OK, so it's not covered by your car rental policy and probably not by your insurance, but if it's a clear day I would not turn around on the drive to Hana. The back part of the island has some amazing surfing and houses. There are some cell towers around so you don't have to worry too much.
I took the road less traveled and it made all the difference.
The famous Blue Pool. This photo was from our 2005 trip. Unfortunately, rainfall has been minimal and the flow is just a trickle. I imagine it would have been more impressive had it a heavier flow. But it is still a beautiful place.
From this camera angle, if you made a 180° turn, you would be greeted with wide-open Pacific Ocean. THAT is what makes this place special. See my Travelogue below for more photos.
**2006 UPDATE** We tried to go down here again. There was a big sign that said access to Blue Pool was closed. We ventured no further. :(
This waterfall sits above Pua‘a Ka‘a State Park, which is just before mile post 23 on Hwy 360. Normally you could access this waterfall from within the park. But during our 2006 visit, this park was closed. It was all taped off as the State was retrofitting the walkways for wheelchair access.
So we had to hike up a hunter road that was just around the turn to gain access. Once we got to the EMI ditch, we followed it to the viaduct, crossed it, then up to this quiet spot. Like last year, we had it all to ourselves. But this time we had the threat of rain and flashfloods. So we did not lounge around too long once there.
Hana has tons of waterfalls, most have to be hiked to and you definately need a guide book or the road to Hana CD to tell you what mile marker the hiking trail starts at. We saw some off the side of the road. The water fall in these pictures that looks "cloudy" was at the bottom and the larger waterfall with clear water was quite a hike above the lower waterfall.
I cannot remember what mile marker on the Road to Hana this is, but I do know it is not that far into the road once you start, so I am going to say, maybe around the 6 to 10 mile marker. You can see to the right of you as you are driving, right off the road will be a big gate (I think it was green) and it looks like a gate to keep people out, however that is not the case. Park near the gate (but not directly in front off it), get out of your car and there is a sign that indicates if you follow the path there is an arboretum. There is a little open area of the gate where you can walk through, there is a paved trail and it is about a 6 or 7 minute walk until you get to the entrance of the arboretum. The arboretum is free and is an awesome experience. It was my understanding that there was a man who was a biologist or something who loved Hawaii so he decided to dedicate some land to planting all the different trees and plant species that grow in Hawaii / Maui and dedicate the area so that people from all over could enjoy it. There are some really cool trees in the arboretum and they are marked telling you the names of the trees and sometimes where they are from in the world. If you can, definately give the arboretum some of your time, it was well worth mine.
Past the 32 mile marker off the Road to Hana is the road to Wai'anapanapa State Park. The park is clean and well maintained. They have restrooms, showers, picnic tables and camping. There is a freshwater cave (see my pics) and it has a volcanic black sand beach and a REALLY cool hiking area right above the beach with really cool green plants growing out of all of the black rock and great views of the beach from above. The beach here is called Pa'iloa Beach and is a really neat beach to visit, you will find people on the beach here and all around the park. Strangely enough though, if you want to be alone for awhile go take the hike next to the beach and you will only find a few people up there, as we did.
The beach is 100 or so feet wide.
Also, if you take the hiking trail you will come upon other little black sand beaches that no one is on. These beaches appeared to have rough waves, but again, when you're in Maui and want to get away from people here is another opportunity to relax all by yourself.....
The Blue Pool - this location was where the locals would go, it wasn't public knowledge but it is slowly becoming a hot spot for tourist. Ross and I only saw one other person while were there...it's a MUST! Unfortunetly the battery in my camera died when we got there so I was unable to get any pictures but we have it on video!! I'll just post another picture of Hana...
Picture this, a remote shoreline with rocks and boulders and your walking the oceans edge when you see the most magnificant waterfall creating a crystal clear pool that as you stand in it seems you are part of the ocean!
Mile Post 31 on the road to Hana, going toward the ocean you will turn onto Ulaino Rd. It is near a 5 mile drive but it's one you will enjoy every minute of. There will be signs warning that only 4-wheel drive vehicles should proceed but go anyway, we had a Contour and were fine!
On the way you will see on the side of the road for sale, tea and coffee...stop and chat, the locals are amazing!