Driving the road to Hana is easily a highlight of someone’s Maui vacation and for good reason. Along the way, the best stops on this road to Hana itinerary take you through tropical rainforest, past beautiful black sand beaches and numerous road side waterfalls.
In this article, I’ll go over all the best stops on the road to Hana, answer any questions you have about driving the Hana Highway and give you some tips to enjoy a safe journey. Prepare for a full day of waterfall chasing, fresh fruit tasting and lava tube treking as you embark on all the best road to Hana stops.
When I’m not traveling you’ll find me on Maui, a place I’ve been lucky enough to call home for the last decade. I’ve driven the road to Hana countless times and this should be on everybodies itinerary while traveling Maui.
Next, you’ll find out about all the best stops on the road to Hana, where they are located, what to expect, how to prepare and more. Just think of me as your personal road to Hana guide.
TRAVEL TIP: If you would prefer to follow along to an audio tour I recommend the Shaka Guide! The Shaka guide tours are great for independent explorers who want the freedom to explore on their own terms, but like to learn about the spots they’re visiting.
The tours use GPS to offer turn-by-turn directions and audio narration with stories and music. This will leave you with a deeper understanding and connection to Hawaii.
For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. As always, I would never recommend a product or service that I didn't truely believe in. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling and coffee ☕️. I thank you in advance.
Below I have listed a quick list of the best Hana Highway stops or if you will, a condensed road to Hana itinerary without the fluff.
Okay its a road to Hana highlights list. If you would like more details of a specific road to Hana stop just click on the blue links below. These are the road to hana stops in order ↓
- Paia Town
- Ho’okipa Beach Park
- Twin Falls
- Huelo Outlook
- Painted Forest
- Waikamoi Ridge Trail
- Garden of Eden
- Kaumahina Wayside State Park
- Ke’anae Peninsula
- Keanae Valley Overlook
- Honomanu Bay
- Wailua Valley State Wayside
- Upper Waikani Falls
- Wailua Iki Falls
- Ka’eleku Caverns
- Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Nahiku Stands
- Hana Town
- Wailua Falls
- Koki Beach
- Hamoa Beach
- Waioka Pond aka Venus Pool
- Haleakala National Park
- Pipiwai Trail
Before you drive the road to Hana
- Rent a car. This is the best way to expolore the island. Another road trip on Maui is driving West Maui, make sure you stop at these 15 top spots!
- Fill up your tank in Paia. There won’t be anywhere to fill up on the way.
- Pack snacks and drinks for the ride, this is a entire day adventure.
- Start early. The road gets crowded.
- If you don’t bring snacks, there are plenty of places to get smoothies, juice or water if you’re thirsty.
- Download the Shaka Guide
- Enjoy your road to Hana itinerary.
- To get to East Maui quicker drive the back road to Hana.
About the road to Hana
What is the road to hana?
The road to Hana is a scenic drive and very popular. The Hana Highway (road to Hana) is made up of 52 miles of winding road, 59 one lane bridges, 620 road to hairpin turns and curves, as it snakes along the coast connecting Kahului to Hana town on the east side of Maui.
How long is the road to Hana?
How long is the road to Hana you ask? Well, the road to Hana is only 52 miles long. The drive time takes a typical tourist 2-4 hours to drive it one way without stopping and without traffic…which we all know doesn’t exist.
BUT who wouldn’t want to visit these incredible road to Hana stops along the way?!?! Realistically the road to Hana drive time is about 10-12 hours depending how many times you stop.
The road to Hana route takes you through lush rainforests, by flowing waterfalls, and offers jaw dropping seascape views. You’ll quickly see why driving the road to Hana is one of the most popular things to do on Maui.
Can you drive the road to Hana in one day?
Yes, most people drive the road to Hana in one day. However, I recommend driving the road to Hana in 2 days.
This would entail spending a few nights in Hana. Thus you would have one full day driving the road to Hana and a day or two to enjoy activities in Hana.
Where does road to Hana start?
Technically the road to Hana starts in Kahului but the best road to Hana stops don’t appear until Paia town so we’ll start from there.
Is the road to Hana dangerous?
The road to Hana is as safe as anywhere but with anything you should exercise caution. The Hana hwy can be challenging at times as there are many testing turns, one lane roads and of course other vehicles. Make sure you give yourself ample time to enjoy this activity.
What is the Best Day to Drive the Road to Hana?
There is no better day than the next to drive the road to Hana, although I would take these tips into consideration.
Always check the wheather as you wouldn’t want to drive the road to Hana during a heavy rain because flash floods can happen and parts of the road can be swept away.
