This is a guest post by Paul farmer, who lives on Maui and is one of the cool members of the team behind R2H, a digital travel guide which takes you through one of the most amazing places on the planet, Hana on Maui.
Myth: The Road to Hana is NOT for kids.
Truth: The Road to Hana is possibly the most memorable trip you’ll ever take with your children.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking adventure and romance is only for couples, but it is important for us as parents to create adventures for our kids that romance their hearts and inspire their souls.
In this post, we will give you a suggested itinerary for you and your children on the Road to Hana. First, here are three things you will need at each stop to help make this a day they will never forget:
- The “Prize”
Give your kids something to look forward to at each stop.
- The “Virtue”
Engage their heart in an intentional way and teach them a life lesson.
- The “Guide”
Bring along a copy of the Road to Hana CD Guide from R2H. It’s 100% family friendly and it does a great job of keeping you and your family entertained along the way.
The Itinerary (For Ages 6+)
Ke’anae Peninsula – Track #14 on the R2H CD
An ancient lava flow formed this place. You really get a feel here for the drama of what it must have been like when hot lava from Haleakala collided with the violent, cold ocean of the Pacific.
Prize: Shave Ice, banana bread, and coconut candy from Aunty Sandy’s
Virtue: Having a healthy respect for nature and its power
Waikani Falls – Track #16 on the R2H CD
This is one of the most visited waterfalls on the Hana Highway, but few know they can experience it up close and personal.
Prize: Walk through the jungle and swim in a waterfall.
Virtue: Experiencing life vs. spectating from the sidelines. The waterfall looks different when you are standing below it than it does from standing far away from it on the bridge.
Nahiku – Track #19 on the R2H CD
Along this charming stretch of canopied trees is a small marketplace on the ocean side of the road with loads of personality and some exquisite food choices.
Virtue: Sharing stories and experiences with others. Challenge your kids to meet someone new and talk about each other’s journey on the R2H so far.
Kahanu Garden – Track #20 on the R2H CD
$10 per person
One of Maui’s best-kept secret spots, and home of an ancient temple called the Pi’ilanihale Heiau. Allow yourself to feel the age of the island, and imagine what it might have been like for those that lived here so many years ago.
Prize: See one of the oldest man-made structures in the US. Plus, you can romance their heart with a magical make-believe story, “We are about to enter a part of Maui where dinosaurs once roamed.”
Virtue: Freedom with boundaries. With great freedom comes great responsibility. This area is wide open, clear of the trees of the jungle. Surrounding this several acre property are vicious, powerful waves crashing into the worn lava cliffs. Challenge them to run within the boundaries and be free.
Wai’anapanapa State Park / Black Sand Beach – Track #21 on the R2H CD
From the famous Black Sand Beach, to the caves formed under the once molten lava, to the adventurous trails, this unique park is a favorite stop for many kids.
Prize: Explore a lava cave and the rare black sand beach.
Virtue: Diversity is beautiful. Tell your child what is unique about her and what sets her apart from the rest of the world.
Hana Overnight – Track #22 on the R2H CD
Hana is considered by some to be the last undeveloped paradise on Maui. Camp out in Wai’anapanapa or the Haleakala National Park, or find an inn or hotel to rent in Hana town. Make sure you communicate that this is an “adventurous getaway” for the family. The more you are excited about it, the more they will look forward to it.
Prize: Rest and relaxation, food, and sleeping in a rainforest
Virtue: The importance of family time with no distractions. Turn off the computers, games, TVs, and phones. Everyone be 100% there.
This is one of our favorite spots in Maui. There is a vigorous but memorable hike that will take you through the enchanting bamboo forest to a 400 ft. waterfall.
Prize: Bamboo forest and a huge waterfall
Virtue: The best things in life require hard work. It’s a mile and a half hike uphill to reach the waterfall, but the payoff is worth the effort.
The Seven Sacred Pools
This is the grand finale of your trip, full of dozens of freshwater pools that are fed from the freshwater streams of Haleakala.
Prize: Multiple waterfalls and pools
Virtue: Reflecting. Let them teach you about what they have learned the past two days. Ask them questions and sit back and listen to how their hearts were affected.
->What was their favorite part of the Road to Hana? Why?
->What were the virtues they learned?
->What challenges did they overcome?
->How can they share this experience with others?
Remember, every journey is different. While this itinerary is a great one, it is merely a suggestion. You may decide to visit only one location or to do a one-day trip, and that’s ok. Take this list and create a plan that works for your kids and their abilities.
Whatever you do, do NOT rush this trip. There’s no finish line, and the only prize you’ll receive is the life-long memories you make.