Day 3: Central Maui: Paia and Makawao
YOU’LL KNOW you’re almost to the Hana Highway when you drive through Paia, a chic and lively town that is definitely worth a stroll. There is a free parking lot on the west side of town. From there, walk down the main street and try not to find a place to eat here. Wonderful eating experiences abound, such as the Flatbread Company. A fun place for family—or for hungry hikers who have just come down from Haleakalā National Park. The kitchen is in the back of the dining area, so you can watch the action as hot, woodfire-baked pizzas are whisked from the oven and brought straight to your table.
Paia is also known for being kinda, semi-close to legendary surf spot Jaws. However, Jaws is in a pretty remote location; be prepared for a hike. If you’re really itching to look at the waves, then you will want to look for this street: ‘O‘ili Road. Walk down until you see the Cattle Guard. This is as far as we went, but Jaws is beyond here down a cliff.
Quite a ways above Paia nestled in the foothills of Haleakalā is Makawao. It has the reputation for being a "cowboy town." This is in reference to the paniolo, who trace their heritage back to Mexican vaqueros/cowboys hired by John Palmer Parker in the 1800s to help herd cattle. I'm not sure how much of this tradition remains; we mainly traveled through Makawao on our way up to Haleakalā Summit. I suppose the town square looks kind of like that old saloon style. There were many art studios, sculptures, and carvings on display.
We were staying at Waianapanapa State Park by Hana, so we had quite the drive to Haleakalā Summit. Start early so you can stay off the Hana Highway at night if at all possible. Cut up Highway 365 if heading to Haleakalā from the east side. This will lead you up a few windy back roads before you'll come to Makawao. Make sure you fill up on gas here, because there will be little to no options once you head up Highway 377-378.
Upcoming: Day 4: The Hana Highway
*Disclaimer: This article is presented as fiction, not fact. Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.