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We have made short visits to Keawapaku Beach on our previous visits to Maui, but hadn’t spent a lot of time there before this latest trip. We decided to try out Five Palms Restaurant, which has an oceanfront view of Keawapaku Beach. We both had the Lobster BLT. The food was fantastic and the view was amazing. We even saw a few turtles swimming near the shoreline. 

By the time lunch was done it was getting to be mid-afternoon, so the wind had picked up and the waves were getting bigger. So I decided to wait until the next morning to try out the snorkeling. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the water was much calmer. I saw lots of fish and quite a few turtles. My first underwater video attempts at Kaanapali Beach were pretty shaky so I didn’t post any of those, but I did a lot better this time with the water being calm. Here are some of my favorite photos and a video from Keawapaku Beach:

Keawapaku Beach Maui

Lobster BLT at Five Palms Maui

Rocky Point near Keawapaku Beach Maui

Keawapaku Beach - Maui

Snorkeling at Keawapaku Beach, Maui

Maui Turtle

snorkeling with turtles video keawapaku beach maui

Definitely one of my new favorite beaches, and a very short drive from our condo at the Maui Banyan. Will be back here for sure on future visits! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts from our latest Hawaiian Adventures!

We read online that Mama’s Fish House was one of the best restaurants on the island of Maui. We’ve visited Maui a number of times now, but had yet to check this place out, mostly due to the cost. On our latest trip we were heading home along the Hana Highway and trying to decide on where to go for dinner. We didn’t have a reservation, but since it wasn’t quite 5pm we figured it might not be too busy yet. So we figured we would check it out while we were in the area. Since we didn’t have a reservation they didn’t have a spot in the main dining area (with the amazing ocean-view), but they did have a spot in the bar area which was fine with us.

The service was amazing! The valet staff entered our name into a computer, and by the time we got to the waitress station they were expecting us and had our table ready. Our waitress was fantastic, attentive, and friendly. Never let our water glass get empty.

There is an amazing beach right out front of the restaurant… what a view:
Beach at Mama's Fish House

We went over the drink menu, but after the long drive decided to stick with some pop. Shauna went with the iced tea, and Dan asked for a Root Beer. (Maui travel tip for pop drinkers… always order the root beer as many restaurants stock a brand of local Maui made root beer that is fantastic).The menu looked amazing! We had looked at the menu online so already knew what we wanted for an entree, but we decided to try the Papa’s Sashimi Trio Appetizer first – which consisted of Ono with calamansi citrus and Molokai pink sea salt, Ahi with ponzu, red sisho, and kukui nut salt, and Onaga with charred pineapple, pomegranate, and Hawaii Island black sea salt.

Papa's Sashimi Trio Appetizer

The entree we both decided on ahead of time was the Mahimahi caught along the north shore by Eric Nakamura, stuffed with lobster and crab, baked in a macadamia nut crust. It was also topped with asparagus and a small lobster tail. It was one of the most delicious entree’s we have eaten – fantastic!

Stuffed Mahimahi - Mama's Fish House

As we were finishing up our dinner the most fantastic looking dessert was delivered to the table across from us. The entire section stopped eating to have a look. The guy at the table next to theirs even asked to take a photo of it. So of course we had to order one for ourselves – it’s big enough to share. It was the Polynesian Black Pearl – a lilikoi chocolate mouse in a pastry seashell. It was amazing, just like everything else.

The Black Pearl - Mama's Fish House

Everything was so good that we actually considered making a reservation for a return visit a few days later, but weren’t sure what we would be doing just yet so decided to hold off. We ended up not being able to make it back up, but will definitely be back on our next trip.

View of the oceanfront dining portion of the restaurant:
Mama's Fish House

Beach at Mama's Fish House

Well worth the money at least once in your trip! Just remember to make reservations in advance!

