This is the Hana Highway drive, and it means a trip to East Maui!
This is the Hana coast of Hawaii as featured on TV on the National Geographic Channel!
There was a whole episode dedicated to the Hawaii’s Hana coast, courtesy of Gordon Ramsay’s show called Uncharted.
The “destination” of this Maui drive is a town named Hana
You are driving to Hana.
And so, it’s called the road TO Hana!
But on the day that you drive the Hana coast, you may also consider going past Hana town, as there are a few noteworthy things to do beyond Hana too… and you can even drive the Road to Hana as a loop. (You’ll want to look into it before driving the Road to Hana loop though!)
These activities past Hana town will still be considered Road to Hana activities since people typically do them as a part of their Road to Hana trip! (Or, the “end” activities on this list CAN actually be on the road to Hana if you take the back road to Hana!)
So most people drive the Road to Hana as a day trip, as an out-and-back drive.
But there are a few accommodation options along the way that can make for a unique Maui (and Hawaii!) experience so you can enjoy the sights along the Road to Hana at a slower pace, and take more in, too. (aka epic campgrounds in Hawaii!)
The road that you’ll be driving on for the main part of the scenic drive is the Hana Highway
This is in no way a typical American highway!
There are posted speed limits of 15 miles per hour along many parts of the highway, and there are many one lane bridges that you’ll be slowly driving over.
The road can be quite narrow and winding in some parts, keeping your speed lower too.
The Road to Hana has waterfalls that you can see as you’re driving…
And there will be tons of scenic stops you can make along the way too.
And if you decide to take the less-traveled back road to Hana, then you can even find shorelines that you can drive straight up to.
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Hana waterfalls tour or see Hana waterfalls on your own?!
One of the things that the Road to Hana is famous for is all of the waterfalls along the way.
This means that there are many waterfalls in Maui that you can access on your own. (Including all of the waterfalls on the list below!) So it’s possible to see waterfalls on Maui without a tour!
But, if you’d like to have a bit of a deeper Hawaii experience, or you want another type of Maui waterfalls experience that’s different from your Road to Hana drive… take a look at the reviews of some of these tours that will give you an epic Maui waterfalls experience you are sure to remember:
- Guided East Maui waterfall hike through a rainforest: Learn about Hawaiian plants and culture as you hike through the rainforest, and have a chance to safely go jumping and swimming at waterfalls
- Hana rainforest helicopter and ranch tour: See the lush East Maui landscape and Maui waterfalls from above, and then go for a guided tour on a Hana ranch
- Molokai and Maui helicopter tour: See some of the world’s tallest sea cliffs and Maui’s tallest waterfalls from above
Can you get to the Road to Hana by bus?
No, you can’t really do the Road to Hana by public bus.
There is a bus that goes to some places on Maui, but it doesn’t go to any truly meaningful Road to Hana sights.
Technically the bus does go along a little bit of the Hana Highway.
You can get to Paia by bus.
Paia is often considered the unofficial start to the Road to Hana.
But going to Paia is more like a trip to Paia. It’s not doing the Road to Hana.
You can’t really go to Paia only and say you’ve done the Road to Hana.
The bus goes nowhere near the town of Hana, so this means that you can’t go to Hana by bus, or by using any form of public transportation.
The furthest along the bus goes on the Hana Highway is the bus stop at the intersection of Pauwela Road and Hana Highway on the Haiku Islander bus route, which is a little past Paia.
This is as far along on the Hana Highway as you can go by bus, and Hana is around 40 miles away from the bus stop.
Road to Hana tours
While there is no public bus that will allow you to truly experience the Road to Hana, there are Road to Hana tours that you can join.
If you’d rather not drive the Hana Highway on your own, then be sure to look at the reviews of this highly rated Road to Hana tour.
This will allow you to get a deeper Hana experience to give you further knowledge of the Hana coast!
More below on what to see if you’ll be driving the Road to Hana on your own!
Here's some info on Hawaii trip prep!
- Best shoes for hiking in Hawaii
- The perfect type of shirt for swimming in Hawaii
- Do you need water shoes for Hawaii?
- THE top things to pack for Hawaii
- The top 5 Maui adventures you definitely need to think about doing: Maui tour OR on your own?
- Driving to the top of the Haleakala summit
- Road to Hana food stops
- Best Road to Hana hikes
- Things to do in Hana
- Things to do in the West Maui mountains
40+ stops on the Road to Hana!
aka some of the best things to do in East Maui!
Unless otherwise noted, all activities listed below are FREE things to do on Maui!
You absolutely will NOT be able to do all of these things with a one day Road to Hana trip!
