I can’t believe 2016 is coming to an end so soon!! The year certainly had its ups and downs but one of the highlights of the year was taking a much needed seven day family vacation in Maui. I wanted to share a photo diary of our trip before the end of the year. I’m hoping to post this before the year is over…which is only one more day.
I’ve been to Maui four times now. When people who haven’t been to Maui ask me why we keep going back, I tell them that there’s something about the island. Something mystical. It feels like my soul has been there before. Like I lived there in another life. It just feels like home. The island is warm in climate in and in its people. Everyone is so nice and friendly that you can’t help but be happy when you’re there. I guess that’s the island life? Whatever the energy is, I know I always want go back and I know that the island will always welcome me back.
If you’re planning a trip to Maui, I recommend reading and bringing Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook with you. We used it on our previous trips and found it to be very helpful.
WHERE WE STAYED
First off, one of the reasons we love Maui so much is staying at the Grand Wailea. The resort has almost everything you can ask for. But for Luke, it was all about the kiddie pool and slides. He loved it there and thinks we’re going back to Maui every year. Now, if only we can afford it every year.
WHAT WE DID
Early Morning Walks
Obviously we spent a lot of time at the pool and Wailea Beach. But because there was a five hour time difference, we would wake up at around 3 or 4 AM every day. So we made the most of our time and took early morning walks along the beach path. I loved it, especially seeing the island colors in the morning and getting in a good work out. Luke had a chance to pick out some plumerias for me.
Kula Pumpkin Patch
Since we were in Maui in the fall, we missed out on some fall activities in Chicago, like going to a pumpkin patch. So decided to a Google search for pumpkin patches in Maui and found Kula Country Farms in the upcountry had a pumpkin patch. I think I was more excited to go than Luke and Charlie. The farm had so many pumpkins and some activities for kids. The view from the pumpkin farms was just gorgeous. I think this was the best pumpkin patch we’d ever been to.
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
After missing out on the lavender fields in Provence, I knew I wanted to see the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, which was not very far from the Kula Country Farms. The altitude for the lavender farm is quite high but the views and smells from this place were divine. We even stopped by the cafe to enjoy a lavender biscuit and lavender lemonade. Luke rain around the lavender while Charlie and I chased him around. After we left, he was knocked out asleep in the car and even slept through dinner. I guess it was the altitude?
Maui Tropical Plantation
I don’t know we missed this place on our earlier trips but this place was like paradise on earth. We actually came here twice during our trip. Once for dinner at the Mill House and another time just to hang out and have Luke run around. Luke got to quack at the ducks, learn how pineapples are grown, and go into the “jungle.” The view from the restaurant was just incredible. I looks like a scene out of a movie.
Family Photo Shoot
When we were in Maui four years ago, we had Mariah Milan take our family portraits. we loved the portraits so much (here) that we asked her to do one for us this year. I’ve kept in touch with Mariah via Instagram since we first met so seeing here again was like seeing an old friend. We met Mariah for a sunset photo session at Ulua Beach. The sunset that evening was just magical. You can’t get those colors any where else in the world. I highly recommend a family portrait on any vacation. I see it as a souvenir. Every time I look through the photos, they just bring a smile to my face as I can remember the fun we had that night. For more of our photo shoot, please visit Mariah’s site here.
WHERE WE ATE
Maui has so many good places to eat. I wish we could stay a whole month so we can try all the restaurants. Since we stayed in Wailea, we tended to stay around the area to eat.
Monkey Pod Kitchen – one of the best Mai Tais on Maui!
Ka’ana Kitchen at the Andaz Hotel. Very kid-friendly. They have toys for kids to play with.
Sam Sato’s – We met Mariah, the photographer, here for breakfast. It’s a local favorite. Try the noodles.
Da Kitchen – It’s near the airport so you can either eat before you get to the hotel or eat before you catch your flight.
Kihei Caffe –Go for breakfast. They take cash only
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop – The pies! Go for pies!
Mama’s Fish House – A Maui staple. Consistent and great food but is quite pricey.
The Mill House – Located at the Maui Tropical Plantation. The view from the dining room is the best.
Coconut’s Fish Cafe – Oh my…the fish tacos were so good!
Honolulu Coffee Company – Located at the Shops of Wailea. We had our coffee and acai bowls here after our morning walks.
*** Most pictures of the in the post were taken with my Fujifilm X-T10 Mirrorless camera ***