Our Hawaiian Family Vacation // Maui

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This post has been a long time in the making as I’ve been so excited to share our trip to Maui with you all. Nowadays, traveling isn’t quite as relaxing as it used to be, so I’ve been pretty exhausted from all my travels and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write about our Hawaiian vacation and how incredible it was. Each summer, my family goes on a big trip together. I’m one of 5 children, 2 of us are married, one is engaged and we now have baby B… that makes a grand total of 10 people in our party so when we travel it’s an ordeal. No matter how crazy it is traveling with all of us and our 2 thousand suitcases, I’m so thankful that we get to take a yearly vacation all together each year because the memories made are unbelievable. There truly is nothing like a family vacation.

This year, we decided to take on Hawaii and I’m so, very glad we did. The trip was 10 days total with a stop at two islands, Maui and Oahu. Instead of taking one, long, 8 hour flight direct from Dallas to Honolulu, we decided to break up the trip with a short layover in San Francisco. At first I was a little wary of the two flight system, but in hindsight it made ALL the difference for us, especially traveling with a two and a half year old boy who is non-stop movement. So, a 3 hour flight to San Francisco plus a 1 hour layover plus a 5 hour flight to Oahu then a 3 hour layover in Honolulu, then an hour flight to Maui and then almost 2 hours to get the bags and rental car, a stop at Whole Foods [and the liquor store, which in Hawaii is the same thing!], then a 2 and a half hour drive to the resort made for an almost 18 hour travel day. B was a champ and stayed pretty cool throughout the experience, but it was a long day for us. We celebrated our arrival with leis and photos [looking a little worse for wear] in the airport! Once we were there, though, we were certain it was worth it. There’s nothing quite like Hawaii!

Before I begin to tell you about our trip, I have to stop right now and let you know of a Maui travel tip that we learned the HARD way. Maui is an island, obviously. So, there are two main highways that you can take from the airport around the perimeter of the island to get to the other side. We were headed to Lahaina, which was on the opposite side of the island from our arrival point. When you look up how to get to Lahaina, the Waze app will show you the fastest route, but DO NOT TAKE IT. Take a look at the road you will be traveling on… if it is straight and to the point [even if it takes you longer on the app’s estimation] that’s the road to go on. If it looks like an EKG chart, is windy and choppy, SAVE YOURSELVES AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY and for the LOVE do not take it.

I know I’m being funny here, but I’m actually so serious. It’s by the grace of God that we are okay.

My sisters use Waze [I’m more of a “Maps” kind of girl] and as I started in one car to direct my parents down the path of righteousness, they called and said “Wait, guys… Chandler doesn’t use Waze so she doesn’t know that there’s another route that will save us 45 minutes! Follow us!” I tried to warn my family that the road they were traveling on looked like a death trap, but there was no having it… I was chopped liver and stuck in the backseat of a torturous ride through hell [okay, it was actually BEAUTIFUL when I wasn’t afraid that we were all going to die]. We found ourselves on what is called The Hana Highway [no, it’s NOT the road to Hana] and when we passed the sign that says “ATTENTION: STATE HIGHWAY ENDS HERE. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.” It was far too late to turn around. We found ourselves on a ONE LANE ROAD that winded up and down the Maui mountain. To our left was mountain, to our right was 80-100 foot drops. Was there a guard rail? NOPE. To our front was a winding road and we didn’t know if other cars were rounding the corner and facing us head on or not. We were in two large suburbans and it was terrifying. God was with us that day. It’s by His grace that we survived. Also, B and I were very pukey. Needless to say, I never had to say “I told you so…” Everyone inherently knew it and I crowned myself the know-it-all Hawaiian goddess of knowledge and beauty [I added beauty in there just because].

Here’s an article about that highway along with a video.

Okay, so… moral of that anecdote is don’t take that Highway. You can thank me later… Back to the real fun of the story…

We arrived at the Montage Kapalua Bay, which is in Lahaina on Maui. Most of the resorts in Maui are on the Wailea side, which was about an hour and a half away from where we were. This was my first time to this side of the island and I loved it because I felt like it was overall quieter and a bit more lush in Lahaina. The Montage Kapalua Bay did not disappoint either. Our family is rather large so they put us in the most amazing apartment-style suite with a perfect view of the ocean. We had a living room, small office, laundry room [which made this momma of a potty-training toddler VERY happy] and a full-sized kitchen, not to mention the beautiful patio, complete with a grill! Our rooms were gorgeous and had most luxurious beds and bathrooms! I could’ve slept very happily in the bathtub in ours!

