Hawaii Diaries #12 – Exploring Lahaina and Western Maui

We spent our day exploring western Maui today.

Yes, the plan was to do the road to Hana but the weather wasn’t having it. We were both up early and headed towards Hana. However, it rained all through Paia and towards the first stop and we just said “fork it” and turned around.

There was an accident on the way blocking the road and conditions sucked. It’s possible that it might have changed on the way to Hana, but honestly I wasn’t in the mood for nearly 10 hours in or around the car.

We had just flown in the day before and had another flight in a few days. On top of that, we definitely had the volcano trip in a few days on the big island and that was a lengthy drive. 

I made the executive decision, turned us around and headed towards Lahaina in western Maui.

One thing I mentioned in the last post is that Maui seemed more of a tourist island than Kauai; That was confirmed by our visit to Lahaina. I’m sure there are spots just like Kauai but we only have a few days here so we likely won’t get to explore them. 

Today’s first stop was at a shopping center near front street. The one thing I LOVED about Kauai is that parking pretty much everywhere was free. However, this shopping center wanted to charge us $3/30 minutes. Outrageous!

Still, I had to make the stop because nature called; gotta use those free bathrooms! Afterwards, we moved the car to some street parking and walked around the area.

Front street is a cool long ocean side street perfect for walking. It has stores, cool galleries and a ton of restaurants. It even has a big ol’ tree.

It’s definitely a tourist destination and while there was free parking, it wasn’t very common. There was even a Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant with this outside!

We spent some time walking around and took a few photos. Maui has some fantastic views as well of neighboring islands and front street is a good spot to check those out. That’s Lanai over there(I think). 

I even hear it’s great for whale watching when that’s in season. However, we were a bit early for that so no whales for us!

The one thing I noticed about Maui is that it was definitely hotter than Kauai. There’s only a slight different between comfortable and gross when it comes to hot weather for us.  This day was already bordering on the gross.

It was 90 without much of a breeze and it was barely past 10 A.M. I don’t know about you but we are not heat people. I mean, we like warmth but once it gets too warm, we melt and want to stay inside.

That meant, it was time for some indoor activities! As luck would have it, there was an escape room with some open times a few minutes away.

Yay, escape rooms on two islands! We had fun on the one in Kauai so we though it’d be fun to do another one here. Plus, you can’t beat air conditioning!

We drove to Whaler’s Village, a little shopping area near the Kaanapali beach resorts and went to our escape room.

This room was Tesla themed one; the scientist, not the car. You can’t book this one for just two people but we booked maybe an hour ahead of time and chose rooms that had all spots open so it ended up being just the two of us.

The room had good decor but the puzzles just seemed rather inconsistent and unrelated to each other. I like escape rooms that have a good consistent puzzle pattern where the solutions make sense; ones where the solution to a puzzle makes you think of the next puzzle and so on. 

This one was just a bit too random for my taste. On top of that, we solved it in just north of 30 minutes as there were only a few puzzles to solve. It did have some cool elements in those puzzles so it wasn’t all bad. 

After that, we walked around the shopping area and got some food at Hula Grill. It was beach front and sat right near the Kaanapali beaches and walking path. It’s cool that so many places on the islands have these great outdoor seating areas near the water. 

The food was decent and I got my usual order of fish tacos; nothing mind blowing here but the portion of fish was right and the flavors were there.

The nice thing about lunch or shopping here is that you can get right on the Kaanapali walking path easily. It’s a paved walking area that connects the various resorts here and walks by some real nice beaches. There’s more cool views but since it was right in the thick of the day the heat was a killer so we didn’t walk a ton. Still, this is definitely an awesome spot if you want some beach time as the sand and water are awesome. 

It was 95+ now so we decided to get some dessert and since Whaler’s Village didn’t have anything of interest, we drove over to Island Cream a few miles down.

Their thing is that they’re not ice cream, nor are they gelato, but a combination of both; island cream!

