|How can eight islands in the middle of the Pacific with just under 11,000 square miles of total terra firma be home to great road trips? Trust us, they can, and are. Simply adjust your definition of the great American road trip. Forget hundreds of miles. Think dozens. Instead of several days, think several hours. The diverse landscapes, scenery, weather, towns, food and activities you’ll see and do along the way make our best road trips truly unique. So get your motor running. Here are five great Hawaii road trips to start with. Hana Highway (Routes 360, 36). What do you get when you combine 59 or so mostly single-lane century-old bridges, hundreds of curves, and 64 miles of roadside waterfalls, verdant rainforests and stunning sea-level and thousand-foot elevation East Maui coastal views? One of Hawaii’s best road trips, period. The Hamakua Coast‘s Modern and Old Mamalahoa Highways (Route 19). Take the modern island of Hawaii highway and scope rugged sea cliffs, lush stream-cut valleys, waterfalls and profiles of Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Maunakea, with lots of scenic spots and small towns along the way. Leisurely explore neighboring remnants of the old highway and see all of the above a bit more up close and personal. East Molokai‘s Kamehameha V Highway (Route 450). One of the loveliest sea-level coastal drives in the Islands takes road trippers from Molokai main town Kaunakakai past several centuries-old loko ia(Hawaiian fishponds) often snaking right beside tranquil shoreline on its way to scenic end-of-the-road Halawa Valley and Beach Park. Waimea Canyon Drive and Kokee Road (Route 550). Give yourself a day to truly explore this winding roadway from sea level Waimea town all the way up into the chill, misty mountain forests of Kokee State Park. The route is only 14 miles long. But you’ll want to stop to explore a trail or two, check out the road-ending Kalalau Valley and take in the breathtaking wonder that is Waimea Canyon. Picture being dropped on a country-fide two-lane road straddling both the foot of the sumptuous Koolau mountain range and quietly lapping shoreline waters of Oahu’s Windward Coast, then discovering beaches, bays, offshore islands, parks, great eats (from Hawaiian food to shrimp trucks) as you drive. Enjoy the ride!
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