Haleakala National Park

When I think of Maui, I think sun-kissed sand and stunning beaches…not ascending to 10,000 feet to hike amid peaks. But families vacationing on the island would be remiss to skip Haleakala National Park, where kids will learn about the natural landscape of this breathtaking area, and get a glimpse of a Maui not well-known.

Haleakala consists of both Haleakala Summit and the lower Kipahulu Coast, making it possible for families to hike through barren and beautiful terrain as well as lush vegetation, all while learning more about native Hawaiian ecology and species during one of several ranger-guided talks offered. I love that Haleakala is such a region of contrasts: kids learn about many types of natural beauty, from the high peak to the streams and waterfalls in the park’s Kipahulu area.

Tip: The night sky is so clear at the national park, that it’s home to the Haleakala Observatory. Haleakala is open 24 hours a day, so if you time it right, you can take in the Milky Way as you’ve likely never seen it before!

For one family’s take on Haleakala National Park and its junior ranger program for kids, visit Mary at The World is a Book for an extensive review.

Distance from an interstate: See directions below.

Hours of operation: The park is open year-round, 24-hours a day, seven days per week. Visitor center hours are as follows: Haleakala Visitor Center (9740 ft/2969 m) 5:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Kipahulu Visitor Center (sea level) 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission costs: Daily park passes are $10 per vehicle. For more information on park fees, see the Haleakala National Park site.

Directions: Getting to Haleakala National Park includes a beautiful drive through Maui’s ‘upcountry’ of ranches and farms. To reach the Summit Area, start at Kahului via Route 37 to 377 to 378. Driving time to the summit from Kahului is approximately 1.5 hours. To the coastal area (Kipahulu), take Route 36 to 360 to 31. Driving time from Kahului is approximately 3 hours.