On our last day in Maui, we had to make an executive decision as to whether we would take the long drive out to Waianapanapa State Park (black sand beach). Our redeye flight back to the mainland was leaving at 9:30pm and we had a 3 hour drive each way. The weather was just too good to not go so we went. And it was totally worth it. Along the way we stopped at The Garden of Eden Arboretum, Keanae Lookout, and several beautiful waterfalls. This is a great way to break up the winding 64 mile road trip.
We arrived at Waianapanapa State Park and the weather was perfect. This is a beautiful place with the most amazing black sand beach so be sure to include this in your travel itinerary. The black sand is actually more like small black rocks and some fine black gravel just fyi. There is a long scenic trail that stretches north and south of the beach so be sure to make time to explore.
The quickest way to Hana and Waianapanapa
If you are short on time and have the funds, you should seriously consider taking a short flight on Mokulele from Kahului. After driving the road to Hana 3x, I think I will book a flight on my next trip.
I should mention that camping is allowed and on my first trip to Waianapanapa in 1998 I camped here to breakup the long drive. There is nothing quite like waking up to turtles swimming in the waves right off the black sand beach as the sun is rising. Epic!
On another previous trip I visited Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) and hiked the Pipiwai trail to Waimoku Falls. The bamboo forest is magical and a must if you take the time to visit the Hana side of the Island.
If you have the time I would highly recommend an overnight stay so that you won’t be rushed. We did not have this luxury so we had to make it a day trip.
Around 5:00pm we began our journey back to Kahului to catch our flight. I should mention that this was a risky proposition and I don’t recommend it. The road is very narrow winds around the island. I believe the trip has 620 curves and 59 bridges. If we had any car trouble or any traffic we could miss our flight. Luckily the only issue we encountered was a drunk/high local driving recklessly while passing cars going 50 miles an hour. He passed us and then ended up crashing into a truck going the opposite way. He didn’t stop and left the scene of the accident. Luckily a bystander got a license plate and I hope and pray he was caught.
Luckily we made our flight and everything went smoothly. Even if we had missed our flight, what’s the worst that could happen, another day in paradise? Heaven forbid! 🙂
My top 10 things to do and see on the east side of Maui Hawaii
Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park
Waterfall hike at Waimoku Falls
Ohe’o Gulch Seven Sacred Pools
The Garden of Eden
Snorkel at Hana Bay
Palapala Ho’omahu Congregational Church
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