postheadericon Maui with Kids: Amazing Stay @ Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa

Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa

 

On our recent trip to Maui we decided to stay at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa for the second time!  A couple years ago my husband and I stayed here and fell in love with the resort and knew when we returned with our kids we’d want to stay again!

One of the most popular beaches on Maui is Kaanapali Beach and Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa is perfectly situated at the end where black lava rock meets the ocean.  This popular snorkeling spot known as Black Rock is one of the many reasons we love this resort!   When you combine comfortable rooms, expansive grounds, an amazing pool, and a beach that offers both a sandy bottom and amazing snorkeling with a beautiful tropical reef and fish you have to perfect recipe for an unforgettable Maui vacation!

 

Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa on Kaanapali Beach

 

Comfortable Room for the Whole Family

The open air lobby offers alluring views of the ocean and the staff makes you feel welcome immediately!  The view from our oceanfront room was simply stunning and even though the room size is typical for a hotel, the little touches made it feel comfortable for our family of four.

 

Oceanfront View

 

 

Sheraton Maui Oceanfront Room

 

Sheraton Maui Bathroom

 

It's the little details that make the room work.  In this digital world we travel with more electronic devices than we should and our room provided more than enough electrical outlets for all of us!

It’s the little details that make the room work. In this digital world we travel with more electronic devices than we should and our room provided more than enough electrical outlets for all of us!

 

Mini Fridge in Hotel Room

Mini Fridge in Hotel Room

 

 The closet was huge and it not only fit all of our hang up stuff, but also all of our luggage.  The kids clothes fit perfectly in the dresser drawers and everything had a home!

 

Sheraton Maui Closet

 

I love that they provide fouf sponges!  It's the little things, right!!

I love that they provide pouf sponges! It’s the little things, right!!

 

The Sprawling Pool

The pool is impressive!  It spreads across the property grounds with only a layer of lush foliage separating it from the sandy beach!  There is a perfect combination of sunny and shady seats and the two bar/restaurants are attentive and speedy!

 

 

Pool Time @ Sheraton Maui

 

Pool Time

 

When we’re on vacation we tend to try to see and do as much as we can, but traveling with kids doesn’t always make that possible.  They need some down time and lets face it, we do, too!  We spent the week before Maui visiting the bustling island of Oahu and by bustling I mean super busy!  Our hotel on Oahu had 4 pools, all of which were constantly over-crowded.  The pool at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa was to total opposite!  For a hotel that has 500 rooms, this pool never felt crowded!  The kids could actually swim without having someone else close by or feeling like they were splashing or playing around too much.  The small waterfalls and slide were an added bonus for entertainment!

 

This was the pool area for smaller children!

This was the pool area for smaller children!

 

Slide at Sheraton Maui

 

A little nighttime swim, yes please!  We had the whole thing to ourselves!

A little nighttime swim, yes please!

 

 

Sheraton Maui Pool Grounds

 

The Hot Tub

The Hot Tub

 

Underwater Fun

 

The Perfect Beach for a Family Getaway

Located at the end of Kaanapali Beach at Black Rock, Sheraton Maui is situated on one of the best spots in the area!  The resort provides easy oceanfront access to the beach and there is limited public parking so the beach is not overly crowded!  The soft sand is perfect for long walks and making sandcastles and the water is some of the clearest we experienced!

 

Sheraton Maui

 

Black Rock

 

Looking down the Kaanapali Beach!

Kaanapali Beach

 

Black Rock Snorkeling

Black Rock Snorkeling

 

Click here for some other great snorkeling locations!

 

Tropical Starfish

 

Snorkeling at Black Rock

 

Located on the beach on the opposite side of Black Rock was a Hawaiian Monk Seal that was going through the molting process.  This cute pup below came to visit him one day while we were there!  They took a nap together for most of the day!

 

The rare Hawaiian Monk Seal was resting on the beach just on the opposite side of Black Rock.

 
 

The Resort Boasts Beautiful Expansive Grounds

Apart from enjoying the beach and the pool, the resort’s sprawling grounds are quite beautiful to see.  From small waterfalls to koi fish ponds, banana trees to fragrant flowering trees, there is something beautiful at every turn!

 

Pretty Flowers at Sheraton Maui

 

Banana Tree

 

Sheraton Maui Restaurant

Family Selfie on our balcony thanks to my tripod!

Family Selfie on our balcony thanks to my tripod!

