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A multigenerational trip to Hawaii - part two

The black sands beach of Hana
The black sands beach of Hana
by Doug Bardwell

This is part two of creating a multigenerational trip in Hawaii. Click here for part one about flying into Oahu first.

Maui has twice the natural beauty of Oahu and is nowhere near as touristy. Resorts and condo’s line Maui’s western shore with beautiful views of the sunset, but you’ll find much cheaper accommodations further east along the north shore.

Along the west coast, Lahaina is an old whaling town where it’s worth spending some time. A huge banyan tree, a nice city park, a Buddhist temple and more can all be fun. The Old Lahaina Luau seems to be popular here as well. Reservations needed.

I love driving, and there are few roads I won’t travel, so taking the ultimate road trip along Maui’s north coast was something I really looked forward to. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the views are phenomenal. It’s called the Road to Hana and there’s even a narrated audio tour that you can play as you drive for great background and history of the area. In the first 30 miles past the city, there are 600 curves and 54 one-lane bridges.

You’ll pass Hana’s black sand beach, and more beautiful lookouts than you can count. It’s about a 3.5 hour trip one way, so many people spend the night in Hana before returning. I left early in the morning and made it back shortly after dark, but I honestly felt rushed.

Drive just a little way past Hana to the Ohe’o Pools with a series of seven cascading pools that eventually flow out to the ocean. Very cool to see and only a short hike from the parking area. At this point you better turn around and head back. Rental car contracts forbid driving further into the unpaved national park area.

Another day’s adventure can be had by driving to the top of Haleakala – a now dormant volcano that extends past the clouds. A hundred brave souls usually can be found driving to the top each morning to watch the sun rise above the clouds which typically circle the crater in the early morning hours. WARNING! If you are going, take your winter jacket, hat and gloves. Seriously. Even in summer, it is mighty windy and freezing cold at this 10,023 foot elevation. Trust me on this.

Want to go even higher? A highlight of my last trip there was a “doors-off” helicopter trip with Alex Air. They routinely fly two different tours with the opportunity to get great photos and views of the island and its waterfalls. They also have craft with doors on if you aren’t that adventurous. This slide show is their most popular tour of west Maui and the island of Molokai.

The island is loaded with beautiful beaches, waterfalls, marvelous hiking and quaint seafood restaurants all over the island, so check near where ever you decide to stay for the best close to you.

Give yourself a day to return your car, catch a flight back to Oahu and catch your returning flight. Hopefully this has been the trip of a lifetime for all generations.

Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about travel destinations, photography and tech topics across the country and around the world at Feel free to drop him a line at with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. For travel ideas in Cleveland and around the world, check his Calendar of Events. To see his travel photo collection, see

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