You know its going to be a good hike when no one you ask has ever heard about it, and the road to get to it is not recommended due to a 8 mile rough dirt road. We took our chances, and it turned out to be an incredible hike. The road was not as bad as we expected, and it was a mere 2 miles to the top of the lookout. It's know as the hike in the North Cascades with the best reward for the least amount of effort. 100% true. The 360 degree views were unreal. We managed to get there for sunset, and wakeup for sunrise. Ryan and I slept in the lookout, but there were a good 6-8 tents pitched up there also, including our good friends who came with us. Not much like being on top of the world as the stars come out while having good conversation with new friends.
I love love cities. I love that you can walk down the street and see everyone in their own daily routine, living their life in their own skin. So much individuality in a city, especially San Francisco! This city has it all. On our way back from Hawaii, we stopped in SF for a 14 hour layover. Because we got there at 3am, we slept on the airport floor for a couple hours then grabbed an uber into the city. After a couple miles of walking along the waterfront with the dog walkers, more ubering, shopping, and more walking we went back to the airport to crash before our flight. Highlight of the day was seeing whales below the Golden Gate Bridge, and the bite of Ryan's heavenly avocado grilled cheese from a trendy little cafe.
I've had a lot of people ask about the best places to see and eat on Maui, so I made a travel guide that covers all of mine and Ryan's favorite things on Maui- some local hot spots, a few tourist attractions, and some hidden gems. If you are going to Maui with your significant other or your entire extended family, this list has something for everyone. Don't waste your time or money on mediocre- there are too many amazing places on Maui to settle.
| F O O D |
If you want a casual, filling breakfast:
Mala Ocean Tavern- Weekend brunch. They only serve breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays until 3pm. Eggs Benny, Caramel French Toast, Chilaquiles overlooking the ocean. My favorite way to start the day. On the pricier end, but worth every cent.
808 Grindz- Local Favorite. Cheapest Hawaiian style breakfast on the island (I'm talking less than $10 for more food than you know what to do with), hole in the wall. Expect a long line. I recommend the macadamia nut pancakes with the sweet cream sauce.
The Gazebo- Most popular breakfast spot on the island for tourists. There is usually a line, but its worth it. I LOVE their white chocolate mac nut pancakes with coconut syrup and butterscotch whipped cream, and the fried rice (be warned, a half portion of fried rice will feed a village). Overlooks the water at Napili Bay.
The Bakery- a hidden gem back by Taco Bell in Lahaina. Go before 9 to get the best French pastries and malasadas. Hole in the wall. You'll know where it is by the giant mixer outside.
TaquerEATa- Taco truck in Lahaina, on Wainee St. off Front street. Breakfast tacos for cheap from a trendy truck.
If you need a quick, casual lunch or mid day snack:
Honokowai Fish Market- The BEST $4 Baja Fish tacos! I crave them all the time. Small, hole in the Wall, about a 10 minute drive from Kaanapali Beach. You can also pick up fresh fish to serve up for dinner.
Choice Health Bar- Hit up this local favorite in Lahaina for the BEST Acai bowls. $12 for a shareable size bowl. They also have healthy salads, smoothies, and kombucha on tap.
Baya Bowls- Food truck for Acai bowls (open Tuesday-Sunday 8-3:30pm) on Wainee street off of Front street. Cheap, yummy Acai bowl with homemade coconut and lots of toppings.
Ululani's Shave Ice- Best Shave Ice on the island. Don't forget the haupia ice cream on the bottom, and the sweet and condensed milk on top. The Coconut Lovers is my favorite.
Cafe Cafe- I love this little european coffee shop right next to Front street for their acai bowls, and their bagel sandwiches. Great for a snack or breakfast. They also rent scooters for the day.
Paia Fish Market- Yummy fish tacos, fish sandwiches, and anything fishy. Located in Paia, but coming soon to Lahaina.
If you want a casual, family- friendly dinner:
Flatbread Pizza- Possibly our favorite place on the island. Get the "MOPSY," BEST PIZZA YOU WILL EVER EAT. Kalua pork, fresh pineapple, bbq sauce and goat cheese. Can't get better. Located in Paia.
Cool Cats- Best burgers and shakes with a diner feel. At least one of us always got the burger of the month, and we almost always loved it! Located right on Front street across from the Banyon Tree. Great vibes, usually live music in the evenings.
Leoda's Pie Shop- One of our tops! So fresh and yummy! They have pot pies, sweet pies (peanut butter and chocolate Mac are the best!), salads, burgers, sandwiches, everything! I love their salads, fries, and Reuben sandwich. Farm house vibes In Olowalu, close to Lahaina. Get it to go and hit up the beaches on the side of the road.
Frida's- A little bit pricier, but worth the money for quality Mexican/Spanish style food. Newer restaurant, right on the water in Lahaina with great vibes. You can't go wrong here- all of the food is incredible!
** DO NOT GO TO CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE. Trust Me.
If you want a fancy sit down:
Leilani's- Go to the upstairs restaurant over the downstairs beach bar. Everything is delicious- I recommend any of the steak, fish, or chicken dishes.
