Our third day in Maui was our designated beach day. When you’re visiting somewhere as beautiful as Hawaii, it can be tempting to do nothing but lay by the ocean. And I know that a lot of people like to vacation that way- but we’re not those people. We’re people who do stuff (just not- you know- a lot of stuff, and not stuff early in the morning). So one beach day was enough.
We started our day by heading South just a few miles to Makena, which is known for having some of the nicest beaches on the island. Our first stop of the day was the black sand beach at Makena State Park. It was beautiful, but we pretty much just hopped out, snapped some pictures, and got back in the Jeep to go find some breakfast. Nothing ruins a vacation like a hangry attitude (hangry = hungry + angry).
We ate at the only restaurant we could find in Makena. It was at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort. The resort didn’t look like much from the outside, but it was gorgeous once we stepped through the doors. Like most Hawaiian hotels, it’s open air and lush with foliage. We dined alongside a koi pond and overly-friendly birds stopped by to steal bites from our plates (scavengers!)
Once our tummies were full we headed off to Makena’s shining star, Big Beach. I’ve noticed that, when it comes to naming places, Hawaiians have only two methods: they choose something indigenous and difficult to pronounce, or something entirely unimaginative. Obviously, Big Beach falls into the latter category but at least it lives up to its name.
Known for its golden sand and turquoise water, it’s quite breathtaking. While the photos are nice, they really don’t hold a candle to the experience of standing there with the full panoramic view, taking in the tropical sights and sounds of the island.
getting pummeled by the powerful waves splashing around in the ocean a bit, we were ready to go exploring. Just North of Big Beach is Little Beach, a clothing-optional beach known to “get weird” (that’s what our snorkeling tour guide said, anyway, and from the glimpse we caught from the water that day, he wasn’t kidding). We decided that wasn’t really our scene, so we headed South in search of Secret Cove (which I heard about from Jen of Pearls and Lace). We weren’t exactly sure how to get there (answer: from the road) but we knew it was a quarter mile South of Big Beach so we traversed the lava rocks in our trusty flip-flops until we found it. Obviously, we didn’t die on our adventure but, ummm, I probably wouldn’t recommend it, either…
With our tummies clamoring for lunch, we walked up the adjacent road past a couple of roadside vendors until we found something that struck our fancy. We ordered fish and pork tacos and split them both. We both preferred the pork- in fact, Jason went back for a second order! Food trucks are pretty much the only dining option on that part of the island (aside from the restaurants at the hotel) so if you’re not a fan of tacos or hot dogs, make sure you pack snacks.
Later on, we went to a casual local joint in Kihei (key-hey) for dinner. Practically hidden in the side of a strip mall, Da Kitchen served up some of the best Hawaiian food we’d had yet. I ordered the veggie burger in an attempt to stave off unwanted vacation weight, but I ended up stealing more than a bite or two from Jason’s Hawaiian plate. It was just too good to resist!
After dinner we stopped by a local sports bar called Oceans. I’d heard about it from a local who’d hit on me while I was getting coffee one morning- he seemed like the kind of guy who’d know where the party was at! Unfortunately, we were disappointed by the lack of Halloween costumes (admittedly, we’d shopped and failed to find any for ourselves) so after just one drink, we called it a night. In by 10:00 and not a single piece of candy on Halloween night? We must be getting old… but at least we’re aging in paradise!