Haleakala, located on the Hawaiian island of Maui was one of the most incredible national parks we've ever visited. There is nothing like standing atop a dormant volcano 10,000 feet above sea level and taking in the view. This is a sacred place to the native Hawaiians and it's easy to understand why. The volcano is dormant, and erupted perhaps as recently as the 17th century, although exact dates are unknown.
Getting there: The road up to Haleakala is not for the faint of heart, but if you can do the Maui Road to Hana, you can make it up to the top. It's a two lane road that passes through a variety of scenes, from the jungle near the coast, to damp wooded regions full of lavender farms and plants that prefer cooler temperatures, to the frigid dessert area at the top. The road is full of dangerous turns and complete drop offs so go slowly.
What to do: At the top, we simply walked around. The elevation change is noticeable so drinking lots of water and taking it slow are highly recommended. When (if) we have the opportunity to return we may bike down the mountain, hike along the many paths of the volcano, go horseback riding, or camp. There are several cabins atop the mountain, but they get booked pretty far in advance.
Additionally, the Road to Hana also loops into the park as it winds around the backside of the volcano. The landscape on this side is barren but stunning and well worth the drive. This part of Haleakalā also boasts stunning hiking paths to various waterfalls.
Where to eat: If you'e on Maui, you need to eat at Mama's Fish House in Paia, a town very close to the road up Halakealā. If you'd like a nice, organic grocery store, Mana Foods in Paia is the place for you. We bought supplies here and made sandwiches for our treks into the park. Food in Hawaii is expensive, so buying groceries and making most of our meals was the cheapest way to go.
Where to stay: I can recommend Air B&B for those looking to stay around Haleakalā. There are hotels and resorts on Maui, but the majority of them are located on the opposite, busier side of the island.