All Fifty States Club

Hawaii Five 0 – Maui

February 27, 2024


Although every state has its unique food, culture, and history - Hawaii is definitely one of a kind. I am excited to share the details of my family's experiences as we traveled to 3 islands in Hawaii in December 2023. This is Part 2 - Maui.

Alicia, All Fifty Club President

Family of 6  trip to Hawaii in December 2023

Part 1 - Hawaii Planning and Preparation

Part 2 - Maui (2 nights)

Part 3 - Hawaii (4 nights)

Part 4 - Oahu (3 nights) 

Part 5 - Completion of All 50 in Hawaii!

Part 6 - Hawaii Packing List



Day 1 - Nashville to Hawaii

After much anticipation, the day finally arrived to take off for Hawaii! Our family has hit a lot of milestones lately - Matt and I recently turned 50 and celebrated our 25th anniversary; 0ur youngest daughter, Leah, is about to graduate high school, Trevor is in his first year in college, Carsten is about to graduate from college, and our oldest daughter, Karina, is about to complete one year in the working world. A lot to celebrate! We hope many family trips are in our future, but we wanted to take the trip before scheduling becomes even more complicated! We have traveled as a family for many years and this trip is the grand finale of a 50-state journey - as Hawaii is the 50th state for Karina, Carsten, and Trevor.

We left Nashville early in the morning and landed at LAX for a 5-hour layover before our flight to Maui. We decided to leave the airport to eat at In and Out, the California (now spreading nationwide) fast-food burger chain, less than a mile from the airport. And the adventures began!  We took the free airport economy lot shuttle, which drove within sight of the In and Out, then turned off to the farthest point of the economy lot to drop us off. So the walk was longer than we intended, over 20 minutes. This hike was a little too much for one of our suitcases on its last leg, so we had to carry it. The restaurant was very busy, but the service was fast. We were able to get a table outside, near a small park where you can watch the airliners land – right over our heads!  We walked to a nearby Target and bought a new suitcase to transfer our items into. We could have Ubered back to the airport for $15, much less than the $70 Uber asked for a pick-up going OUT of LAX (thus the shuttle)!  Since we had the time, we decided to walk back to the economy lot and take the shuttle back. We went back through security and got to our gate with plenty of time.

Our flight to Maui was on Delta Airlines and left in the daylight, which quickly turned to night as we headed over the ocean, so we could sleep. We did not check any bags (see Part 1 - planning), so we got our rental car and left the airport. We loved landing at an open-air airport and feeling the warm Hawaiian air right away. Karina, Carsten, and Trevor set foot in their 50th state on their quest to all 50 states! See Part 5 - Completion of All 50 in Hawaii.

After awarding the kids their All Fifty Club medal and a quick celebration at the airport, we picked up our rental car and drove to a nearby Safeway that was open 24 hours. We purchased some Maui Brewing Company drinks, pineapple wine, Aloha Guava drinks, and some food for the next several days. The drive to our Airbnb condo in Maalena Harbor was about 30 minutes. The Luxurious Maui Getaway w/Panoramic Views condo was located in a smaller complex of about 25 units. It had an awesome extended lanai (balcony) of windows that we kept open, so we could go to sleep to the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean.



Day 2 - West Maui, Haleakala Crater

On our first morning in Hawaii, we wanted to see the sunrise, and sure enough, we woke up just as the sun reflected off the ocean. We took turns searching the horizon for whales with our binoculars, but we didn't find any. Our goal for the day was to explore different parts of the island. Our condo was in Central Maui in Maalaea Harbor. The first stop was almost at the island's northwestern tip to see the Nakalele Blowhole, a natural waterspout shooting water 90 ft into the air.  We could see it from the road, but we hiked down closer. The closer we got, the more impressive it was - and the wetter! We could feel the mist from the water from quite a ways away.

Our next stop was an impromptu stop at Honolua Bay. There was a cool-looking rainforest area, so we pulled into a parking area and found a trail to Honolua Bay. Tropical trees framed our walk to the water while chickens roamed around and a sweet cat followed us.  We made it to the water but didn't swim as there wasn't a sandy beach area.  We returned to the car and drove to Napili Beach, a small, beautiful beach with perfect sand. We did a little boogie-boarding and soaking in the sun.

After our beach fill, as we returned to the condo, we drove on the bypass highway through Lahaina, the city that tragically burned in August 2023. It was awful to see the fire’s path on both sides of the road, with devastation down to the ocean. The iconic Front Street and surrounding area roads were still closed, and unfortunately, there wasn’t much left but a few houses or buildings here and there. Most of the area will have to be cleared; sadly, it doesn't look like there is much to salvage. Over 100 people died in the fire, 12,000 people were displaced, and 2,200 structures were destroyed. There appeared to be temporary housing areas with large tents and water tanks. This glimpse of Lahaina helped us prepare for the following day when we would purchase and deliver food for those in need. It was an interesting time to be in Maui, as the area needed tourists to return to support the economy, but at the same time, many locals were still struggling and had to live amongst the tourist presence on the island.

We arrived back at the condo for lunch and a quick rest before heading above the clouds - literally. At about 3:00 p.m., we started our drive to the Haleakala National Park. The road rose in elevation until we were above the clouds. It was a little eerie to peer off the side of the road and see clouds instead of the ground. Once we arrived at the summit, we hiked around and found a spot protected from the wind to settle in, snuggle in our jackets, and watch the sunset. We were fortunate to share the moment with Leah's close friend Shelby and her family, who were also visiting from Tennessee. It was fun to see each other 4,000 miles from home! The top of the crater was busy with visitors, and the summit parking lot filled up 30 minutes before sunset. After the sun went down, the crowd quickly cleared out, and we were some of the few who hung around for a little while to see the stars come out. The drive down seemed to fly by as we discussed our experiences on our first day in Hawaii.


Day 3 - Lahaina

We couldn't get enough of the view of the ocean as we had breakfast the following morning on the lanai. Our first stop was at Costco, where we met Russell from Emmanuel Lutheran Church - Maui and other church members; Costco was crazy busy at opening time, just like at home! We had a shopping list of the items in most demand at the Lahaina Distribution Center for those in need due to the fire. Members of Emmanuel, Our Savior Lutheran in Nashville, and the All Fifty Club had generously donated enough funds for us to purchase over $4,000 worth of food - canned chicken, SPAM, pasta, oatmeal, and soup. We loaded up three pick-up trucks and drove with them to the Westside Distribution Center in Lahaina at the Kapana Gateway shopping center. A great group of dedicated volunteers at the distribution center happily greeted us when we arrived to unload. They were extremely grateful that others (off the Island) were thinking of them. Our donation filled some empty shelves, but the need will continue. (Donations are still accepted by Emmanuel Lutheran Church and MauiStrong.)

We enjoyed our first taste of Hawaiian food at an L & L Hawaiian. The restaurant was packed with locals ordering all the Hawaiian classics – Loco Moco, Saimin, SPAM, Kalua pork, rice, and macaroni salad. Delicious! Then we had the best treat EVER, Hawaiian Shave Ice, at the eclectic Shave Ice in Paradise.

Our time on Maui had quickly come to an end. We so hope to return someday and exploring the east side of the island and the west side all over again! We arrived at the airport in the late afternoon destined for Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. We flew on Hawaiian Airlines (using miles earned when signing up for a Hawaiian Airlines credit card). Hot tip - Book window seats on the right side of the plane for a nice aerial view of the islands. We could actually see the many valleys and waterfall areas along the coast that we would visit in Part 3 - Big Island of Hawaii.

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