We have been to Maui a number of times now, and always enjoy our day-trips to hana. But after our last trip we said we weren’t going to travel the Hana Highway again for a while. It’s such a beautiful drive but it always makes for a very long day. So we decided the best way to have more time to relax and enjoy the sights and scenery would be to spend a few nights in Hana. After doing quite a bit of research online with VRBO and TripAdvisor, we came across the Hana Oceanfront Cottages. Right away we knew it was the place we had to stay. They have two options – the Cottage or the Suite – but the Cottage was the one we really wanted. What a beautiful place – exactly like the photos on their website. Here are some of our favorite photos taken during our stay…

Hana Oceanfront Cottage - Hana By The Sea

View from the Hana Oceanfront Cottage, Maui

View from the Hana Oceanfront Cottage, Maui

The Living Room - Hana Oceanfront Cottage

Kitchen - Hana Oceanfront Cottage

Bathroom - Hana Oceanfront Cottage

Hana Oceanfront Cottage Bedroom

Since we haven’t spent a night without A/C during our time on the Hawaiian Islands we were a bit hesitant to spend too many nights there, since we weren’t sure how it would go. So we only booked a one night stay, which worked out well as it filled a small gap in their calendar. There are windows on all four sides of the cottage, so it was very well ventilated and cool throughout the night. It wasn’t quiet however as you could hear the ocean crashing below, and the frogs chirping from time to time. I found it quite relaxing and got a great sleep. Shauna didn’t sleep as well, although I did wake her up a few times throughout the night as I woke up a few times to check out the skies… Our one night stay coincided with the peak of the annual Lyrids Meteor Shower. Unfortunately the clouds blocked the view for most of the night and the moon was already starting to rise. I did find a break in the clouds around 2am and was able to get a few photos in, however didn’t see any meteors this time. I did get a couple nice night photos though.

Hamoa Beach, Maui

We woke up to a beautiful morning, and of course headed across the road with our cameras to take some photos. It was amazing to hear and watch the waves below as the light changed and go brighter. We ate our breakfast out on the patio watching the waves and the surfers. We could definitely spend a lot more time here. Before we checked out we headed down to Hamoa Beach. The surfers were enjoying the waves, but we didn’t want to test them so stayed on the shore. Maybe next time we will give it a try if things are a bit calmer. Here are some of our favorites from the morning…

Hana Sunrise

Beautiful morning at Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach, Maui

Hamoa Beach Surfing

Hamoa Beach Maui

I had heard that Black Rock at Ka’anapali was one of the best snorkeling locations on the island of Maui. I wanted to check it out on a previous trip, but didn’t make it there as we always stay in Kihei. Shauna doesn’t like snorkeling, and I am not a big fan of shopping. So I made a plan where Shauna would drop me off at Black Rock for a few hours so I could snorkel while she went shopping at the Whaler’s Village. It worked out great for both of us.

The snorkeling at Black Rock was very good, with great visibility. However it was far too busy for my liking. Most of the turtles I saw were completely surrounded by people. There was one right near the shore that was pretty much getting swarmed by kids, until a large Hawaiian guy came down and shouted for them all to ‘get away from the turtle’. Overall it was a good place to snorkel, but I preferred my time at Honolua and the various Wailea beaches which were less busy with just as many fish and turtles. Here are some of my favorite photos from my day at Black Rock. It was overcast and raining while I was here, so the photos probably would have been better if it was sunny the entire time. Only one turtle photo as well, since I was trying out the video on my camera this time. However it seemed that I needed some practice as none of the video I took was usable. Fortunately I got another chance later in the trip, and got some great turtle video. More to come on that in a later post.

Kaanapali Beach - Maui

Black Rock - at Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Maui Fish

Maui Fishes

First Turtle of the Trip

Needle Fish

Beautiful Kaanapali Beach, Maui

A great day at the beach, and I was very happy to be back for another Maui vacation. Shauna had a great time with her shopping as well, so the day was a success all around. Stay tuned for more posts and photos from our latest Hawaiian Adventures!

We had only stopped briefly at Mokapu Beach on our previous trips to Maui, but knew we wanted to spend some more time there. It’s located in south Maui, with a parking lot on Ulua Beach Road near the Wailea Elua Village. The parking lot leads to a turnaround between Mokapu and Ulua Beach Parks and direct access to the Wailea Beach Path which connects all the amazing Wailea Beaches. On our first visit to Mokapu beach we watched a beautiful sunset and captured some photos of the beach and palm tree silhouettes. On our last day of the trip I was finally able to try out the snorkelling. The water was clear and there was lots of fish… mostly in the shallows right along the rocky point.

