Imagine this view while drinking coffee and doing devos. This can be you! Last December, my family and I headed down to Maui for a chance to unwind. We flew down the 14th and beat most of the Christmas rush.
The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We missed the crowds and the restaurants were never insanely busy! Since school was dying down for break, we found ourselves just lounging around more than anything. That's why I wanted to elaborate on how to buckle down and really RELAX in Maui.
find a spot that fits your budget:
This decision ultimately falls on what you want to accomplish for your trip. If you're looking to reset and just hang by the beach, pick a resort that fits these needs. If you're ready to see all Maui has to offer, find a cheap Airbnb, so you can spend more money on excursions!
We stayed at the Westin in Ka'anapali and it was one of the most beautiful places I've been. The rooms were sweet, view was dope, pools were amazing, and the beach was always clean! Plus, the architecture in this hotel is seriously breathtaking. Take a look here.
get on the same page:
Are you traveling with your friends or family? Make sure you know everyone's goal before you plan out the day. There's nothing wrong with splitting up! One person may find reading by the pool more relaxing than jumping in the ocean. Asking people what they'd like to do, is the best way to ensure everyone can relax.
For instance, it was a goal of mine to drink one of these pineapple cocktails by the pool before I left, haha! If you do end up at the Westin, head to the adult pools. They're usually way less crowded and I think you just have to be 16+?
take a sunset sailing cruise:
We took a whale watching tour with Gemini Sailing. Throughout our two hour trip, we only saw one whale tail off in the distance! Lol, but cocktails, snacks, and a gorgeous sunset was included. Can't beat that!
The reason I titled this section "sunset cruise" is because when they don't offer the whale watching, the sunset cruise is available. The two are very similar, except the slight chance of seeing a whale during the winter! Sunset cruises are offered April 16th thru December 14th and whale watching is December 15th thru April 15th.
Tickets are $82-83 for adults on either tour. These are one of the activities I'd decide to do before heading to Hawaii. Pick one or two big expense items, so you don't go over budget when you get there! If you're looking for a more adventurous package, they have a 4 1/2 hour snorkel sail for $127. (What a deal! This also includes lunch.)
I really enjoyed this charter because of the fun crew members and number of people aboard. It didn't feel too crowded and you were free to move about the boat! Along with that, I was highly impressed with their Hawaiian snack buffet, personalized Mai Thais, and the outrageously cool view of the mountains.
TIP: The Gemini picks you up at the Westin, so all you have to do is walk down to the beach!
happy hour hop:
The one thing I heard a lot before going to Hawaii was, "Everything is sooo expensive." However, most of the restaurants we went to, had pretty reasonable prices for sitting right up on the coast. We did notice that grocery store items are quite higher, but if you have to import a lot, that makes sense!
One of the more unique restaurants we liked was, Monkey Pod. They have two happy hours: 3pm-5pm and 9pm-11pm. I HIGHLY advise heading to this place during happy hour to save a few bucks! Their portion sizes are a little small and their prices are on the higher side. Although, during happy hour, they have 1/2 off appetizers and $5 off cocktails! I LOVED the pumpkin patch ravioli and their white walker cocktail was delish!
Our go-to restaurant had to be Leilani's on the Beach. We usually sat in their Beachside Grill for Aloha Hour! (Happy hour) Theirs also runs from 3pm-5pm. It's such a relaxing atmosphere and they have live music on Monday + Wednesday-Sunday!
They have great appetizers, like their Hawaiian sliders for $6. YUM! However, the reason I love this place the most is for their SALADS. I've never seen something so beautiful and taste so good! They honestly look like artwork.
My last happy hour rec is hitting up the Beach Bar at the Westin! The best part? You can enjoy your food/drink poolside. Their happy hour is from 7-9pm, making it the perfect spot to end your bar hop! Remember my gorgeous pineapple drink from above? This was from the beach bar!
Another favorite is their Westin Wings. Lol, I should really do a series on wings, for how much I post about them, haha! I ordered the BBQ and they were the perfect snack after a hot day.
TIP: I've heard of the Westin granting "day passes" for their pool/beach area. I'm not sure they do this year round- but it wouldn't hurt to call the concierge! This way you can enjoy the beach bar, without reserving a room. :)
book a lu'au:
Before we went, I either thought this thing was gonna be super cheesy or super freakin fun. It turned out being 100x cooler than I'd ever thought. We chose the Wailele Polynesian Lu'au located at the Westin.
Tickets start at $120 + tax but guys, this thing is FUN. It's three hours long and has one of the prettiest beach settings. You take photos, get free drinks, eat a killer buffet, and watch crazy performances, like a fire-knife dance! It was probably my highlight of the trip. (like guys this food, seriously- best I had in Maui!)
TIP: You don't have to stay at the Westin, to enjoy this lu'au! There's a place for you to park in Whaler's Village.
find your necessities at whaler's village:
One of my fav spots for a quick breakfast was at the Choice Health Bar. It's on the lower level of Whaler's Village and has delicious acai bowls. Whaler's Village is a very short walk from the Westin!
The village has so much more than just acai bowls. It has high end shops, Haagen Daz, souvenir stores, lunch stops, a shave ice place, and a lawn with plenty of seating to relax on. (We spent all day here waiting for our late flight and found it super comfortable! Did I mention they have Wifi? )
TIP: If you're looking to save on meals, shop at the ABC store to snag some groceries and alcohol! This way you can swim a bit, grab a sandwich, and get back in the pool. We probs stopped there every other day! Super convenient.
the last of it:
We had such a fun time here! It was definitely one of the most relaxing trips I've ever taken. I'd love to go back and see the other islands, while really digging into the local scene. The Road to Hana sounds amazing too!
YES the flight to Hawaii is long, but with the right airline, time flies. We flew with Hawaiian Airlines and I can't say enough about my experience! They were able to get my family to sit together last minute and the seats were pretty comfortable. The planes we boarded were huge, but it never impacted my opinion of the airline! They had great movies, friendly service, and good food.
If you found this post helpful, please pin it! You never know when you'll head to Hawaii :)
I'd love to hear about your experiences! Have you ever been to Hawaii? If not, what's on your bucket list?
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Travel bucket list:
Countries visited: 5
states left: 11