Kimo's on front street- Great view over the water and fun environment for families. Classic fish and steak dishes for a decent price. Try the "Hula Pie" (It's a great dessert to share between everyone).
Sale Pepe- The BEST Italian food I've ever eaten- and I ate in Italy ;) The Pasta is so flavorful, fresh, and homemade. Authentic woodfired pizza, and yummy appetizers. Small, cozy atmosphere. Be sure to call ahead to make a reservation. Decent prices.
Lahaina Grill- Voted best food on island. Perfect for a special evening with your sig. other. Only open for dinner, and you have to make a reservation well in advance. If you are a foodie who is willing to spend money for good food, this is for you.
Mama's Fish House- Popular spot for a fancy dinner, with an unreal view. Save room for dessert. Located in the lovely town of Paia.
Fleetwood's - With the most beautiful rooftop setting on Front Street, and the frequent local band playing, this is a date night to the max. Pricy, wide range of dishes.
| B E A C H E S |
Napili Bay- Next to Kapalua. We usually hit up both beaches in a day. Great place to snorkel with turtles.
Kapalua Bay - My favorite beach. Take the pathway and follow it all the way around to the dirt road and there is a stunning coastal walk. Along the way, you’ll see “cliff house” where locals hang out and jump off rocks.
Beaches off the side of the road in Olowalu- stop and park, have a picnic and hang out for the day. Shallow, and good for kids.
Kaanapali Beach aka Black Rock - Tourist hot spot, but it's fun for an all day hangout with a lot going on. Great for snorkeling. If you want a quieter beach, go to the other side of black rock.
Big Beach- Located in Wailea. Biggest and most beautiful beach on Maui. The water is insanely blue, but watch for big shore break. Great beach for walking, picnics, relaxing, and sunbathing, because there is usually a nice breeze. If you continue driving down the main road past the beach parking, you will see volcanic rock fields, and at the end there is another parking lot. Park, and follow the path for a beautiful walk around La Parouse.
Slaughterhouse Beach- Part of Honolua Bay, with a nice sandy beach perfect for jumping in the waves, laying out, and building sand castles. If you continue driving past the beach entrance, you will find incredible cliff views, and cool landscape to photograph. There is a small fruit stand on the side of the road open until 2pm daily. They sell the largest/yummiest avocados I've ever seen.
| A C T I V I T I E S |
Trilogy Excursions- The sailing company Ryan worked for, and the most well known on Maui. The trip to Lanai is a little pricey but the best thing to do in my opinion. You get to sail, see another island that is so different looking, snorkel, eat, and explore. They are the only sailing company that has rights to be at the best beach I've ever been to, Hulopo'e Bay. All of the snorkel trips are a fun adventure, and a great way to spend a few hours. They do 2 hr. whale watches in the winter.
Drive up North, past Kapalua for half an hour. Park, and walk down to see the blow hole and the heart rock on the water. Gorgeous views, and cool little hikes all along the road. Do it on rented scooters for the best time of your life. Go to the top of Honolua Bay for sunset and pretty views.
Banyon Tree - see one of the biggest trees on the island right on Front Street. (Side Note: the ice cream shop next to it "Banyon Treats" has the best cookies of all time)
Shopping- Check out the shops along Front Street. Don't forget see "Hale Zen" and "Going Left" on Dickenson St. They are the cutest Maui Boutiques. My favorite things to buy in Maui: prints from "Ono Gelato," Hawaiian inspired jewelry from "Sand People," Hawaiian "slippers" from any touristy store on Front St, trucker hats from "San Lorenzo" in Paia, coconut syrup from any "Whaler's", "Alola" clutch or bag from "Hale Zen," Surf treasures from "Puka Puka" in Paia, and clothes from "Imrie" in Paia.
Hang out in Paia- My favorite little hippie town. Paia has some of the coolest boutiques and the best food. “Ho’okipa Beach” is a fun one to watch wind surfers and see turtles on the shore.
Drive up to the top of Haleakala. We go for sunset because sunrise is way too early and it looks just as cool. At night, the stars are unreal up there. There is a bakery called Komoda's in Makawao (close to the bottom of haleakala) for really good donuts and malasadas.
Waihee Ridge Trail- gorgeous hike with cool mountain views, but it's mostly out in the open so go on a cool, clear day or early in the morning when it's cooler outside. Around 2 miles uphill. Bring lots of water!
| R O A D T O H A N A |
Here is the short version: It is a long drive, but I think its worth it (unless you get really car sick- I just bring Dramamine or ginger candy). Bring food with you because there isn’t much on the road (we usually stop at Mana Foods for some healthy snacks before we start the drive). Leave early in the morning because its a good 5-6 hours of driving for the day, with stops in between.
Places to stop along the Road to Hana: (pick and choose because you can't do them all in a day)
Twin Falls- short 2 miles or so hike to multiple waterfalls.
Three Bears Falls aka Upper Waikani Falls- off the side of the road.
Black Sand Beach- a short 5 min. walk and a cool sight to see.
