The road to Hana is one of those landmark drives that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime, I am lucky enough to have done it twice. Located on the island of Maui, the road to Hana is a 68 mile long stretch that connects Kahului to Hana. Along the way you will find 600 twists and turns and more that 50 bridges and millions of beautiful sights. There are about 15 must-see locations on the journey, I’ll share with you some of my favorites.
Before heading out on the drive you need to make sure you are prepared. A full tank of gas it an absolute must as there are no places to fill up along the way. We did the drive the first time in a Mustang convertible and the second time in a Cadillac Escalade, personally I think the Mustang was a better choice. The road is very narrow and one lane in many spots, the car was much easier to maneuver.
There are plenty of food stands along the way, but there is no way to know if they will be open when you get there. The best idea is to bring along a picnic lunch. All over the island you will find “Road to Hana Box Lunches” that contain everything you’ll need to have a picnic. We got ours from CJ’s Deli & Diner in Ka’anapali, it was right near we were staying so it was a quick stop on our way out.
The drive begins in the town of Paia, a laid-back surfer area. The first of my favorite stops is Ho’okipa Beach(mile 9), and this also happens to be the best beach to surf on Maui. We spent some time watching the surfers in amazement. The Best part is the combination of black lava rock and the golden sand that borders the beach. You will also find picnic tables and pavilions.
The second stop that I love is Huelo Lookout Fruit stand. This a great place to stop for some fresh fruit smoothies or crepes. The little hut also has fresh fruit and souvenirs for sale. Behind the stand there is an outlook that you can walk down to for a better look.
Kaumahina State Wayside Park (between mile 12&13) Great place to stop and take some photos of the Maui Coast Line. Plenty of parking here as well as picnic tables and restrooms.
Ke’anae Peninsula (mile 16) gives you a look back in time. Here you will see what a traditional village would look like with its many taro fields.
Half Way to Hana Store (mile 17.5) This little store is the perfect place to grab a drink and some beef jerky.
Nahiku Marketplace (mile 29) At this little jungle market place you will find a coffee shop, a food truck (on one trip it was tacos on the other it was thai food) and my favorite place to buy coconut candy and cold fresh coconuts. There is some parking and picnic table here too.
Hana Lava Tube (just Past mile 31) The lava tube was formed by hot lava trying to find its way to the pacific ocean. The 45 minute, self-guided tour will cost you about $12. Everyone gets there own LED flash light and embarks in the the cave. Along the way you will find signs that explain some of the rarer lava formations along the way and also the history of the lava tube. The grounds above are very beautiful and this would be a good setting to enjoy your picnic lunch
Wainapanapa State Park (mile 32) This by far is the coolest beach I have ever been to. Here you will find a black sand beach, seaside caves, blowholes, an ancient cemetery. This is where we chose to have our picnic and we spent a good deal of time exploring all that the state park had to offer.
At Mile 34 you arrive at Hana Town Bay. The town of Hana is a small village of locals, there are a couple restaurants and a general store that sell a hodgepodge of everything you could think of as well as The Hana Cultural Center. This is an example of “the journey is the destination” getting here is half the fun.
- Leave early and fill your gas tank before you go.
- Let the locals pass, they know the road well and zip right along. You will read this every where including hand painted signs along the road
- Bring Cash
- Take your time and as often or as little as you want. Make it your own personal journey. You can find a full list of stops at www.roadtohana.com