Before you leave, check out some basic information for the Road to Hana:
Plan Ahead, Leave Early, Gas Up & Pack a Cooler
It is impossible to see all the sites on the Road to Hana in a day so leave early to see as much as possible. Plan to be in Paia Town by sunrise to enjoy a full day. Pack and gas up your car the night before if possible. After the Town of Paia, there are no gas stations until you reach the Town of Hana where gas prices are usually $1 more than in Kahului. From Paia Town, without stopping along the way, it takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach Hana and 3 hours to reach the Kīpahulu section of Haleakalā National Park and ‘Ohe’o Gulch’s 7 sacred pools; however, you will most likely make many stops.
Since the selling of fresh fruits, flowers, leis, fish or vegetables along the roadside does not require a license, you will find many stands along the road. Many are unattended and based on the honor system requiring payment to be made through a slot in a cash box. Others are attended with friendly salespeople willing to blend your fruit into a smoothie or sell you prepackaged banana bread, coconut candy and local crafts.
Some roadside stands offer prepared foods such as fish tacos, hotdogs, kalua pig, local corn on the cob, chili & rice, smoked BBQ and fish & chips and can be quite good; however, I have found that packing a cooler with your favorite drinks, snacks and lunch items is best. Hours of operation & food supplies for roadside stands can be limited, restaurants can be an expensive cattle call, and a $30 cooler investment can save you in the long run, not just for you journey on the Road to Hāna, but for your whole vacation, especially with kids. For your flight home, fill the cooler with your souvenirs, duct tape it shut and check it in with your other luggage. Better yet, when you fill your tank with gas on your way to return your rental car, give it away to a grateful local.
What to Wear
Plain and simple, shorts, T-shirt and water sandals or tennis shoes. If you plan to swim and don’t want to change into your swimsuit on the side of a busy road, wear your swimsuit under your shorts and tanktop/T-shirt. You will find waterfalls and pools you will want to swim in but there will be no restroom available to change into your swimsuit. Bring a change of dry clothes and shoes/sandals and a comfy sweatshirt for the ride home.
Water sandals are awesome. They give you the support to walk or hike to the falls and pools along muddy trails and protect your feet on the slippery rocky pool bottoms while entering the pool, swimming, and climbing to a suitable ledge to jump if you are so inclined.
Trails can be muddy and slippery and getting in and out of the pools can be hazardous and painful while barefoot. Wear your water sandals or aqua-shoes while swimming, your feet will thank you. Tennis shoes are good too; however, your brand new white tennis shoes will get muddy.
Don’t wear white shorts! By the end of the day you’ll be tired and eventually you’ll want to sit on a rock, dirty picnic table, or bench. If it is raining, there will be mud, guaranteed.
What to Bring
- Road to Hana iPhone App
- Swim Suit
- Water Sandals/Aqua Shoes
- Change of Dry Clothes/Shoes – For the ride home
- Cash – For roadside stands, food and $10 parking fee for Haleakalā National Park in Kīpahulu
- Mosquito Repellent – Wipes are best and take up less room in your backpack
- Backpack – for longer hikes like Waimoku Falls
- Cooler with water, drinks, snacks and lunch
- Dramamine or other motion sickness medicine
- Trash Bag / Barf Bag for your car
- Toilet Paper – for when the public restrooms run out
- Umbrella/Rain Gear – Most likely not needed; however, umbrellas protect your camera better while shooting pictures
- Zip lock baggie for camera – in case of rain
Plain & Simple…if you are prone to motion/car sickness, take a dramamine or other medicine to combat motion sickness over the 600+ curves. Bring a barf bag and water to rinse your mouth out with if you get sick and a towel to wipe your face. Rolling down the window and wetting your face will help. Keep you eyes on the horizon if not driving. Sitting in the front passenger seat will help too. Be tolerant of others and use one of the many pullouts or sites on the Road to Hāna iPhone App to explore while others are recovering.