Top 5 Tuesday – Sharon’s Maui Picks

Posted by Sharon Gundrum in Hawaii, Maui, Top 5

Maui. How do I get back? Can I move there? How can I relocate my family? How soon do I leave? All very reasonable and relevant questions after you spend ANY time in Maui. All questions I was attempting to answer during my stay, and that I am still trying to answer weeks later. That said, I am always happy to talk about my happy place – Hawaii, so here are my top 5 Maui picks.

Maui Polo Beach

Polo Beach

Dusk was settling on the beach as we arrived at our resort. The kids had made a beeline for the pool, gleefully splashing and frolicking, shaking off the dust from the trip from Honolulu. Their dad watched over them as I ventured down to the beach. Beautiful pools are one thing, but being in Hawaii, I choose the beach. Upon my first glimpse of the beauty of Polo Beach, it was all I could do not to RUN back to them and drag them down to the ocean. The water was warm after the day’s hot sun, and all four of us waded in and I saw our stress, our fatigue from a too busy life wash away. It was to this beach that we returned every day, to rest under an umbrella, or to play in the surf with rented boogie boards. The slow slope into the water made this a great spot for kids to wade in and play, and the small to medium waves allowed for fun without too much worry.  At the north end of the beach we saw snorkelers – but were cautioned that if the ocean is upset with a storm that dangerous riptides can form there.

Maui Polo Beach

Whale Watching

From January to March the humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii to have their calves. Whale watching has long been a bucket list item for me, and knowing this, my very kind husband booked on a boat not far from our hotel in Kaanapali Beach. The Pacific Whale Foundation, whose mission is to “protect our oceans through science and advocacy,” offered us a way to learn about the life of a humpback through highly educated guides and a Q&A while we moved through the water to “search for whales.” As we went on the tail end of the season, there was some doubt that we would have success – but we did! We were fortunate enough to see a mother and calf on our trip. The PWF did guarantee a sighting – or the trip was free. I found that to be a nice offer, but I would have been disappointed not to see a whale. Full disclosure: I did partake in some motion sickness prevention by way of dramamine. None of my family members chose to join me and they were all a bit queasy as the boat did some impressive dips and rises over the waves. Upon our return we spent a few dollars on souvenirs – the shopfront of the PWF offered everything we could have wanted from apparel to jewelry to postcards, all in support of their cause.

Pacific Whale Foundation
Whale Watching

Before we set out - warm and sunny!

We passed these beautiful mountains on our way.

Whale watching Pacific Whale Foundation

Between the wind and the chop it was best to hang on tight!

Whale Watching Pacific Whale Foundation

Whales sighted - right in there somewhere. Possibly under the water.



I have been writing this section in my head since our last meal – or first, at Monkeypod. My husband, a frequent traveler to Hawaii for work stumbled upon this restaurant’s Honolulu location and was highly impressed. Located on Maui’s south side – close to where we stayed was a Monkeypod of our very own. He was very excited to bring me – “It’s right up your alley!” He was correct. Fresh, locally sourced food. Craft cocktails. Outdoor dining with spectacular sunsets. Live music. Does it get any better? Not for me. Since it felt slightly criminal to eat anything but seafood while in Maui, so that is pretty much what I did. In total we ate at Monkey Pod five times. Yes, five times. That is how good it was. How did this work for my kiddos? Well if any of you know me, you know that my daughter has a predilection for noodles and butter, and I have a resistance to over paying for such a simple meal. The restaurant also delivered on this front – they offered a pizza that was too good for my little noodle lover to pass up. Holden couldn’t ever decide – everything was too good. In all, my favorite dish had to be the Fresh Caught Fish Tacos, and my favorite drink – the Monkeypod Mai Tai.

Monkeypod Mai Tai


Now I don’t know if this should actually be a category but really it was the best part of Maui for me. The sunsets are magical, and time should be made to just sit and watch them. To sit and absorb them. So that is what I did. Oh and it’s free. Which is nice, because most things in Maui are not. 

Maui Sunset

Tropical Drinks

I was very close to writing a bit about the Road to Hana. And then I thought, well I didn’t actually do that. It came HIGHLY recommended, and I can obviously do research to share with you – even getting some anecdotal evidence of how incredible this activity is. From like many sources. But I decided against it. You see I plan to go back to Maui next spring break, and I am going to wait so I can share that with you from my own POV. Instead, I am going to show you all of the wonderful craft cocktails that we had on our trip. (By we I mean me and my husband.)

Maui Drinkies

Okay this was in Honolulu at #Roys, but it was too pretty not to post.

There were plenty of things we didn’t do when we were in Maui, but what we did do was relax. We didn’t work out, or push our family to go on multiple excursions. We needed time to just watch the sunset, and to revel in the beauty of the island.  So we did.


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