ALOHA!

 

So you are driving the Road to Hana on your own!

 

How many stops are on the Road to Hana?

There are over 40 stops on the Road to Hana!

And with so many stops you can make, there are so many different ways a Road to Hana itinerary can look like.

It really just depends on what your interests are.

You can make your Road to Hana drive about waterfalls, beaches, food, the state park, the national park, or a combination of them all.

With just one day on the Road to Hana, you won’t be able to stop at everything.

But one day is enough time to get a glimpse of what the Road to Hana is about with a drive through the lush East Maui!

 

Where does the Road to Hana begin and end?

The unofficial start of the Road to Hana is Paia.

The unofficial end of the Road to Hana is either Hana or Kipahulu.

So the Road to Hana begins in Paia, and the Road to Hana ends in Hana or Kipahulu.

Most people turnaround at the “end” of the Road to Hana, although it is also possible to continue driving and drive the Road to Hana as a loop.

The Road to Hana doesn’t dead end.

You’ll be driving the Hana Highway, and this turns into the Piilani Highway.

 

How long does Road to Hana take with no stops?

Driving directly from Paia to Hana is a 2 hour drive, one way.

Driving in the normal direction directly from Paia to Kipahulu is a 2.5 hour drive, one way.

And then you can expect traffic on the slow-going winding roads on the Road to Hana along the Hana Highway, so your drive time to Hana or to Kipahulu might actually be longer than that.

This means that an out-and-back drive of the Road to Hana with no stops will take at least 5 hours of driving time.

And then of course, this does not include the drive time of where you are actually starting your Road to Hana drive from.

You will probably have an extra 1-2 hours of round trip driving time added to that.

Driving from South Maui and Wailea to Hana is around a 2.5 hour drive. (map)

Driving from West Maui and Kaanapali to Hana is around a 3 hour drive. (map)

Driving from South Maui and Wailea to Kipahulu is around a 3 hour drive. (map)

Driving from West Maui and Kaanapali to Kipahulu is around a 3.5 hour drive. (map)

 

 

What should you skip on the Road to Hana?

With over 40 stops on the Road to Hana, you can’t possibly do it all in one day.

One option is to skip some of the early Road to Hana stops and do it on another day.

Another way to prepare for the Road to Hana is to find one thing you want to do in each of the different types of Road to Hana activities and skip the rest.

The different types of Road to Hana activities can include waterfalls, beaches, food, old lava flows, the state park, and the national park.

There is some overlap. For example, in the national park you can see waterfalls and in the state park you can see old lava flows and a famous beach.

So you can go to the national park to see Road to Hana waterfalls, and you can go to the state park to see East Maui lava fields and a Road to Hana beach.

Now all you need to do is figure out where you want to go for food and you’ve got a well-rounded Road to Hana trip with must-see Road to Hana stops!

Wow, is planning a Road to Hana drive really that easy?! 😆

 

best road to hana stops: turtle beach maui. how many stops on the road to hana. should you skip early stops? maui hawaii travel blog
👆 With over 40 stops on the Road to Hana, one option is to skip some of the early stops on the Road to Hana and do it on another day. For example, the turtle beach of Maui is on the Road to Hana, but it can also make for a perfect afternoon trip or evening sunset trip on another day after you drive to the top of the Haleakala summit in Haleakala National Park!

 

 

So the Road to Hana is THE famous scenic drive on Maui, and it’s possibly the most popular scenic drive in Hawaii.

This is the Hana Highway drive, and it means a trip to East Maui!

 

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Best Road to Hana stops. Hana Highway drive. Things to do in East Maui, Hana coast Hawaii. Road to Hana drive. Maui Hawaii travel blog

Best Road to Hana stops. Hana Highway drive. Things to do in East Maui, Hana coast Hawaii. Road to Hana drive. Maui Hawaii travel blog

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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.

There were also a couple of specific food stops featured too, including to eat huli huli chicken and banana bread. (These stops are on the list below!)

And there you go!

So your must-stop Road to Hana food stops are banana bread and huli huli chicken, and now you really are prepared to start the Road to Hana! 😆

Just be sure to note the hours!

 

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.

No matter how you choose to drive it, there is a lot to see along the way!

 

Here are some of the quick lists if you’re looking for something specific to do on the Road to Hana:

Below is the list of Road to Hana stops in order with these different activities!

 

 

The road that you’ll be driving on for the main part of the scenic drive is the Hana Highway

Hana Highway, Maui Hawaii: Best Road to Hana stops. Best things to do in East Maui. Best places to visit in Maui. Road to Hana drive. Hawaii travel blog

Best Road to Hana stops. scenic state route 360 hana highway drive. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is in no way a typical American highway!

 

Best Road to Hana stops. scenic hana highway drive. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

Best Road to Hana stops. scenic hana highway drive. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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…

 

Best Road to Hana stops. waterfalls on hana highway drive. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

And there will be tons of scenic stops you can make along the way too.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. overlooks on hana highway drive. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. beaches with 4wd jeep on hana highway drive. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Can you take a bus to the Road to Hana?