We arrived just in time to eat dinner and watch the sunset. B played out on the lawn below our suite with his dad, grandad and uncles and I sipped on a cocktail with my mom and sisters. We were in awe of the beauty in Hawaii and so grateful to have arrived. Day One. Done.

The next few days were filled with early wakeup calls because B was still on Texas time, which allowed for optimum sunrise views over coffee. They were also filled with incredible breakfasts as a family, hours spent by and in the pools, and amazing lunches and cocktails enjoyed poolside. I made it to the fitness center several times and enjoyed running by the beach! Our first full day in Hawaii was Father’s Day, so we celebrated our dad and F and then they played a round of golf while we played Moana in the pool with B. That evening we enjoyed an amazing meal at Merriman’s, a world-renowned restaurant and one of Maui’s best, luckily located right next to our resort!

Of course, no trip to Hawaii is complete without a Luau. We decided to do the highly acclaimed The Feast at Le Le because we had heard that it was the best on this side of the island. Our last trip to Maui had been several years earlier and we went to the Luau at the Grand Wailea Resort next store to the Four Seasons Grand Wailea, where we stayed last time. We loved the show, the food, and the feel of the entire evening. The Feast at Le Le was very expensive and the dancing was pretty good [B was obsessed with Moana so he LOVED the show and decided that one, particular girl on stage was Moana and kept telling me all about her], however, we were not overall impressed with the Luau. It was not interactive, we felt like cattle being herded onto a beach with a ton of tables crammed together and the food was not enjoyable – and I’m especially adventurous with my tastes! It was a bummer that we were let down by the Luau, but the most important thing was that a tired, jet lagged two year old loved every minute of it, and for that I am thankful!

On one of our days in Maui, we decided to go on a boat as a family to try our hand at snorkeling! We went out with the men of Blue Water Maui and it was the highlight of our time there! We boarded our boat and set off into the Hawaiian waters! There was a very big surf that day so it was pretty choppy on the water. I have never been seasick in my whole life, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. We stopped in one beautiful snorkeling spot and I has the best time diving in and out of the water. They had a big, blue mat that was perfect for laying on, so B and my mom sat out in the water on the mat.. I swam in the middle of a school of fish, was within 4 feet of several sea turtles and saw the most beautiful reefs I’ve ever seen! We hopped back in and took the boat over to the island of Lanai, where we jumped back in for some more snorkeling.

That’s when it hit me. I was seasick. It was brutal. That’s all I’ll tell you.

The Blue Water Maui men took our lunch orders before we got on the boat and my family said that wherever they ordered the meals from was once of the best meals they had on the island. I did not participate because I was lying on my stomach with my face hanging off the boat like a friggen sea lion over there. Someone got photos. They will not be posted. Someone else took all the photos of my child and husband and the boat experience so I could post them here. Blue Water Maui was a highlight of our trip. The guys that run it and take you out are amazing [all from the South, might I add] and the experience was top notch. If you’re in Maui, this is a MUST DO. Seriously.

F and I enjoyed an outdoor yoga experience on International Yoga Day hosted by Lululemon Maui back at the hotel the next morning. That, followed by a healthy lunch and a day poolside made for a wonderful day, but the highlight of our day [and I’d go so far as to say our entire trip] was that evening…

One of the coolest parts about The Montage Kapalua Bay is that the oldest building on the the island sits on their property. It’s called The Cliff House and it sits in a little grotto filled with cliffs for jumping, reefs for diving and some of the most beautiful views on the island. The Cliff House is available for rent by the hour through the Montage and we were lucky enough to snag it for an evening. While there, the hotel went all out for us, providing us with a chef who made the most amazing appetizers and dinner and a bartender who kept the drinks coming.

We spent the late afternoon into the evening jumping off the cliffs and into the water and just swimming in the ocean. I, once again, came within feet of the largest sea turtle I’ve ever seen… seriously he was at least 6 feet… while snorkeling. The boys were brave enough to jump from the top of the house into the water, but I stuck to the already high cliffs and jumped in a few times! B even jumped off one of the lower cliffs with mommy and we swam and swam and played Moana in the ocean! I didn’t get many photos because we were playing in the water most of the time, but you can see all the diving in the video below. This was a day I will never forget ever for the rest of my life! We watched the sunset, danced to our favorite oldies, and enjoyed our time together as a family late into the evening. It’s memories like the ones made at The Cliff House that stick with you forever. What an experience. Maui, I love you.

After 5 days, our time in Maui came to an end and we jumped on a plane headed for Honolulu. You can read all about our 48 hours on Oahu here.

To see the fun in action, check out my InstaVlog from the trip here:

Do you have any Maui favorites that you can recommend? We had the best time!

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