You’ve probably heard about the famous “Road to Hana.” The winding road features 620 tight curves, 59 bridges, and countless sights. If you’re a nervous driver, or you’re susceptible to motion sickness, this may not be the best adventure for you. But if you’re ready to tackle the challenge, we’ve laid out our favorite (legal!) stops on the way to Hana town.
A few tips before you start out:
1) Wake up early! We recommend heading out on the Road to Hana in the early morning hours in order to make the most of your trek. There are places to stop, hike, eat, and swim, so head out early so you aren’t rushing through! Even better, stay a night in Hana to take it all in.
2) Pull over for locals! The road to Hana is known to local residents simply as their commute. They know the road, and travel it quickly. There are many pull over locations along the drive, so if someone is driving on your tail, pull over and throw a shaka as you let them pass by!
3) Avoid trespassing! Many apps and guidebooks highlight stops that are on private property. Respect private property and stick to our list below for areas that are open to all.
4) Bring Snacks! There are amazing food trucks once you get to Hana, but not much on the way. Bring snacks to hold you over until you get to Hana town!
Now, onto the good stuff!
Stop #1: Ho’okipa Lookout
After passing through Paia, take a left into the parking lot for the Ho’okipa Lookout. Here, you can watch surfers and kiteboarders from up above one of the most popular surf breaks on the island. Keep your eyes peeled for the sea turtles on the north end of the beach!
Stop #2: Twin Falls
Twin Falls is the first easily accessible string of waterfalls and pools on the Road to Hana. Stop here to enjoy fresh coconuts and smoothies from the Twin Falls Farm Stand, and hike around the maintained trails to discover waterfalls, swimming holes, irrigation ditches and more. Wailele Farm has generously kept trails open on its property for people to have recreational access to this area. For a map of the area, and to learn about farm tours at this popular stop, visit: https://www.twinfallsmaui.net/location/
Stop #3: Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Twenty-six acres of trails alive with brilliant colors, unique flowers and rare trees make this stop worth the entrance fee. Come to enjoy the trails, learn about this unique plant environment, and check out the bird’s eye view of Puohokamoa Falls, which may look familiar from the opening sequence of Jurassic Park.
Stop #4: Ke’anae Peninsula
Keanae lets you glimpse into the past. A traditional Hawaiian village known for its taro fields, here you’ll spot a stone church built in 1856, the only remaining building after the devastating tsunami of 1946. Take in the beautiful lava-rock coastline while enjoying banana bread from Aunt Sandy’s, a local favorite for over 30 years.
Stop #5: Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park
At this point in the drive, you’re going to be ready for swim! Stop into the park to explore 5 acres of rainforest with waterfalls and pools. This park offers the only waterfalls open to the public on the Road to Hana (read – you’re basically trespassing at all the others). There are restrooms here, as well as picnic tables to take a break at and enjoy the views.
Stop #5: Kahanu Garden
Kahanu Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and is an incredible place to learn some Hawaiian history. The 484 acre garden showcases a large variety of tropical plants, including 300 varieties of taro and over 120 varieties of breadfruit. Here you will also find the Pi’ilanihale Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple that took over 300 years to build.
Stop #6: Waiʻanapanapa State Park
You’re going to want to spend some time here! Waiʻanapanapa State Park is a sprawling park featuring Maui’s famous Honokalani black sand beach. Here, you’ll also find hiking trails, camping spots and picnic areas, as well as blowholes, lava tubes, and much more. Take some time hiking the historic King’s Trail to connect with Hawaii’s history.
Stop #7: Hana Town
You have arrived! Stop in Hana to take a break at one of the town’s legendary food trucks. Featuring everything from fresh fish and BBQ plate lunches to authentic Thai and Ethiopian cuisine, these food trucks do not disappoint. You can also lounge on the beach at Hana Bay, or check out the historic general store in town, and a variety of shops near the post office for unique souvenirs to bring home.
Many drivers turn back at this point. If you decide to continue on, we recommend additional stops at Koki Beach, Hamoa Beach, and the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park to enjoy even more hiking, waterfalls, and gorgeous coastal views.
Enjoy the drive!
Located in the heart of South Kihei, The Penthouse Maui is a luxury oceanfront penthouse ideal for discerning travelers seeking the utmost in relaxation and privacy. The sprawling 2,824 square-foot penthouse is spectacular with upscale amenities and stylish accommodations. Ideally situated in one of the most sought-after beaches in Maui, it is in close proximity to a variety of coveted island experiences, restaurants and shops. For reservations and inquiries, visit thepenthousemaui.com or call (808) 283-8265.
*Photos Courtesy of LightSea Images