But this list of Road to Hana stops will give you an idea of what to see along the way!
Here are some of the quick lists if you’re looking for something specific:
And onwards below with the list of Road to Hana stops!
This list generally goes in order of stops to make as you’re driving.
1. Paia town
Paia is the town that’s generally considered the unofficial start of the Road to Hana.
2. Aloha Surf Hostel surfboards
If you want a classic Maui picture in front of a bunch of surfboards lined up, there are some colorful surfboards in front of the Aloha Surf Hostel that’s located in Paia.
This is down a road that’s off of the Hana Highway, and it’s about a 5 minute drive to get to the surfboards.
If you are looking for a cheap(er) place to stay to get a head start on your Road to Hana trip (without having to drive all the way from Kapalua, Kaanapali, or Wailea), then Aloha Surf Hostel is the place to stay! There are shared rooms and private rooms available. See more about Maui hostels.
3. Kuau Store
If you’re feeling hungry, stop by the first of several country stores you’ll see on the Road to Hana. Try the Hawaii specialty poke bowl! Country stores also tend to sell locally made products.
4. Hookipa Lookout
This lookout can offer you a spot to catch the grand ocean views that can see some good surfing waves.
There’s a parking lot at the lookout.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Hookipa Lookout
Hookipa Beach has its own parking area, but if you want to stop to see the lookout, it can be good to just park at the lookout and then walk down to the beach from there.
Hookipa Beach can be a worthy stop if you want a chance to see some marine life in Hawaii.
Coming down from the lookout, when you get down to near beach level, you’ll see a sort of turtle beach overlook.
If you want a chance to see seals on Maui, walk all the way down to the other end of the beach to see if the seals are visiting when you’re there!
See more about these Road to Hana stops:
6. Jaws Peahi lookout
When you pass by the road that leads to the Peahi lookout, if you see that there are tons of cars parked off the Hana Highway, then this is an indication that it can be worth it to stop here.
That’s because lots of cars likely means that there’s good surf and surfers are out there so you can go for some people watching (surfer watching) and/or wave watching!
Peahi is the location of the famous Jaws surfing competition.
And when the conditions are right, this can also be a top spot for high level surfers to catch some waves.
It can be best to have a jeep or 4 wheel drive to drive all the way down to the lookout. Otherwise, you can park near the highway and walk down.
Surfing season on Maui is generally in the winter months.
Another country store towards the start of the Road to Hana that has fresh-made food. There are also tropical fruit drinks here.
Try the poke bowl here!
There is a nice outdoor seating area here.
Jaws Country Store: See more about this Road to Hana food stop.
8. Mile marker 0
If you’re planning out your Road to Hana trip by marking locations based on mile markers… mile marker 0 might be significant to you!
Basically the first of many (MANY!) waterfalls on the Road to Hana!
There’s a parking lot off the side of the road, and possibly the first stop in which you’ll see tons of cars on the side of the road (if none are at Jaws!) so you really can’t miss it.
You’ll then walk a short trail of about 5-10 minutes to get to the first set of waterfalls.
Then, keep walking for “caveman” falls.
You get to these waterfalls by walking further along the Twin Falls trail you just were walking, past a gated area.
It might require a couple of stream crossings, so make sure you’re wearing sturdy footwear you don’t mind getting wet! (Hiking sandals, water shoes, waterproof hiking boots, etc.) This is good for a Road to Hana trip in general because you never know what you’ll come across!
Because this is the first waterfalls stop on the Road to Hana, it also has a great possibility of being crowded. If you like a little bit of adventure, you may consider choosing to go to the West Maui mountains waterfalls on a different day instead of spending your Road to Hana day at Twin Falls.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Twin Falls
10. Bamboo forest
This is not THE bamboo forest that people are usually talking about when they are talking about the Road to Hana bamboo forest. (That one is past Hana and in the national park.)
But there’s a pretty massive bamboo forest between Twin Falls and Rainbow Trees (next on the list).
This may or may not be on private property of owners who don’t want you there, but you might see tons of cars parked on the side of the road in this area to know something worthy must be around.
There are many trail entries into the bamboo forest right off the Hana Highway if you want to just take a few steps in to see this magnificent bamboo forest.
11. Rainbow trees
This is something you can see as you’re driving by, and you don’t even need to get out of the car to see them.
Just be paying attention to google maps with your GPS (download offline maps before you start the drive) and you’ll know when you’re getting close.
As you’re driving to Hana, this will be on the left side.
To actually get out and stand right next to the rainbow trees may or may not be on private property of owners who don’t want you there.
12. Kaumahina State Wayside
This can be a bathroom break or a short stop at a small overlook.
