Travel Diaries

Taking on Both Coasts in Maui, Kids in Tow

by Madeline Lu

Maui is famous not only for its stunningly beautiful beaches on the West Coast but also its lavish rainforest on the East Coast. Most of the visitors prefer to stay on the sunny west side, but my family did both during our one-week trip to maximize the experience—it turned out to be the best decision ever.

Road to Hana waterfall on the way to Hana

We start our trip by driving along the Road to Hana. People say it’s more than a road trip, it’s a journey and they’re absolutely right. The winding 50 miles of road passes taro patches, magnificent seascapes, waterfall pools, botanic gardens and rainforests then ends at one of the most beautiful tropical places in Hawaii. Along the way, we pass many fruit stands. I highly recommend stopping at Twin Falls, which is a cute food truck, where you can get fresh coconut water, pineapple popsicles and banana bread. Bring a towel and swimsuit, and walk in—it’s only a five-minute walk to the first waterfall and another five to the second. The water isn’t cold, making it the perfect spot for a quick dip before continuing on the road.

Red sand beach in Hana

On the East Coast, we stay at Travaasa. Travaasa is everything we expected and more—tranquil, exquisite and serene. The resort has two areas: one is right by the ocean with bungalows facing the sea, and other is surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden. We booked ourselves into an ocean bungalow with a great sea view.  It’s wonderful waking up to watch the sunrise from the balcony and falling asleep listening to the waves. The food in Travaasa is equally sensational; all the ingredients are locally sourced and super fresh. Those who love fish will certainly enjoy the great “catch of the day” choices. A big bonus is that just a 10-minute walk from Travaasa is the famous Red Sand Beach. Very few places in the world have red sand beaches, so it’s must-see. Another great place to visit is the Seven Secret Pools and the Bamboo Forest.

Pool at Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui Breakfast with an ocean view at Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

After spending three days in the east, we venture to the other side and stay at the beautiful Fairmont Kea Lani. Fairmont is one of my favorite hotel brands simply because they have the best family-friendly hotels. But they’re not just for families—I love how they accommodate guests of every lifestyle and make all feel welcomed. At Fairmont Kea Lani, they have family pools as well as an adult pool, so people can decide how they want to spend their leisure time and retreat wherever they want to. Kea Lani has also amazing restaurants offering not only local Hawaii dishes, but also those with Asian, European and American influences. When on this side of the island, you don’t want to miss watching sunrise or sunset in the Haleakalā National Park. Far above the clouds, the view is just spectacular. I would also suggest visiting the spiritual Iao Valley and seeing the vast sunflower field along the way.

There are so many places I still wish to visit in Maui. I can’t wait to return.