 

 

One of many Photo-op spots around the resort

One of many Photo-op spots around the resort

We took advantage of the location to get a few family photos with the tripod, however, a new perk that the resort is offering is a complimentary photo session and one keepsake photograph included in your resort fee!  You have the option to purchase your additional photos after your session!

My regret is that we didn’t book our session upon arrival, we sadly waited until it was too late to book a session that worked for our schedule.  If you want to take advantage of this awesome perk, book your session the day you arrive!

 

Another family selfie using my tripod!

Another family selfie using my tripod!

 

 

 Daily Cliff Dive Ceremony 

 

 

Nightly Cliff Dive Ceremony

Nightly Cliff Dive Ceremony

 

 The nightly Cliff Dive Ceremony tells a magical tale of Hawaiian history.  It begins with the lighting of the torches and ends with the dive into the ocean!

Things to Know

  • The resort has a resort charge program of  $35 plus tax, per room, per night.  To see what it includes click here.
  • There is a public parking lot located at the ground level which gives access to the public beach.
  • The Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa is located approximately 50 minutes from Kahului Airport (OGG).
  • The popular Whalers Village is just down the road.
  • Lahaina is just minutes away.

 

Disclaimer:  I purchased and paid for this hotel on my own via Priceline bidding, however we did get a complimentary upgrade to an oceanfront room.

 

 

 

 

postheadericon Scenic Drive on Oahu ~ Tantalus and Round Top Drive

View of Honolulu and Diamond Head Crater

 

Where to See Amazing Views of Diamond Head Crater and Waikiki

If you have a little bit of time to spare and want to see amazing views of Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu and Waikiki consider driving Round Top Drive!  It’s hard to believe that only minutes away from the bustling city, but here you can get some of the most magnificent views in all of Oahu!

 

Absolutely Beautiful Views

 

Waikiki Views

 

You should plan 30 minutes to an hour for this visit and what awaits you is panoramic views that extend from Diamond Head to Ewa Beach!  The beautiful deep blue vast ocean is the backdrop!

As an alternative, consider the drive at night to see the city lit up!

 

Round Top Drive Views

 

Breathtaking Views of Honolulu

 

 

 

postheadericon North Carolina Winery: Elkin Creek Vineyard

Elkin Creek Vineyard {Photo Essay}

 

Elkin Creek Tasting Room

 

Elkin Creek Vineyard is located in Yadkin Valley Wine Country, just one hour north of Charlotte and only 20 minutes from the Virginia border!

 

Elkin Creek Cheers

 

It’s nestled along a cozy creek with swinging benches, a fire pit, and picnic tables ~ a perfect recipe for relaxation!

Elkin Creek

 

Elkin Creek Outdoor Seating

 

Creekside Swing

 

Lush Landscape of Elkin Creek

 

Elkin Creek Bar

 

Jeanette and Spencer

 

Welcoming Door

 

 

postheadericon Visiting Hawaii with Kids

Kayaking Kailua Beach

 

Visiting Hawaii with Kids

Is traveling that far really worth it?  That is a question I frequently get asked when talking about visiting Hawaii.  The simple answer is YES!  It is.  Endless sunshine and the kind of weather you dream of, soft sand between your toes and beautiful beaches at every turn, tropical reefs just off of the beaches, and more things to do than you can pack into your vacation are the exact recipe for a perfect vacation and I think it’s definitely worth the journey!

 

Flying to Hawaii

Getting There

The chain of islands sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so the trek to get out there is quite long, especially for an east coast family like us!  Getting There and Choosing the Right Airport might seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s actually quite simple.  Each island has a major airport and the main hub is Honolulu (HNL).  If you’re visiting other islands there is a good chance you’re going to travel through HNL to get there.

Where We Stayed

We decided to visit two islands on our vacation.  We chose Oahu and Maui because my husband and I have been to both of them before and we wanted to share the places we love so much with our girls!

Interesting:  The method of traveling between islands is by air!  You can take a ferry from Maui to Lanai, but otherwise the only way to get from island to island is via interisland flights! 

Oahu:  Hilton Hawaiian Village at the far end of Waikiki Beach.  (review coming soon).  We chose this hotel because of it’s pools, lagoon (public), and location.

Maui:  Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa located at the famous Black Rock.  I absolutely love everything about this hotel!  It never feels crowded, the pool is awesomesauce, and it sits on one of the best snorkeling spots in Maui.  My girls didn’t want to ever leave the resort to do anything else!

