Road to Hana

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David Kaufman
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Road to Hana

#1 Post by David Kaufman » February 26th, 2020, 12:25 pm

Headed to Maui in a couple weeks with the family (kids are 6 and 8). Road to Hana is on the agenda, but curious what the can’t-miss stops are on the route. Don’t think we will keep the kids’ attention long enough to hit all the spots, so looking for a few to prioritize into the day.

Thanks

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Re: Road to Hana

#2 Post by Josh Grossman » February 26th, 2020, 12:40 pm

David Kaufman wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 12:25 pm
Headed to Maui in a couple weeks with the family (kids are 6 and 8). Road to Hana is on the agenda, but curious what the can’t-miss stops are on the route. Don’t think we will keep the kids’ attention long enough to hit all the spots, so looking for a few to prioritize into the day.

Thanks
Mama's Fish House and Seven Sacred Falls and Ohe'o Gulch are what I most remember--but it's been about 15 years.

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Re: Road to Hana

#3 Post by Mark Y » February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm

it's VERY twisty and windy, so people may get car sick.. also if you can, continue driving through the backside back to town.. (so u don't go back through the windy section).. the backside is gorgeous.. altho the road gets a bit questionable.
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Re: Road to Hana

#4 Post by David Kaufman » February 26th, 2020, 2:06 pm

Mark Y wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm
it's VERY twisty and windy, so people may get car sick.. also if you can, continue driving through the backside back to town.. (so u don't go back through the windy section).. the backside is gorgeous.. altho the road gets a bit questionable.
Was reading about this, but apparently the rental car companies prohibit driving on the back roads? I rented a Wrangler so not really worried about unpaved roads

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Re: Road to Hana

#5 Post by Joe Dulworth » February 26th, 2020, 2:49 pm

Most do prohibit and if you do you invalidate your rental agreement. Having said that many do it anyway.
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Re: Road to Hana

#6 Post by David K o l i n » February 26th, 2020, 2:53 pm

Paia Fish Market is a good alternative to Mama’s if you are interested in something a lot more casual (and inexpensive)

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Re: Road to Hana

#7 Post by Mark Y » February 26th, 2020, 3:07 pm

David Kaufman wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 2:06 pm
Mark Y wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm
it's VERY twisty and windy, so people may get car sick.. also if you can, continue driving through the backside back to town.. (so u don't go back through the windy section).. the backside is gorgeous.. altho the road gets a bit questionable.
Was reading about this, but apparently the rental car companies prohibit driving on the back roads? I rented a Wrangler so not really worried about unpaved roads
Yah. We drove a van and it was no problem. But what Joe said :).

Only a small stretch of bumpy road and then mostly paved or very even dirt roads. No problems at all unless there are flooding. Views are beautiful. More so than the road to hana itself I think.
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Re: Road to Hana

#8 Post by c fu » February 26th, 2020, 3:18 pm

I found the time commitment of driving it to not be worth the payoff. We also did the Pipiwai trail hike at the end. It was nice, but not worth the 7 hour round trip drive.
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Re: Road to Hana

#9 Post by adam landa » February 26th, 2020, 3:49 pm

David...It is a long drive...we did it as newlyweds...with young kids I would have something to keep them occupied. As others have mentioned, the pace of the drive is slow...several narrow spots where you need to let someone from the other direction go before you can proceed.

Lindbergh's grave is another stopping point.

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Re: Road to Hana

#10 Post by Juliec » February 26th, 2020, 4:04 pm

You should stop when you see cars parked along the road. They are usually on an adventure. (There is a tape or audio accompaniment to the drive), key spots I enjoyed were the bamboo forest hike, the various beaches red sand, black sand, didn’t get to the lava hole, but it sounded neat. There are also mango and pineapple fruit stands that are pretty good. Make sure you have the right shoes if you go hiking. It can get slippery near the streams that run through the hike.
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Re: Road to Hana

#11 Post by Randy Bowman » February 26th, 2020, 7:23 pm

Somewhere on the road to Hana there is a turnout where you park and walk east on a path to take pictures of the jungle/valley whose name I can't remember. Don't let anybody walk south of the trail where they hear a water fall and walk the path along the water. It's beautiful but in at least 10 of the 16 photos Carrie took you can see part or all of the corrugated metal drain pipe sticking out of the hillside about 12 feet above the water.
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Re: Road to Hana

#12 Post by Brian Tuite » February 26th, 2020, 8:19 pm

Do not leave ANYTHING in your parked car along that route unless you want it stolen. Look for a place to rent for an evening and spend the night in Hana. Makes for a more pleasant trip.
When in Hana proper go to Red Sands Beach, hidden access at the end of Uakea Rd (from Highway take Haouli Rd to Uakea and turn right.) on the left past the sign that reads “Stop, Go Back.”
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But alas, you’ll have your children with you so maybe not.
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Just South of Hana stop at Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill. Don’t blink, you’ll miss it. The guy grills in his front yard and you eat at folding tables. Way laid back, The kids will love it. Worth it.
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Further South are the Seven Sacred Pools, park at the Kipahulu visitor Center and take the trail.

