This was a trip years in the making. Ben and I considered going to Hawaii on our honeymoon but Bora Bora won out. Ever since then, Hawaii has been on my bucket list! It doesn’t help that one of my dear friends, Heather Christopher, is a travel agent who LOVES these islands and is always trying to convince me it’s the best place on earth. As it just so happened, I had two weeks in December free of weddings and teaching so I bought my round trip ticket to Maui! I originally wanted to do the Big Island, Maui and Kauai but cut out the Big Island for time reasons. Below are all my film photographs developed by PhotoVision Prints and a handful of drone images I snuck in as well. Here is our itinerary for the best possible Hawaii vacation.
I flew direct in and out of Maui from IAD. You can fly pretty easily between the islands but I booked my flight and car ahead of time for Kauai as well. I stayed in Kihei with my friend Carly who was working for Flytographer while on this stunning island. If you can stay at a swanky resort in Wailea, that would probably be best for a honeymoon! We hit up Ululani’s Hawaiian Ice stand and you must get Hawaiian ice when visiting. Any place will do but if the vanilla isn’t blue, it’s not authentic. We then hit the beach in North Kihei and ate at the Paia Fish Market (also told Paia Inn Cafe is great)!
We started day 2 with the Paia Bay Coffee Bar and got a lovely acia bowl. We then had Mama’s Fish House for lunch. This is a MUST STOP but you need reservations in advance. It is pricey but worth it! We then drove through Lahaina for some shopping and went to Baby Beach which has good views of mountains. Small tip: grocery Store Poke from Foodland is hella fresh! Pretty much any poke from a grocery store is fresh and yum!
We started day 3 with a photoshoot at Olowalu Park. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop was across the street and had one of the best breakfasts. We then drove up to Nakalele blowhole which felt a lot like PCH. We saw Slaughterhouse beach with crazy swell and surfers out. We ended the day by driving south through Wailea and Mckenna for snorkeling in Ahihi Cove next to Steven Tyler’s house and watched sunset on Makena Cove (used to be called Secret Beach)!
We pretty much spent this day on the beach at Ka’anapali Beach whaler’s village. I was also suggested a bunch of food places in the resorts (Morimoto, Ferraro’s Humu Humu, monkeypod and star noodle) but we avoided the bigger resorts to try and eat more local. We went to Fleetwoods for dinner and ended by walking around Lahaina.
This day was by far the saddest. We reserved a parking spot for the Haleakala Sunrise which you must do in advance. We were sadly met with an overcast day with no visibility. We drowned our sorrows at Beach Street Smoothie and went shopping in Waila and did happy hour at Longhis.
Day 6 was probably my favorite day. We drove the Road to Hana. Download the Gypsy App! It was like a virtual tour guide! You don’t need a jeep but you need to be comfortable with long drives, steep overlooks and small roads. We did Hookipa Lookout, Honomanu Bay, Ke’onae Peninsula, Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread (the best one to stop at), Wai’anapanapa State Park (black sand beach) and ended at Pipiwai Trail near Seven Pools ( you can do the 1.5 mile or 4 mile hike)!
We were definitely tired after our Hana day so we woke up late and did the Kihei cafe. We then snorkeled in Polanalana, visited turtle town and snorkeled black sand beach, Oneuli. This was my favorite night. For dinner, we got fish tacos from a food truck called Jawz at Big Beach. We then hung out for sunset at Little Beach for a clothing optional drum circle. Once the fire circle was over, we went to Threes which was on Diners Drive in and Dives and played pool at Diamonds.
For our last day, we did Choice Health Bar for the best acai bowl I’ve ever had and then explored in Paia. Sadly, we didnt have time to Hike Waihe’s Ridge Trail but I did all of the things on the Maui list besides that! At night, we flew to Kauai to have dinner at Dukes (get the Hula Pie). We got a convertible which is a MUST DO. We decided to stay in Princeville but if you’re doing a helicopter tour or a sunset cruise, it might be smart to stay in the south end near the airport.
We started the day with breakfast at Java Kai. We then explore Kap’a before our Helicopter Tour with Blue Hawaiian. They do not offer doors-off tours but we decided to go this route so we could bring our camera. You should book this YOUR FIRST DAY in case it gets rescheduled. We then ate lunch at the food trucks in Hanalaie before spending the day at Hanalaie Bay/Waioli beach park.
For thiis day, we snapped a darling engaged couple. We thought of doing Polihale State Park but the road to the beach was too rough to drive so we went to Tunnels Beach. Afterwards, we got bowls at Wishing Well Acai bowls. This night was m favorite; we did Captain Andy’s Sunset Cruise which was incredible. We ended at a bar called Keoki’s and then visited the turtles at Poipu.
Day 11 was our hiking day. We drove up to Kalalau Lookout on Koke’e Road in the Waimea Canyon State Park. Just off the parking lot, you can take pictures of the Ka’a’Alahina Ridge from the lookout but you can walk an unmarked trail to Kalepa Ridge. This seemed dangerous so Pihea trail instead! We got lunch at Makai which is a poke place in a grocery store at Kukulia market! The best dinner we had in Kauai was at Ama. It is a ramen place with stunning views.
Day 12 HOME
There you have it folks! Follow this itinterary and I know you’ll have the best Hawaiian vacation possible. If you do have time for the Big Island, do the Black Sand Beach, Rainbow Falls, Volcano Park, and the Botanical Gardens! Mahalo for reading! I hope you enjoyed!!