Sundays and Thursdays are heavy travel days (arriving and leaving the island) so the road to Hana may be less crowded.
Start early to get the most out of your day. This is one of the best things to do in Maui on a budget.
Can you drive the road to Hana with kids?
Yes, the road to Hana is a great kid friendly activity on Maui. There’s plenty of fruit stands and waterfalls along the road to Hana that will keep them busy and full.
Just be prepared with extra snacks, water and get informed on what stops have restrooms.
The Best Stops on Road to Hana
The first of the road to Hana stops you’ll come to is Paia town. Paia is a small, laid back town on the Northshore of Maui. This is a great place to stop to fuel up with gas, grab a coffee ☕️ or a hot meal. There are plenty of tasty restuarants in Paia to choose from.
If you’re looking for snacks, head to Mana foods to for the local, organic hot bar or snacks for the drive.
Ho’okipa Beach park
Mile Marker 9
The second stop of the road to Hana stops will be the Ho’okipa beach park. Park at the top, it’s located just on the side of the road. The parking lot is visable and there’s also a sign.
From the lookout where you parked, you’ll be able to see Ho’okipa Beach below. If theres a swell you can watch surfers and windsurfers get there fix. The lava formed coastline is breathtaking and worth a few pictures as the waves crash up against it.
Mile Marker 2
Twin Falls will be next on the road to Hana stops, located on the right side of the road. This is a short walk/ hike to get to 2 flowing water falls where you can swim beneath them!
The first waterfall is about 5 minutes down the path. You’ll get an arieal view of the waterfall cascading down into a pool below. You can crawl down the side to be able to get into the cold water and relax while a waterfall gushes beside you.
The second waterfall is another 10 to 15 minutes continuing up the path. There are 2 different times where you will cross the stream so be careful as you step across the sometimes slippery rocks. This waterfall is the biggest of the two and who doesn’t want to swim underneath a waterfall on their Hawaiian vacation.
Don’t let the parking lot packed with cars turn you off, its a pretty big place and there are several sets of falls after the “Twin Falls”. Because of the ease and family friendly trail this is a fan favorite. If you’re traveling with kids or want a trail with waterfalls that doesn’t require much effort, then Twin Falls is your place!
Tips to Enjoy Twin Falls:
- The trail isn’t paved so it has the potential to be very muddy
- It doesn’t cost to enter but runs off donations so be kind and support the area by being generous
- Bring a towel and swim suit if you’re planning on swimming in the pools
- You can buy some delicious fruit smoothies and juices at the trailhead
- Please respect the aina (land): throw away trash in rubbish bins, stay on the paths, respect the wildlife and plants.
- Respect the people who live there. Return the generosity that they are showing you by allowing you to experience this beautiful area.
- Basically be a kind human!
Between Mile Marker 4 & 5
Continue on down the road for a few miles and you’ll come Huelo lookoutwhich is on the left side of the road between mile marker 4 and 5. The Huelo lookout is a cute fruit stand where you can buy fresh fruit, crepes, smoothies, juices and banana bread. Walk down the steps and you can see ocean views through a palm tree frame.
Mile Marker 7
Next up on the road to Hana stops is the road to Hana rainbow trees a.k.a. the ‘Painted Forest’. These are a cluster of rainbow eucalyptus trees.
It’s located just before road to Hana mile marker 7. You’ll see other cars parked along the road. This is also where the bamboo forest hike begins.
Photo tip: if taking a photo with an iPhone, use the panoramic vertically to get the whole shot of the rainbow eucalyptus trees.
Waikamoi Ridge Trail
Mile Marker 9
On the right side of the road just past mile marker 9 is where you’ll find Waikamoi Ridge Trail. This is one of the best road to Hana hikes that doesn’t involve a waterfall.
This is a short road to Hana hike as the trail is directly where you pull over. It’s a quick trail that gives you a few decent views but the large beautiful trees you find along the path is my favorite part.
🥾 Read Next: Maui’s Best Hikes
Garden of Eden
Mile Marker 10
Garden of Eden will be next on the road to Hana stops if you have ample time. It’s a beautiful property full of gardens, flowers, and birds like peacocks and ducks! There are short walking paths throughout the farm. There are also several spots that have lookouts into the ocean, so yes there’s plenty of opportunity for pictures.
When I was here last the male peacock was putting on a show for us or should I say he was trying to impress his ladies.
If you have disposable cash garden of Eden is a great place to stop off at. It cost $15 per person to enter or $12 if you are Kama’aina. Plus it supports local business which im a huge supporter of 🙂.
Coconut cafe inside sells some quesadillas, acai bowls, wraps along with coffee and fresh smoothies and juices.