Many of the Bridges along the highway will feature waterfalls to the hill side of the bridge. Good places to stop for pics or take a dip in the pools at the base of the falls. All it takes is a few stops along the way to make you wish you could spend the night before returning. Look into it.
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Re: Road to Hana

#13 Post by Craig G » February 26th, 2020, 8:37 pm

If you can time it to be in Pa’ia at sunset, it can be awesome.
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Re: Road to Hana

#14 Post by Jerry Hey » February 27th, 2020, 2:27 pm

The rainbow eucalyptus are incredible, Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill is a must, Hamoa Beach, and waterfalls galore along the way. We had a guide for our family of 6 which took the driving out of the picture and we went all the way around. It is a long day and once is certainly enough.

I'd pass on Mama's Fish House - great fish but too expensive especially when we get the freshest of fish at Eskimo Candy and grill it ourselves. Paia Pizza is a low key stop with some really good pizza.

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Re: Road to Hana

#15 Post by George Hejna » February 27th, 2020, 4:24 pm

We decided the take the drive up to Halekala instead because of the time commitment to Hana. Really enjoyed it. Road is twisty and curvy and you have to watch the altitude for us flat landers but it was really cool. Our kids loved it. They were 9 and 13

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Re: Road to Hana

#16 Post by David Kaufman » February 27th, 2020, 7:34 pm

George Hejna wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 4:24 pm
We decided the take the drive up to Halekala instead because of the time commitment to Hana. Really enjoyed it. Road is twisty and curvy and you have to watch the altitude for us flat landers but it was really cool. Our kids loved it. They were 9 and 13

George
George - did you do sunrise/sunset or just go in the middle of the day? What all is there to do once you get to the top?

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Re: Road to Hana

#17 Post by dteng » February 27th, 2020, 7:45 pm

Top of Haleakala will be cold...yes down jacket cold, at 10,000 ft elevation. Fun drive, amazing scenery. Just did it last week.

Re road to Hana...it can be brutal esp w little kids. If you go West, instead of East to Hana, there is an excellent short hike called Makamakaole creek that takes you across a river few times and their bamboo forest. Really really cool.

Consider The Mill House for dinner. Super cool plantation, excellent setting and great food.
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Re: Road to Hana

#18 Post by C. Keller » February 27th, 2020, 7:48 pm

David Kaufman wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 2:06 pm
Mark Y wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm
it's VERY twisty and windy, so people may get car sick.. also if you can, continue driving through the backside back to town.. (so u don't go back through the windy section).. the backside is gorgeous.. altho the road gets a bit questionable.
Was reading about this, but apparently the rental car companies prohibit driving on the back roads? I rented a Wrangler so not really worried about unpaved roads
You'll be fine with a jeep. I took a Ford Mustang all the way around in 2017 for our honeymoon. Backside is amazing. Still dream about it.

The trip is easily an all day event. Set an itinerary and stick to it. There's so much to see that you can get caught up and not see what you want. Like us!

Mama's is amazing. One of the best meals of my life. That Bouillabaisse. My gawd…
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Re: Road to Hana

#19 Post by George Hejna » February 28th, 2020, 7:26 am

David Kaufman wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 7:34 pm
George Hejna wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 4:24 pm
We decided the take the drive up to Halekala instead because of the time commitment to Hana. Really enjoyed it. Road is twisty and curvy and you have to watch the altitude for us flat landers but it was really cool. Our kids loved it. They were 9 and 13

George
George - did you do sunrise/sunset or just go in the middle of the day? What all is there to do once you get to the top?
We just went up late morning. The traffic can get pretty bad around sunset/sunrise. Driving up in the dark could be interesting.

We just spent most of the time walking around different "climates" as you go up in altitude. The views are fabulous. At or near the summit there is a museum of sorts. At the top it is an amazing contrast feels like you are on a different planet and obviously spectacular views. We probably spent less than an hour as it is pretty high. https://www.nps.gov/hale/index.htm

George

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Re: Road to Hana

#20 Post by Rich Salsano » February 28th, 2020, 11:59 am

c fu wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 3:18 pm
I found the time commitment of driving it to not be worth the payoff. We also did the Pipiwai trail hike at the end. It was nice, but not worth the 7 hour round trip drive.
This was my take on it as well, especially after coming from a week in Kauai which I thought was way more naturally beautiful than R2H.
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Re: Road to Hana

#21 Post by c fu » February 28th, 2020, 12:02 pm

Rich Salsano wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 11:59 am
c fu wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 3:18 pm
I found the time commitment of driving it to not be worth the payoff. We also did the Pipiwai trail hike at the end. It was nice, but not worth the 7 hour round trip drive.
This was my take on it as well, especially after coming from a week in Kauai which I thought was way more naturally beautiful than R2H.
Agreed. That's just my general feel of Maui - too much driving, too much traffic, not enough payoff. Kauai on the other hand had driving, but it was much quicker/easier to get around.
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Re: Road to Hana

#22 Post by Mark Y » February 28th, 2020, 12:36 pm

Two reasons to go to Maui:

1. you've been to the other islands, and wanna check out something different.. worth going once

2. you love underwater - maui has the best Diving in Hawaii on a general basis.