Call it whatever you want but all I know is that it was awesome. One of the best ice cream/gelato type desserts I’ve ever had. It didn’t feel that much different from either but the flavors were there.

After that, we decided it was still to hot to walk around so we went back to Whaler’s Village. Even though the first room wasn’t top tier, we wanted to try another they said was a bit more difficult. We also wanted to get some more time on the Kaanapali coast and leaving and coming back allowed us to reset our validated parking! Restaurants and places here will give you 3-4 hours of validated parking with a purchase!

This second room was a military themed one. We were trapped on some island and had to escape before it got bombed; at least I think that was the theme. The decor was decent and the puzzles were a better but still rather disjointed. We had a good time though and solved it with about eight minutes remaining. Again, it was just the two of us so it’s easy to book a room on your own as long as you book close to the room time. 

The rooms here aren’t amazing but they’re a good way to get out of the heat. Plus, they got us to the Whaler’s Village area and the Kaanapali beach walk is definitely worth it. It’s a great beach for swimming too if you’re into that sort of thing.

This seems like one of the main resort areas of the island and prices here definitely reflect it. I think parking was $4/30 minutes or something ridiculous like that if you didn’t get it validated.

We spent a few minutes walking around and took some more pictures.

If you’re just looking for beach time with some decent food and resort amenities then the Kaanapali area seems like a great fit.

It started cooling down so we headed back to Front Street. Luckily, we were able to find street parking right near the big ol’ tree. It seems like a pretty cool tree. The roots descend from the branches where they form new trunks. 

 

The result is this massive thing that takes up a ton of space and looks like multiple trees when it’s only just one.

I think this old fella takes up 2/3rds of an acre with 16 major trunks aside from the main one. The trunks are sometimes really cool looking too.

What else is there to do out here? There up are the bevy of stores and cool galleries. We found some real cool Maui based art we liked it and if we were a bit richer, we’d probably have picked up a piece by a local artist named Gabriel.

It’s made with sheets of metal and has really cool coloring in person. It was near $10,000 though so a bit out of our price range; maybe sometime in the future.

There was also this cool beetle warrior!

There were at least three really large awesome galleries with a lot of expensive cool stuff to see.

We didn’t do a ton of shopping but stores do exist including some local merchants/artists selling things like wood carvings on the street.

We spent a few hours here just walking around. The area is really beautiful especially as the sun starts to head lower on the horizon.

Lahaina

Naturally there’s a bunch of restaurants here too. It was getting late and time for my favorite part of the day; dinner! You know from reading these posts that half the pictures are food based so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

I made a reservation at Lahaina Grill. It’s one of those wickedly pricey places with $29 apps and $50 entrees. Actually, I cancelled this thinking it frivolous then remade it again once we got down here because, hey why not, it’s our honeymoon, a perfect time to be frivolous. This one was rated as one of the top restaurants on Maui so why not indulge!

The place does not have an ocean side view but there is a romantic vibe in there. The service was excellent. They even gave us this hat hanger that slid onto the table and put our hats and my wife’s purse out of sight; fancy!

They also did a cool napkin fold each time one of us got up to go the bathroom.

Yes, it’s that kind of place and I can see why people like it. We certainly weren’t dressed for how fancy it was with shorts and a t-shirt but no one cared. 

That’s one nice thing about Hawaii is that things like that aren’t too uncommon. It’s definitely a more casual place than I’m used to back home.

The food? Excellent.

My app was a trio of fish that included a crab cake, some ahi poke on top of rice and a shrimp cake. Small portions and expensive but delicious.

My entree was some local scallops with mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was quite delicious! My only complain was the truffle oil in the mashed potatoes. If you’re charging $50+ for an entree, use a bit of truffles although maybe they don’t have those in Maui! My wife’s brisket was fantastic as well.

Overall, it was the perfect end to a fun day. Lahaina and Kaanapali are definitely worth at least a day when you’re in Maui!

Next up is either the road to Hana take 2 or we’ll be lazy again and do something else; probably the latter.

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