A few years ago we went to Maui with two kids. Two very young kids. I wrote about the insanity behind our trip in an earlier post- That’s Crazy.
One of the things Brent and I were most looking forward to doing in Maui was driving The Road To Hana. However, everyone we talked to who found out we wanted to take a 4 year old and a 4 month old on that adventure told us NOT TO. Like in big, bold, caps lock letters.
But guess what? We did it. And we LOVED it!
So that’s tip #1- Do it! And don’t let anyone talk you out of it!
Tip #2- Stop Often: I think the whole point of driving along The Road To Hana is to see as much as you can. Sometimes we would have but barely gotten back on the road when we would see another place we wanted to stop. Don’t let the burden of pulling the car over and getting the kids out of their car seats keep you from stopping! Every stop is worth it.
Tip #3- Give Yourself The Day: On the day we drove The Road To Hana we had no other plans. We left our resort around 8AM and returned at sunset. It was so nice not to be rushed. It allowed us to take all the time, and all the pictures and savor every moment without feeling like we had somewhere to be. Incidentally, we also blocked out the whole next day to just relax at our resort. We were exhausted!
Tip #4- Eat Local: Stop at all the little roadside stands. Try new things. The food is all amazing. When you find banana bread, stock up. It’s so good it’ll make you want to turn the car around!
Tip #5- Pack snacks: Even though there will be tons of roadside stands and I highly recommend stopping- there will be stretches where you won’t pass anything, especially once you pass Hana.
Tip #6- Pack a Port-a-Potty: If your kids are young enough and potty trained, I highly recommend bringing a fold up potty seat. We traveled with the Potette Plus Travel potty. You definitely won’t find a lot of bathrooms on The Road To Hana. It was nice to be able to pull over anytime and set it up for our daughter.
Tip #7- Towels and Clothes: Bring several Beach Towels and at least 1 change of clothes for everyone. We all started the day out with our bathing suits under our clothes. As the day went on we ended up getting in the water several times. Brent and I opted to sit on towels, but it was nice to be able to take the wet suits off of our kids. I also packed a second set of bathing suits for the kids. I was glad to not have to put them back in wet suits!
Tip #8- Wear The Right Shoes: Although you spend a lot of time in your car, you will also do a bit of hiking and walking on wet rocks. It’s SO important to have on good shoes! My daughter wore Water Shoes, and I really wished I’d had a pair. Brent and I did okay in our flip flops, but we both would have felt much more comfortable wearing less slippery shoes.
Tip #8- Research Stops: There will be a million places along The Road To Hana that you can stop. Trying to plan your stops will prove difficult and overwhelming. But you should at least have an idea of a few things you don’t want to miss. A couple that I’d recommend considering: Twin Falls (this is really the first major stop along The Road To Hana and it also has a great Farm Stand), Wai’ anapanapa State Park (black sand beaches), Hana Bay Beach Park (umm…obviously you want to actually stop in Hana), 7 Sacred Pools.
Tip #9- Take The Long Way Home: This was something I didn’t quite understand until we were actually doing it. Most people drive to Hana. Some drive past Hana to visit a few of the sights beyond Hana. But ultimately almost everyone, at some point, doubles back and returns on the road they came. Once you get past a certain point, its pretty desolate. But it’s gorgeous! And it’s absolutely worth it. On the back road home- you’re essentially making a loop- you won’t stop nearly as often (or even at all), but the sights are truly breathtaking.
Tip #10- Stay Safe: The Road To Hana is very curvy and full of tourists. People will park along very narrow roads and “locals” will ride your bumper. Drive a safe speed, don’t get distracted, and pull over to allow locals to pass. I would advise starting out early and planning to be back to the resort areas of Maui before the sun goes down.
Do you have any more tips for experiencing The Road To Hana with kids?
You may also enjoy reading:
Children’s Safety When Traveling: 10 Things We Do and Don’t Do
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