Maui’s Hana Highway: Why not Wainapanapa?

Traveler’s on Maui’s winding-and-waterfall-filled Hana Highway should slow down 2 miles outside of the little town and hang a left to Wainapanapa State Park. Its black sand beach is the best snorkeling and swimming place on the coast–unless the waves are cranking. From the beach, a coastal trail penetrates pandanus forest to the Kaupukalua Burial grounds, and other ancient sites.

The state park also offers a handful of rustic cabins, set in a tropical grove right on the coast. A trail leads from here to Hana, passing the Ohala Heiau on a several-mile adventure.

Visitors can also chill on a shorter trail to the Waianapanapa Caves, where freshwater pools await beneath mossy cliffs. Legend maintains these romantic caves were the meeting place for a princess and here lover, which was going along just fine until here husband put a brutal end to the tryst. In the spring, the waters turn red with the memory of her blood—or from tiny shrimp hatching, take your pick. Maui Trailblazer has more details on the state park, as well as other getaways on this popular coast.