Travel to Maui

EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-9I spent the past week in Maui, Hawaii with the family and it was a dream vacation!  We started planning this trip almost a year ago, so the excitement and anticipation for it was high.   Maui delivered in a big way and left us with many happy memories.   The number one reason I would consider going back to Maui is for the crazy number of beautiful beaches.  We started each morning on a different beach and each one was great for swimming and completely gorgeous.

If you ever plan a trip to Maui I highly recommend the Maui Revealed Book.   We used it so many times and it never let us down.
Believe it or not, this was one of our cheaper vacations!  We used airline miles for plane tickets and booked a condo off Airbnb.  (Use that link and we will both get Airbnb credits)  We opted to save money by staying across the street from the ocean rather than right on it.   We tend to explore and drive a lot on our vacations so this worked out just fine for us.  We didn’t do any excursions or extras on this trip since there is so much to see and do on your own.  Our one splurge was spending the last night at a resort on Ka’anapali beach (which I wouldn’t recommend).   Matt and I preferred the quiet condo but the kids had fun.

We stayed in Kehei which we found to be a great choice because it was so central.  We thought nothing of driving any direction on the island from there.

I almost considered not bringing my camera along (seriously!!) because it is so heavy.  But in the end that was just crazy talk so I did bring my secondary camera body (Nikon D700) with just the Nikon 24-70 2.8 lens.   That ended up being a great choice because I never felt like I was lacking a focal length.   An alternative for a lighter carry might be a 35mm and a 50mm or 85mm.   That’s my recommendations.  I’m suggesting this because I seriously struggled with what equipment to bring.

The first day in Maui was a chill day to try to adjust to the new time zone.   I think we all woke up around 4:30am!  We hit Makena Beach the first day.   The waves were so fun to swim in and boogie board in. 🙂


This massive lava rock was so cool!


Ho’okipa Beach is one of the few places I remember from my visit to Maui 15 years ago.   It’s a good place to catch surfers.   It was extremely windy and quite cloudy the day we were there.  I don’t think the surf was particularly high either.


We spent an afternoon in Lahaina and ate dinner (lunch?) on the water.   It was a nice break from all of the swimming and really pretty there.   There were a lot of people but not half as many as I was expecting from everything I had read about Lahaina before going.
This Banyan tree was pretty amazing!


Not a bad lunch view 🙂


Of course we would get a kick out of this school sign.


We took a day to do the road to Hana.   I vaguely remembered it from my prior trip and wasn’t overly excited about it because of the long winding narrow road.   It wasn’t as bad as I remembered, at least until Hana.   Past that point, it’s crazy narrow.   We got a little bit of a late start around 8:30am.   We didn’t stop really at all for the first hour.   I highly recommend the gypsy app for the road to Hana!   It was very informative and told you when and where to stop.


My kids loved all of the wild cats and chickens on the island.


I gotta be honest and say I’m not really into waterfalls.  If I see one, I’m happy.   I don’t need to see 30.  And I’m certainly not willing to deal with crowds of people to see them.   We didn’t go out of our way to see too many.


We also got a kick out of these ferrets.. (mongooses?).


My very favorite part of the road to Hana is the Wai’anapanapa State Park just before Hana.   This place is like something out of a fairy tale.  The colors were so incredible and didn’t even seem real.   My only complaint was the crowded beach ;).   But the waves were big so we didn’t swim much anyways.


We stayed and swam in Hana for a few hours after eating lunch.

EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-68EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-67We continued past Hana to the 7 sacred pools.   That drive was a bit sketch with a narrow almost one lane road most of the way.   The pools were pretty though and Matt and kids took a swim.  EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-70EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-72EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-73EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-71We opted to not continue around the island and instead went back the way we came.   We started back kind of late and hit sunset along the way but the roads were empty at this point which we much preferred.   EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-75

Haleakala Crater

One of my favorite things we did was the drive to the Haleakala Crater.  Instead of doing sunrise (and waking up in the middle of the night) we just went during the day.   We loved this drive during the day.   It was so pretty and way less busy and a whole lot warmer.


At one point you actually drive through the clouds.   so cool!


This part of the island certainly didn’t look or feel like Maui.   I think that’s what makes it so unique and cool!


So many rainbows on the way back down the mountain.