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.

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 will be without a car.
 

 

More below on what to see if you’ll be driving the Road to Hana on your own!

 

 

🌴

 
More photos/info below, but first...
Side note!
Here's some info on Hawaii trip prep!




Save the Maui video playlist to watch on youtube later!

Explore the outdoors all over Maui:
PLUS... Should you book a Maui tour or do it on your own?

IMPORTANT!!! If you want to do the back road to Hana, be sure to check the Maui County government website before you go. As of early June 2022, it is not possible to drive the Road to Hana as a loop because of a bridge repair. This is expected to take 2 months. You can still drive the Road to Hana as an out-and-back.

 

 

Now…

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! 

This list generally goes in order of stops to make as you’re driving.

 

 

1. Paia town

Best Road to Hana stops. Start at Paia town. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

Paia is the town that’s generally considered the unofficial start of the Road to Hana.

On your way back after you’ve finished up your Road to Hana day trip, you can end your day with outdoor dining at the Paia Fish Market restaurant.

 

 

2. Aloha Surf Hostel surfboards

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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.

So if you have been driving for awhile to get to the start of the Road to Hana and you are eager to get out of the car to do something…

You can make the classic colorful Paia surfboards your first stop on the Road to Hana!

If you’re looking for a backpacker hostel to stay on Maui, this is a social hostel that offers free group tours around the island ($10 tip appreciated), including the Road to Hana!

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

Best Road to Hana stops. Kuau Store - general store, country store. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

Best Road to Hana stops. Hookipa lookout. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

5. Hookipa Beach

Best Road to Hana stops. Hookipa Beach - best beaches in Maui. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. Hookipa Beach - where to see turtles in Maui. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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!

 

Best Road to Hana stops. Hookipa Beach - where to see hawaiian monk seals in Maui. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

See more about these Road to Hana stops:

 

 

6. Jaws Peahi lookout

Best Road to Hana stops. jaws peahi lookout. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

 

7. Jaws Country Store

Best Road to Hana stops. jaws country store with restaurant food menu. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

Another country store towards the start of the Road to Hana that has fresh-made food. There are also tropical fruit drinks here.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat food. jaws country store menu. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

Try the poke bowl here!

 

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat food. jaws country store poke bowl. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

There is a nice outdoor seating area here.

See more about this Road to Hana stop: Jaws Country Store

 

 

8. Mile marker 0

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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!

 

 

9. Twin Falls

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - twin falls. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - caveman falls. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

You get to the Caveman Falls 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.

There have been recent reports of an unpleasant parking situation at Twin Falls, so it really might not be worth it.

The Road to Hana should be about enjoying the drive, and reports indicate that Twin Falls parking can be stressful! (Although it was not at all stressful or crowded when I went in early 2020…)

Also relatively new is the Twin Falls parking fee.

So as an alternative, 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.

Twin Falls is also pretty close to Paia, so you can save this for another day, and maybe the afternoon is less crowded. (Do note the closing time of Twin Falls, though! It might be 3:30pm.)

 

See more about this Road to Hana stop: Twin Falls

 

 

10. Bamboo forest

Best Road to Hana stops. bamboo forest on private property. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is not THE bamboo forest that you can (legitimately) go to on the Road to Hana. (That one is past Hana and in Haleakala 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.

If you see references online to a Maui bamboo forest that is closed, it is likely referring to this one.

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. bamboo forest trailhead start on private property. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

11. Rainbow trees

Best Road to Hana stops. rainbow trees. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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. Waikamoi Nature Trail

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This is a hike through a forest where you’ll get to see different kinds of trees, including bamboo trees.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. waikamoi nature trail to see bamboo forest. Hawaii travel blog

Best Road to Hana stops. waikamoi nature trail to see bamboo forest. Hawaii travel blog

 

You’ll also find picnic tables along this trail for what can feel like a private picnic spot! (As long as no one else is hiking this trail and has taken the picnic spot!)

 

Best Road to Hana stops. waikamoi nature trail to see bamboo forest. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

13. Kaumahina State Wayside

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This can be a bathroom break or a short stop at a small overlook.

 

 

14. Waikamoi Falls

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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.

 

 

15. Honomanu Bay Beach

Best Road to Hana stops. honomanu black sand beach. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. honomanu black sand beach parking. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

See more about this Road to Hana stop: Honomanu Bay

 

 

16. Keanae Peninsula

Best Road to Hana stops. keanae point lookout overlook. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

17. Aunty Sandy’s banana bread

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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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat. best banana bread. aunty sandy's. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat. road to hana food stops. best banana bread. aunty sandy's banana bread. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

 

18. Halfway to Hana

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There’s a halfway to Hana sign, which is actually a shop, and you can make this a food stop.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat food. halfway to hana. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat food. halfway to hana. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

You can also make this an ATM stop if you’re short on cash. Many places on the Hana Highway are cash only.

