I've always wanted to drive the Hana Highway in Hawaii. Is this route favoured by honeymooners and the senior set worth it with four kids in a minivan?
If there is one road that will get your children to put down their Nintendo DS and stop fiddling with their iPod Touch, this is it. If for the only reason that this spectacular Maui drive is full of - count 'em - 600 curves that may bring on motion sickness. Yeah, that's the way to bring the family together. Stop playing Dragon Quest or you're going to throw up. Stuff of family memories.
The Hana Highway runs 84 kilometres from Kahului to Hana along Maui's eastern coast. It provides multiple "wow" views as it passes by waterfalls, across one-lane bridges and along the ocean's edge.
"The scenery is breathtaking," says Charlene Ka'uhane, who promotes the island and often travels the highway with her nephews and nieces. "I definitely think it's an adventure for families, young and old." (For other first-hand views, check out the 200-plus opinions on TripAdvisor.)
Along the way, there are plenty of spots to pull over safely and snap photos. At Keanae, the halfway point, you can buy banana bread and macadamia nut ice cream at the fruit stands, Ms. Ka'uhane says.
The three-hour journey ends at Hana, a laid-back town far from the fast-food chains. Around here, there are plenty of ways for everyone to stretch their legs: Explore the Kahanu Gardens, home to Hawaii's largest temple. Check out the black-sand Wai'anapanapa Beach. Or hike through the bamboo forests and splash in the waterfall-fed pools in Haleakala National Park. If you want to spend the night, check out the luxury Hotel Hana-Maui or consider a vacation rental, although most travellers just make a long day of it.
"I often head out early so I carry my young nephew and his friends into the car sleeping and have them sleep until we get to Hana," Ms. Ka'uhane says. "It works well."
That way you can enjoy the splendour in silence, and the kids can take it all in on the way home.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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