3 Days in Maui!


Wow, this post is extremely overdue! I’m excited to get back into writing blogs about the incredible adventures I had during my 2.5 years in Hawaii.  In the last four months, I transitioned from the warm Hawaiian island lifestyle to the wonderful pines of North Carolina. It’s better than I expected, but I miss Hawaii SO much.

Here’s a flashback to February 2019 when my friend and I spent three days in Maui!

Chandler and I tried to fit in as many activities as possible, and since we were living on Oahu we decided we didn’t need much relaxation – only adventures. We were also trying to save money, so we splurged on the Jeep rental, but we decided we wanted to save money by not getting a hotel….so we slept in the Jeep (good times). Looking back, we probably should have just gotten a hotel room, but it wasn’t completely terrible.

Before I go through the whole trip, I want to list my favorite adventures, attractions and must do’s!

    1. Haleakala National Park (Pipiwai Trail) (MUST DO!)
    2. Waianapanapa State Park – Black Sand Beach (MUST DO!)
    3. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach (MUST DO!)
    4. Iao Valley
    5. Banana Bread x 97437

Day 1

Arrival – We took an early flight and got over to Maui before lunch time. Our first stop was to Costco where we stocked up on water, car snacks, and sunscreen since that was basically all we needed. We stopped for lunch at the nearby food trucks across the street from Costco and enjoyed some Thai food from “Thai Mee Up” – I got the Pad Thai Chicken and it was so good!


Unfortunately, the weather was not good and it was pretty rainy so it affected a lot of our plans, but we still made the most of it! We were planning to do the Road to Hana on Day 1, but due to the rain we decided to postpone it until Day 2. Instead we drove the opposite direction and made the following stops:

Ho’okipa Lookout in Paia, HI. – It was super rainy and there wasn’t too much to look at. Since we decided to save the Road to Hana until Day 2, we turned around and headed West, counter-clockwise around Maui, planning to end in Lahaina for the evening.


Olivine Pools – Again it was raining so we didn’t get to swim in the pools… This would be a better adventure in the summer when the waters are more calm. The best part about this stop though was the first Banana Bread purchase! Chandler kept making fun of me because I kept saying “mmm” over and over.


Nakalele Blowhole – We were excited just to see the blowhole, but we had seen that this was where the heart shaped hole in the rock was supposed to be. IT WAS SO HARD TO FIND! All I had seen on the internet/Pinterest was that its located “right by the Nakalele Blowhole” – vague! Chandler and I walked past the blowhole into an area that looked like Mars and continued to climb the rocky cliff with no luck. On our way back we spotted the heart shaped hole past the Blowhole! So if you’re looking for it, you’ll walk toward the blowhole and then directly to the right – you’ll probably be sprayed by the salty mist from the geyser. I’m glad we stumbled across it eventually – it was definitely a great spot for pictures! I’m pretty sure I picked up another small loaf of banana bread here as well.

Honolua Bay – we made our way down to Honolua Bay and decided to watch the surfers from the cliff side. Someday I hope to surf down there!

Lahaina – The day was finally coming to a close so we headed to Lahaina to walk around some of the shops in the Whalers Village, see the resorts and check out Kaanapali Beach. We decided to go to the restaurant “Captain Jacks” for dinner and drinks which had a cool atmosphere and the breeze from the ocean in the open air seating was great.


Day 2

We got a super early start to the day – I was regrettably grumpy from sleeping in the Jeep and then waking up super early (sorry Chan) – but Chandler drove us all the way Southeast, cutting back up through the island (past the airport) to start our clockwise journey West through all the adventures and the Road to Hana!

Twin Falls – We made it there before 7am and thankfully I’d woken up by then. Unfortunately, due to all of the rain, the trail was mostly washed out and the path to the upper falls was closed off (lame). We walked around the lower portion where the river was brown and rushing. I definitely want to go back some day when the river is calm.

Waikamoi Nature Trail – I wasn’t a fan of this trail, but Chandler wanted to do it. It was basically a 1 mile out and back trail with a few lookouts along the way. Due to the recent storms though there were fallen trees and branches blocking the path. It was also difficult to see anything from the lookouts.

Makawao Forest Reserve – I’m not sure where exactly we stopped, but it was just off to the right off the Road to Hana where we saw a waterfall. There are waterfalls around almost every turn though so stopping at all of them probably isn’t necessary.