 

 

19. Wailua Valley state wayside

Best Road to Hana stops. scenic overlook viewpoints - wailua valley state wayside. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

20. Upper Waikani Falls

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - upper waikani falls. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

These are waterfalls on the road to Hana that you can see as you’re driving across the bridge.

 

 

21. Wailuaiki Falls

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - wailuaiki falls. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - wailuaiki falls mile marker 21. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - wailuaiki falls. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

22. Puaa Kaa State Wayside

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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

 

 

23. Hanawi Falls

Best Road to Hana stops. best waterfalls - hanawi falls. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

24. Makapipi Falls

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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

 

 

25. Nahiku viewpoint

Best Road to Hana stops. naihuku wayside lookout. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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.

 

Best Road to Hana stops. naihuku wayside lookout. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

See more about this Road to Hana stop: Nahiku Viewpoint

 

 

26. Hana lava tube

Best Road to Hana stops. hana lava tube cave - national caves association hawaii. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

27. Hana Farms

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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!

 

Best Road to Hana stops. where to eat in hana restaurant food - hana farms spicy fish tacos. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

28. Waianapanapa black sand beach

aka Honokalani Beach at Pailoa Bay

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This is located at Waianapanapa State Park, and it’s THE famous black sand beach of Maui.

This is one of the best Hawaii state parks in 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!

 

Best Road to Hana stops. waianapanapa state park black sand beach lava tube cave. honokalani beach, pailoa bay. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

29. Waianapanapa Coastal Trail (Piilani Trail)

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The Waianapanapa coastal trail is one of the best hiking trails on Maui!

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.

 

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Most people just get to the top and then turn around.

It’s worth it even just to do that, as you’ll see amazing views.

But you can also keep going for more amazing views 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!

 

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👆 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!

 

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Best Road to Hana stops. waianapanapa state park black sand beach coastal trail. piilani trail hike to hana. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

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

 

 

30. 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.

 

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As of early 2022, the Waianapanapa State Park campground is still closed for tent camping. See current updates.

 

There are also the Waianapanapa State park cabins for a cost of around $100 per night available here. Cabins do book up in advance so it might require a little bit more planning and/or luck! The cabins are OPEN in 2022!

 

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See more about this Road to Hana overnight stop: Waianapanapa State Park cabins

 

 

31. Kaihalulu red sand beach

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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.

 

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See more about this Road to Hana stop: Kaihalulu red sand beach hike

 

 

32. 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.

 

 

33. Hana store

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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.

 

 

34. Braddah Hutts bbq grill food truck

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A stop for food at a food truck in Hana.

Try the fish tacos!

 

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Food here might be $10-20.

 

Braddah Hutts food truck: See more about this Road to Hana food stop.

 

 

35. Koki Beach

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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!

 

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36. Koki’s famous Huli huli chicken

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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.

 

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There’s an outdoor seating area where you can eat with ocean views. You can see some red sand here.

 

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Huli huli chicken shack: See more about this Road to Hana food stop.

 

 

37. Hamoa Beach

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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.

 

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38. 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.

 

IMPORTANT: The boring safety message! Flash flooding during Road to Hana activities

Flash flooding is a thing in East Maui, and that includes around the Road to Hana.

The Venus Pool is an example of where flash flooding can happen around the Road to Hana.

To be dramatic, there is at least one tourist who has DIED from an unexpected flash flood at this very location.

There are several videos you must watch if you are thinking about cliff jumping on the Road to Hana at this location:

  • Watch this video to see the dry rock turn into a flood of water into the ocean.
  • Watch this video to see people trying to get out of the way of the flash flood… but were unsuccessful. (But it seems they were okay.)
  • Watch this video to see the news story about the tourist who died.

One of the warning signs that flash flooding is possible is if you look towards the mountains and you see dark clouds. Watch the video warning from 1:10.

And then more flash flood precautions from Maui County, notably:

Never cross or swim in streams/ponds when dark clouds are on the mountains.

 

 

39. Wailua Falls

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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

 

 

40. Pipiwai Trail

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This is the trail to see the famous bamboo forest of Maui. And it won’t disappoint!

This is a part of the Haleakala National Park, so an entry fee of $30 (as of 2020) or national park pass or Hawaii tri-park pass is required to do this trail.

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

 

 

41. Waimoku Falls

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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.

 

 

42. Oheo Pools aka Seven Sacred Pools

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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.

 

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You get here by going on the short Kuloa Point Trail that will also get you to a great scenic point with ocean views.

 

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See more about this Road to Hana stop: Oheo Pools

 

 

43. Kamilo Point

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This is basically where the “scary” part of the back road to Hana (next!) starts!

 

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44. Back road to Hana

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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.

 

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Best Road to Hana stops. back road to hana. scary and dangerous roads in maui. Best things to do in Maui drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

See more about the back road to Hana:

 

 

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!

 

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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!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You 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!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
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.

Watch the videos to see Maui in action!

Find more amazing things to do on Maui: Watch my Maui videos on youtube
If you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!

ALOHA!