Kihei, on the island of Maui, Hawaii, was significantly less touristy than Lahaina. And that is a good thing! It really seemed like this was the place people actually “lived” on the island if they were outside the big city Kahului. Of course there was a main town center, but this town really seemed to have the beach as the main focus for being here. The town stretched for miles along the coast facing due west, which led to some incredible sunsets each night. We went scuba diving right off the beach, even went surfing. Our time in Kihei was incredible. The primary purpose for visiting Kihei was for three main reasons. One, to see a new part of the island. Two, to go SCUBA diving. And three, because this was the start of the reverse road to Hana! We stayed right off of Kamaole Beach Park near the Dolphin Plaza. From here we could walk right to the beach or the longer walk into the town center where all the restaurants and shops were located.
Like I said, we really were stoked to finally go SCUBA diving. So we rented gear from Maui Dive Shop, located right in town, and went on both a boat dive and shore dive. Although we got the boat in Maalaea Harbor, outside of Kihei, it was just a quick drive from where we were staying. From the boat, we explored two dive sites called Temple of Doom and Stonewall. At a depth of 50ft, I explored my first beautiful reef while Scuba diving. It was amazing, nothing but deep blue ocean surrounding you. The reef was somewhat healthy and we saw countless fish! Weightless, I floated around this underwater world drifting in the current. Courtney, her Dad, and I did two dives off the boat, being escorted around the sites by our Dive Master Nick. Both were beyond and incredible experience to be able to witness.
The other dive we went on, was in the opposite direction at Ulua Beach. We got out early to head to the beach so that we could secure some parking, but then it was a quick walk down to the water. After throwing on all our SCUBA gear: BCDs, tanks, Regs, goggles, and fins, we walked right into the water to explore the shallow reef. Well, that is, after our first attempt was unsuccessful because the tanks we originally got from the Dive Shop were empty. But after we went back to get full ones, it was nothing but smooth sailing! The reef was flourishing with life (but not as many sea turtles). We spent over an hour under the water’s surface and it was incredible. The fish, the coral, the organisms all living together on this one stretch of ocean landscape. We got to see a large crab, lobster, cow fish, puffer fish, and so much more!
One night in town, we wandered to the restaurants which were absurdly packed (nearly everywhere had an hour wait), but we were able to find a spot that had zero wait and the food & drinks were awesome. This is the same area where Maui Surf Shop is located and my wife, Courtney, and I rented surfboards. Unfortunately, the waves were really small, but it was the perfect opportunity to get Court into some waves that were still fun without being too big or too difficult to paddle into. New to me, the water was so shallow (3-4ft) so we were given booties by the surf shop to protect your feet from slamming the rocky bottom after a wave or if you wiped out. We caught dozens of waves into the shallows. It wasn’t much, but now we can say we’ve surfed in Hawaii.
Our last night in town, we walked down to the beach for sunset with our beach chairs and cocktails to watch the best show nature could ever provide. And it seemed like this was the case every single night. Being that this was our second trip to Hawaii, we can attest to the ritual of the Hawaiians each night as the sun set in the sky. Everyone, tourists and locals alike, stop what they are doing to witness the fiery ball in the sky fall below the horizon each night. It’s the perfect place, just like Maui, a perfect place.
Fortunately this did not conclude our trip in Maui! We still had our entire Road to Hana portion to do (which was incredible). And we also got to spend time on the on the North side of Maui at the popular Sea Turtle beach of Ho’okipa Beach Park, the epic wind surfing beach of Kanaha Beach, and even one last trip to Lahaina to go snorkeling before we flew home. Maui really did exceed all of our expectations and we regularly talk about going back as soon as possible! But Kihei was such a highlight of the trip!
Hi there, my name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.