ALOHA!

 

Waianapanapa State Park is a GREAT Hawaii state park to visit when you are on Maui!

This is among the most popular state parks on Maui.

In short, Waianapanapa State Park is a mandatory visit on Maui if you want to see THE famous black sand beach on Maui!

 

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

 

If you’re doing the Road to Hana, chances are, you will want to stop by this state park.

Most people make this a pretty quick stop to see the black sand beach when they are driving the Road to Hana as a day trip, but it’s also possible to spend more time here if you’re looking to take a bit of a break from driving too!

 

 

Cost to go to Waianapanapa State Park in 2021

For years, entry to Waianapanapa State Park has been free.

Starting in March 2021, there is an entry fee if you’re not a Hawaii resident.

You will also need to make a reservation for a specific time. You can make reservations up to 2 weeks in advance.

It’s $10 for parking for a 2.5 to 3 hour time slot. You can reserve multiple time slots for $10 each.

As an example, the March 2021 time slots that you can reserve are as follows:

  • 7am to 10am
  • 10am to 12:30pm
  • 12:30pm to 3pm
  • 3pm to 6pm

On top of the parking fee, you will also need to pay a cost of $5 per person.

So at minimum, it costs $15 to visit Waianapanapa State Park in 2021 if you drive there, and that is if you are traveling alone in Maui.

The cost to go to Waianapanapa State Park may change, so be sure to see more from Hawaii State Parks on planning a trip to Waianapanapa State Park:

 

 

Can you get to Waianapanapa State Park by bus?

No, it is not possible to go to Waianapanapa State Park by bus.

There is a bus that goes to some places on Maui. But the bus goes nowhere near Waianapanapa State Park or the town of Hana, so this means that you can’t go to the Waianapanapa State Park black sand beach by bus, or by using any form of public transportation.

The closest bus stop to Waianapanapa State Park is the bus stop at the intersection of Pauwela Road and Hana Highway on the Haiku Islander bus route. This is as far along on the Hana Highway as you can go by bus, and Waianapanapa State Park is over 35 miles away from the bus stop.

 

More below with pictures about the best of Waianapanapa State Park to help determine how much time you want to spend here!

 

 

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Things to do in Waianapanapa State Park

 

1. Waianapanapa black sand beach overlook

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

After you park, you’ll see a sidewalk that will take you to the Waianapanapa black sand beach overlook. This will be your first glimpse of the black sand beach – and it’s a view of Pailoa Bay from above!

 

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the best Maui black sand beach overlook, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the best Maui black sand beach overlook, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

Pailoa Bay overlook trail: See more about this Waianapanapa State Park activity.

 

 

2. Walk across the Waianapanapa black sand beach

aka Honokalani black sand beach at Pailoa Bay

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

So now that you have seen it from above, it’s time to go down to see the great Maui black sand beach, up close and personal!

This is THE top attraction of Waianapanapa State Park, and THE main reason people come here! This is THE famous black sand beach on Maui.

Right near the overlook, there are stairs that go down to the black sand beach.

 

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

3. Waianapanapa lava tube

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach lava tube, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

Now, while you are at the black sand beach, you will also want to see the lava tube!

As you are facing the ocean, this will be over to the very right side of the beach. You see a small cave or tunnel looking thing. You can walk through it! 

 

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the Maui black sand beach lava tube, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the Maui black sand beach lava tube, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park: getting to the Maui black sand beach lava tube, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

 

Don’t forget about the Waianapanapa lava tube! This is practically hidden in plain sight!

 

 

4. Hike the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail

aka Piilani Trail aka Ke Ala Loa O Maui Trail

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: Hike the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail, Piilani Trail from Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

Now, after you have seen the black sand beach and the lava tube, you can continue your walk across the black sand beach, to the other side of the beach. Off to the left side of the beach (as you’re facing the ocean) you’ll see a trail.

This is a part of the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail. You can hike along the coast to see sea arches, unique lava rock formations, and maybe even a blowhole.

There are a few names for this trail:

  • Waianapanapa Coastal Trail
  • Piilani Trail
  • Ke Ala Ola O Maui Trail

The trail actually goes in both directions along the coast. You can just go a little, or you can go a couple of miles. The entire trail is miles along the coastline, and even if you go just a little (walking 10-15 minutes along the trail one way), it can be worth it!

So on the one side, you can access the trail from the black sand beach. On the other side, you’ll walk a bit beyond the cemetery.