Garden of Eden Arboretum – this was a pretty cool stop actually! It did cost money to drive through it, but I don’t think it was >$15. Within the Garden of Eden was the view of Puohokamoa Falls which was beautiful to see from the lookout. There was also the Rainbow overlook and the Keopuka Rock overlook which you could see the giant rock poking out from the ocean. Overall, it was an awesome stop with many different trees like a 100-year-old Mango tree, Rainbow Eucalyptus, Mangosteen, and Parrots Beak. There was also an art gallery and gift shop that I had to walk through.

Keanae Lookout – We drove down into a valley to see the Keanae Lookout and Waialohe Point. The best part of this stop was (you guessed it!) the banana bread! Apparently, Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread is the BEST on Maui. It was pretty good…but it didn’t hit the spot like the first Maui banana bread I had on the beginning of Day 1.

Halfway to Hana! We had made it half-way to Hana by 10:00am. With the few stops we had already made we were making pretty good progress.


Waterfalls on Road to Hana – We stopped at one of the waterfalls and decided to climb on some of the rocks. And then drove by many more waterfalls as we continued toward Hana.

Almost to Hana Food-Trucks – about 6 miles from Hana there’s a group of food trucks where we stopped and got some food and walked through one of the gift shops.

Waianapanapa State Park – Down the road from there we made it to Waianapanapa State Park which is where the black sand beach is located! Chandler really wanted to go to find this one cave that he had seen on the internet during our initial research. We repeated our exact same mistake from the previous day and walked left, around the beach and followed the trail to the left over the lava rock and cliffs. It was very beautiful, but no luck finding the cave. Just like the previous day, on our way back to the car, the cave was directly off to the right from the initial entry point to the beach! Thankfully we found it though and Chandler was happy. We walked around to see the blow hole as well, but it wasn’t as cool as the Nakalele Blowhole or the black sand beach. We spent about an hour here (due to our long trek along the coast).

Hana – We made it to Hana, but honestly there isn’t much there. We just drove through to Kaihalulu Beach (Red Sand Beach). We parked and followed the trail down a very steep path to the water and turned left toward the red sand cove. This was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been for sure. We spent about an hour here sitting on the red sand and watched people jump from some of the rocks.

Haleakala National Park – We continued our drive around the island and ended up at Haleakala National Park where Chandler insisted on going to Waimoku Falls (and I’m so thankful). I think I took the most pictures of the entire trip on this 2-mile hike on the Pipiwai Trail up past Makahiku Falls, through the bamboo forest and finishing at Waimoku Falls. The bamboo forest was incredible, but the falls were absolutely insane. This hike CANNOT be missed.

We continued our way clockwise around the island through the rolling hills at sunset making it back to Lahaina for the night.


Day 3

We started off day 3 by going to Bad Ass Coffee. We then went to Serenity Spa – Maui and got a massage (haha I actually forgot that we did this until now). We ate lunch right next door at “Maui’s Best Banana Bread + Coffee Co.” (I’m not sure how everyone thinks theirs is the best, but yes I bought more, and yes it was very very good). They had great breakfast sandwiches as well.


Haleakala National Park – After the relaxing morning we decided we wanted to see snow, so we began the drive up to Haleakala National Park (summit district). It was definitely interesting walking in the snow in sandals and shorts….in Hawaii!!!

Iao Valley State Monument – It was another cloudy/rainy day, but that gave it more of the eerie Jurassic Park vibe. We walked around the river for a little bit, but there wasn’t much of a trail heading up the river so we turned back. On a nice day I would definitely love to come back and continue to explore that trail.

We headed to the airport for our evening flight back to Oahu.

Things I wanted to see but didn’t:

    1. Haleakala Crater – It was closed due to snow, but would be awesome to see in the Summer since the photos look like Mars.
    2. Swim in Twin Falls – Again, it was closed due to all the rain, so in nicer weather I would have liked to see what it looks like.
    3. Little Beach / Big Beach – We didn’t have time to make it to this part of the island, but the pictures look awesome, so I’d like to check them out in the future.  

Overall, we packed in a lot of adventures, sites and banana bread in only 2.5 days! Since we did end up back in Lahaina both nights, I would go back in time and choose a cheap hotel to stay in…but it wasn’t a huge regret because we were on the road 90% of the trip anyways. I can’t wait to go back to Maui someday!

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Hawaii Heart - North Carolina Living

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