Kaumahina Wayside State Park
If you need a restroom that isn’t a port-a-potty stop Kaumahina Wayside State Park. Bathrooms are open from 7-7 and there’s a cool lookout of Ke’anae Peninsula and a stretch of the Hana highway hugging the coastline.
Mile Marker 13
This is a beautiful place to stop and watch the waves crash onto the volcanic coast line. There is plenty of parking making this one of the best road to Hana stops.
Keanae Valley Overlook
This is a beautiful overlook of Keanae Peninsula. There is a large shoulder on the left hand side of the road where you can pull off and snap a picture. You’ll be greeted with beautiful views of the ocean and taro patches below.
Mile Marker 14
If your main objective on the road to Hana is finding hidden beaches then Honomanu Bay is your next stop. It’s worth a trip if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. The road to get down there is paved but can get muddy and have many pot holes if its rained alot recently. At the end of the road is where you’ll find this picture perfect black Hawaiian beach.
You’ll see the beach itself a from above before you’ll reach the enterance around mile markers 12 and 13. Go down the hill, across a one way bridge and on the way back up the hill you’ll see an opening in the trees on your left hand side directly after mile marker 14. There will probably be a few cars near the opening that will also help with finding the entrance.
If you don’t have a four wheel drive vehicle it is possible to hoof it in. Go for the pictures and/or to stretch your legs as you continue the picturesque journey to Hana. We came on a perfect day and had the beach to ourselves.
The next five miles there will be a few places to pull over on the shoulder and snap a picture of a waterfall or the coast line.
🏝 Read Next: Maui’s Best Beaches
Upper Waikani Falls/ 3 Little Bears
Mile Marker 19
Just after mile marker 19 you’ll see on the left hand side 3 waterfalls ranging is sizes of small, medium, and large. Appropriately named after the 3 little bears children’s story. If it’s been raining a lot and the water is flowing then it will be just one large papa bear.
Wailua Iki Falls
Mile Marker 21
The Wailua Iki Falls are some of the best road to hana waterfalls. Located just past mile marker 21 is where you can venture on a small hike to these hidden falls.
There’s a gate and the trail/ dirt road starts here just after the mile marker sign. There is no parking so make sure you find a shoulder to pull off on before you reach the mile marker. From your car walk down to the gate. From here it’s about a 30 minute hike round trip.
Warning: Although this is Hawaiian state land, the land is leased by the water company so technically you need permission from EMI to get to the waterfall. Although not frequently checked this is still a hike at your own risk hike as if caught there could be a fine.
Mile Marker 23
This is a lava tube hidden on the side of the road. This cave was formed by lava. Watch you head as you enter the cave.
Located just after mile marker 23. The entrance is small but it opens up where you can stand. Don’t worry there’s no critters living in here and it sure is cool.
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park
If you need another bathroom Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park will show up between mile marker 22 and 23. There’s also a waterfall nearby that you can jump in if you’re feeling saucy.
* Just before mile marker 25. There’s a waterfall on the right hand side that you can jump off a cliff into if the water level is high enough.
Wai’anapanapa State Park
Mile Marker 32
At last the star of the show and the top destination on this road to Hana itinerary is Waianapanapa State Park. A beautiful State Park that has cabins and camping facilities.
To add to the allure it is home to the impressive road to Hana black sand beach, Pa’iloa Beach. If the surf is up, you’ll be able to body surf the shore break and the blow hole will be showing off.
There’s plenty to do inside the state park including the Hana Lava Tube, hiking the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail, the Hana Blowhole and more. There are also easy trails and hikes that take you around the park giving you panoramic views of all the beauty that Maui has to offer.
TRAVEL TIP: As of March 2021 reservations in advance are now required to enter Wai’anapanapa State Park. Book a few weeks prior to visiting. Same day reservations are not permitted. You can reserve your spot here.
There will be a string of food trucks/ cafes on your left hand side before you reach Hana that you can’t miss.
Nahiku cafe sells coffee, smoothies and a few snacks. There’s a small gift shop, Nahiku Gallery. Island chef which has items like fresh caught Hana fish and coconut shrimp. And you can never go wrong with the island style taco joint where the kalua pig tacos are my favorite.
If you’re looking for a local Hawaiian food then opt for Lu’au’s. There is also a pizza and burger joint.
Of course you can’t drive the road to Hana without stopping and checking out the town. Hana is a charming, quiet Maui town.
Although not much in size, strolling around you can find a couple general stores to buy supplies/food, a handful of food trucks, a few restaurants a gas station, but that’s it. There’s even a red sand beach in town but out of respect to the locals I’m not going to disclose the location in this post.