A self portrait silhouette we took during the sunset at Mokapu Beach…

Mokapu Beach Sunset Silhouette Maui Hawaii Wedding Northern Pixel Photography

View of the sunset from the water…

Mokapu Beach Sunset Maui Hawaii Wedding

View from the water looking towards the Rocky Point between Mokapu and Ulua Beaches…

Mokapu Beach, Maui

Some of the coral, sea urchins, and fish in the clear water at Mokapu Beach…

Mokapu Beach Snorkelling Fish Coral

Mokapu Beach Snorkelling

The view looking north towards Mokapu Beach from the rocky point…

Mokapu Beach, Maui

And the beautiful sunsets…

Mokapu Beach Sunset

Mokapu Beach Sunset Hawaii

With beautiful sunsets, great snorkelling, and even a wedding on the beach one evening we were there, Mokapu is definitely one of my new favorite Maui Beaches.

You can follow our blog to receive notification of our new posts – we have lots more to come as we sort through the photos from our trip – or leave a comment below if you like the post or have any questions. Thanks for reading!

We have been to Maui three times now, with a lot of great experiences, memories, and photographs. So I was looking back and thinking about all of my favorite activities we have done.  So of course it made perfect sense to add a blog post with our favorite Maui Activities. Although it was a pretty tough list to narrow down, as there are so many amazing things you can do there. Since we mostly travel the island on our own, there are not many paid tours on the list (although we would like to take a helicopter tour some day). Anyhow, here is the list, hope you enjoy it, and as always you can click on the color links to see the full post for each:

#1 – Of course our wedding is first on the list. Such a perfect day at Secret Cove Beach, and our favorite memory of all. Getting married on the beach in Hawaii is the best thing we could have done:

Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

Sunset at Secret Cove Beach

#2 – Whale Watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. It is definitely worth going out just to see and hear the humpbacks, no matter what the distance. We were lucky enough to have them swim right up to the boat. It was an unforgettable experience.

Pacific Whale Foundation - Maui Whale Watching

Whale-Watching

#3 – The amazing Haleakala Sunrise. We have been up to view the sunrise twice now, and will certainly go back up again on our next trip. I also enjoyed taking photos of the night sky. But watching the sun slowly rise above the clouds was a sight to behold. But be sure to dress warm for this one, as that wind is something else.

Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

Lookout Tower- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

#4 – The Old Lahaina Luau. Another amazing memory from our wedding trip of 2008. It was recommended online as one of the best Maui Luau’s. Whether you choose this one or another, a luau is definitely something to experience on any trip to Hawaii.

Old Lahaina Luau

#5 – Snorkeling at turtle town. I love to swim, love to snorkel, and love taking photos. So I spent a lot of time in the water with my new underwater camera on our latest trip. Turtle town near Wailea is one of my favorite spots. If you arent comfortable swimming from shore there are a lot of tour boat options that will get you here as well, to swim with the fish and the turtles.

Snorkeling with Turtles

#6 – Driving the Hana Highway. An all day adventure with as many side trips and stops as you can manage. So many sights and stops and adventures to be had.

South Maui Coastline

#7 – Honolua Bay – One of our favorite places on the island of Maui. On our first trip he heard it was a great snorkeling location. We didnt know about the rainforest out there however – what an amazing place. And the snorkeling was awesome (when the surf isn’t up).

Honolua Bay

Tropical Forest at Honolua Bay, Maui

#8 – Hiking the Pipiwai trail. An adventure that might be best done while staying in Hana. But we made an early morning drive from Kihei and hiked this amazing trail. From the Infinity Pool, to the banyan tree, to the Bamboo Forest, to the 400 foot waterfall at the end, this was such an awesome hike.

Maui Bamboo Forest

Makahiku Falls Infinity Pool - Maui

#9 – Watching the sunsets on the beach is one of our favorite (and free) activities on the island. We especially loved the views from Secret Cove and Big Beach. The perfect way to end yet another day in paradise:

Beautiful Maui Sunset

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#10 – Kula Botanical Garden. We spent a great morning walking through the gardens here. Its a self guided trail where you can wander the trails at your own pace, and view the great variety of tropical plants and flowers. Definitely great for photos:

Crazy Flower at Kula Tropical Flower Gardens, Maui

at Kula Tropical Gardens, Maui

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the list. It was hard to narrow down as there is so much to do. We definitely look forward to our next visit, as there are many more activities we would like to try.

We found the Coconut’s Fish Cafe on TripAdvisor while looking for restaurants in Kihei.