 

Hawaii

 

Things to Do

The thing we love most about Hawaii is the amount of things to do there!  Each island is different from another so you can definitely have different types of vacations at each island!  I’m only going to talk about Oahu and Maui here.

Oahu

Oahu is ‘The Gathering Place.”  I think the name speaks for itself, but just so we’re clear, it’s the busiest island.  Traffic can be a bear and there are people everywhere, especially in Waikiki!  If you leave the busy touristy area you will find wide open spaces, ocean as far as you can see, and beaches that will blow your mind!  We love this island because it gives a taste of city and paradise rolled into one.

Oahu See and Do

  • Kayak to the Mokulua Islands (Twin Islands) / Kayaking to the Mokulua Islands with Kids (Our Favorite)
  • Pay respects to fallen soldiers at Pearl Harbor
  • Snorkel Hanauma Bay and//or Sharks Cove
  • Eat and Play in the bustling city of Waikiki
  • Shop for souvenirs at the Swap Meet
  • Attend a Luau
  • Watch the powerful ocean at the Halona Blow Hole
  • Eat delicious malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery
  • Learn the culture from several different islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Hike an extinct volcano, Diamond Head
  • Visit the Dole Planation and take a picture of the unique and beautiful Rainbow Eucalyptus

Interesting Fact:  The winter months (November through February) bring the huge surfing waves you see in the pictures and on TV.  The famous North Shore is in Oahu and it’s a legendary surf mecca that attracts the best surfers from around the world.  During the summer months those same beaches are calm and gentle.

 

 

 

View of Diamond Head and Honolulu

 

Hanauma Bay

 

Waikiki Beach

 

Dole Plantation

 

Chinaman's Hat

 

Hawaiian Dancing

 

Beautiful Beaches Oahu

 

Surfboards Waikiki

 

Rainbow Trees

 

 

Maui

Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands.  It’s known as The Valley Isle because of the large isthmus between its volcanoes.  When you think of the perfect place to honeymoon or go on a relaxing tropical vacation, Maui is it!  We love it because of its laid back feel, beauty, and multitude of snorkeling opportunities right off the beach.  Even though it’s big, it’s not overcrowded or bustling.  On the one island you can see some of the most beautiful beaches in the world on one end and dry desert on the other.  Somewhere in between you can find a rainforest with lush vegetation and waterfalls.  It’s magical!

Maui See and Do

  • Snorkel – There are so many beautiful reefs right off shore or you can take an excursion
  • Attend a Luau
  • Watch the sun rise or set at the Haleakala Crater
  • Ride along one of the most scenic drives in the world ~ The Road to Hana
  • Take a day trip over to Lanai
  • Take a boat tour to the Molokini Crater
  • Eat, Play, and Shop in the famous beach town, Lahaina
  • See the Banyan Tree in Lahaina that spans an entire block
  • Golf at some of the world’s best golf courses
  • Hike, bike, fish, or zipline
  • Visit the Maui Ocean Center (perfect place to see what’s in the waters without getting in yourself)
  • Go whale watching (Maui is the best island for this and the prime time is January thru April)

 

Kayaking to Twin Island

 

Maui Sunset

 

Snorkeling Honolula

 

Honolua Bay

 

My Family

 

The Beach at Sheraton Maui and Black Rock

 

Hawaiian Monk Seal

 

Black Sand Beach

 

Fruit Stand on the Road to Hana

 

Me and My Girl

 

 

Sight-seeing with Kids

While we thought every sight was something to mention, I don’t quite think our kids appreciated the natural beauty as much as we did!  When they’re so close to amazing pools and beaches, the last thing they want to do is sit in the car.  The loved it and thought it was beautiful, but we learned to make our plans accordingly!

 

Taking it In

 

Packing List

If you want to know what to pack for your Hawaii vacation check out Go Visit Hawaii’s list!  It’s a great one!  The most important thing to remember is that it’s an island and it’s casual!  You don’t need to bring fancy clothes unless you have a specific place to wear them.  Flip flops and sandals are great for shoes, but there are some great hikes in Hawaii so if you plan on doing that you can consider sneakers.

Here are a few essentials that we brought:

Snorkel Vests for the kids.  You can rent them, however.  Many tour operators supply them, but for beach swims around the island I like to have them on hand.

