It seemed like such a good idea. The Road to Hana is supposed to be one of the prettiest drives in the world. The actual distance to Hana is only 52 miles, but it takes about three hours to get there. Once you get to Hana, you have to turn around and drive the same route back. Past Hana is a really rough dirt road that voids most car rental contracts. The one-way drive to Hana consists of approximately 620 curves and 59 one lane bridges. It’s said that the journey is the main draw because you drive through a really tropical environment with dozens of waterfalls.
The “good idea” we had was to camp near Hana. That way we could take our time getting there and then have an extra day or two to explore the area. What went wrong with our camping trip is the same thing that ruins most camping trips – rain.
Luckily, we had a really good first day. We managed to complete the drive to Hana and found our camping site at Wai’anapanapa State Park. Since anybody going to Hana is taking a day trip, the road gets very busy in the mornings. So we left a little later in the morning to avoid the parade of cars.
We stopped at quite a few waterfalls. Most of the waterfalls are not right along the road, and nothing is really labeled with signs. I guess part of the fun is exploring on your own and finding what you find, but having two young kids limits the amount of exploring we can do. Plus there are limited spots to pull off the road.
I’m probably making it sound worse than it was, because the drive was beautiful. I just wish we were able to get out and do all of the hikes that the guidebook recommends.
We made it to our campsite at about 4:30pm – just in time to set up our tent and start working on dinner. The good thing about camping at Wai’anapanapa State Park is you are right along the ocean. The bad thing is you are likely camping with a dozen other people. Instead of individual sites, it was more of an open field of people camping wherever they want. You don’t realize how loud your kids really are until you are around a group of people who are enjoying the piece and quiet of nature.
After a night of playing Uno in the tent and a little stargazing on the prettiest sky I have ever seen, we started to hear rain drops. The kids woke up at about 6:30am and we immediately left the campsite for a walk around the state park. Again, our kids are not the quietest people.
By the time we left Wai’anapanapa it was full out raining. We were headed to the highlight of the trip to Hana – the Ohe’o Gulch. It is a series of cascading waterfalls that go all the way to the ocean. Plus you can swim in them! It is supposed to fill up with tourists, so one of the reasons we camped was so we could be there early.
You would think with it raining at a pretty good rate, the flow of water on the falls would be good. Nope. Barely even a trickle. Total waste of time. It was at that point, we made the decision to cut our losses. We were supposed to spend the day relaxing at the waterfalls, go on some hikes, and then camp one more night. But instead we headed back to the camp site, packed up and headed home. The rain looked like it was going to be around all day.
Anyone who has camped in the rain knows how much fun packing up your camp site is. Plus to top it all off, as we were leaving the state park, we moved off the side of the road to let a car pass and blew a tire in our car. That meant we had to empty the car out to get the spare. Again….camping in Hana SEEMED like a good idea!