Driving To Hana? Stop Halfway In Keanae

Hawaiian gifts

Are you planning to do the scenic drive to Hana?

Wondering where to stop along the way on your drive to Hana?

The Hana Highway is one of Maui's tourist rituals.  Play it wrong, and you can spend the day stuck in a conga line of rental cars fighting for parking spots. One easy way to play it right is to split your drive across two days. On the first day, only go as far as Keanae Village and Nahiku. A turnout at mile marker 17 gives up a portrait quality view of the lava peninsula on which the village sits. You'll find the beaches are not for swimming at Keanae, but this little cove is popular among kayakers in search of supreme scenery.

Lava stacks, a product one of Haleakala's more recent eruptions, constantly do battle with ocean waves. In the middle of Keanae's greenspace is its signature landmark, dating from 1860. It's called (get ready) Ihi'ihioiehovaona. (try saying THAT 3 times fast!)

Aunty Sandy's is as close as you will get to haute cuisine. Better buy two of the petite loaves before driving away and wishing you had another.

Nearby are two freshwater swimming spots: Sapphire Pools, which are near the highway turnoff, and Keanae Pools, which are formed at the river mouth not far from the church. The Keanae Arboretum is one of the best family hikes on the island, and trekers can keep going up the valley. Next to Keanae is Wailua Village, where practically no tourists stop, thereby missing two quaint churches (St. Gabriel's Church and St. Augustine's Shring) as well as a gorgeous view of taro fields surrounded cliffs and Upper Waikani Falls.

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