The Road to Hana: magical, other-worldly, enchanting. There’s nothing else like it – and my husband and I only managed to see half of what nature offers during the trip.
If you’re going to Maui even for just a few days while island hopping, do yourself a favor and add this to your MUST do list. You can do as much or as little as you want but give yourself a minimum of 6 hours (or up to 11 like we needed). Keep in mind, this is truly a journey in life you don’t want to rush. Also prepare for loads of twists and turns and one lane bridges – just adds to the adventure!
Our first full day on the island we woke up bright and early (thank you reverse jet-lag!), grabbed coffee, snacks, and the free GoPro rental from the hotel and hopped in a Mustang convertible to start the journey.
Our first stop wasn’t even technically part of the Road – we found a bluff along the water where a family was selling fresh fruit. Naturally, decided this was the perfect time to get our first coconuts and the dad used a machete to open two for us. SO. GOOD. Perfect start and we were back on the road. Once we were on the road we were able to stop at the following sites. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the dozens of indescribable waterfalls along the road, too!
Honomanu Bay – Mile 14
This is super easy to miss – we didn’t even know it existed. Semi-fresh on the journey we saw one or two cars pulled off to the side and wanted to see what was there ourselves. After a bit of a walk downhill, we were greeted by this beautiful bay. Unfortunately right as we got to the beach a downpour started (hello, rainforest!) so we turned back and didn’t manage to get any photos.
Halfway to Hana Stand – Mile 17
Having driven for awhile around hairpin turns and one lane bridges, we decided to pull over and restock our snack supply. You have to try the banana bread here – made fresh daily with multiple varieties offered. I have yet to have better banana bread than what we had at the huts along this road. If that’s not your jam, grab a refreshing Hawaiian Ice, sandwich, or other snack. (Don’t forget to grab a few things for the road, too!)
Wailua Valley – Mile 18
This super short hike led up to a landing with Jurassic Park views for miles. Incredible to see a canyon with waterfalls all over the walls. This stop doesn’t take too long but is great to take in the views. (Yes, these photos are from the same spot. Raining over the jungle and sunny clear skies when you turned around to the ocean!)
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park – Mile 22.5
One of my favorite stops – a short hike into the jungle and you arrive at a waterfall and pool you can swim in! Make sure to bring water shoes and towels along with you. (A change of dry clothes isn’t a bad idea either – we just aired out with the convertible top down afterwards). This park also has picnic tables to enjoy a snack while taking in the sites. The little island kitties everywhere were pretty cool too! (#catlady)
Wai’anapanapa State Park – Mile 32
Black sand beach, legendary caves, sea stacks, and blow holes are some of the things you’ll find here. With so much to see, we posted up for over an hour swimming and exploring. Nothing quite like the contrast of clear blue waters against the black sand with bright green foliage all around you. You can camp here as well which would be incredible!
Road from Hana
Instead of making it to Hana and then turning around for a second round of the 620 hairpin curves (yes – there are 620 curves around the island on this drive), we took the dirt road on the back side of Hana back to Wailea. You guys. This road was like entering a totally different world and I couldn’t be happier we decided to drive a dirt road in a convertible to see it. We saw maybe 10 cars during this part of the drive which was a little startling but also made it more special. Getting to see old Hawaii in it’s natural splendor was breathtaking. It does take a bit longer to make it back (especially if you’re staying in Wailea) but it was worth it!
Must See’s for next time:
- Garden of Eden Aboretum
- Seven Sacred Falls – these were unfortunately closed when we visited
- Bamboo Forest
- Black sand beach again
- Possibly a stay (hotel or camping) in Hana to truly be able to take all the time we need to see everything
Tips to make your trip unforgettable:
- Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray! The sun is strong and the mosquitoes will eat you alive when walking around. Avoid any discomfort by being prepared with these.
- Don’t forget snacks, a camera, towels, and a change of clothes. So many of the stops are water activities and you don’t want to be stranded in soaking wet clothes all day!
- You’ve likely read elsewhere but be prepared with the stops you want to see and know what mile marker they’re located at. This is the one thing we could have done better – the sites aren’t marked and many are easy to miss. Going prepared and knowing which mile markers to stop at will help tremendously.
- Make sure to take all valuables from the car when you stop at sites. Unfortunately locals have been known to steal from cars on the road. We found the easiest way to take necessities was by putting phones, cash, and ID’s in a dry case and keeping it with us.
- Don’t forget cash! Lots of the stops for snacks don’t take card and you will get hungry.
Have you done the Road to Hana? A favorite hidden gem to see when we go back? Comment below and share!
*All photos are my own. Please contact for use.