One of the most iconic Hana waterfalls is Wailua Falls which can be seen from the side of the road past Hana town before the enterance to Haleakala National Park.
Wailua Falls is a majestic 80-foot waterfall and you can’t miss its spectacular beauty. You can walk down to the falls, the trail is short and has an easy path leading to a viewing platform. The Wailua Falls are a stunning example of how beautiful nature is.
If catching the perfect wave is your main objective then head to Koki Beach. Sister beaches with Hamoa this beach has great surf.
Mile Marker 51
Just past Koki beach, is one of the best road to Hana stops, the beautiful Hamoa beach. This is my favorite beach in Hana. Not only does it give you clear views of the Big Island but it’s the best beach to go for a swim.
This is a great family friendly beach. The whole shoreline is a sand bar meaning there’s no reef making it easy to get in and out of the water. Perfect if you are spending a few days on this part of the island.
Travel Tip: Respect the ‘Aina and do your part to help protect the ocean by only wearing reef safe sunscreen. This is a requirement in Hawaii and should be around the world.
A great place to go cliff jumping is at Venus Pools. There are several rocks that you can launch off of ranging in different heights. The highest being upwards of 30 feet!
You could easily spend an entire afternoon here which is one of the reasons I always suggest staying a night or two in Hana.
The swimming hole is tucked behind a black cobble stoned beach. When you are swimming around you can see the waves crashing against the shore
💦 Read Full Post: Cliff Jumping at Venus Pool
Haleakala National Park
The most popular and anticipated stop on the road to Hana is Haleakala National Park. Enterance to the park from this side of the island is the Kipahulu enterance. Inside this part of the park you can find Pools of Ohe’o or commonly known as Seven Sacred Pools and the start of my favorite hike on Maui the Pipiwai Trail.
The Pipiwail Trail takes you past ancient banyon trees, through a cracking bamboo forest ends at the jaw dropping 400 foot Waimoku Falls and is one things to do on the road to Hana.
I am going to stop this road to Hana itinerary here because it is here where most people turn around and head back home the way they came. It is possible to drive all the way around the backside of Maui on the reverse road to Hana.
If you choose to do this, know that many rental car company’s have a clause about this and don’t cover you if something were to happen. It’s a beautiful drive none the less. If you’d like to learn about all the best stops on the backside to Hana you can check out this post – Driving the Backside to Hana.
Regardless of what you choose, you know have bragging rights and can officially say “I survived the road to Hana”.
Road to Hana tips
- Yes the scenic drive is beautiful and is a tourist attraction. It is also a road that is used by locals as it’s the only one to and from town. This being said PULL OVER and let the locals pass. If they are riding your ass it’s not because they’re trying to be mean it’s their way of asking you to “let them pass.”
- This should be obvious but pay attention to the road, your surroundings and other drivers. The last thing you’re want is to be in an accident in vacation.
- Avoid sites located on or beyond private properties, and areas that lack visitor welcoming signage.
- Park in designated parking stalls. Don’t be “that guy” and block the road for everybody.
- Do not enter streams on occasions of heavy rains and flash flooding conditions.
- Don’t expect much service, cell service and WIFI will be very limited on this journey.
- Please respect the Aina (land)! Theres nothing that irks me more than to see litter and trash strewed about. Pack it in, Pack it out, its that simple!
- Lastly, Do Not park underneath a mango tree, those sweet things have an evil side!
Maui Travel Guides
📍Plan your Trip:
- The Ultimate guide to Maui
- 10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui
- 21 Mistakes to Avoid on your First Trip to Hawaii
🗺 How long to travel Maui? 1-2 Week Maui Itinerary
☔️ Best Time to Visit: Best Time to Visit Maui
💰 Average Daily Budget:
- How to Travel Maui on a Budget
- 28 Things to do on Maui on a Budget
- 10 Budget Friendly Maui Adventures
⛺️ Maui accommodation Guides
- Best Area to Stay on Maui
- West Maui vs. South Maui – Where to Stay
- Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget
- Best Airbnbs in Maui
- Where to Stay in Hana, HI
- Top Honeymoon Resorts in Maui
- 10 Best Honeymoon Resorts in Hawaii
- The Coolest & Most Unique Airbnbs to Stay in Hawaii
- Driving the Road to Hana
- Sunrise over Haleakala
- Exploring Exotic Beaches
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Haleakala National Park
- Whale Watch
- Hike the Pipiwai Trail
- Snorkel Molokini
- Drive the West Maui Loop
- Lahaina Town
- Learn to Surf
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Maui
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