The Road to Hana is Maui’s number one attraction. It is 52 miles from Kahului to Hana with 54 bridges (46 are one lane) and 620 curves. Non-stop, it takes about 2 ½ hours one way but you will want to stop to see waterfalls and beaches and maybe even stop for a hike. For those of you that enjoy a driving challenge, at low speeds, this is perfect for you! For those of you that suffer from motion sickness, it might be less enjoyable. Tip – take some Bonine and everything will be fine.
A warning for those of you tempted to rent a convertible for this drive, most of it is through rainforest so it will rain at some point along the way…
There are many potential stops along the way, so do your research or download an app to make sure that you don’t miss anything. We recommend the Shaka Guide’s Classic Road to Hana. It can be found at the App Store or Google Play. Make sure to download well before the start of the Road to Hana since cell service can be spotty in that area.
Painted Trees: the Eucalyptus Deglupta or Rainbow Eucalyptus tree, has multi-colored bark that looks like it’s been painted on. The most well-known grove of rainbow eucalyptus on Maui is found near mile maker 7.
Swimming Hole and Waterfall: Waikamoi Falls at mile marker 10. The waterfall is literally steps from the road and is the perfect swimming hole. When we stopped by the waterfall was flowing but a warning, if it hasn’t rained in a while, this waterfall might be dry.
Banana Bread Stop: One of the popular snacks along the road to Hana is banana bread. And, it’s a good excuse to stop and stretch the legs. There are many options, all slightly different. I can’t say that we stopped and tasted each one so click here to see Hawai’i Magazine’s guide to the Road to Hana banana bread options.
Black Sand Beach: The black sand beach, part of the Waianapanapa State Park, is located at mile marker 32. The beach is small, but with its lava tubes, blowholes and natural stone arch, well worth stopping.
To beat the crowds and to avoid traffic jams, leave before 7 am. For those visiting from North America, I suggest doing that early in the trip before your body adjusts to the new time zone.
To help plan your stops, I found a great map of the key highlights with some valuable information such as where food and restrooms can be found. Click here for this map.
For those of you that want the experience, but are nervous about the drive, there are some tours available.
What to wear? What to bring?
Wear something comfortable and be ready for anything. Bring or at least think about bringing the following:
- First and foremost, patience.
- Make sure to gas up before you venture out; the only gas station past Paia is all the way in Hana.
- Bring your camera
- Food and water are available along the way but, you will want to bring some with you. We recommend getting a packed lunch from Leoda’s if you’re coming from the west side.
- Bring cash, some places along the way don’t take credit or debit cards.
- Bug spray – I was eaten alive while checking out the Painted Trees.
- All the turns on the road were too much for my tummy. If you have some motion sickness issues, bring what works for you to help with that. I highly recommend Gin Gins or Bonine.
- Towels – even if you don’t intend on going swimming it is a good idea since you might get muddy or wet exploring
- Hiking shoes – if you intend on taking advantage of the hikes
Is it worth it?
Yes, but it’s a full day activity (read: all day) but well worth doing once. Take advantage of the available maps to guide you to the various points of interest along the way. To be honest, the best part is the drive to Hana, not Hana itself. But, if you keep going past Hana, you will get to see the amazing waterfall in the picture below.
There are two ways back from Hana. Turning around and driving back the way you came or the “other” way, the Hana Loop. The Hana Loop is forbidden by some car rental companies so if you decide to go that way, consider yourself warned.
Finally, if you are planning a trip to Maui, here are a few other posts that you might like:
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