The quintessential road trip in Maui is the beautiful road to Hana. The road has stops to over a dozen waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and stunning scenery. This trip is completely doable on your own, but does need some confidence in your driving abilities. Don’t miss this amazing road trip. It likely will be a highlight of your trip.
We recommend going to Ho’okipa and the Twin Falls on a separate day combined with Baldwin Beach and the historic town of Paia. Start the Road to Hana early. Plan to be at the first stop of Ho’okipa before 7am to make sure you have enough time to complete the journey. Many who make this trip to Hana drive to the National Park, and turn around to drive back. We recommend to continue to Kaupo and drive on the Piilani Highway (Route 31) back to Kahului or your destination. Try to make it there to see sunset by leaving the Seven Sacred Pools no later than 4:30 pm in winter and 5:30 pm in the summer. Below is the list of the best stops on the Hana Highway to Piilani Highway. Our favorites are marked with asterisks (***).
Best Stops on the Road to Hana
***Ho’okipa Beach Park: This amazing place to spot sea turtles and watch big wave surfing is one of the best on the North Shore. Turtles come up and sun bath on the beach. This is a great stop for sunrise or sunset. There is a small walkway down to the lookout.
***Twin Falls: Mile Marker #2. This stop has not two but three waterfalls. The best waterfall is a 20 minute walk. There are signs posted warning tourists that it is a difficult hike. Anyone reasonably fit should have no problem. If you have time bring swim suits to take a dip.
Kaumahina Wayside Lookout: Before Mile Marker #17.
Wailua Lookout: Mile Marker #19. Lookout with scenic coast views.
Upper Waikani Falls: After Mile Marker #19. There is no parking for this waterfall so it is best to drive by slowly and look at it from the car.
West Wailua Iki Waterfalls: Mile Marker #22. Another drive by waterfall with parking past the bridge on the right.
***Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside: Mile Maker #22. Definitely worth a stop this was one of our favorite waterfalls on the trip. There is a short walk to the waterfalls and a small picnic area available.
***Wai’anapanapa State Park: Mile Marker #32. This is a great stop however try to get here early as it tends to get very crowded. The black sand beach is great for photos. Make sure to go into the cave on the right side of the beach. There are a few hiking trails to explore in the park. The park has a nice picnic area available.
***Hana Beach Park: This is definitely our favorite stop on the Road to Hana. Just after Hana at the end of Uakea Road there is a small trail to Kaihalulu Beach (Red Sand Beach). It is absolutely gorgeous. The trail is short but steep so bring sneakers. This is a great beach to swim at.
Koki Beach: Located off of Haneo’o Road this pretty beach has a picnic area. Worth a stop for some photos.
Hamoa Beach: Located just past Koki Beach on Haneo’o Road this is a white sand beach great for swimming. Lots of surfers too.
Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)*: Mile Marker #42. This is part of Haleakala National Park. Fees include $20 for 3 days, or $25 for the year for one vehicle. If going to see Haleakala make sure to go with 3 days. There is a 0.5 mile hike to the seven pool.
*The pools have been closed since January of 2017 due to landslides. While you cannot swim in the pools, the walk still has excellent viewpoints.
***Pipiwai Trail: Mile Marker #42. Also part of Haleakala National Park. Beautiful easy hike through a bamboo forest. The hike is 4 miles long. Ends at Waimoku Falls. Give yourself at least 2.5-3 hours if hiking the full trail.
*** Piilani Highway is absolutely stunning. The driving is a bit rugged with about 12 miles of windy dirt roads. Driving in this area for sunset is a must.
Other Points of Interest
Hanawai Falls: Mile Marker #24. Drive by waterfall.
Makapiki Falls: Miles Marker #25. Drive by waterfall.
Hana Lava Tube: Mile Marker #31. If you have seen lava tube or are going to Big Island it is better to skip this stop. Because it only opens at 10:30 am-4:00 pm it is very difficult to fit this into a full day on the road trip to Hana. Cost is $12 per person.
Hana: A good place to stop for lunch.
Natural Arch: Mile Marker #29. It is difficult to stop for this arch but easy to see off the side of the road.
Leave before 7 am
Bring lunch/water/snacks for the day
Bring bathing suits, comfortable walking shoes
Bring sunblock and bug spray
Fill up on gas before leaving
Make sure to Hike Pipwai Trail and see Haleakala within 3 days to only pay one fee
Be ready to make lots of stops, and drive safely
Check out these other articles on Hawaii:
- Adventures in Kauai on a Budget
- Big Island Getaway
- Dayhike in Haleakala Crater, Maui
- Six Best Hikes in Maui
- Ultimate Guide to Road to Hana
- Waihe’e Ridge Trail Hike, Maui
Visited in February 2017.