Get Out: Adventures in Aloha

Is visiting Hawaii on your bucket list? It’s been on our family bucket list since our kids were little so I started a savings IMG_0944account for the trip last year and away we flew – to Maui, where it’s kid-friendly enough to not have to drive too far for big adventure and get in more than just the beach and pool. This week’s Get Out adventure was a perfect blend of playful and peaceful – blue skies with low clouds, bright blue waters, sandy and black beaches and palm trees everywhere you turn – and those sunsets!

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Lahaina in the northern community of Kaanapali Resorts  in west Maui, perfect for breathtaking sunsets over the ocean. Highly recommend staying there, but when you budget be sure and include the daily resort fee ($30) and daily parking ($16 for self-parking) and give yourself a hefty allowance for the food and drinks. There’s even a Macy on property in case you need more swimsuits or forgot something.

We hiked Twin Falls (yep, two waterfalls there), played on the beach, went on a half day snorkeling adventure on a boat (which I’ll share as next week’s post) and did some great sight-seeing and shopping. The Luau on property, which is a 3 hour event, was a great way to learn about Hawaiian history and get to see hula dancing and eat an authentic Hawaiian meal.

Enjoy the pics and my Top 5 Secrets to Squeezing Every Drop from Paradise! Come back next week for sea turtles and snorkeling.

1. Wake up early. I *know*. You’re on vacation and want to sleep in, but personally I’d rather get up and enjoy the sunrise and the island “waking up” around me. The resort was so quiet and mostly empty between 6 and 8 a.m.. I used that early bird time to work out in the fitness center, walk the grounds by myself and take some great photos before meeting back up with my family. A wonderful way to set my intentions for the day.


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Black swans seemed to pose for me early one morning.
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Selfie at the “wall mirror” in front of the luau entrance (Tiki god in the background) on my way to the fitness center at 6 a.m. every morning.

2. Really experience local culture. Eat their dishes (or try them!) and relish in what makes Hawaii unique. The art, the food (passion fruit, coconut, macadamia nuts!) Get to know the history by going to a luau and eating some roasted pig and watching beautiful hula dancers – men and women – share their rituals and story through song and dance – and fire.

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3. Stay in the present moment and notice the small things. What better place to practice stillness and staying in the present moment (not worrying about the past or the future) than paradise? By practicing awareness we see the little things we may have missed if our minds were elsewhere (and I saw a ton of people on their phones – ack). Don’t forget to take pictures of the local flavor, too.

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The hammock was for Marriott guests so we were rebels and borrowed one for an hour to read.
Noticing all the flowers on our hike at Twin Falls.
The motto for Hawaii, on the back of the fruit truck! “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”.
My kids gathered these rocks from the ocean so they wouldn’t trip on them!
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Amazing art perfectly complements the natural beauty.

4. Try a new-to-you adventure. It’s likely that it might be your kids first time to try something new but what about you? The beach is full of vendors ready to teach you how to paddle board or surf or snuba (a combo snorkeling and scuba diving that’s all the rage). I really wanted to bike down the volcano (26 miles) but it would’ve taken up most of a day and my youngest didn’t fit the age requirement, but I did snorkel for the first time. I have no idea why I haven’t done it before now because it’s as easy as sticking your face in the water and breathing through a tube. My 14-year-old daughter was afraid to snorkel until she tried it and then she said, “I don’t know why I was afraid!” Same goes for all of us, right?

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5. Play. It’s not just for kids. Vacation is supposed to be about cutting loose and playing, right? Get in the ocean, jump in the pool, sing along to the cover band. Don’t give in to the temptation to check Facebook or your email. (Or give yourself a strict limit like once a day after you’re done for the day.) If you’re going with a spouse, split some time on who has the kids for a bit if there’s something you want to get out and do on your own. If you do #1 and get up early then you’ll have time to do that before the family is even awake maybe. If the whole family is together the WHOLE TIME, you are likely to FOF out early (Family overload factor.) This happened to us after the teens got sunburned and then didn’t feel like doing anything. Hey, it happens. I found a lounge chair with an ocean view and listened to Sam Smith and chilled out. I loved playing dress up, too. It’s not everyday you get to take pictures with these gorgeous backdrops and as a writer I don’t get the chance to dress up much, so why not?

On the terrace from the lobby looking down to the pool and ocean…before hitting happy hour!
Love the easy breezy style in Hawaii! In front of the golf course.
Wish I could’ve played a bit longer here…
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Tried a new drink each day…that’s adventure. 🙂



With my favorite cocktail I discovered on the trip, Sea Breeze
With my favorite cocktail I discovered on the trip, Sea Breeze

Here’s the Sea Breeze recipe so you can make your own at home!

2  ounces vodka
3 ounces cranberry juice
3 ounces grapefruit juice
Ice cubes

Slice of pineapple for the rim!


Mahalo! Thanks for reading! xo- Malena

Did you know I set two ebooks in Hawaii? The novellas Life’s a Beach and The Last Resort were each set on the islands. The Last Resort includes all the main characters from The Stork Reality, Life’s a Beach and Fixer Upper to catch up on what happened to them after those books. 


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