13. Waikamoi Falls
You can get a glimpse of Waikamoi Falls as you’re driving by on the bridge in front of the waterfalls. So you don’t even need to get out of the car to see them.
But to truly appreciate these waterfalls, you’ll want to make a stop here.
There’s a trail that leads to the base of the waterfalls.
And there’s also a trail that leads to the top of the waterfalls so you can see the waterfalls from the top, as well as the Waikamoi Stream that feeds the waterfalls.
This is a kind of hidden beach in the sense that it’s not located right off the main road. It requires a walk or drive on a kind of rough road to get to the beach once you turn off the Hana Highway.
Your destination will be what’s considered to be a black sand beach on Maui, although the black sand may not initially be obvious when you get there. But there’s a small patch of black sand off to the right of the bay as you’re facing the ocean.
You can park right off the Hana Highway and then walk 5-10 minutes, or you can drive straight down to the beach. It might be better if you have a jeep or 4wd, but normal cars do the drive all the way down too.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Honomanu Bay
15. Keanae Peninsula
This is a great scenic lookout area. You can drive down to the end of Keanae Road directly off the Hana Highway.
You’ll come across the first lookout, and then you can keep driving further down where you’ll pass a famous banana bread stand (next on the list), and then drive further to the end of the Keanae Peninsula where you’ll find another lookout. You can see old lava flows along the coast. You’ll also find a cute Hawaiian church here.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Keanae Peninsula
Banana bread is a thing on the Road to Hana, and this spot is among the most famous. This is on the Keanae Peninsula. You’ll see it as you’re driving down the Keanae Road.
A loaf of banana bread at Aunty Sandy’s will cost around $7. If you only want one loaf, you need to bring cash.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Stop by earlier rather than later (as in, not on your way back) since this might be closed by 3pm.
If you’re elsewhere on the Hana Highway and see Nita’s banana bread, it’s said that it’s the same recipe as Aunty Sandy’s.
See more about this Road to Hana food stop: Aunty Sandy’s banana bread
For a minimal Road to Hana day trip, I think you need to at least make it to the Keanae Peninsula.
Going to Keanae won’t get you all the way to the town of Hana, but it will give you a sense of what the Road to Hana is about!
That said, there are some roadside waterfalls along the Hana Highway coming up past the Keanae Peninsula that require minimal effort to see, so you might want to keep driving a little further!
With no stops, Paia to Keanae Peninsula is about a 1.5 hour drive.
Keanae to Hana is about a 1 hour drive.
17. Halfway to Hana
There’s a halfway to Hana sign, which is actually a shop, and you can make this a food stop.
You can also make this an ATM stop if you’re short on cash. Many places on the Hana Highway are cash only.
This can be a quick stop for a scenic overlook that requires climbing up a short set of stairs. (So you can get higher for better views!)
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Wailua Valley State Wayside
19. Upper Waikani Falls
These are waterfalls on the road to Hana that you can see as you’re driving across the bridge.
20. Wailuaiki Falls
I’m not sure of the name of these falls as it’s not on google maps, but it seems that this might be Wailuaiki Falls.
This is just before mile marker 21 when you’re driving in the direction of Hana.
You could see the upper level of the waterfalls without getting out of the car, and if you get out of the car, then you can see the lower level waterfalls too.
You can make this a bathroom stop or another waterfalls stop. (Or both!) This is a Hawaii state park site.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Puaa Kaa Falls
22. Hanawi Falls
More waterfalls on the Road to Hana! You can see these from the bridge as you’re driving by, or you can get out of the car and take a short trail to get a little closer to them too.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Hanawi Falls
23. Makapipi Falls
More waterfalls on the Road to Hana, but these are waterfalls to view from above!
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Makapipi Falls
24. Nahiku viewpoint
This is another little side trip on the Hana Highway in the sense that you drive down a road off the highway to get there.
First you’ll drive around 10 minutes down the narrow Nahiku Road. You can park in front of a cute Hawaiian church and then walk around 10 minutes the rest of the way there.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Nahiku Viewpoint
25. Hana lava tube
This is the only lava tube in Hawaii that’s listed as a part of the National Caves Association. (Although certainly not the only worthy lava cave to visit in Hawaii! There’s a great lava cave hike you can do on the Big Island!)
One of the things that makes the Hana lava tube stop worth it is the educational value. It’s a self-guided tour through a cave formed by lava flows and there are informational signs along the way. If you are interested in learning about Maui’s volcanic landscape, then you are sure to find this interesting!
There is an entry fee to the Hana lava tube, and the cost is around $12 and flashlights are provided.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Hana lava tube
26. Hana Farms
This is a restaurant stop for fresh locally sourced food where you can have lunch.