On one of the last days, we hit up Ka’anapali beach in west Maui.   While it was pretty crowded, it sure was a beautiful beach!   The last few days had high surf warnings pretty much everywhere so swimming was a bit risky.   The waves were scary big this day so we did very little swimming.


A little more Hawaii to warm you all up today

I know a lot of people complain about all the “selfies” these days, but
I think it’s pretty amazing that we have the ability to record ourselves so easily.  The most
unfortunate part of our honeymoon photos is the fact that there are so few of US in them.   It was difficult
to take “selfies” with a film camera.   You had to hope a willing bystander would offer
to take a photo for you if you both want to be in it.

I dream of the day I can take my kids to Hawaii with us.  I’m not
sure if that day will ever come but I’ll keep dreaming about it 🙂
My dad had the same dream many years back and
was able to bring two of my sisters and I to Maui back when
I was in high school.  I actually stumbled across those photos the
other day.  Maybe I’ll share them sometime..


Film Flashback of Hawaii // Part 2

I came across our Hawaiian honeymoon pics today as I was looking for some things
on old hard drives.  Matt and I were there for our honeymoon back in 2002.  That was over 11 years ago!!
Before digital took off….   So we brought a handful of rolls of film to shoot.
You had to be much more selective of what you took photos of and unfortunately I wish
we had more photos with US in them 🙁
These photos have all been scanned.  I’ve shared a few of them in the past.

We flew in to the main island and from their hopped
on a plane to Kauai.   But before we did, we went to Pearl Harbor.   We actually showed
up without a hotel reservation the first night and found one when we landed.   It wasn’t the nicest
place but it worked out.

These photos make me anxious to go back!   I really
thought we would have made it back there by now but
it’s hard to think about leaving the kids for a week and quite expensive
to bring them with.   So for now, I’ll just keep dreaming of returning…

I’ll share a few more posts next week…


Dominican Republic – The tourist post

I did not take a ton of photos on this trip (besides the wedding)..  most of them are on my iphone.
I use my iphone as my point and shoot because my big girl camera is soo stinkin heavy to lug around.
But I did take it out a few times to capture some of the scenery.
The resort we stayed at was beautiful.   I felt like we were in a small town.

We haven’t seen flowers in months!  I was loving all the pretty colors.
One of the many pools.
Main lobby walking from the pool area.
One of the buffet restaurants overlooking the pool.
The view from one of our balcony’s.  (There were two!)My love…  going back up the 4 flights of stairs for something I forgot.  (I made him do it again right
Another pool.   We chilled on one these cabanas one afternoon.   It was divine.  😉
The view from the main lobby.
The beach!   Oh the beautiful beach. 
My love and I. 
And back home to our kiddos.  Such a pretty sunset.

Another blast from the past – Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

You all get another blast from the past or a continuation of our 10 year anniversary 😉

We honeymooned in Kauai, Hawaii immediately following our wedding.   I think we spent about 8 days there.  We had such an amazing time exploring Hawaii and enjoying our down time.  Matt had just graduated from college the week before our wedding and didn’t have a job lined up yet but it surprisingly made for a very low stress time in our lives.

We have said for the last few years that we should try to make it back to Hawaii for our 10 year anniversary but it just didn’t work out this year.  10 years crept up awfully quickly!  Maybe we will go for our 11th anniversary 😉

These are all photos of photos so don’t mind the quality.   And… they are all from film.   We were still in the film era 😉

and what is up with my glasses… ??   And high shorts…lol.   😉
Kauaii Hawaiian Honeymoon

Kauaii Hawaiian Honeymoon

Kauaii Hawaiian HoneymoonKauaii Hawaiian HoneymoonKauaii Hawaiian HoneymoonKauaii Hawaiian HoneymoonKauaii Hawaiian Honeymoon


Seattle…. Part 7

We visited the Pacific Science Center while in Seattle. It was fun for the kids. There was a lot to see. The funny thing is though there is this interactive room right when you walk in and it was a little lame. We thought that was all there was so we were kind of disappointed until we noticed some doors that led off to the main attractions.

They had a big play area full of fun toys. As soon as Brady saw this area his eyes just lit up and I ended up staying in this area with him for 2 hours while Matt took the kids around. This poor kid really did miss his toys on this trip.

The butterfly house:

A funny mirror 😉

Seattle Part 1
Seattle Part 2
Seattle Part 3
Seattle – Part 4 
Seattle Part 5
Seattle Part 6