Written by Cortlyn Adams
Maui Engagement Photographer: Haleakala Sunrise to Beach Sunset
This adventure began with an early wakeup call for Drew and me, and we were en route to a Haleakala sunrise to capture Stephen and Joanna’s Maui engagement photos. Drew and I love getting to adventure in Hawaii, and we’d always wanted to see the sunrise at Haleakala. So, when Stephen and Joanna contacted me about being their Maui engagement photographer, I knew we were in for an epic adventure, featuring Haleakala sunrise and a stunning sunset on the beach.
Stephen and Joanna live in Hawaii, so the islands are an important part of their love story. They got engaged on the Road to Hana on Maui, and they are getting married on Kauai next year! It was important that their engagement photos not only celebrated their love for one another, but also captured the landscape that means so much to them. So, we planned an epic, day-long adventure beginning at sunrise at Haleakala and ending at sunset on the beach.
Drew and I met Stephen and Joanna before the sun rose at Haleakala National Park. The summit district in this national park offers some of the most stunning Haleakala sunrise views. Once we arrived, we were able to get away from the crowds and began their Maui engagement photos in front of the stunning Haleakala sunrise. Then, later that night, we met back up with Stephen and Joanna at the beach to capture some Maui engagement photos at sunset. Drew and I arrived with pizza and wine in-hand, and we had the absolute best time with Stephen and Joanna on the beach. It felt like we were sharing a beach-side meal with long-time friends! This day-long adventure was one for the books, so keep reading to see more stunning photos and learn some of my Maui engagement photographer tips and tricks!
Sunrise at Haleakala: What You Need to Know
According to the National Park Service, “Of the cultural resources we have inherited from the past, it is the knowledge, traditions, songs and stories shared by people of today that give life to the Haleakala landscape. Native Hawaiians have lived on and cared for the land for over 1,000 years. Important cultural places and sites are found within the summit and Kipahulu areas of Haleakala National Park and are spoken of in numerous Hawaiian songs and legends.” So, if you’re planning on visiting Maui, Haleakala National Park should be a must-see place for you (not to mention an amazing location for Maui engagement photos!). If you’re planning to experience a Haleakala sunrise, there are a few things you need to know!
Make a reservation for Haleakala sunrise
Because of the stunning sunrise views at Haleakala, visitors are required to make a reservation for tickets. You can make a reservation as early as 60 days in advance by clicking here. You can find more information about Haleakala sunrise reservations on the National Park Service’s website.
A little pro tip: login to your account or make a new account before the Haleakala sunrise tickets go on sale. You can only complete the reservation process if you’re logged in (this Maui engagement photographer learned this the hard way!).
Pack a National Park Pass for your Maui Engagement Photos
The America the Beautiful annual national park pass costs $80 and will last you for an entire year’s worth of adventures. You can purchase your National Park Pass by clicking here. If you don’t have a National Park Pass, you can pay the park entry fee.
Where to park for sunrise at Haleakala?
There are two parking lots at the sunrise location at Haleakala. The top lot fills out earlier, which is great because I’m a big fan of the lower lot! There is a trail off of the lower parking lot with epic sunrise views and less crowds than towards the top parking lot (which is ideal for Maui engagement photos!).
The Best Beaches for Maui Engagement Photos
Now, you may be thinking, “Where’s the pine trees?” And, you’re not wrong (lol)! Although this adventure did include the mountainous, volcanic peaks of Haleakala, this PNW gal traded her beloved pine trees for palm trees (and some much-needed Vitamin D!). The sunshine and ocean air was so incredibly refreshing, and the beaches in Maui are just amazing. So, I’ve narrowed down my top recommendations of the best beaches for Maui engagement photos.
Big Beach (also known as Makena Beach and Oneloa Beach)
Big Beach is over half a mile long and is quite wide, which makes this a great spot to be able to find space for your Maui engagement photos. There are also some great food trucks near Big Beach!
I captured Stephen and Joanna’s Maui sunset engagement photos at Kaanapali Beach. This is a great beach that offers privacy along the beach walk.
Beaches along the Road to Hana
This beach is located in a private cove, and was created a long time ago by the surf colliding with fresh lava flow from Haleakala. It’s estimated that it took more than a millennia to be ground down into a beach. The dark color of the sand would be an epic landscape for your Maui engagement photos or elopement.
The Keanae Peninsula offers stunning views of waves crashing over the rugged coast line. It’s located around mile markers 16 along the Road to Hana.
Lined with sea cliffs and surrounded by lush vegetation, this award winning crescent-shaped beach is well-worth the drive along the Road to Hana. It’s 100 feet wide and 1,000 feet in length.
Where to Stay on Maui for your Engagement Photos
When Drew and I travel, we love staying in Airbnbs. I’ve always loved the idea of a home-away-from-home over a hotel room. So, we stayed in the best Airbnb on Maui during this trip. It was quaint and clean, and we will definitely be staying there again! If you prefer the resort lifestyle when you travel, then I recommend the Westin Maui Resort and Spa. It’s a stunning resort with amazing amenities!
As you’re narrowing down your options of where to stay on Maui for your engagement photos, there are two areas on the island that I love! The first is Kihei, a coastal area with amazing beaches on Maui’s southwest short. Another area I love is Paia, Maui! Paia is a Hawaiian plantation village; it’s an incredible local spot with amazing shops and restaurants. Paia is also where you can find Peahi (also known as Jaws), a surf mecca known for its swells that can reach up to 70-feet during the peak season of November to March.
Grabbing a bite to eat before your engagement photos on Maui? These are my top Maui restaurant recommendations!
If you know me, you know I’m all about a great meal! So, I’ve made a list of my top Maui restaurants for you. Whether you’re sunbathing, hiking, eloping, surfing, or photographing Maui engagement photos, I’ve made sure you won’t go hungry!
Moku Roots – vegan and vegetarian restaurant
Lahaina Pizza Company – this is the pizza was ate at sunset on the beach!
Aloha Mixed Plate – Drew and I ate here twice while we were in Maui and could see sea turtles during sunset (what a dream, right?!)
Monkeypod Kitchen – farm-to-table restaurant
Moku Kitchen – farm-to-table restaurant
Kihei Caffe – famous for their breakfast, but we went during the afternoon to avoid the crowd; pro tip: this restaurant is cash-only!
Aloha Kacoffeeaka – amazing coffee; they are temporarily closed, but are scheduled to reopen in August of 2020
From the Couple: Maui Engagement Photos
Are you feeling tropical after looking through Stephen and Joanna’s Maui engagement photos? Contact me! This Maui engagement photographer is ready for your Hawaiian island engagement or elopement! But, don’t just take my word for it! Here’s what Stephen and Joanna had to say about their Maui engagement photos:
“Since this was our first experience of having professional photos taken in our relationship, we weren’t sure what to expect for our Adventure Session with Mollie. Mollie reached out before our session to ask a little more about us, which made us feel like she was going the extra mile to get to know us as people. We were nervous at first, but Mollie and her husband are laid back, fun, and kind, so it was easy to be ourselves. They truly made us feel like we were spending time with friends and not just paying customers. And, to top it off, they brought pizza to share! We never imagined we would look as beautiful as the couples on her blog, but we are so impressed with Mollie’s photography skills. When we got our photos back, we almost cried tears of joy. She truly captured the love we have in a way that is true to us and the places and activities that brought us together as a couple. We will truly cherish these images forever.”
Ready to explore more elopements, weddings and adventures? Wander away below!
Between the Pine is an adventure elopement and wedding photography brand created by Mollie Adams. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mollie travels with her camera in hand to document “I dos” in epic landscapes including Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.