If you like spicy food, try the fish tacos here!
You can expect to pay $15-20 for one meal. Credit cards are accepted here.
See more about this Road to Hana food stop: Hana Farms
27. Waianapanapa black sand beach
aka Honokalani Beach at Pailoa Bay
This is located at Waianapanapa State Park, and it’s THE famous black sand beach of Maui.
There’s the black sand beach overlook where you can see the black sand beach from above, then you can take the stairs down to the black sand beach where you can walk across it.
And then, you can start off on a trail (also listed below) to again see the black sand beach from above from a different viewpoint!
Also while you are at the black sand beach, right after you get to the bottom of the stairs that takes you to the black sand beach, look directly to the right as you’re facing the ocean.
There’s a lava tube there that you can enter, and it opens up at the other end too! You can watch the waves crash into this lava tube cave.
It’s easy to miss, so don’t forget about it!
IMPORTANT!!! This is NEW as of March 2021. You must now make a reservation in order to visit Waianapanapa State Park, which means you must have a reservation in order to visit the black sand beach! There is a fee for this.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Waianapanapa State Park
28. Waianapanapa Coastal Trail (Piilani Trail)
This trail goes in both directions of the black sand beach, and each direction will offer you a slightly different kind of experience.
The trail that starts pretty much at the black sand beach is the one you’ll naturally end up on when you go to the black sand beach. It’s right there, and you’ll likely see people going up it.
Most people just get to the top and then turn around.
But you can keep going all the way to the Hana Airport. It’s pretty much walking over lava rocks the entire time. So it’s a unique experience as you get to see one aspect of a volcano landscape with lava rocks all around. You’ll even see another black sand beach!
👆 Officially, according to the Waianapanapa State Park map, this second black sand beach seems to be at Keawaiki Bay.
Taking the coastal trail in the other direction you go towards Hana town. This path starts off near a cemetery as a dirt path what you’d think of a typical hiking trail.
This offers great scenic ocean landscape and you’ll see many sea arches and maybe even a couple of blowholes along the way. If the ocean is rough, it can be a sight to watch the waves come crashing into the lava rock formations!
You can turn around once the trail starts to become a full lava rock trail. (aka the part where it starts to take extra time to walk across!)
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Waianapanapa Coastal Trail
29. Waianapanapa State Park campground
One place you can break up your Road to Hana trip and stay overnight is at the Waianapanapa State Park.
There’s tent camping at a cost of around $20 per night.
There are also cabins for a cost of around $90 per night available here. Cabins do book up in advance so it might require a little bit more planning and/or luck!
You can check here for availability and reservations at the state park.
This beach is the famous red sand beach of Maui. The trail to get to the beach may or may not pass through private property.
Some people also call this trail a bit dangerous. As with many hiking trails in Hawaii, there’s loose gravel which can be easy to slip on. And at times the trail is narrow with a steep cliff on one side.
Kaihalulu red sand beach hike: See more about this Road to Hana stop.
31. Hasegawa general store
A general store in Hana town. You can find basic items here. If you like to have a physical map, you can buy a great detailed map of Maui’s points of interest here.
32. Hana store
Another general store in Hana town where you can find basic items, including the same great detailed map. Going to this general store means nice views because it’s up a hill a little bit. You can get a nice view of another cute Hawaiian church.
A stop for food at a food truck in Hana.
Try the fish tacos!
Food here might be $10-20.
Braddah Hutts food truck: See more about this Road to Hana food stop.
34. Koki Beach
If you’re looking for a “safe” alternative to the famous red sand beach, then Koki Beach can be it.
Although this is listed as a “red beach” on google maps, the beach itself is not really red at all. But walk to the other end of the beach, and you’ll find a short red sand trail so you can see red sand!
Right next to Koki Beach is a spot where you can eat Hawaii’s famous huli huli chicken. You can get Hawaiian-style bbq here.
There’s an outdoor seating area where you can eat with ocean views. You can see some red sand here.
Huli huli chicken shack: See more about this Road to Hana food stop.
36. Hamoa Beach
If you’re looking for a beach on the road to Hana to hang out at, this might be the beach you’re looking for! It’s said to be one of the best beaches on Maui.
There’s also a great lookout that overlooks Hamoa Beach nearby.
37. Venus Pool aka Waioka Pond
People swim in the ocean here by jumping off a rock (cliff).
There is limited free parking right near the start of this trail. Otherwise, on the other side of the bridge is paid parking for a fee of around $7.
You’ll walk around 5 minutes or so to get to the hidden pools.
38. Wailua Falls
You don’t even need to get out of the car to see these magnificent waterfalls. You can see it directly from your car as you pass over the bridge!
