We were not sure if this was worth getting up at 3am, especially because my entire family LOVES to sleep in. If you are considering this as well, I'll just say, IT'S WORTH IT. GO. (you can take naps later).
The sunrise was gorgeous, cradled by the clouds. When the sun first comes up, you can see a golden lining on the clouds that I've only heard of but never truly witnessed.
Tips / Warnings:
1. The drive may make you motion sick, especially since you probably didn't sleep enough if you woke up at 3. My family (who get seasick even on large cruise ships) were not feeling that well going up or going down. If you need to take some medicine, do it.
2. BE PREPARED. People have said it's cold, which is very true, but it is the wind that makes it so unbearable. When you're looking out at the clouds and waiting for the sunrise, the wind is blowing directly into your face, so much so that you can't speak unless you turn away. Wear the appropriate clothing - not only for the cold but for the nasty wind.
3. You may be double / 3x / 4x - parked. In other words, there is not that much parking up there, and they may direct you to park behind someone or vice versa. That means that you may not be able to leave immediately after sunrise, because you have to wait for the 3-5 cars behind you to all leave before you can. Be considerate of others, and if you're going to stay longer, move your car elsewhere so others can leave.
4. Get breakfast after. It will significantly make your day better. I personally recommend Paia Bay Coffee, which is close to the bottom of the crater.it was amazing!
5. Unless you're only in Maui for one day, try not to do this and the Hana Highway in one day. Take your time, and you'll enjoy both places so much more.
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