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TRAVEL AND DESIGN

Maui.

For our 1st anniversary last September, we decided to head to Maui. Zach had never been to any Hawaiian islands before, so I was so excited to show him how beautiful it was. When deciding where to stay, we wanted somewhere that was pretty close to beaches, had a nice pool and had a bit of night life. After doing some research, we found the perfect AirBnb at Aina Nalu in the town of Lahaina. It was downtown, walking distance of the beach and had a ton of great local restaurants to choose from. We wanted to do some exploring around the island so Lahaina was a great central location to head either south or north for whatever we were doing for the day. 

When we landed in Maui, we headed straight for the Costco nearby the airport. We stocked up on breakfast food, sandwich supplies, a couple dinner items, drinks, and (of course) a ton of LOCAL pineapple. This saved us a bit of money, but we also wanted to try the local restaurants, so we planned accordingly. One of our favorite breakfasts spots ended up being in downtown Lahaina. We would stop for coffee on the water at Ono Gelato and then head to Koa's on the water where turtles and fish could be seen from our seat. 

Our hotel was about a 35 minute drive from the Costco. The room had a fully stocked kitchen, living area, one bedroom, bathroom and laundry. It also came with beach towels, beach gear and a cooler which came in handy more than once. The pool was huge and well maintained and we even got some use out of the hut tub while we were there. We stayed on the second story floor, which was home to a ton of bright green geckos. They loved to sit up on the decks to sunbathe and then scurry down into the cracks when someone was coming. I loved having these cute little friends around, but if you aren't a fan of lizards I'd recommend staying on the lower floor. 

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We ended up visiting a different beach each day we were there. Zach's favorite was south of Lahaina in Kihei called Big Beach. The waves were the biggest we had seen and Zach loved jumping around in them. The sand was to die for and went on for miles. This beach is monitored by lifeguards due to the extreme tide conditions (careful they will yell at you if you're being stupid.) At the trail entrance sits a food truck if your wanting a smoothie or snack. When we were done beaching around, we hit up the local brewery in Kihei, Maui Brewing Co. We tried the taster flight and loved them all! If you're ever there, try the pineapple beer!

My favorite beach was north of Lahaina in Kaanapali, called Black Rock Beach. We visited Black Rock and Kaanapali beach in the same day, but it was the Black Rock side that we snorkeled with turtles and saw tons of wildlife. I was a little worried we were going to run into a shark, but didn't end up seeing one. We both loved our day in Kaanapali so much, we decided to come back for a second day of exploring.

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The next day of adventuring was spent on the Kapalua Coastal Trail. It is a trail about 2 miles one way and spans across four different beaches. We packed up our lunches and Maui Brewing Co beers then hit all the beaches along the way. It was an active day but so worth seeing the differences along the coastline.

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When I had visited Maui previously for my cousin's wedding, a group of us got up super early to watch the sunrise on top of the volcano. It was one of the most magical experiences I had ever done and I just had to do it again with Zach.
It had been cloudy on and off for our trip, but we didn't think anything of it. We woke up at 4AM without checking the weather, and made the hour and a half drive up to the top. When we arrived just before sun rise, it was completely cloud covered and heavily misting rain. We couldn't see anything beyond the thick layer of clouds, especially any signs of the sun. We knew it would be cold and we had dressed accordingly, but with that much rain and cloud, we decided to drive down the mountain in disappointment. When we were finally under the clouds the view was pretty magical nonetheless. If you are wanting to see the sunrise, I would highly recommend checking the weather ahead of time. This just means we will have to go back again! 

What I saw the first time I was in Maui

What I saw the first time I was in Maui

What we saw this time

What we saw this time

Our drive down the volcano

Our drive down the volcano

On another cloudy day, we made our way out on the road to Hana. This day ended up being one of the wettest during our trip, but it made the greens of the Hawaiian forests even more lush! We stopped along the way to see the Na'ili'ili-haele Stream & Waterfall, but the trail to the larger waterfall was closed due to a mud slide. While it was raining the whole time, we made sure to stop and enjoy the scenes along the way. With the rain being as bad as it was, we didn't quite make it to Hana, but it was a beautiful drive and worth it!

The Nakalele Blowhole is great for site seeing and road tripping up north from Lahaina. You can hike around the rocky coast, check out the heart shaped rock, and watch how high the blow hole will spray its water. Bring good shoes to this one! Flip flops were not enough on the wet rocks!

Maui is full of amazing food, but no restaurant compares to Star Noodle. If you are ever in Maui make it a point to go out for a nice dinner here. The plates are small and perfect to share 3-4 dishes with someone. We shared the Ahi Avo, Kim Chee Wings, Phad Thai and the Steamed Pork buns. All of the dishes were to die for, but the Ahi Avo took the prize. I'm not a huge fan of raw fish, but this was unlike anything I have ever had. SO BOMB. 

For our anniversary dinner, we booked a sunset dinner cruise with the Pacific Whale foundation. We bought the cheaper tickets, but the day before we were scheduled to cruise, we met a local girl downtown that worked for PWF. She called her manager on the spot and upgraded us to the roof top seats for FREE. We were so stoked when we showed up the next day and they sat us up on the roof of the boat.
The views of the islands were phenomenal, the food was good and it was unlimited drinks. As we were pulling out from the port of Lahaina, we could see the biggest, darkest cloud coming down from the mountain into town. While most of the cruise was dry, we were met by the heaviest rain I have ever experienced when we pulled back into port. Zach and I ran through town about 10 minutes back to our place and by the time we were back, it looked like we had jumped in the ocean. It was definitely one of the best memories and something I will never forget! 

After the downpoor 

After the downpoor 

Our anniversary was nothing short of amazing, and now we can't wait to go back! Maui we LOVE you.

Zach made this super short clip to sum up our trip nicely...Enjoy!