It is a relatively new restaurant, that wasn’t here during our previous trip. They did an amazing job decorating the place:

Coconut's Fish Cafe, Maui

We stopped here for lunch one day,  and were very impressed. I had the Ono burger, Shauna had the Mahi Burger, and they were both awesome. The fries were very good as well.

Fish Burger at Coconut's Fish Cafe

We also at here for dinner after our long day trip around the Hana Highway and the Pipiwai Trail. It was after 8pm by the time we got back to Kihei that day, so we wanted something that would be fairly fast, but also very tasty. Since we had been here a few days before, we knew it would hit the spot after a long day of traveling – and it certainly did. My mom and brother really enjoyed it here as well.

We ended up wishing we had tried this place earlier on in our trip, as we likely would have eaten there a few more times as well, to sample some of the other great dishes on their menu. It is definitely a place we look forward to visiting again on our next trip to Maui.

As with my top 10 beaches list, these are my favorites, so this list may not be the most well known or famous restaurants on the island of Maui, but they are still some of the top rated ones on tripadvisor. We tend to stay away from the ritzy and expensive places; preferring to eat at places that are affordable while still offering amazing food. The list is somewhat Kihei focused as well, since that is where we have stayed on each of our three visits to Maui.

#1 – Sansei Seafood and Sushi. One of the first restaurants we go to, and definitely the one we visit the most on each trip (usually at least three times a trip). Their fresh Hawaiian fish and sushi is amazing. Especially the rainbow roll shown below:

Sansei Restaurant, Maui

#2 – 808 Bistro. A newer restaurant right next to our condo at the Maui Banyan (and right behind Fred’s Mexican). We decided to give it a try, and then ended up going back again and again. The food was awesome and the portions were good.

Pork Chops @ 808 Bistro, Maui

#3 – Cafe O’Lei. One we found on tripadvisor and had not tried on our first two trips. Not the cheapest, but certainly not unreasonable. Especially for the great food and fresh fish.

Asian Shortribs at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

#4 – Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Another newer place that was not here on our first two trips. But what an amazing place it is. The decor is certainly unique, and the food was awesome. We didnt know that a fish burger could taste so good.

Fish Burger at Coconut's Fish Cafe

#5 – Maui Coffee Roasters – One of our favorite places for an affordable breakfast. And Shauna’s favorite place for coffee – best coffee on the island she says.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict @ Maui Coffee Roasters

#6 – Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse BBQ. Another great restaurant in Kihei. Not a big place but the flavor is strong and the food is awesome. Cant wait to get back again for those ribs and baked beans.

Fat Daddy's Smokehouse BBQ, Maui- Ribs

#7 – Sea House – Decent food, and an awesome location. We have been here a few times for lunch. Eating here with the ocean breeze blowing and the waves crashing is something we look forward to once again on our next trip.

Update – we went here on a return trip and didnt enjoy it as much. But the view was still amazing!

SeaHouse Restaurant at Napili Beach

#8 – Paia FishMarket. Another great affordable place for fish and chips and fish burgers. Although we ate at Coconut’s listed above more this past trip, as Paia is a bit of a drive from our condo in Kihei.

Fish'n'Chips at Paia Fishmarket Restaurant, Maui

#9 – Waterfront Restaurant. We came here during our wedding trip of 2008.

Update – this restaurant moved, and has since closed.

Waterfront Restaurant, Maui

#10 – Kihei Caffe. A great place for breakfast. Their banana-macadamia nut pancakes are awesome. This place will definitely be higher on our next list.

Kihei Cafe - Banana Macadamia Nut Pancakes

As with my previous Maui Beaches top 10 list, this list may not agree with other views of beaches on the island of Maui. This list represents the beaches I have enjoyed the most, and the ones I look forward to visiting on our next visit to Maui. And as with my other blog posts, you can click on the green hyperlinks to open the previous posts.

#1 – Secret Cove Beach – this one makes it to the top of my list since it was our wedding beach. It is always the first beach we visit once we have unpacked and settled into our condo. Its a small beach, and I have only seen one or two people swimming here in all of our visits. So without the sentimental wedding memories it may not seem like the #1 beach to everyone. But it will always be our favorite.