Otherwise Big island/Oahu/Kauai covers most use cases (relax? adventure? food? etc)
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Re: Road to Hana

#23 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » February 28th, 2020, 1:02 pm

Love me some Hana.
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Re: Road to Hana

#24 Post by Dan_Fusco » March 1st, 2020, 6:49 pm

David Kaufman wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 12:25 pm
Headed to Maui in a couple weeks with the family (kids are 6 and 8). Road to Hana is on the agenda, but curious what the can’t-miss stops are on the route. Don’t think we will keep the kids’ attention long enough to hit all the spots, so looking for a few to prioritize into the day.

Thanks
My wife and I did the road to Hana on our honeymoon about two years ago and had a blast. We did it in reverse (counterclockwise) so we could finish in Paia and have dinner at Mama's Fish House.

We also rented a Wrangler, but it really wasn't necessary. There were a few spots that were dirt/gravel, but nothing really serious that required any level of vehicle clearance or 4WD. If you haven't used Turo before I would recommend renting through them. Our rental came from the Kihei Rent a Car. One thing about driving is that the roads are extremely tight and the locals FLY and will tailgate hard. Don't be afraid to just pull over and let them pass or they will harass the hell out of you.

One must is the Shaka Guide "Road to Hana Maui Driving Tour". It gives you something like 150 different spots to stop and things to look for. It's super accurate from what I remember as far as giving locations for parking/restaurants/sight seeing/etc. If you take one piece of advice from my post, this would be it.

Last thing I would say is to get started early because it is a longggg day. We left our hotel at 6 am and just made our 7 pm reservations at Mama's. We did stop and hike the whole Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls, but I'm not sure I would do that with children, although the falls are awesome. The black sand beach would probably be a better stop with kids.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip

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Re: Road to Hana

#25 Post by Dan_Fusco » March 1st, 2020, 6:53 pm

C. Keller wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 7:48 pm
David Kaufman wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 2:06 pm
Mark Y wrote:
February 26th, 2020, 1:53 pm
it's VERY twisty and windy, so people may get car sick.. also if you can, continue driving through the backside back to town.. (so u don't go back through the windy section).. the backside is gorgeous.. altho the road gets a bit questionable.
Was reading about this, but apparently the rental car companies prohibit driving on the back roads? I rented a Wrangler so not really worried about unpaved roads
You'll be fine with a jeep. I took a Ford Mustang all the way around in 2017 for our honeymoon. Backside is amazing. Still dream about it.

The trip is easily an all day event. Set an itinerary and stick to it. There's so much to see that you can get caught up and not see what you want. Like us!

Mama's is amazing. One of the best meals of my life. That Bouillabaisse. My gawd…
Mama's is out of this world good and well deserved after that long day on the road. My wife and I still talk about how that was the best meal we ever had.

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Re: Road to Hana

#26 Post by ericskitei » March 2nd, 2020, 10:04 pm

I've tried to convince DK to go to Mama's, but he refuses to listen.....Perhaps all of the positive feedback with change his mind.

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Re: Road to Hana

#27 Post by annetd » March 4th, 2020, 10:17 am

Highly recommend the drive around the backside of Haleakala if you are a tenacious driver with an SUV. There's a ~40-minute stretch past Kipahulu that's quite bumpy and has limited road railings, but past that the road is nicely paved all the way back to civilization. Lots of postcard views and happy cows and none of the crazy tourist traffic you encounter during the windy part of the drive to get to Hana.
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Re: Road to Hana

#28 Post by Paul McCourt » March 6th, 2020, 6:50 pm

We hired a local guide with a van and did the full loop. Took us to some cool spots a bit off beaten path. Nice to have someone else drive, and he was a wealth of local info and history. Bring Dramamine if you get motion sickness.

Well worth the money.
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Re: Road to Hana

#29 Post by Rob Michaels » April 20th, 2020, 7:18 pm

Dan_Fusco wrote:
March 1st, 2020, 6:49 pm

One must is the Shaka Guide "Road to Hana Maui Driving Tour". It gives you something like 150 different spots to stop and things to look for. It's super accurate from what I remember as far as giving locations for parking/restaurants/sight seeing/etc. If you take one piece of advice from my post, this would be it.
+1 on the Shaka Guide. Kept my teenage kids interested in the drive, provided not only history, but places to get out and walk, swim, eat, etc. Easy download from iTunes, uses GPS to tell stories and provide direction exactly where you are.
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