If you go far enough in both directions, it will become a hike across old lava flows. Actually most of the trail is across old lava flows, but the further you go, the more you’ll see! This also means rough surface so it will be best to have proper shoes on when doing this hike, along with the basic hiking essentials for Hawaii.

 

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: Hike the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail, Piilani Trail from Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: Hike the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail, Piilani Trail from Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

How much time do you need for hiking in Waianapanapa State Park?

How much time that is required for hiking in Waianapanapa State Park will depend on what you want to see! It’s quite possible that you can hike for less than 30 minutes and be very happy with your hiking experience. But you may also want to go further to see more Maui lava fields and coastal views!

See the pictures to determine how far you want to go:

 

Side note: There is also another hike across old lava flows in South Maui. Both of these lava field hikes are among the best hikes on Maui!

 

 

5. Tent camping

Waianapanapa State Park campground

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: Stay at Wainapanapa state park campground camping. Maui campground. Road to Hana campground. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

There’s a campground at Waianapanapa State Park! 

You will need to make Waianapanapa camping reservations through the official Hawaii state parks camping reservation website. You will also need to have a print out of your camping permit. When I was camping at this campground, a Hawaii state park official came around to check permits in the evening. There were people who taped their permits to the outside of their tent.

Aside from the regular state park bathrooms, there are no campground amenities. There are basic outdoor beach showers, but no regular hot showers.

The Waianapanapa State Park campground is one of the Hana Highway campgrounds. Make it a part of your Road to Hana camping trip!

 

 

6. Coastal cabin stay

Waianapanapa State Park cabin

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: Stay at Wainapanapa state park cabin. Maui cabins. Road to Hana cabins. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

There are also cabins at Waianapanapa State Park!

Your cabin is literally just a few steps from the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail, which means you’re just a few steps from the direct unobstructed ocean views!

Okay maybe it’s a 10-15 second walk? Either way, you are practically RIGHT at the ocean! And you can see the ocean from the “balcony” of your cabin too! It is SO awesome! (This part might be obstructed by trees, but it is amazing nonetheless.)

You will also make Waianapanapa cabin reservations through the official Hawaii state parks camping reservation website.

You are also supposed to have your camping permit printed off. Although, when I was staying at a Waianapanapa State Park cabin, no one came around to check for a permit. The “proof” is more so that you have access to the cabin, I suppose! When you make your online reservation, you are given a code for the cabin key pad.

The cabin comes with beds and mattresses but otherwise is bring your own everything. It does come with hot showers.

 

And finally…

If you decide to go swimming at the Waianapanapa State Park beach, take care!

Waianapanapa State Park swimming. hana swimming beach. maui hawaii travel blog

 

The ocean can be powerful! There are no lifeguards at Waianapanapa State Park.

 

Waianapanapa State Park swimming. hana swimming beach. maui hawaii travel blog

Waianapanapa State Park swimming. hana swimming beach. maui hawaii travel blog
Dangers of swimming at Waianapanapa State Park include strong currents and dangerous shorebreaks.

 

Waianapanapa State Park swimming. hana swimming beach. maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

Best shoes for hiking in Waianapanapa State Park

I recommend wearing trail running shoes or hiking shoes for hiking in Waianapanapa State Park. I recommend NOT wearing sandals or open-toe shoes.

You are quite literally hiking across the rugged terrain of lava rocks on the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail.

Small specks of lava rocks have the potential to be sharp so it’s best if your feet are not exposed. Because of the rougher terrain, it can be better to have thicker soles.

If you don’t want to buy new shoes, at the very least wear shoes not sandals!

If you won’t be hiking, then you can be quite fine in your footwear of choice whether that’s sandals or shoes!

 

And those are a few ideas for Waianapanapa State Park!

 

You may be interested in the Hana lava tube that is nearby for a hike through a cave.

And more for your trip to Hana! Food near Waianapanapa State Park:

Or buy the famous Road to Hana banana bread on your way to Waianapanapa State Park!

Plus see the big list of stops on the Road to Hana!

 

Plus, if you are interested in Waianapanapa State Park, you may also be interested in these top activities on Maui:

 

HAPPY VISIT TO WAIANAPANAPA STATE PARK!

 

Best things to do in Waianapanapa State Park: See the best Maui black sand beach, Honokalani Beach, Pailoa Bay. Best Maui state park. Best road to hana stops. Maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

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ALOHA!