The quintessential road trip in Maui is the beautiful road to Hana. The road has 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. Our guide on the 15 best places to see, tips for driving, and our printable map and PDF of the best stops covers everything you need to know about the Road to Hana.
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 7 am to make sure you have enough time to complete the entire 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. Our favorites spots below are marked with asterisks (***).
Where to Stay in Hana
Another great option is to break this up into a two-day trip and stay in an adorable bed and breakfast or guesthouse in Hana. Everything south of Hana and within Volcanoes National Park could be done on the second day, giving more time for exploring each stop and relaxing on the stunning beaches. I could stay at Kaihalulu Beach (Red Sand Beach) for hours, and this also allows for more time to take pictures too!
Guesthouse in Hana: Heavenly Hana Paradise is a charming guesthouse with a garden room for $160.
Airbnb in Hana: Stay at this cozy home near Hana for $100.
Petrol on the Hana Highway
Before leaving for your epic road trip, make sure to fill up on petrol. There are limited gas stations on the Hana Highway. Haiku has a couple of gas stations, and after that, the next station is in Hana. Trust us, you don’t want to get stuck on the Hana Highway without gas! If you are driving around the backside of Haleakala past Volcanoes National Park, the next station after Hana is in Kula. It is only 84 miles between Haiku and Kula driving on the road to Hana, however with all the stop and starts and slow driving roads, it will eat up more gas than you think.
15 Best Stops on the Road to Hana
1. 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 sunbathe on the beach. This is a great stop for sunrise or sunset. There is a small walkway down to the lookout.
2. Twin Falls***
Location: Mile Marker #2
This stop has not two but three waterfalls. The best waterfall is the last one, 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 to swim, bring your swimsuit.
3. Kaumahina Wayside Lookout
Location: Before Mile Marker #17
This lookout is a quick stop the check out the dramatic coastline on the Hana Highway.
4. Wailua Lookout
Location: Mile Marker #19
This is another quick stop to a lookout with scenic coast views.
5. Upper Waikani Falls
Location: 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.
6. West Wailua Iki Waterfalls
Location: Mile Marker #22
Another drive-by waterfall with parking past the bridge on the right.
7. Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside***
Location: Mile Marker #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.
8. Hana Lava Tube
Location: Mile Marker #31
If you have seen lava tubes 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. If you have the time, it is a pretty interesting stop if you have never seen a lava tube before. Cost is $12 per person.
9. Wai’anapanapa State Park***
Location: Mile Marker #32
This is one of my favorite stops, 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.
10. Hana: Kaihalulu Beach***
This is 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. This may be the most beautiful beach in all of Hawaii, don’t miss this stop! The trail is short but steep so bring sneakers. This is a great beach to swim at.
11. Koki Beach
Located off of Haneo’o Road this pretty beach has a picnic area. Worth a stop for some photos.
12. Hamoa Beach
Hamoa is located just past Koki Beach on Haneo’o Road. This is a white sand beach great for swimming and surfing.
13. Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)***
Location: Mile Marker #42
The Ohe’o Gulch is known for the Seven Sacred Pools. This is a short 0.5-mile hike to the seven pools. 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.
Note: Since January of 2017, the pools are closed to swimming due to landslides. While you cannot swim in the pools, the walk still has excellent viewpoints.
14. Pipiwai Trail***
Location: Mile Marker #42
This trail is a beautiful and easy hike through a bamboo forest. The hike is 4 miles long. It ends at Waimoku Falls. Give yourself at least 2.5-3 hours if hiking the full trail. This trail is also part of Haleakala National Park.
15. Piilani Highway
A perfect way to finish your epic road trip is to continue on the road past Ohe’o on the Piilani Highway. The drive is absolutely stunning. It is a bit rugged with about 12 miles of curvy 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: Mile Marker #25. Drive-by waterfall.
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.
South Wailua Waterfall: Just north of the Ohe’o Gulch, this 100-foot waterfall is good for a swim.
Tips & What to Bring on the Road to Hana Road Trip
Leave before 7 am
Bring lunch/water/snacks for the day
Bring bathing suits, comfortable walking shoes
A light rain jacket as this area gets a lot of rain
Sunblock and bug spray for the beach or hiking in Volcanoes
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
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Ultimate Guide to Road to Hana
Visited in February 2017.