TIP:  We also brought our snorkel gear, but this was a mistake.  It takes up a lot of space in your luggage and you can rent them for just a few dollars a day.  To do it again we would just bring our snorkels because, lets face it, you don’t know who rented that before you!

Bathing suits!  We brought at least 3 each because of how much time we spending in the water.  We don’t like to put on wet suits so this helped insure one was always dry.

 

Sandy Beach

 

 

Top 5 Reasons You Should Take Your Kids to Hawaii

  1. It’s full of cultural educational experiences.
  2. It’s family friendly.  The Hawaiian word for children is “Keiki” and they’re welcome everywhere!
  3. Great way to show kids life beyond land!  My 10 year old dreams of being a marine biologist and was in awe of getting close to marine life in their natural environment!
  4. The History
  5. The Volcanoes

 

 

 

 

postheadericon Hawaii Must (Photo Essay)

Black Sand BeachBlack Rock at Kaanapali BeachHonolua Bay Top Snorkel SpotRock Jumpers at Black Rock MauiDolphins in MauiParagon Sailing Drive the BoatChip and Jeanette SNUBAMaui SunsetBlack Rock Maui

postheadericon Charlotte, North Carolina {Photo Tour}

Charlotte, NC

 

Represents Industrial Growth!  Located at Bank of America Plaza on Tryon St. in Uptown.

Represents Industrial Growth! Located at Bank of America Plaza on Tryon St. in Uptown.

 

Notice the side of the building resembles a quilt?  African American women would make quilts that had hidden messages in them to help the slaves escape.

Notice the side of the building resembles a quilt? African American women would make quilts that had hidden messages in them to help the slaves escape.

St. Peter's Episcopal Church

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

 

 

Skyline of Charlotte, NC

 

The colorful artwork, which some refer to as “Bobbins,” creates a whimsical entry plaza for Time Warner Cable Arena. The piece highlights the Carolinas’ textile history and celebrates its craft and ceramic traditions.

The colorful artwork, which some refer to as “Bobbins,” creates a whimsical entry plaza for Time Warner Cable Arena. The piece highlights the Carolinas’ textile history and celebrates its craft and ceramic traditions.

 

Wachovia Atrium

Wachovia Atrium

 

 

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC

 

 

Mint Museum

 

Mellow Mushroom

 

Located at The Green, a 1.5 acre downtown literacy-themed park with sculptures of giant books, pages, and a walkway of sounds.

Located at The Green, a 1.5 acre downtown literacy-themed park with sculptures of giant books, pages, and a walkway of sounds.

 

Charlotte Sculpure at The Green

 

Ratcliffe's Flowers

 

Located on Trade St. and Tryon St.  The future is represented by a mother and child.  The mother figure emerges from a bower of branches, leaves and flowers of dogwood, which is the state flower.  Stretched between branches is a hornets nest to make it more specific to Charlotte!

Located on Trade St. and Tryon St. The future is represented by a mother and child. The mother figure emerges from a bower of branches, leaves and flowers of dogwood, which is the state flower. Stretched between branches is a hornets nest to make it more specific to Charlotte!

 

Industry represented by a woman millworker, recalling Charlotte's early textile factories.  The secondary figure at her knees represents the children who labored alongside their parents in the mills during the days before enactment of child labor laws.

Industry represented by a woman millworker, recalling Charlotte’s early textile factories. The secondary figure at her knees represents the children who labored alongside their parents in the mills during the days before enactment of child labor laws.

 

An African American man represents the builders of the first railroads in Charlotte, begun in the 1850's, leading to the city's status as a transportation hub.  The number 1401 commemorates a steam locomotive named "Charlotte" which once pulled trains through the city.  A second element picturing an eagle with feathers encircling its back represents air transportation!

An African American man represents the builders of the first railroads in Charlotte, begun in the 1850′s, leading to the city’s status as a transportation hub. The number 1401 commemorates a steam locomotive named “Charlotte” which once pulled trains through the city. A second element picturing an eagle with feathers encircling its back represents air transportation!

 

Charlotte, NC

 

Uptown, Charlotte, NC

 

walkcharlotte

 For more information on Charlotte or to download a walking tour map visit www.Charlottesgotalot.com

 

 

postheadericon Family Fun in the Las Vegas Desert Sun & Family Fun in the Maui Sun

lasvegas

 

I’m super excited to be sharing this piece today!  I’ve teamed up with fellow traveler and mom, Kendra Thornton, and together we are going to share our ”Favorite Places to Travel.”

