Visiting America’s largest banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui

The banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
There’s something to be said for taking such a long vacation. Let’s face it… 6 weeks is a LONG time.

A huge benefit is viewing an exciting location as ‘home’. You tend to start doing more normal shnormal things when you vacation vs travel every moment. Some days we stay at the condo, enjoying the gardens or pool by day, and watching nightly marathons of Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air my son just discovered.

Oh Will, my boy is amazed you did such a teenage themed down to earth show seemingly catering just for him. ๐Ÿ™‚

One demerit for such a long vacay is missing elements of home. When things get quiet and I want to just flop on my bed, I crave cuddling my cats. Or when I do a large blog post like this, I want my biggest, baddest and fastest equipment and gear. I miss my large desktop and good software editing. And I’m failing with my two cameras I brought along, so I’ve resorted to my iPhone 6+. Who knew.

But I’m trying not to go there. When those thoughts cross my path, I quickly remind myself half our time is already gone, and we’ll be back to all the comforts of home soon enough, wishing we were back here.

So, on Saturday we needed a new adventure. And being that I can lure my boy pretty much anywhere with good food, we head an hour away to Napili, our old stomping grounds from last summer’s trip to Maui.

Napili beach in Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

It’s funny… in my mind’s eye, I was missing this area, remembering all the magic it held for us last summer.

But once we were there, I looked at my son and said, “I love where we are BETTER!”

And he agreed. I love it when that happens. ๐Ÿ™‚

Colourful beach chairs along Napili beach in Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

The beach’s shorebreaks appear to be MUCH calmer in Napili than Kihei’s south shores, but the beach is steep, short and smaller, especially noticeable when crowds are heavier.

But we drove a long way, and took it in. It was lovely for sure.

My son commented that the sand was too deep. He had a point. You kinda sunk in forever, making walking more difficult.

Goodness…. sand too deep?! Is there even such a thing?

Aren’t we the most spoiled duo in the land? ๐Ÿ™‚

The Gazebo, a must stop along Napili beach in Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
A MUST stop if you are out this way is The Gazebo, for their fried rice and macadamia banana pineapple pancakes. (see my post on it HERE) You just must. We packed coolers in the car and took some extra home.

Normally we’d order out to avoid the very long lineups always present, but when we arrived 15 min before closing on a Saturday, no lineups! We finally got to eat in for the first time. And it was amazing. The gazebo overlooks Napili beach.

After a quick pit stop at our (the only?) fav Napili supermarket, then hit the highway back to Kihei.

Traffic jam in Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
But even traffic jams hit paradise it appears.

With only one way out, traffic came to an absolute stand still. So I did the only thing left for a true blue tourist to do…

Napili and Lahaina's road side views along the highway / funkyjunkinteriors.net

I rolled down the window and started taking iPhone pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Napili and Lahaina's road side views along the highway / funkyjunkinteriors.net

I admit, I am craving a rainforest adventure, but I’m not certain I wish to do the extensive Hana tour for various reasons. Maybe just the Iao Valley again. Still thinking… convince me otherwise, anyone?

But when I realized we were locked down tight on that highway going no where fast, WITH the perfect opportunity to make a U turn, I announced, “We’re going to Lahaina!”

My boy protested until I reminded him (food) Bubba Gump’s (goooooood foooooood) was there.

That did it. (and it was amazing – order the shrimp scampi!!)

So, we landed the perfect parking spot for only $7 for the entire evening (vs many areas that charge $5 an hour… ouch!!) Shop around.

And we took a walk… in our beach gear no less. Always high end here… when I remembered, we had such newbie issues parking last summer, we didn’t see the infamous banyan tree.

This was the year!

The banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

I tuned in my iPhone google map to the tree, and there she was. 

The tree is one of the largest in North America, is approx 150 years old, and covers 2/3 of an acre. It was a powerful presence and resembled its own rainforest all by its lonesome.

The banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
The banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
All these root systems of sorts supported the long, extended branches. So fascinating!

Carvings in the banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
We did not leave our mark on the tree, but there were plenty others to read.

Carvings in the banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net
The famous banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

North Ameria's largest banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

This is a small part of it. Isn’t it something?

North Ameria's largest banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

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But something that really took my breath away were the sounds. You can’t leave without hearing the sounds of all those tropical birds that made this amazing tree their home.

Sunset under North Ameria's largest banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

And you know me… gotta get in a sunset shot no matter where you’re at. Loving my daily challenges! You can see more on Instagram HERE.

Sunset in Lahaina, Maui / funkyjunkinteriors.net

And one more for the road. ๐Ÿ™‚ I call this one, “The bikers’.

Because you just never know where getting stuck in a tropical traffic jam will ultimately take you…

Visit more Maui 2015 instalments HERE

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Categories: Junk Drawer, Travel
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  1. Oh, Donna. We are literally on our way home from Maui as I type this. Pretty sure we were in the same traffic jam. We stayed in Kaanapali and were making our way back from Mama’s Fish House. We never made it to the Gazebo and I’m regretting it so much!

    • Oh Melissa, what are the chances?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t you worry, The Gazebo will still be there on your next venture out… we always need to leave a reason to return, right? haha Hope you had an amazing time!

  2. This is fantastic! Who knew there was such a tree? Love all these things that you share in case I ever get to the islands and in case I don’t. Like you, I would be missing things about home and especially the pets and their cuddles. And then when you get home you miss where you have been. Like being a person without a country….you don’t know where your heart belongs.
    In the meantime, keep sharing. I love it.

  3. Loved the video since my daughter and I saw the tree in the evening so I never heard the birds sing. If you return to Lahaina, free parking next to Whaler’s Village and south end of the shopping area close to the boardwalk.