Otherwise, if you want to stop and get out of the car to take pictures, this can be a quick stop. There’s a short trail of a minute or 2 that will get you to the pool of these waterfalls. People go swimming here.
See more about this Hana Highway stop: Wailua Falls
39. Pipiwai Trail
This is the trail to see the famous bamboo forest of Maui. And it won’t disappoint!
This trail is in the Kipahulu district of the national park, and it’s not connected by road to the popular summit area of the national park. An individual national park pass lasts for 3 days, so if you’re interested in doing both the Kipahulu area and summit area, keep this in mind.
It’s better to do this hike earlier in the day as it gets more crowded the later you do it. If you’re doing the Road to Hana as an out-and-back, you might consider driving all the way to the national park as one of your first stops and make the majority of your stops on the way back.
See more about this Hana Highway stop: Pipiwai Trail
40. Waimoku Falls
You get to Waimoku Falls by taking the Pipiwai Trail but these waterfalls deserve an individual mention! You’ll get a grand view of these waterfalls at the end of Pipiwai Trail shortly after you pass the bamboo forest.
For safety reasons, there is a sign indicating not to get close to the waterfalls but many people do anyway. At least one person has died from a falling rock at Waimoku Falls.
These are famous waterfalls also a part of the Haleakala national park.
It’s known for being a swimming spot, but it will get closed off if the national park people think there’s more risk than usual to swim here. Even if it’s closed to swimming, you can get a glimpse of the Seven Sacred Pools.
You get here by going on the short Kuloa Point Trail that will also get you to a great scenic point with ocean views.
See more about this Road to Hana stop: Oheo Pools
And then one more place you can stay during your Road to Hana trip is at the national park where there is the Kipahulu campground.
There’s a campground here for tent camping and car camping. Outside of the national park entry fee, there’s no additional fee to camp at Haleakala National Park.
There’s also no reservations necessary (or possible) and you’ll set up camp where you can find a spot on the campground.
Kipahulu campground in Haleakala National Park: See more about this Hana Highway overnight stay
43. Kamilo Point
This is basically where the “scary” part of the back road to Hana (next!) starts!
44. Back road to Hana
Finally, there are actually 2 directions you can go to drive to (and from) Hana!
The most popular way is to do the drive as an out and back as you pass along the eastern coast of Maui, and the route that took you through in order with the list above. The furthest most people go when driving it this way is the national park, and then turn around there.
One of the main reasons most people do it as an out and back is because depending on what kind of driver you are, it can be considered a scary drive. There are parts that are basically a one-lane road with a cliff on one side. Some consider it a “dangerous” drive.
It’s also said that car rental companies won’t cover you if something happens to your car along this back stretch of the Road to Hana.
Driving the back road to Hana as a loop isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly, and it would be a good idea to thoroughly read about it before doing it. But there are also many first-time visitors to Maui who do this drive.
See more about the back road to Hana:
- Driving the Road to Hana in reverse as a loop
- Getting to Alelele Falls
- Getting to Mokulau Islets viewpoint
Is the Road to Hana dangerous?
Well, I am a pretty low-risk driver and in general I did not find the main part of the Road to Hana to be particularly scary.
Well sure, there was that one time where I encountered a truck on a more narrow and winding part of the Hana Highway that made my heart skip a beat, but in general, I did not think it was scary.
The “main part” here means the drive that most people do, which are the stops on the list above that don’t include the back road to Hana.
That said, of course DO take care while you are driving the Road to Hana!
I would say the most “dangerous” part of the Road to Hana is the back road to Hana, since this is where you will find one-lane roads with no shoulders and a cliff that drops off right alongside the road. I did not want to drive that part, and having walked part of the back road to Hana to see what it was like, I did not have any regrets in deciding not to drive the back road to Hana!
But there are plenty of people who even think the back Road to Hana isn’t really a big deal. So, it just depends on the kind of driver you are!
And that’s a bit about Maui’s famous Hana Highway!
See more for your trip to Maui:
HAPPY DRIVING IN MAUI ON THE ROAD TO HANA!
Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Maui maps for tourists!The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
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Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on Maui:
- Molokini Crater and Turtle Town snorkeling or snuba tour
- Haleakala sunrise tour with breakfast
- Road to Hana driving tour with lunch
- Dream Hawaii helicopter flight #1: Fly over 2 Hawaiian islands to see Maui and Molokai waterfalls, rainforest, and sea cliffs
- Dream Hawaii helicopter flight #2: Hana waterfalls and rainforest from above plus Hana fruit plantation walk on the ground
- Sailing the ocean with a sail + snorkel trip