For Kendra Las Vegas, Nevada holds a special place in her heart and she’s excited to share the off-the-beaten-path charm of the city that never sleeps!  I’m sharing my favorite place, Maui Hawaii!  Two very different places.  Two Amazing Vacations!

Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Six Great Places You Can See Marine Life in the Wild

 

Monk Seals Hawaii

It’s an amazing feeling to see animals in the wild, in their natural environments.  There is something refreshing and peaceful knowing they’re doing exactly what they’re meant to do….what the choose to do.

 

Six Great Places You Can See Marine Life in the Wild

Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Flying to Hawaii and Choosing the Right Airport

 

Kamaole Beach Park

A Guide to Choosing the Right Airport

You’ve dreamed of visiting the Aloha State and are finally ready to make it happen!   With 4 major islands to choose from, choosing one (or two) and getting there can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually quite simple!

 

Oahu

Oahu’s airport is Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and it’s Hawaii’s largest airport and hub.  If you’re flying in from the mainland chances are you’ll have a connection here.  You can connect to any of the other islands via HNL.

 

Maui

Maui has two airports, but the major airport is Kahului Airport (OGG).  Some flights from the mainland fly directly into OGG.  There is another airport on the opposite side of the island called Hana Airport (HNM).  It’s in a more secluded area and you should only consider this if you’re planning on Hana your destination.

 

Big Island

Hawaii’s Big Island has two major airports, Kona International Airport (KOA) on the West side and Hilo International Airport (ITO) on the East side.  The west side (KOA) is where you’ll find many of the beautiful beach resorts, but if you plan on visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park you can consider flying into Hilo (ITO) and exploring there first!

 

Kauai

Kauai’s major airport is Lihue Airport (LIH) and it’s located in southeastern Lihue.

 

Lanai

Lanai is a smaller Hawaiian Island located near the coast of Maui.  The main airport is Lanai Airport (LNY).  You must fly into HNL or OGG and connect to Lanai.  You can also travel to Lanai via the Expeditions Ferry Service.

 

Molokai

Molokai is a smaller Hawaiian Island and the main airport is Molokai Airport (MKK).  You must fly into HNL or OGG and connect to Molokai.  You can also travel to Molokai via the interisland ferry, The Molokai Princess.

 

So How Do I Get From One Island to Another?

The most predominate method of inter-island travel is by airlines.  You have a few airlines to choose from, but the major airline is Hawaiian Airline.  Flights are about 30 minutes long.  There is a Ferry Service that is available between Maui and Lanai and Maui and Molokai only.

Maui-Lanai Expeditions

Maui-Molokai Ferry

 

Distance Between Hawaiian Islands (Approximate)

Oahu

  • Oahu to Kaua’i:  63 miles
  • Oahu to Maui:  115 miles
  • Oahu to Big Island: 208 miles
  • Oahu to Lana’i: 72 miles

Maui

  • Maui to Oahu:  115 miles
  • Maui to Kaua’i:  204 miles
  • Maui to Lana’i: 8 miles
  • Maui to Big Island: 26 miles 

Big Island

  • Big Island to Oahu:  208 miles
  • Big Island to Maui:  26 miles
  • Big Island to Kaua’i: 296 miles

Kaua’i

  • Kaua’i to Oahu: 63 miles
  • Kaua’i to Maui: 204 miles
  • Kaua’i to Big Island: 296 miles

Lana’i

  • Lana’i to Oahu: 72 miles
  • Lana’i to Maui: 8 miles
  • Lana’i to Kaua’i: 186 miles

 

postheadericon Travel Tip: Ziploc Bag Your Hotel Remote

Bag Your Remote

 

Travel Tip Thursday:  Bag the TV Remote

If you haven’t considered this yet, it’s time that you do!  The TV Remote, along with the bedside lamp switch, are among the most contaminated surfaces in a hotel room!  Just imagine how many people put their hands on it and how often it’s actually cleaned….gross!  So the next time you’re on vacation simply bring a quart size Ziploc bag with you and put the remote right inside!  The remote will still work and you will have peace of mind that your hands are not being tainted with germs!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Vacation Journal Printable
Facebook
Facebook Follow Me
Follow Me on Pinterest
Like what you see: Subscribe!!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 Subscribe in a reader

Add to Google Reader or Homepage