  4. One of my favorite places ever!!! That tree is such a beauty. As far as the Road to Hana, some stunning scenery, but it made for a VERY long day. I don’t think I’d go again, but glad I did it once ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy your stay and thanks for sharing!!

  5. The Banyan tree is amazing and pretty at night with the lights too. Have you been to the high school up the hill from Lahaina, if I remember correctly it is called Lahianaluna and the still existing building is a museum and describes the school back in the whaling days. It was a boarding school and has a small printing press and other artifacts from that era in the old school. The view is amazing. Check for hours it is open before driving over there. I’ve done the Hana trip a couple of times and yes the driving must be slow and careful which makes it difficult for the driver to admire the views….and roadside parking is almost nill. And the couple of places to pull off are always filled. It might be worthwhile to take a ‘tour’ basically someone else doing the driving so you can enjoy the views. Either way, take a picnic lunch and don’t rely on finding a good lunch there. Have you explore the Farmer’s market at the Community college parking lots on Saturday? Does the condo owner rent on VRBO or one of the other sites? I know that on Kauai a long term vacationer can go to the animal shelter and volunteer a little time so maybe that would be an option for you and special attention for the animals. A win-win for sure. Fun to follow along when it’s a year away for a visit for me.

  6. I remember that tree from years ago when my family visited Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. It was such an oddity to us! Very unique.
    I did notice that sunsets in the islands seem to be golden, and I was used to the pink and purple and colorful ones I see here in Oregon.

  7. The road to Hana is definitely worth the trip. It is an all day adventure with beautiful turnouts all along the way. Great roadside shopping and beautiful waterfalls. The only downside to the trip is the twisty winding narrow road. If your nerves can handle it and you take it slow, it is well worth the drive. We purchased a CD at a local store before beginning the drive which gave us a narrated tour of the trip. The CD tells you when to shut it off and when to turn it back on so you don’t miss a thing. Definitely something to think about. The choice is yours……. Enjoy paradise.

  8. i was lucky enough back in 2000 to receive a free trip from friends that traveled there often. that banyon tree, it was amazing. it just went on and on, loved it. however, one of my favorite things was the road trip to hana. beautiful scenery. but you have to be prepared for it to take a whole day more or less. the 45 mile trip takes about 3 hours each way, but was worth it to me (of course though I wasn’t the one driving, just admiring the scenery). however, it gave me the tropical feel that I was expecting from Hawaii. i’m envious, I would love to go back some day and to be there for 6 weeks, how wonderful that would be. hope the rest of your time is wonderful. I recently came across my “Maui” shirt and have been wearing it a lot. also have the official “i survived the trip to hana” shirt and still wear it too. good memories!

  9. What a lovely time you are having! I love the banyon tree’s adventitious roots! Amazing how they can support all the mass of the branch. Thank you for not “leaving your mark” on the tree, too. I think that is rude to the tree ๐Ÿ™‚ I sure hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  10. Just beautiful to see and hear again! Was lucky enough to visit here in 2008. It’s on my bucket list for a return visit! Enjoy your stay in paradise!!

  11. There’s always something going on under the banyan tree. Craft fairs, art fairs, and all sorts of things. Check out their schedule.

    Another thing to check out are the hotel lobbies. When I first got to Maui I visited all the hotel lobbies. They are so varied and beautiful to see. The Grand Wailea (I don’t know if they have a new name) has a beautiful lobby and it’s wonderful for a walk thru the paths with benches and waterways (like a rain forest) to sit and enjoy the beauty.

    A lot of the hotels have craft tables for local artists in their lobbies. Fun to see what local people make with natures products. The malls also have free hula shows during the day. Call to check it out.

    Your blog is making me homesick. LOL.

  12. love your blog, your projects, and your travel to Maui…do the road to Hana!!! plan a day trip, stop to eat and shop and take pictures and just enjoy the winding road….I don’t think you will be sorry! I drove the road and compare it to a LONG roller coaster ride…lol…

  13. Ah, such a beautiful, old giant, this Banyan tree…I’m glad you and your son got to visit it and thank you for deciding not to leave your mark as others have so thoughtlessly done! As I was sitting here looking at all of your lovely pix, my jaw was dropping all over the place…I can’t believe how beautiful the sights are…and I also can’t believe what amazing pix your iPhone takes…I need to trade in my Samsung! LOL!

  14. It sounds like you’re having a wonderful time in Maui. My family and I used to live on Oahu from 1993-1997 and visited Maui a number of times. That banyan tree was always fascinating to see. My husband and I and our (then) teenagers visited Maui again in 2008. We took them to Haleakala to see the sunrise. I don’t remember which bike tour company we used, but the trip consisted of a bus ride from the bike company place, up to Haleakala to see the sunrise and then biking down. It was beautiful and some of the local Hawaiian sing a song in honor of the sun rising. It’s very cold up there in the mornings so you need to dress warm. Then we rode bikes all the way down the mountain, back to the bike place.

    You have to get up really, really early for this trip but our teenagers loved seeing the sunrise and biking down. This was something they have always remembered from that trip.

    http://www.gohawaii.com/en/maui/guidebook/topics/haleakala-sunrise/

    This is one of the bike tour companies –

    http://www.mountainriders.com/maui_sunrise_bike_tours/?gclid=Cj0KEQjw58ytBRDMg-HVn4LuqasBEiQAhPkhuvknau1c0CP_A6hhxGSkA9n-Avt0hU-O2d2-SJfMrcUaAvbb8P8HAQ

    Enjoy your stay in paradise

    Aloha,

    Chris