Last fall as I began to research and plan our trip to Maui, my main goal was to explore more of the island. I wanted to see things that we didn’t get to see on our two-week honeymoon back in 2011. When we left the island that summer, we knew that one day we would be back for more.
It was with this mindset that we set out on the Road to Hana for a second time. When the alarm clock went off at 6:00am we made ourselves roll out of bed and get ready for our adventure that day. (I don’t know about you, but when I hear the roar of the ocean and the crashing of the waves, I’m instantly awake–it’s a sweet reminder that I’m in Hawaii and I don’t want to waste a moment of the day).
We packed the cooler with drinks and snacks, grabbed our beach towels and hiking shoes, and hit the road long before the sun began to rise in the sky. Our adventures that day included two different hikes, relaxing on mesmerizing beaches, and then finishing it off with a sunset along the very remote, and almost untouched, back side of Haleakala.
The scenery along the Hana Highway never disappoints. The 52-mile two-lane highway is nestled between lush green foliage on one side of the road and unparalleled views of the ocean on the other. Different shades of green cover the mountainside and at times we were literally driving in a Hawaiian tree tunnel. Every one of the 620 curves in the road revealed another surprise and the 46 one-lane bridges force you slow down and appreciate the drive. (For the record, I didn’t count the curves or the bridges, the figures are from GoHawaii.com) 🙂
This day was all about seeing parts of the island that we didn’t get to see the first time around, however, there was one location where a second visit was a must: Wai’anapanapa State Park. I’ve mentioned it before, but this stretch of sand is one of my favorite beaches anywhere in the world. Swimming is marginal at best, however, the area itself makes up for the lack of swimming opportunities. If I can’t swim at this beach, and it’s still one of my favorites, you know it’s gotta be good.
A short hike down to the beach will reveal the trifecta of a perfect beach in paradise: Black Sand. Blue Ocean. and Palm Trees.
Simply put, this beach is magical. It’s not often one finds themselves on a black sand beach and the experience itself is worthy of its place among the top bucket list destinations. The texture of the sand is unlike any other beach I’ve visited; from rough lava rock, to smooth black pebbles, to the fine sand one would expect when they think about the word “beach”, Wai’anapanapa has it all.
We found a spot in the shade by some of the palm trees, put down our beach towels, and enjoyed a picnic on the beach as we watched some brave souls battle the waves crashing upon the beach that day.
Wai’anapanapa is a place that you don’t want to leave. With picnic tables, restrooms, showers, camping spots, cabins, shade, sun, beach, and many hiking trails, you don’t necessarily have to leave. I always find myself wishing for more time here, however, all too soon, the time came to pack up and head to the next destination: Kaihalulu (Ki-ha-lu-lu).
We were off to visit Maui’s famous and remote Red Sand Beach.