9. The Road to Hana. Now it has been a few years since this drive for me, but from what I hear, its still one of the best road trips you can make anywhere in the world. The legendary Road to Hana is the site seeing, driving road trip of a lifetime. From the leeward side of Maui with it’s luxe resorts to the tropfical rainforest along winding roads with hairpin curves, bridges over deep chasms and waterfalls this is the drive for everyone. The lush vegetation and the simplicity of this rainforest will make you appreciate the planet as you never have before. Before setting out, cap off the gas tank, slather on the sunscreen and bug spary (its a moist area so it does get buggy and muggy) pack a picnic lunch (although save room for area snacks) and a lot of water. The undeveloped part of Maui is a natural wildlife sanctuary with lush vegetation (and the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen that you can’t possibly identify unless you have a botany degree). The one no miss site for me is the Ka’eleku Caverns near Black Sand Beach. You can tour the lava made caverns on your own or on a guided tour. Make this stop only if you plan to stay in Hana more than a day.
The people are kind and thrive on the tourist trade, but it is also a drive to take with caution. Drive slowly and cautiously and do not attempt this drive at night. If you must spend time here, stay the night in one of the excellent lodges or campgrounds but it is not fun at all to travel the dark road (no street lights of course) back to the leeward side of the Island. I can’t say for sure but when I last visited there were virtually no signs of tourism, mass consumption or fast food restaurants. Signs were kept to a minimum and both Hana natives and visitors were friendly and helpful with facts. There is only one road so it is impossible to get lost, unless of course, you are so seduced by the natural beauty of the area you never want to return home again. Enjoy!
10. Denali National Park Drive. Hike, camp,explore or just drive around in your car all day and take pictures. No matter what your travel style you will love this site with its mountains majestic and friendly and curious wildlife. My favorite part of this drive is the caribou and sheep that naturally will walk up right up to your car to converse with you personally. (Great photos! “Hey kids there is Mom and the Moose”!) You don’t even have to enter the park to enjoy the great scenery but it is worth the time to check out the Denali Center just inside of the North entrance to the park. There are interactive exhibits and great facts about Mt. McKinley and the Alaska mountain range.
This is a trip only to be taken in summer months and even then things can get chilly. Bring extra sweaters and a jacket and even mittens as the winds can get even more ferocious than the bears (Grizzly and Black) you might also see there. We saw one of the Park Rangers give a sled dog exhibition (not as easy as it looks on tv).
It is not what you might expect but will exceed your expectations.
Safe and Happy Travels to all!