After breakfast we packed up for the day and then headed to Whole Foods. I had read that there aren't stores along the way, except for small stands selling smoothies and banana bread, so bringing some essentials along is a must.
Mike took the top off the Jeep as we set out on The Road to Hana so could get the full experience while driving along. Well, no sooner were we on our way than rain started. We were suddenly in a downpour and had to pull over to get the tops back on!
Our first stop was at mile marker #2, the Twin Falls. This is the first real stop on the Road to Hana with a cool trail that meanders past bamboo forests, beautiful foliage, and leads to viewing some pretty waterfalls. I also had to buy a small loaf of banana bread, as that is one of the recommended things to do at these roadside stops!
From there we opted to drive a bit before stopping again. We wanted to scoot past the crush of tourists and then stop when it was less crowded. Not to mention, due to the rain and our recent hike at Twin Falls, we were muddy and wanted to enjoy the Road to Hana from the car. We continued on for a bit to Kaumahina State Park. We decided this would be a good stop for lunch and stretching our legs. It was still very wet from the rain so we didn't use a picnic table, rather just ate sitting in the jeep. As soon as we pulled in suddenly hordes of people pulled in and the line to the bathroom was very long! After our lunch break, we were on our way again.
I have to say that the valleys, foliage, flowers, and waterfalls are breathtaking and so worth the hairy drive! While the road is surprisingly well maintained, there are many spots where you need to yield to oncoming traffic as the road narrows to one lane or it's a one lane bridge. I was glad Mike was driving! We kept on driving all the way to Hana and once we arrived we took the road down to the bay. The beach here was very small and very rough, but still pretty. We stopped at the bathrooms which were very unkept! Still we were glad to have that option vs. port-a-potties we had seen along the way. I also treated the kids to soda and they were happy with that!
Our first stop on the way out of Hana was the beautiful Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. We had a hard time finding parking so had to drive around the cramped, busy lot for a bit. We finally found a spot and then hiked down to the beach. Mike went for a dip and said it was really refreshing, although it was very rough. There were many signs posted about currents and that made me glad we didn't bring the kids' swimsuits! We also checked out a cool cave that opened to the ocean on the far end. The waves came crashing into it which made me nervous when the kids wanted to stand close as the waves crashed out just as quickly as they crashed in! As we turned to go out it was hard for our eyes to adjust to the light coming in through a whole overhead and Braden tripped over a huge rock in the way. Poor guy hurt himself a little. Just a note to really watch your step in the cave! Once we hiked back up we wanted to hike to the cave that once held the ancient princess, according to Hawaiian legend. Princess Popoalaea was forced to marry chief Kakea, much to her dismay. She and her faithful servant fled to this area and hid inside a lava tube near the black sand beach. The chief searched and searched for her and finally saw her reflection in the water from her hiding place and it was here that she was killed. Just a neat bit of Hawaiian legend to go along with the amazing scenery!
From here we stopped twice to look at waterfalls and then we had our fill. It took a bit to get back to the main road and we were glad that the windy road was behind us! Bucket list check for Road to Hana!
We stopped at Whole Foods again as Mike and I wanted to grill some chicken and mashed potatoes. Once back at the resort Mike and the kids swam while I tossed in a small load of laundry and organized our luggage. We grilled our dinner and had a nice final dinner here!