Vancouver Family Photographer | Hawaii is Always a Good Idea


Vancouver Family Photographer | Hawaii is Always a Good Idea

Growing up, vacation travel was few and far between for my family, unless you count the number of times I have boarded the plane as an accompanied minor to and from Singapore and Malaysia for school. No, no, it is not as glorious as it sounds. No private jets or anything like that - it was simply a pursuit for better quality of education.

My travel bug came later, when I was in university, after my first paying job as a student geologist. I had been traveling to get to remote exploration camps. Jet planes, single and twin engine planes (wheels and floats), helicopters, buses, trains. You name it, we've found a way to get to different work locations. So when I squirrelled enough away for my first legit vacation, I chose Hawaii.

Why? Well, the volcanoes were there. The rocks were there. This geologist will not be denied.

After some in depth research, I finally decided on Maui. I think it was the different coloured sand beaches that did it for me and it did not disappoint then. It did not disappoint in 2007 when I went back with my husband and it did not disappoint this time when we returned with my girls.

Maui 2018 is a result of a Christmas gift to our girls. Instead of a big item purchase, we decided to give them this experience. We have been so fortunate to travel quite a bit already as a family (Asia 3 times, Europe once, Continental US and Caribbean, countless road trips and camping trips within Canada), but we have also been looking forward to a beach-heavy vacation. We took the girls to Oahu a couple of years ago (here are the girls with the crowds at Waikiki) and they had such a great time and had been begging to go back. It was one of the best surprises we could have shared with them on Christmas day (they were not as thrilled about their analog watches and the accompanying speech about time management!).

two kids watching old couple swimming in ocean

I made a call out to friends on social media (Facebook is great for crowd sourcing!) for where to stay and what to do with kids and there were no shortage of ideas. For the 7 days we were in Maui, we called apartment 9-301 at Kamaole Sands Resort home. The beaches are all within walking distance and they follow the coastline from Kihei all the way down to La Perouse Bay. It was one of the most beautiful morning runs I had done: from sandy beach to grassy trail, to rocky shores, all while breathing in the salty ocean air and hearing the rustling of palm trees.

In those 7 days, we drove all around both lobes of the island and played in the waves, dipped our toes in different coloured sands, explored the intertidal zones, snorkelled the reefs, hiked the trails, gawked at the waterfalls, sighed at the rainbows, cheered at the humpback whales, and ate (almost) all the food trucks. We returned home every night with wind swept faces, salty-sunscreened bodies, and full hearts. My husband even got to check off one of his bucketlist bike rides up Haleakala (thanks to Donnie and Ed at Maui Cyclery for their exceptional service and guidance!). Our favourite time is spent wandering the quiet sides of this island, where we get a hint of what it is to live here like the locals do. The farms, the families, the flavours. To say Maui was a good time is a severe understatement. It was the beachy vacation that my family needed. Because Hawaii is always a good idea, next stop will be the Big Island (some time in the not so distant future we hope!). In the meantime, here is a little slideshow highlight of our Maui adventures!

Since we have been back and because of this slideshow, people have been asking for our travel notes so I am sharing it with you here. However, if you are wanting a guidebook to help you, look no further than the 7th edition of Maui Revealed (by Andrew Doughty). It is excellent! Also, if you want to bring a photographer along to document your adventures, I can pack my bags tout suite!

  • Kīhei farmer markets at north end of town. Awesome pineapple and banana loaves and candied dry mangoes. Fresh vegetable and fruit produce
  • Great seawall trail from Kamaole Beach park to Wailea seawall
  • Three’s grill - popular spot for a meal
  • Cafe o’lei - decent food for a sit down dinner
  • Maui tacos - inexpensive but good portions and pretty tasty
  • Kinaole food truck - shrimp plates
  • Kīhei caffe - great brunch place, yummy fried rice
  • Great seawall and nice beaches
  • Monkey pod (virgin pina colada and house mai tai)
  • Shops at Wailea


  • Food trucks on way to Makena beach - Jaws and Big Beach BBQ
  • Big beach // Little Beach
  • Secret cove
  • Turtle town (Maluaka beach) is nice and quiet, north point usually has turtles feeding right along the rocky reef.
La perouse bay
  • Some excellent snorkelling at 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve
  • Great trail to appreciate the latest lava flows
  • Leodas Cafe - best hotdogs and single serve pies off side of hwy, not in Lahaina but when you are leaving it to head east
  • Ululani shaved ice is amazing - best shaved ice with sugar cane based sweeteners
  • Old Lahaina luau is best
  • Black rock for snorkeling
  • Ka’anapali beach for hanging out
  • Go to Star Noodles for a meal, really tasty and great service at a reasonable price
Kapalua to Wailuku - west Maui, north side driving CW
  • Kapalua bay
  • Honolua bay for amazing snorkeling (advanced skills only)
  • Blowhole (high tide high surf works best)
  • Dragons teeth trail
  • Olivine pools
  • Best banana - last stand in kahakuloa village
  • Iao valley hike to needle in Wailuku
  • Crazy and fun road to drive (not for the faint of heart)!
Paia to Haleakala summit
  • Paia coffee company - funky coffee courtyard, good coffee
  • Flatbread Company has good pizza
  • Maui Cyclery has amazing service for bike rentals and really knowledgeable about bikes and gives great tours
  • Ho’opika beach on the Hana Hwy has lots of sea turtles, especially in the afternoon
  • Kula bistro has good food
Road to Hana 
  • Pipiwai trail - Bamboo forest to Waimoku falls
  • Waianapanapa black sand beach, caves and natural land bridge
  • Kaihalulu red sand beach - bring your swimsuit and towel, it will be worth it.
  • O’heo gulch (usually closed for swimming)
  • Hulihuli chicken - amazing bbq chicken at Loki beach
  • Thai food by Pranee food truck
  • Braddah Hutts food truck
  • Drive the south highway out of Hana for stunning views - open and windy undulating road

Whale Watching

Felicia is a Vancouver Documentary Photographer who wants to tell the story of everyday people and celebrate their mundane equally with their milestones. Contact her to find your family's edition of family life or vacation story for your visual diary! To follow more of Felicia's work, connect over at @feliciachangphoto on Instagram.