Maui – 3 awesome days in a Camper Van – best time ever
Finally a dream came true for us. A vacation on Maui – what an amazing place to visit. Especially if you spent 3 awesome days in a Camper Van, what a cool experience.
Because we have never been to Hawaii we wanted to see as much as possible, but also wanted to have some time to relax.
After doing a lot of research, we decided we would travel Maui in a Camper Van. It was the best decision ever. We cruised around Maui 3 days in a camper van and loved it.
The best deal to rent a camper van was with Maui rent for less Rudy picked us up from the airport, showed us the camper and of we went towards “The Road to Hana’. Because we started in the afternoon we only drove about 1,5 hours towards the Campground YMCA Camp Keanae http://ymcacampkeanae.org/reservations/
We decided to start of slow and enjoy the beach on our first day right here at the Campground.
Maui – 3 awesome days in a Camper Van
Right next to the YMCA Campground is the Arboretum which you can reach by foot from the Campground.
We went on a short hike into the Arboretum and then back to the Camper to make dinner. And we enjoyed the best view of the beach right where we camped.
The next day we started our day early, because there is so much to see. Waterfalls, Black Beaches, amazing fauna and flora, swimming ponds and more waterfalls.
The beauty while traveling with a camper is that you can really take your time and stop wherever you want to stop.
You don’t need to rush from one ‘must see’ to the other ‘must see’ without taking your time to enjoy the spots.
We stopped at Haiku for a cup of coffee and banana bread and then went on towards the next stop Kahanu Garden. Amazing walk through the garden and to the sacred site. We read a lot of information on the displays about what happened in the past right here, where we are standing. And what an amazing view of the Ocean. https://ntbg.org/gardens/kahanu
The Road to Hana can be pretty challenging because it leads you over more than 60 one-lane bridges.
After an earthquake the road was never really fixed and that is the reason why there are so many unpaved stretches and pot holes in the road.
You have to watch out for traffic, it can get really tight. The fastest you can drive on this road is a maximum of 20 miles per hour. To get to Hana, which is a 60 mile drive, will take some time.
But you don’t drive to Hana to get there fast, nope, you want to enjoy the ride and stop at as many places in between as possible.
The best tip we have received from Rudy was to download the Gypsy App https://gypsyguide.com/tour/road-to-hana-maui/
You put your phone on speaker and listen to the guide who drives along with you. And you decide if you want to stop at certain places or not.
Definitely worth the 6 Dollars you have to pay for the app.
We stopped at Koki Beach, the amazing waterfalls and arrived in Hana for lunch and a stroll through the little town and shops.
In the afternoon we made it to Wai’anapanapa State Park http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/maui/waianapanapa-state-park/ for a short hike to the 7 sacred pools.
Because we made reservations at the Campground in Wai’anapanapa we had to drive back towards the camping site which was directly located at the Black Beach.
Awesome beach and of course a ‘must see’.
The third day began with a beautiful sunrise at the campground and an early start towards the mountains.
We decided to drive on to Kula and do the complete circle although it is not suggested to do that.
The road is very narrow and not easy to drive especially with oncoming traffic. We were confident we could do it but it definitely was a challenge, especially driving in a Camper Van.
But we were rewarded with beautiful views and an amazing trail to the Waimoku Falls.
Best hiking trail to take
Waimoku Falls are located in Haleakala National Park and is one of the highlights of the trip. Take the Pīpīwai Trail toward the Waimoku Falls which is about a 2 Mile upward hike.
The best hike ever, but don’t wear Flip Flops, it is a hike through Bamboo Forest, over steps and a lot of stones.
Because we started early we were already on our way back when the crowds arrived. And it was getting hot.
It was one of the best hikes we did on Maui – and the waterfall at the end of the hike is just breathtaking.
After the hike we started our adventure on the road towards Kula.
As I said, the drive towards Kula is not recommended. We did it anyways. It was very exhausting, but doable.
Watch the video
If you are interested, take a short look at my video, which gives you an impression how the road looks like:
Get free access to my Resource Library and download the “Ultimate best things to do on Maui” – you have all the best tips on one page.
But wait, there is more:
My number 1 tip what to do on Maui is still to come.
We stopped at the Lavender Farm (o.k. to do but not a must do) before we drove up to the Campground Hosmer Grove in the National Park below the Haleakala Crater https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/drive-up-camping.htm.
Fortunately we had no problems of finding an overnight spot for the van. You can’t make any reservations at the Campground, it is a first come first serve policy.
(It is not really a Campground, no water, no electricity). But we wanted to drive up to the summit to see the sunset.
And wow, what an adventure.
My top 1 recommendation what to do on Maui
It is an easy and breathtaking drive up to the crater. We drove thru clouds and arrived at the parking lot with a beautiful clear view, a lot of wind and pretty chilly temperature.
We had to hike about 1 mile up from the parking lot to arrive at the summit. There is also an Observatory at about 10,000 feet.
It was very windy and very cold but a must do and a must see. I can’t describe how beautiful this sunset was, colors so intense almost unreal.
The setting of black lava stone, white clouds and an orange/red sunset was amazing. Don’t miss this one, a must do.
If you want to see the sunrise at around 5:50 am you have to get registered at least 2 days prior to the day you want to go see it.
The best thing to do is to register weeks in advance to secure your spot. They only allow 40 cars up for sunrise.
We were too late for registering and didn’t catch a parking spot for sunrise, but as I said, the sunset was amazing.
We drove back to the Campground and sat outside to watch the sky. I have never seen so may stars before – unbelievable.
We just sat there and looked up and couldn’t get enough of that view.
The day began with a short hike on the nature trail which started right next at the Campground. We took our time to drive down to Kahului to return the Camper Van.
Rudy and his team are very chill and the return was fast and uncomplicated.
Returning the Van
Everything went well, the van was totally equipped with a stove, cups and plates, spices, water, a little fridge, camping chairs, umbrella, yoga mat, everything you need on a trip through paradise.
We recommend to stay on campgrounds, the van has no bathroom.
Although people do stay on beaches or even on private properties all over Maui, it is definitely not recommended. During the time we were in Maui (end of April) there were very few campers on the road and absolutely no problem to get a spot at a Campground.
Campsites are actually pretty reasonable. The campsite YMCA was $ 60 per night, the National Park was $ 26 and the Summit Campground was free.
Summary of ‘Best things to do on Maui’
The decision to rent a Camper Van for 3 days was the best we have done. If you want to see a lot of Maui and you are a little adventurous – go for it.
We stopped at so many places and had enough time to sit at the beach, enjoying views and going on hikes. If you are thinking of driving The Road to Hana in one day, you have to decide where to stop in advance. Also most of the places close around 4 pm, this is when most of the rental cars are already on their way back to the Hotel.
A Camper Van is the best way to travel if you want to see a lot without being rushed.
And after we returned the Camper Van we hopped into the Uber to get a ride to our Hotel In Ka’anapali.
But this is another story. So watch out for my next post about our 4 day stay in the Westin Resort and Spa in Ka’anapali.
Another amazing 4 days of perfect vacation.
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