I’m not especially well-versed in United States National Parks (although I’m trying to catch up), but Haleakala Crater has to be one of the coolest parks in the country. Haleakala is a volcano that actually, unbeknownst to me before this trip, forms about 75% of the island of Maui (a fact that has since been confirmed by the luminous scholars at Wikipedia). One of the absolute essential excursions during a trip to Maui would be to visit the highest part of the volcano, from which a massive crater can be seen.
Most travelers to Maui take the Road to Hana on the northeast end of the island, from Kahului to Hana. You absolutely should do so, as well. However, many people completely ignore a similarly spectacular back road to Hana called the Piilani Highway, and miss out on a completely different landscape. I recommend that you avoid overlooking this alternate route.
If you’re planning a trip to Maui, you’ve likely heard of the Road to Hana. The Hana Highway is an approximately 50-mile long road that winds and stretches along the coast from Kahului to Hana in eastern Maui. While Google Maps suggests that the drive can be completed in two hours, plan on spending all day on this stretch of land, as you will be immersed by the tremendous beauty that surrounds you. While you will want to get out and take pictures, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your vehicle to get a top notch window show as you weave in and out of the meandering two lane “highway” (and sometimes barely two lanes, at that). While some websites may recommend that you take a tour with a group, we found that having our own vehicle allowed us to enjoy the trail at our own pace. We were able to stop when we wanted to, take photographs when we wanted to, and take side roads when we wanted to.
Of the four Hawaiian Islands we’ve been to, Maui is our favorite. We have found it to have the perfect blend of natural beauty and youthfulness. The varied landscapes were fascinating and left much to be discovered around every corner. Here are some reasons why Maui is our favorite island.
Let’s take things back to 2003 on my first trip to Hawaii. My mom, grandmother, and I took the 11-hour journey out to the islands. We went to Maui and Kauai. It was the furthest I had ever been from home, and it helped plant the seed of exploration in me. These photographs were shot with a disposable camera and likely developed at a Fotomat.