Planning a trip to Maui and deciding which stops to make on the Road to Hana?! You’re in the right place, my friend! This post fully highlights all the best Road to Hana stops, and is filled with tips for the journey!
The Road to Hana is one you will never forget and one you shouldn’t miss out on while in Maui. The drive is not for the fearful though- with 52 miles of winding roads with one lane bridges, hairpin turns, and rocky cliffs, you’ll want to make sure you get plenty of rest the night before! Highway 36 (known as the Road to Hana) is one of the most famous highways in the country and takes about 3 hours, but you’ll want the whole day to linger around and take in the fresh air of this beautiful area. And trust me, there are lots of stops on the road to Hana you won’t want to miss!
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- Road to Hana Tour from Maui: Make many stops and learn so much about the Hawaiian people, culture, language, plants and animals. This is a tour that is a must do as you see so much of Maui. Read reviews and see prices here.
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- Small Group Road to Hana Luxury Tour: A maximum of only 8 people means a much more customized experience! On your leisurely journey, enjoy all the sights along the way and stop for multiple breaks to swim and relax. A professional guide, light breakfast, and delicious lunch top off this spectacular day trip! Read reviews and see prices here.
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- Small Group Road to Hana and Helicopter Tour: Discover Maui’s famous Road to Hana from the ground and from the sky! It’s basically two tours in one! Maximum of only six passengers on this tour so book sooner than later! 🙂 Read reviews and see prices here.
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The Best Road to Hana Stops:
1. MM 2: Twin Falls
2. MM 4.5: Huelo Lookout
3. MM 9: Waikamoi Ridge Forest Trail and Overlook
4. MM 10.5: Garden of Eden
The garden is most popular for its debut in ‘Jurassic Park,’ where the opening sequence of the movie was filmed, specifically the Keopuka ‘Jurassic Park’ Rock which can be seen from one absolutely gorgeous lookout inside the garden. After admiring the view, be sure to walk around the area to find some of the 500(!!!) botanically labeled plants, hidden waterfalls, and the view from Rainbow Overlook. The Rainbow Eucalyptus was specifically gorgeous!
Be prepared to pay ~ $10 per person as an entrance fee to the park. It’s one of those pricy touristy places, but one not to miss (open daily from 8-3). The garden has facilities (a few bathrooms, yippy!), which are actually uncommon along the road. Out of all of the stops on the road to Hana, this one was one of my favorites!
5. MM 17: Keane Peninsula
A short drive to Keanae Peninsula is definitely worth the diversion off the Road to Hana. The paved drive down to this peninsula leads you to the ocean’s edge for amazing views of the Hana coast. The coastline is rocky and exposed to the elements, so you won’t find any swimming opportunities here. Don’t get too close to the edge while standing on the rocks – the water shoots pretty high against the rocks! You’ll find the turn to Keanae Peninsula on the ocean (makai) side of the Road to Hana between mile markers 16 and 17. The turn is at the bend of a hair pin curve, so drive slowly so you don’t miss it.
6. Aunty Sandy’s (on the Keane Peninsula)
A quick stop on the Keane Peninsula, you’ll see it on the side of the road (on the right) no problem. Make sure to get some fresh, warm banana bread, and the shave ice is like no other on a hot, sticky day.
7. MM 17.3: “Halfway to Hana” snack shop
Call me crazy, but you can never have enough snacks on the road to Hana! You may be full from the previous snack shops, but load up on some if you’re planning on driving the entire route past Hana on the “country-no-paved” roads. Plus, you’re half way there! That in and of itself is an accomplishment!
8. MM 18: Wailua Overlook
Beautiful overlook with views to the historically rich community of Wailua. Be prepared to stop, as it’s rather easy to miss this little turnout (and there is only room for about 4 cars!)
9. MM 19: Upper Waikani (3 bears)
10. MM 27-28: Nahiku Ti Gallery and Coffee Shop
By this time on the drive, we were so hungry (despite all the yummy snacking earlier!) We weren’t planning on stopping here, but are so glad we did- two words. kalua pork tacos. And bathrooms. Okay, technically four words. The food almost outbeat my kalua pork from Aloha Mixed Plate. And while I’m raving about it, check out 10 Things to Taste in Hawaii.
11. MM 32.2: Wainapanapa State Wayside Park
This park, comprised of 122 acres, features dramatic black-sand beaches, large sea caves, volcanic tubes, a blowhole, and a coastal hiking trail. Plan to be here around an hour or so if you want to check out everything and hang by the beach for a few. Although the beach is quite small, it is beautiful and definitely worth checking out. The black pebbles make for an astonishing sight. The translation for Wai’anapanapa is “glistening water” or “water flashing rainbow hues”. It is obvious that both are perfectly accurate in describing the powerful contrast between the black sand/pebbles and the deep blue-greens of the ocean.
Plan to be here around an hour or so if you want to check out everything and hang by the beach for a few. I wish we had accounted for more time here, but there are so many stops on the road to hana it’s hard not to seem like you have to rush through a few.
Congratulations, you have now reached Hana! (MM 34)
12. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach (in Hana Town)
Albeit quite difficult to get to (a hidden trail and a rocky path down), the beach is one not to go unnoticed. We unfortunately did not make it here (due to poor planning on my part), but it’s already in my mind for next time. From what I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, this red sand beach is gorgeous and rather private, enclosed by large rock formations. The deep red sand/pebbles against the dark blue ocean make for a pretty spectacular sight. Be aware of nudists- as it is technically considered a nude beach. You might want to photoshop any pictures you take before posting to facebook or flickr! And if you do go, wear sneakers.
13. MM 45: Wailua Falls
You’ll find Wailua Falls Between mile markers 45 and 44, past the town of Hana but before you get to the Oheo Gulch on Highway 31. The waterfall is literally on the side of the road and along a bridge, and is, for lack of better words, big (113 feet!!!) and beautiful. There are paths to the bottom of the falls, but it can be muddy, slippery and dangerous.
14. MM 42: Oheo Gulch (7 sacred pools) and Pipiwai Stream Trail Hike
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Mini Cooler (for drinks and snacks!)
Wide Brimmed Sun Hat
Where to Stay in Maui
Know before you go:
- Start super early = around 6am to avoid traffic- Leave the Hana area (or your last stop) to go back around 4pm
- Fill up on gas before the drive the night before! If you forget and your gas is low, full up in Paia, but it’s very expensive there.
- Bring sunscreen, a cooler full of water, and mosquito repellent. A lot of sunscreen. And some good music (as you’ll be in the car ALOT). Did I stress that enough? You’ll be in the car for hours and hours between the stops on the road to hana.
- You could bring snacks if you like, but you will find roadside fruit stands between some of the stops on the road to hana. Some of them are open for pay by the honor system. So, bring cash, including plenty of one-dollar bills, to pay at the stands.
- Pack a breakfast and lunch (or eat breakfast beforehand and eat along the way)
- ROUTE: Begin your journey stops on the road to hana from Highway 36 from around the town of Paia. Then follow Highway 36 until it turns into Highway 360. You’ll continue on this road to and past Hana — stopping along the way to enjoy the sights. Do continue driving past the town of Hana where the road becomes Highway 31. A great place to turn around is at the Kipahulu region of Haleakala National Park. (Note that the Kipahulu region is separated from the summit of Haleakala by many miles and thousands of feet of elevation – aka DO NOT attempt to go to the crater in the same day.) Basically it’s Highway 36 (from Paia) –> Highway 360 –> Highway 31.