Red Sand Beach - in the town of Hana, google how to get there. Its hidden, but really neat and quiet.
Seven Sacred Pools and the Bamboo Forrest Hike- Hike is 2 miles, but it is super easy with an amazing waterfall at the end. Pools are located by the coast, 5 minute walk from cars. Bring cash for parking. Really cool spot when the pools are flowing.
Hamoa Beach- a local beach with gorgeous scenery, and good waves to play in, lots of shade.
Brudduh Huts- along the side of the road, local food truck for some Hawaiian grub.
*If you drive all the way around the island, instead of turning around in Hana, the landscape totally changes and its cool to see. I recommend it if you have time. Stop at the general store if you do the whole way around. It’s a little ways past seven sacred pools.
Maui is a dream. Treat the locals with respect and love, enjoy every moment, and take in all of the beauty around you. Maui No Ka Oi.
We took any excuse to get back to our island paradise, Maui. When Ryan's friend needed a second shooter for a wedding in Maui, we jumped at the opportunity. It had been eight months too long! I wasn't going to let Ryan have all the fun, so I bought a ticket and we left a week later! We stayed in our friend's beachy bungalow, ate lots of fish tacos, took nightly bike rides to watch the sunset, and showered outside. I love the island life. Couldn't have a trip to Maui without a sail to Lanai. Ryan and I sailed over with friends, and took a speed dive boat out to see the backside of the island. Blue water, caves, huge rock cliffs, prime snorkeling- I love that you can take an hour boat ride to an island that is so unknown to so many, without tourists to ruin the beauty of the island. Ryan filmed, while I met with design clients. Talk about an amazing place to do business ;)
Photos taken by myself & Ryan
What a dream this place was. A train took us from Switzerland to Milan- it was crazy how drastically different everything was the second we went into another country. Things got busier and dirtier really fast. Milan reminded me a lot of New York. We only spent a few hours in the city. We went from the train to the subway system that dropped us at the Duomo di Milano. Definitely a tourist hot spot, but an incredible sight to see nonetheless. It was right in the middle of big elaborate buildings and a fancy mall covered in ornate gold patterns with only the top designer stores. The first thing I noticed were the gelato shops everywhere. They were like a Willy Wonka factory begging me to come and buy my weight in treats-when in Italy...right?
We learned how frustrating Italian transportation can be when we were on the train traveling to Florence. We bought a ticket, but we didn't realize we had to validate it before we hopped on our train. The train ticket man later told us the fine was like a hundred dollars, but he would let us off the hook for $20. Unfortunately, we didn't have any euros, only american dollars. He wasn't very pleased. I was waiting for him to handcuff us and drag us off the train, but right at the perfect moment some adorable students from Finland, who were sitting next to us offered to pay for us! I was so thankful! Maybe we should have gone to Finland instead of Italy!
Florence was the most perfect small city. Everything was old, but absolutely stunning. All of the sights were within walking distance, and the restaurants were the ivy covered, family business types. I ate the yummiest gnocchi in a cozy place right below our room. Our Airbnb was seriously the coolest! It was this giant 500 year old loft with tall arched ceilings, brick walls, and modern fixtures. It was in the very center of the city next to the famed, Duomo.
We took the train to Salerno, and from there a very windy taxi drive to Positano on the Amalfi Coast. The second we drove onto the main coastal road, I never wanted to leave. It was as charming as ever. The water was insanely blue, and the cliffs were breathtaking. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the water. We walked up and down the steep hills daily and earned our morning croissants. I think we went to the same restaurant twice because it was so good. I died over the croquets, and almost threw up the limoncello they gave me (not knowing it was alcohol or like drinking straight up lemon juice). We took a ferry one day to the island of Capri. Only an hour away, it was a little slice of heaven. A tiny little island, it was clean, and white. We raced to the other side of the island to see the famous Faraglioni and get some sun. We came across the center of the island where all the shopping is- some of the most expensive stores in the world all together in one place. It was unreal. A playground for celebrities. The hotels and private homes on the walk down to the water were Kardashian style. Ready to go back to Capri right this second.
Our last stop in Italy was Rome. Because it was the end of the trip, we really just wanted to cuddle up in our hotel room and not even see the sights. But we went out for gelato and saw the Colleseum, the vatican and the trevi fountain. Rome had a few too many tourists for us. I prefered the small towns of Italy much more. The lowest and maybe most comical part of the entire trip was next to the Ciampini airport in Rome. We were planning on sleeping in the airport, and flying out early the next morning. However, we both wanted a good night sleep so Ryan booked a cheap (really cheap, $40/night) hotel room. I expected crap, but what we got was even worth than that. The walk to the hotel was scary- fights, yelling, broken bottles being thrown. The hotel itself looked like it used to be a hospital or mental institution. Our room had bad lighting and felt cold and empty. We grabbed food from their cafe in the basement. It felt like a hospital cafeteria, and the waiter looked like a mortician. We were both laughing at how ridiculous the situation was. No hotel or motel will ever be as bad. However, the food, the architecture, the landscape of Italy blew me away. It is definitely a place I'd like to go back to.