusiastically climb up the rocks and jump in variable abilities into the water below.
The husband’s fail didn’t deter him from trying again:
He should probably apply for Splash next season. Except he isn’t a D-list celeb.
The sand at the beach was velvety soft, causing it to stick mercilessly to my sunscreened babies’ skin:
Blondie took no issue with coating herself with Maui’s finest. Bathing her was another issue.
4. Toad hunting was almost as exciting as watching my own professional diver back-flopping to a crowd of “Owwwwwwwww!”s.
They only come out when the humidity is relatively high, but Blondie’s universe was completed in the three nights we spent toad hunting. A quick Google search informed me that the cane toad is highly toxic to animals that it comes in contact with because its skin secrets a toxic substance (note: the reptile guy at Thomas taught us to always always always wash our hands after touching reptiles).
5. Going into Lahaina was a fun way to kill some time, too. There’s a shuttle that runs from the Sheraton and the Westin into town, making it convenient to get to without having to worry about parking. In Lahaina, there is a cute independent artist shop called Kai Pua where jewelers and glass sculptors create their wares in the shop!
It’s a terrible picture, I know, but if you look closely, you can see the kid heating the glass with a torch.
My kids also tried shave ice for the first time.
Obviously, their lives won’t ever be the same.
Lappert’s is also in Lahaina, and they have the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.
Smiles all around. I got the Kona coffee ice cream/chocolate sorbet swirly kind because my day is never complete without a healthy dose of coffee and chocolate.
The kids weren’t so keen on Lahaina. It was a whole lot of walking around and shopping, but the
bribe promise of ice cream seemed to trick them into smiling more than whining.
5. The pool at the Sheraton was super fun! My kids are water babies, so they were thrilled to spend hours splashing away. Below, the Cliff Diver. My new favorite poolside beverage. Tequila and mango? Yes, please!
6. Snorkeling Molokini wasn’t what I remembered from 15 years ago when I was last in Maui (fewer fish, more people), but snorkeling with my mini for the first time was priceless. Especially at Turtle Town, where we were the only boat. We went out with Pride of Maui because they offered the most kid-friendly experience.
Best parts of the Pride of Maui: boogie boards with masks so Blondie could see under the sea and the lunch at the end!
7. Through a very well-connected friend back home, we were able to hook up with one of the most friendly, fun locals on Maui (who also happens to be a majorly talented waterman) named Loch Eggers. He invited my family out to the beach with his family and friends, and he even took us out on the outrigger!
Best parts of the day: hanging out with locals (including a local food magazine owner!) and seeing a Monk Seal!!! The Hawaiian Monk Seal is an endangered species, and when they come up on the sand, local police cordon off the area to protect it from humans. I felt SUPER blessed to have seen one of them in person!
8. Finally, Maui has some unbelievable places to eat. Top 3:
1. Mama’s Fish House. There aren’t words beautiful enough to express what an unbelievably delicious experience this place was! The place was decorated with old fishing and sailing gear, too!
I ordered the locally caught baked macadamia nut-encrusted mahi mahi stuffed with lobster and crab. It was divine.
**Note: the crab cakes we ordered for an appetizer were so fabulous that they were gone before I remembered to take a picture. They were the best I’ve ever had!
For dessert, I ordered the special, strawberries with vanilla bean cream, and it was the best thing I’ve ever had. Hands down.
and the poke tacos:
Unbelievable. Highly recommended. 100%.
3. Flatbread Pizza!!!!!!! OMG!!! ASKSDFJSDJFOIWNEFOIJ!!!! It’s in Paia, and we stopped by on the way to the airport (the first time when we didn’t make our flight), and the macadamia nut pesto, locally made goat cheese pizza changed my life forever.
I’m a thin-crust-or-bust pizza eating girl, and from now on, every pizza I eat will be compared to these slices of glory, unicorns, and glitter:
Between the husband, kids, and I, we finished off two large pizzas.
Paia’s also a great place to watch the windsurfers (just drive to the end of Hana Hwy. to the beach park) catch some major speed and air!
Well, that concludes my list of the most awesome things we did with our kids on our trip to Maui! I’m sure there are other completely rad things to do that we either didn’t know about or didn’t have time for, but in the end, our trip was wonderful.
I’d go back in a heartbeat, but there’s also so much of the world to see that I’d like to see other places before we visit again.
Because we’re rookie travelers, here are the lessons I learned:
1. You need to check in to your flight at least 30 minutes beforehand. Otherwise, the computer will not allow the lovely airline employees to check you in. Even if there are 27 minutes until takeoff. Even if the flight is half empty and there’s nobody at the airport. You’ll end up on a red eye (if you’re lucky).
2. Keep the kids fed. A couple times, I forgot about lunch because I had such a huge breakfast and we were having so much fun, and before I knew it, the kids were throwing all sorts of hunger-related tantrums.
3. Connect with locals. Especially super awesome and amazing ones. This is always a highlight of a trip.
4. Apply sunscreen religiously. We went through 2 Costco packages of Coppertone. Nobody got burned. Success.
5. Traveling with kids takes a lot more time than you’d expect. Be patient.
6. Just have fun. I had a blast, and I was thankful for the time I was able to spend with my family in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
7. Keep running! Exploring new places on runs is just the best.
Do you have any traveling with kids advice?
What is the best mixed drink you’ve ever had?
My favorite was definitely the Lilikoi Mojito.
Where are you going next? Where do you want to go?
I’m currently in Oxnard, but I’ve been looking at tons of friends’ pictures from Lake Tahoe over the past couple weeks, and it looks amazing and totally kid friendly. I’d also like to go camping in the Channel Islands. And go to Costa Rica (when the girls are older).