I honestly hadn’t heard of the “road to Hana” until I was in Maui, but then I was overwhelmed by both fellow vacationers and locals telling me we had to do it. The road to Hana is a beautiful drive that involves taking Hawaii routes 36 and 360 towards the town of Hana, Hawaii. The road contains beautiful ocean views and bridges, and much of the ride is through a gorgeous rainforest that has tons of waterfalls.
It would take 2 and a half hours one way without stopping, but we of course often stopped to look at the scenery and waterfalls.
Must-See Stops Along the Way:
1. Twin Falls
Twin Falls, one of the first stops along the Road to Hana, sets the stage for the beauty you’re about to encounter. A short hike through lush forest leads to a pair of picturesque waterfalls. Take a refreshing dip in the natural pools beneath the falls and savor the tropical paradise.
2. Garden of Eden Arboretum
This botanical wonderland features an array of exotic plants and native Hawaiian species. Stroll through meticulously maintained gardens and revel in the vibrant colors and fragrances of the flora. Don’t forget your camera – this place is a photographer’s dream.
3. Wailua Overlook
As you continue your journey, the Wailua Overlook offers a magnificent panorama of the Ke‘anae Peninsula and the coastline. This is an ideal spot to capture the rugged beauty of the Hana Highway on film and enjoy a scenic picnic.
4. Ke‘anae Peninsula
The small town of Ke‘anae is a glimpse into old Hawaii, with its taro fields, historic church, and crashing waves. Enjoy traditional Hawaiian banana bread at Aunty Sandy’s and take in the laid-back, local vibe of this charming community.
5. Waianapanapa State Park
Waianapanapa State Park is a true gem along the Road to Hana. Its jet-black sand beach, volcanic sea caves, and lush tropical vegetation create an otherworldly atmosphere. Take a swim in the ocean, explore the lava tubes, and admire the stark contrast of the black sand against the azure waters.
You can go back the way you came, or you can do a full circle around the island. We did the full circle, and the second half of the trip was just as pretty as the first half. It does take longer though, and the whole road trip ended up taking us about 7 hours.
Tips for Navigating the Road to Hana
– Start your journey early in the morning to avoid crowds and make the most of your day.
– Carry plenty of water and snacks, as amenities are limited along the route.
– Drive cautiously, as the road is narrow and winding, with many one-lane bridges.
– Respect the environment and local communities; leave no trace of your visit.
The Road to Hana is more than just a drive; it’s an adventure that immerses you in the natural beauty, culture, and history of Maui. I would definitely recommend making it a part of your Maui trip. It’s a journey you’ll cherish forever, a slice of Hawaiian heaven you’ll never forget.