Months Visited: August
Generally, we choose luxury options for our family vacations and usually stay at the finest hotels in an area. Adventure and exploring new places and cultures are high on our list of things to do. We are willing to travel off the beaten path to do this. We believe finding remote areas and little known experiences make our trips memorable and can be very educational for the kids. Hiking and other outdoor activities are popular with our family, plus we enjoy going to museums, markets and other organized locations. We like to maximize every day of each trip by seeing and doing as much as possible. Our children at the time of this itinerary: 5 children- Boy age 8, Girl age 8, Girl age 8, Girl age 4, and Boy age 1
Special tips and warnings: When they say fill up with gas they mean it! We almost ran out of gas on the way home and just made it back on fumes. A long and curvy road, it is not ideal for kids who get motion sickness or bored. All of our kids loved it, but we stopped a lot to keep them interested. Supposedly Hana is a 3-hour drive from Kihei and Lahaina. We didn’t make it all the way. The drive is slow (lots of curves and some one lane traffic), and we stopped too many times. We did it in one day. Many say not to do it that way, but it worked for us and we wanted to be back at our resort the same day. We started early and got home very late. Driving back in the dark is more difficult.
Description: The 52- mile Hana Highway winds around 600 curves and more than 50 one-lane bridges on its way from Kahului, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery and some of the most popular natural areas and beaches found on Maui. The paved road follows the coastline in many areas, offering exquisite views and natural vistas that are unforgettable. After mile marker 16, the name changes from Highway 36 to Highway 360 where the markers start from 0 again.
Our Experiences: Overall, the entire family enjoyed traveling along this highway despite some motion sickness with one of the kids. The road is a little rough or bouncy in spots. We stopped frequently to minimize boredom or restlessness among the kids. This kept them happy and interested. Everyone was amazed by the most incredible vistas found anywhere in the world. We did experience some traffic congestion in areas.
Description: Ho‘okipa Beach Park is a very popular stop for anyone traveling along the Highway to Hana. Located on the North Shore of Maui, it is considered the #1 spot in the world for windsurfing with many competitions held here each year. The largest waves are during the winter months, but even the smaller summer waves are ideal for the sport. The name of the beach translates into hospitality. And you will find observation areas and picnic facilities for visitors to use.
Our Experiences: Just before mile marker 9 is Ho‘okipa Beach Park where top ranked windsurfers flip off the lip of 10’ waves. We watched the windsurfers in the afternoon (boarders have the mornings). Go past the park, don’t stop on the highway, and turn left at the entrance on the far side of the beach. Everyone enjoyed the excitement of watching the surfers. We could also catch a glimpse of windsurfers from various lookouts along the highway where we stopped for the kids to get out of the car and explore.
Description: Steep cliffs covered with lush vegetation, black sand and some of the most beautiful expanse of water from anywhere on the island, all make this beach park a top choice for those on the Hana Highway. The park does not offer any facilities, but it provides a wild and untamed beauty that is exquisite. Swimming is not recommended because of riptides and sharks, but some locals surf here. There is a stream where swimming is safe.
Our Experiences: This black sand beach area is beautiful! The rugged coastline, the lush green plants, and the black sand are gorgeous! The black sand area was much smaller than I would have thought with beautiful clear water. Also, see and enter the sea caves if you want to explore; we did! Wear something on your feet because the black rocks are coarse and sharp.
Description: Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is one of the few beaches around the globe that offers sandreddish black in color due to past volcanic activity in the region. There is a natural seawall that protects the beach and the lush vegetation contrasts wonderfully with black cliffs and red sand. This is a clothing-optional beach. So if you plan to stop here, make sure you are comfortable with this to avoid any surprises should you come upon on nude sunbathers.
Our Experiences: It wasn’t a favorite stop on the trip. The beach was small and disappointing. There are many other beaches that are a much better pick, even if they do not offer red sand.
Description: The O’heo Gulch Pools, also called the Seven Sacred Pools, are popular with both tourists and locals because of its incredible beauty, terrific places to explore and the pleasure of adventure. Exquisite waterfalls, numerous dazzling pools and a lush tropical setting combine to make this stop a favorite.
Our Experiences: Our kids really had fun swimming in the pools, hiking and exploring the natural beauty. This was a perfect stop. Plan to spend a good chunk of time. Everyone in our family gave this stop a very high recommendation and we would stop here again in the future.