So, I took a trip to Maui, Hawaii in early/mid-March 2020. As we were there, the world changed and I never quite felt comfortable writing this blog post, encouraging people to travel. Thankfully, as the world is healing, things are changing, and people are beginning to travel again. The day we did the road to Hana in Maui was one of my favorite travel days of all time.
A Few Tips Before You Go
- Respect locals
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that people live here. Pull over for locals passing by, and try to avoid slowing down and “being a tourist” if that makes sense? At least make an effort. Support the local businesses and be kind. You are looking into someone’s home.
2. Leave Early
Upon arriving, we stayed at an AirBnB in Wailuku, which is not all too far from the start of the Road to Hana, which starts just past Paia. We left around 7am and got to the start of the road at 7:30am. This may seem a little early, but you will definitely need that much time for the day! We were able to hit everything we wanted to and even a few more than we wanted because we planned ahead and got an early start. Some people suggest starting even earlier than that, because plans can change. Allow yourself the time.
3. Beware of the Roads
Definitely have the most confident of your group as the driver! Some of the roads are cliffside, narrow, and windy. Not for the faint of heart or the hesitant of drivers.
4. Come prepared with supplies
Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and bug repellent. Snacks in tow wouldn’t be a bad idea, and definitely towels and some changes of clothes! I definitely striped down to my bathing suit more than a few times in the day, and I would definitely recommend making sure the car is stocked with options.
5. Be flexible & enjoy!
There were items on my itinerary (we used the Gyspy Guide app! Highly recommend) we decided to skip and there were some stop we made that we had never even heard of. Keep an open mind and enjoy one of the most beautiful adventure days of all time.
Without further ado, let’s get into the stops we made along the Road to Hana, Maui
1: Ho’okipa Beach Park
This is a quick five minute view point to get out and enjoy the fresh air and the start of what your Hawaiian day will bring you. At first, the views were so incredible, and I don’t think my heart had been so full that early in the morning for a long time. I sipped my coffee, looked out at the water and had NO idea what was about to come!!
2: Waikamoi Nature Trail
Not on our original agenda and parking was limited, but we happened to get the last spot and decided it was fate. The trail wasn’t very long or difficult, and very rewarding to be in the Hawaiian foliage first thing in the morning. I highly recommend this stop if you can.
3: Twin Falls
Next, you’ll find a series of streams and waterfalls. We never stopped at Twin Falls, but drove by and snapped some pics along the way. This landmark is at mile marker 2.
4: Kaumahina Wayside Lookout
Again, for this one, we didn’t stop, but the road opened to reveal a beautiful view of the water from above. This point is right before mile marker 17. Around here, we stumbled upon a few other things.
5. Ko’olau Forest Reserve/Garden of Eden
We wandered off looking for something and found a little reserve instead. Walking through here was a pleasant surprise because we were able to see a lot of really beautifully preserved plants. We stopped for the Rainbow Eucalyptus Photos really don’t do this justice.
6. Honomanu Bay
We stopped here and took in a few views before we headed off. This is also our only picture of the two of us in our rental convertible for the entire trip, which blows my mind because we drove so so much.
7. Halfway to Hana
You have to stop halfway and get the banana bread! It’s truly delicious and we also got some mango smoothies that were so refreshing.
8. Upper Waikani Falls
These waterfalls are located after Mile Marker 19. You will find a few more such as the West Wailua Iki Waterfalls at mile marker 2. Lava tubes are located at mile marker 31, but we decided to skip that. I’m pretty sure you have to pay an extra fee and I had been in many lava tubes in Korea, so I just decided against it.
Potential Stop for Lunch
There are a few place you can eat in Nahiku, which isn’t what we did, but it is very recommended!
9. Wai’anapanapa State Park
This may have been my very favorite spot on the drive. Definitely dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes here, but you may need even more. We spent over an hour walking around and enjoying the bizarre black sand beach and nearby trail. This was one of the most popular stops we were there by 11:15am.
10. After this, we stopped for lunch once we got to Hana.
11. Kaihalulu Beach
This is the best and most difficult beach to get to, so allow yourself some time. It’s immediately after Hana, but not necessarily easy to find. Find the Hana Community Center and then cut into the lawn on the property towards the water. There is a narrow dirt trail here that you follow down to the beach, but please be careful! As it’s very slippery. At the end of about a half mile, you will find the brilliant Red Sand Beach. a complete and ABSOLUTE must do.
12. Koki Beach and 13. Hamoa Beach
These are nice, quick spots on the beach, and worth driving through. We only got out for a few minutes at each, because although it would be relaxing, there’s a few things we wanted to see more.
14. Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) Mile Marker 42
I didn’t realize this was part of the Pipiwai Trail, and we viewed it after we were done. I’m not going to lie to you guys… I was underwhelmed by this! Definitely take the time to see it, especially if you’re already there, however I didn’t really get how special it actually was.
14. Pipiwai Trail Mile Marker 42
To end a very long day, is a gorgeous 4 mile in & out hike. It’s really quite a nature walk, without many difficult hiking spots, but the variety of surroundings makes you feel like you’re entering many different climates in one hike. My favorite part was casually opening to one of the biggest waterfalls I’ve ever seen. I was so happy in this moment and although you may be tired, this trail is a must see!
15. Pilani Highway
Highway 31, also known as the Pilani Highway or the “road back to Hana,” leads along Mt. Haleakala. I didn’t, but you can take the Pilani highway back to wherever you’re trying to go. It’s unpaved in some areas, but there’s less traffic than on the road to Hana. Avoid driving on it after a heavy rainfall. If you’re like us, we simply turned around and came back the way we started.
And there you have it folks: the Road to Hana, Maui!
One of the coolest, and most rewarding travel days I’ve ever had, the Road to Hana in Maui absolutely cannot be missed. Not for the faint of heart, but when visiting Maui, it is without a doubt, an absolute must-see and it’s so customizable based on the stops you’d like to take. Definitely use this as a resource, however don’t take my final word for it! There are so many resources out there.
Comment if you’d been to any of these on your Road to Hana, or if Maui is on your bucketlist. Thank you for reading and as always, happy traveling!
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