The Road to Hana: Exploring Maui’s Hidden Gems

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Driving the Road to Hana

Last month, my family spent two weeks between Hawaii and California. One of our most fun adventures in Maui was driving the Hana Highway.

From black sand beaches to chasing waterfalls, we had a blast.

Check out some of the amazing stops we made on the Road to Hana.

Hana Highway

Can you imagine driving over 60 miles full of hairpin turns and one lane roads at about 10 miles an hour? With cliffs that fall right into the ocean? And a million hidden gems along the way?

For somebody like me who loves adventure but is terrified of heights, the road to Hana was an emotional rollercoaster. I had a great time but cried most of the way.

Luckily, the beautiful gems we uncovered along the way were worth every little tear that snuck out.

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We started the day with breakfast in Paia, which is a cute little hipster town. It is full of people who have washed up from all over the world.

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Our first stop on Hana Highway was a bamboo forest hidden behind a cute little man-made waterfall. It was in this moment that I decided that I need a bamboo forest at my house.

My first search once we got service again was “is bamboo legal in Florida?” Guess what? It is!!

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Our next stop was one of the most fun. We asked a local where we could find a non-touristy waterfall and she told us to look for the crack in the road before the halfway to Hana sign. She said we’d see a lot of tourists but we should keep climbing past where they were jumping off a cliff. We found it and we kept hiking and found this gem. We basically had the whole place to ourselves.

When we went down to the touristy part, my siblings started jumping off the cliff with the other kids who were there. My brother helped a boy onto the rope swing and my mom and I looked at each other in shock.

The boy he pushed off was our cousin who we hadn’t seen since we were really young. We ran into our cousins on the other side of the world by pure coincidence. They live in California and we live in Florida so we only ever saw them when we lived in Pennsylvania and they came to visit their grandparents, but their mom and my dad were raised together.

We ended up running into them by accident two more times on the Road to Hana.

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We stopped at a little roadside restaurant called Hana Harvest for some pizza after all of our swimming. Apparently, that area is the home of banana bread. Any place that sells banana bread ranks high on my list.

Also, can we take a second to talk about those cute little pineapples? We started growing pineapples at my house, but they take years to grow. I can’t wait ’til our babies look like that!

Want to see more  of my adventures? Follow me on Instagram @emilykrings!

Throughout Maui, we came across so many little stands we wanted to stop by so we decide to stop after every 30 stands and buy one of whatever they were selling. Number 30 was this little honor system flower stand. I picked this cool tropical flower.

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And here are some black sand beaches and Lava beds that we saw along the way.

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We ended the day taking the other way out of Hana through the mountains and countryside (on an equally scary road). The views were absolutely breathtaking and well-worth the wicked ride.

We drove as fast as we could (while staying safe) in order to reach the sunset. We finally got over a the little peak that was obstructing our view just minutes before the sun sank behind a neighboring island.

It was the most magical sunset I’ve ever seen. It was raining so we were scared that the clouds would ruin it, but the sun still shone through.

If you’re in Maui, you have to drive the Road to Hana. Ask the locals where to stop and they will tell you let you know how to find the gems.

While you’re there, eat some chocolate chip banana bread for me. You’ll be glad you did.

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2 Comments

  1. Emily, you did your job on this writing. You made me feel like I was riding along. As well as I know you, I could just about hear the fear in your story but the excitement written between the lines. Maybe someday you can be our tour guide in Hawaii. You could lead us straight to the gems. Love love love this story. ❌⭕️ Gigi

    Liked by 1 person

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