Island Hop to Maui From Kona! Our Winter Weekend Adventure


On clear days you can see the summit of Haleakala on Maui from West Hawaii, 30 miles across the Maui Channel. Have you been to Maui? It is a completely different vibe and experience from Hawaii Island! We had a great opportunity, thanks to a recent partnership with Mokulele Airlines, to fly over to Maui two weeks ago and have a weekend getaway to explore and film our adventure for our 365 Kona Adventures YouTube channel. Check out the video!

Our goal is to show people that you don’t have to stay on one island during a vacation! It is easy to do some island hopping on a plane that takes five minutes to check into, you don’t have to go through TSA, you have a great view of the islands and you are getting off the plane and going on an adventure within an hour – tarmac to tarmac.

Besides going on the weekend getaway with my husband, I also had a chance to take a day long adventure with my son in December on his winter break. He LOVED the ability to see the island from the air and had a great day at the Maui Ocean Center and hiking the cliffs of Kapalua.

Paia Town And Dragons Teeth

On this recent island hop we took inspiration from our 17 year old daughter, an avid Instagrammer, who suggested we check out the Paia Bay Cafe for their delicious croissants, coffee and breakfast and wander through downtown Paia for their boutique shops. After breakfast, we were trying to avoid the rain, so we headed for Ka’anapali and saw whales breaching along the way. Further past Ka’anapali, we hiked out of the Kapalua Ritz Carlton parking lot and discovered Dragons Teeth, or Makaluapuna Point. Coming from the Big Island, where just about every coast line is created from stark black lava, this was a geologic wonder! Great for photos and scrambling on the rocks, the spectacular formation was created by Maui’s last lava flow.

Ka’anapali and Hula Grill

Fleeing a rainstorm, we headed back to Ka’anapali and started looking for lunch on the ocean. We went to Whalers Village, which has some fun stores laced with luxury boutiques. I was bent on eating with a view, so we went to Hula Grill and got to sit up near the front when I mentioned we were bloggers/vloggers. (Hey, it’s true and you gotta do what you gotta do to make the video pop!) We ordered two completely different kinds of Mai Tais, one a bit tart and the other sweet and both definitely strong! The food was good and if it had been a warm and sunny day, it would have been even better when hoisting those cocktails. We didn’t know that within a week, Maui would be getting snow at 6500 feet, giving the entire island a Polar Vortex feel, but it was chilly enough that we decided to find our hotel and a hot tub.

Sheraton Maui Resort And Black Rock

The Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa is right on the beach at Ka’anapali. The hotel has a BIG beautiful pool if you like slides and lagoons and it has a great bar/cafe right in the middle with a fantastic view of the ocean. They also have fire pits for S’more creation overlooking the beach! (We used it to warm our hands on a cool 70 degree evening).  We were given a room upgrade when we said we were Kama’aina-so ask if you are local! The view from our room was fantastic and the bed and linens were perfect.

The resort is located next to the famous Black Rock (Pu’u Keka’a) If you go swimming or snorkeling, don’t go out beyond the end of the cliff. I say this because I was out swimming in the cove and had to save a couple from drowning. I tell the story here. They were exhausted from being caught in the current and I had to pull the woman out of the current and yell for help to save her husband from being raked on the rocks as he clung to the cliff to rest. If you read about this area, you will see the drowning warnings. Heed them, my friends.

On Sunday morning we walked right out onto the beach and went for a long run. (If you are unaware, Ka’anapali has been rated one of the best beaches in the world by numerous travel publications such as Condé Nast magazine.)

After our morning run to coffee, we sat on the beach and watched the whales breach and soaked in some sun and the views of the neighboring islands. We both agree that there is a completely different experience being able to see Lanai, Molokai, Molokini and Kaho’olawe from the shores of Maui, vs only being able to see Maui from Hawaii. They don’t get our unobstructed sunset views, but we don’t get their “Truly Tropical Island” view, either.

‘Iao Valley State Monument

Our last adventure was to see ‘Iao Valley in Wailuku in all her green lushness. If you go, try and go early before the afternoon rains come in. Also, if you are local, mention it and skip the $5 fee for parking at the state monument! The ‘Ioa Needle is simply stunning as it juts up into the sky over 1200 feet and is surrounded by eroded mountains covered in green carpet, the epitome of what you envision Hawaii to look like. We had to keep skirting the crowds to capture the video, but the river was rushing at a rate that I had not seen from my four previous trips to this park. Loved the water energy!

We headed back to the airport and caught a late afternoon flight back to Kona and enjoyed looking for whales along the coasts of both islands.

We hope to head back on another Mokulele Airlines adventure to discover Hana, so stay tuned!

Catch our video and other videos we have created, too!


Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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