If you follow me on social media, I’m pretty sure there’s no way you missed my trip to Hawaii. As you know, I rang in 33 on the island of Kauai before we ended the trip on Maui. I grew up traveling to Hawaii but I’d only ever been to Oahu and Maui so I was pumped to see Kauai. I knew Hawaii was magical, I just wasn’t really prepared for how transformational this trip would be for me. I’ve posted some of my road trips before and while this one has nothing to do with sports, it’s about my life and my trip so I’m sharing it anyways. Here’s my Away Game: Hawaii.
We took off from Dallas and make our way to LA to pick up my parents. Yep – we went on vacation with my parents. That’s definitely not something I thought I’d ever do – or want to do for that matter. But we did. After a quick 3 hour trip to LA we settled in for the longer haul to Kauai.
Let me preface everything with this: I have been to Hawaii several times but the last time I went was over 10 years ago. That’s important to know because as we were landing in Kauai I had completely forgotten what Hawaii looked like. The contrast of the greenery to the blue waters was stunning.
Kauai was pretty cliffy. I’m not sure that’s a word but the coastline was unreal. Once we landed we snagged our rental car and made the quick 15-20 minute trip to Poipu, where we’d be staying. I was so nervous for the trip because the forecast called for so much rain but we rolled into the Hyatt Poipu around 4 PM local time and it was sunny and absolutely breathtaking.
We were obviously tired from the trip so we went for a quick dip in the stunning pool and got ready for dinner. We ate in this cute little shopping center about 2 miles away. I loved that everything we needed was so close and that the pace was so mellow on Kauai. After dinner we strolled and shopped and I may or may not have snagged some pretty stunning pieces of jewelry from local Kauai designers. We went to bed pretty early that night because the next morning was my birthday! We wanted to get up early, workout get an açaí bowl and get some sun!
We did just that the following morning and thanks to the awesome staff, we got a recommendation for what may be the best açaí I’ve ever had in my life. About a mile and a half from the hotel, there’s a little grocery store and inside, nestled way in the back was this little juice bar. When I say it was the best, I’m really not kidding.
For me, a killer açaí bowl has a few components: thick acai, great granola, honey and coconut. They nailed this trust me. Outside this little store there’s a window for the best tacos and a cute shaved ice stand where they serve the shaved ice in a coconut. So, not only do you get the Hawaiian shaved ice with vanilla ice cream, but its in a real coconut so you can eat the fresh coconut meat at the end. I think that little corner in Poipu might be my heaven.
My Birthday in Hawaii
I’m not a huge bday gal. Actually, the last time I traveled or did something big was 10 years ago for my 23rd. It was weird, the fact that we were in paradise totally made my bday feel like it wasn’t even a birthday. There was no worry about what to do or anything like that. It was just about getting tan and enjoying the fresh seafood for dinner. I think it was truly the best birthday I’ve ever had.
Shop My Birthday Look
After my bday we had only one full day left on Kauai because the last 4 days of the trip we spent on Maui. We decided to do an adventure and drive to the Waimea Canyon. The canyon and drive were stunning…I got a tad car sick BUT it was worth it.
BUT I think the best part of the entire time I was on Kauai was accidentally stopping in this adorable little town on the way to Waimea Canyon called Hanapepe. We were just kinda cruising around when I saw the best image ever, and quickly found out that my favorite movie of all time was based on this little town. Are you freaking ready for this magic?!
WHAT!? I stumbled upon the town where Lilo & Stich was based?! I was so freaking excited. You see, I really related to Lilo and if you’ve ever seen a single IG story of Stan, you KNOW he is Stitch. This was such a little gem!
That wrapped up our highlights from Kauai but I wanted to take a second to link my luggage. This is in no way sponsored I just love this luggage. And when you island hop, the annoying part is repacking mid trip but I actually enjoyed the packing with these pieces!!
Arriving in Maui was kind of like coming home since we’d spent the most time on that island growing up but also a little weird since I didn’t really remember anything. I guess, to be fair, the last time I was on Maui was in high school. Anyways, once we arrive in Kaanapali, my memory started coming back to me. We stayed at the Hyatt, the same resort my family had been staying at for over 30 years!
For those who haven’t been to Maui, it’s a little more touristy so there’s more to do but also, the weather is a little sunnier than Kauai. So we spent the majority of our days there tucked in a ocean-front cabana. Talk about heaven.
I think the coolest thing we did on Maui was drive up the west side of the island all the way to the north shore. Everyone talks about the road to Hana and we did our own little version on the far less traveled west side of Maui. We weren’t really sure what we’d find but we just went for it. Just west of our hotel is the famous Plantation course at Kapalua, it was so pretty we decided to make a dinner reservation there for that evening. But back to the road trip. The west side of the island is super cliffy and it almost felt like we were in Ireland. The roads were only wide enough for one car at some points and it was really rural. So many waterfalls, jungle views and scary cliffsides.
After what seems like a long time, we popped out in a cute little town and my phone finally worked again and I was able to see that we were close to the north shore. After about 15 minutes we arrived in a little town that reminded me a lot of where I grew up. The town is called Paia and its charming. Lots of little shops, places to eat and the vibes of a beach town. We stopped and did a little shopping before heading to what may be my favorite place ever in the US. The town is called Haiku. The north shore is a big windsurfing spot so we were a bit distracted checking out all the badass surfers when we accidentally stumbled into the town. It really reminded me of Del Mar back when I was growing up. Green, windy streets and so many surfboards in yards.
We actually found this epic surf rider house that has a fence made of used surfboards. SWOON.
Shop my cover up
It was absolutely magical there. I think, no I know, if we go back I want to stay on the north shore. It was incredible. Although, I cannot complain about where we stayed in Kaanapali, check out our view!
Our last dinner was at the Plantation house, like I mentioned earlier. I wanted to share these pictures too because it reminded me of Carmel a little, so green and a gorgeous course.
I even got Bud to kind of smile :). Shop my look below, I LOVE these wedges for spring and summer, so glad I got them.
The Big Announcement
Now that I’m officially depressed after writing this recap…just kidding…but I do miss Hawaii…I wanted to share some exciting news! I’ve been asked to do some social media and blogging for some businesses and while on vacation I decided to GO FOR IT. Not only will I keep TheSportsBrat.com going, I’ll still be keeping my social up and I’ll be podcasting my little heart our on my newly rebranded show “Just Jess.” But if you have a business or know anyone who needs to get a blog up and running, send them my way! [email protected] AND I’m working on a book…eeeek! I’m always working on books, it’s my favorite thing but this time I’m working with an editor and we’re doing the damn thing so stay tuned.
I’m also doing a huge giveaway for spring. Check out my IG post for details on how to enter to win a $500 ShopBop.com gift card!
Thanks for hanging out with me on my Away Game: Hawaii recap. I would love to hear from anyone on their experiences in Hawaii because we want to go back ASAP.
Have a great weekend everyone!