Maui Destination Wedding Beach Northern Pixel Photography

#2 – Maluaka Beach – an amazing south Maui beach, and one of my favorite snorkeling spots. We have spent quite a bit of time here as well. Great sand, great water, scenic for photography, its our favorite beach to spend the day.

Maluaka Beach

#3 – Napili Beach – the beach I would stay at if we ever stay in West Maui. Scenic, great sand, great boogie boarding, great snorkeling. Its a 45 minute drive from our condo in Kihei, but one of our favorite day trip locations.

Napili Beach Maui Wedding

#4 – Palauea Beach – another awesome south Maui beach in Wailea. No facilities or lifeguards, but the snorkeling is awesome. Although the water was a bit cloudy on our last trip as the wind was blowing and the waves were bigger than on previous trips.

Northern Pixel Photography Destination Wedding Canadian

#5 – Honolua Bay – the beach itself is rocky and not like the other beaches on the list. But the snorkeling (in the summer months) is amazing, with the clearest water I have seen on Maui (although I still havent been out to Molokini). In the winter months it becomes a very popular surfing location. Whether you want to snorkel or not, its worth the trip to enjoy the view and walk through the forest. But dont leave anything in your car, as there seems to be a lot of break-ins out there.

Snorkeling at Honolua Bay, Maui

#6 – Kamaole II Beach. Right across the road from our condo at the Maui Banyan, so we spent quite a bit of time here, and have a lot of great memories from this beach. It has been crowded on some days, and almost empty on others. But we have walked on the beach, explored the rocky point, and enjoyed the swimming, snorkeling, and boogie boarding. And of course it makes a great spot for watching the sunsets…

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#7 – Big Beach. We didnt get to spend a lot of time here on our latest trip. But what an amazing beach. And they have lifeguards here now too (last I heard anyhow). The waves can get very big though, so we haven’t swam here at all. But the sand is great and the sunsets are awesome.

Big Beach, Maui

#8 – Po’olenalena Beach. Another beach I wanted to spend more time at. There are two sides of the beach, and it did not seem too crowded both times I was there. Just around the corner from Palauea, so the snorkeling is supposed to be great as well (although the water was rough and not clear when I was there) Will be stopping here again next time for sure.

Maui Wedding Beach Top 10 Beaches

#9 – Hamoa Beach. Might have to spend a few nights in Hana on our next trip, so we can spend some more time at this amazing beach.

Hamoa Beach

#10 – Ka’anapaali Beach. I still didnt get a chance to snorkel Black Rock, so will have to keep this on my list for next time, based on my desire to spend some time more here. One of the most famous and popular beaches on the island of Maui.

We heard about Cafe O’Lei on TripAdvisor prior to our trip. It was one of the top rated restaurants in Kihei, so we really wanted to try it out. We ended up eating there our first night since it was relatively close to our condo at the Maui Banyan. Although it was closed when we first got there, as it was only 4:15pm local time. We were pretty hungry after the long flight and had hoped to find an early meal. We went to the coffee/smoothie bar next door and had a nice cold smoothie to help cool us down – we were struggling to adapt to the +28’C heat since it was still below zero when we left home that morning. It was actually a pretty good find, and we went back here four more times during our trip.

We went back up the stairs to Cafe O’Lei at 5pm, and were one of the first groups to be seated. The waitress actually just took our drink order and had to leave for a bit, to take part in their pre-dinner meeting to learn the specials for the night. The special was the swordfish, which sounded good to me. Shauna ordered the Asian Short Ribs and my mom ordered the jumbo prawns.

Asian Short Ribs:
Asian Shortribs at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

Our drinks came out quickly, and we happily enjoyed the fresh baked bread that was still warm. Since we were one of the first groups there, our food came out pretty quickly. It was amazing and we were certainly very happy to be back in Hawaii once again.

Swordfish:
Swordfish at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

This was the first place we ate during our trip, and ended up being the last place we ate as well – not that we planned it that way.
My brother and I both tried the Ahi tuna on our last night – it was amazing. I wasnt sure about all the spicy sauces that came with it, so I got them on the side, while he ordered the way it was supposed to be. I ended up adding almost all of my sauce on to my plate anyhow, so I might as well have gotten it like he did. But I liked that the waitress offered to bring it the way she did, just in case.

We will definitely be back to the Cafe O’Lei during our next trip to Maui, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good meal in Kihei.