The curvy, scenic Road to Hana is one of the number one attractions in Maui, popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Garrick (my husband) and I made sure it was a priority during our recent trip to Maui and put together a list of our favorite Road to Hana stops.
Its winding roads cover a 64.4-mile stretch along the northeast coastline of the island, though most visitors aim to end their journey at the 52-mile mark (the town of Hana) before turning back.
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Last Updated: June 14, 2021
What You Need to Know Before You Go
The best piece of advice we found online before flying to Maui? Book 1-2 nights in Hana instead of making a day trip like most other tourists. Even with the extra time, we were still conscious of watching the time and making sure we paced ourselves so we could see all the sights on our list.
We also researched audio tours and downloaded a road to hana stops app that was absolutely worth the $4.99 investment. The technology of creating a tour based on your location was so impressive, especially while driving.
The guide was funny and amicable, and it felt like you had a knowledgeable uncle in the car with you (Does that make sense? If you download the app, you’ll see what I mean).
Donʻt have time to spend a night or two in Hana? Choosing to take a guided Hana tour will help you maximize your precious vacation time seeing all the best sights while minimizing your stress levels.
A local guide will not only provide a comfortable and safe ride, but you will also connect with a local who will give you all sorts of advice, tips, and stories that are happening on the island now.
19 Road to Hana Stops You Can't Miss in Maui Hawaii
1. Paia - Mile Marker 0
Though Mile Marker 0 is located a few miles further down the road, the charming little town of Paia is the last place to stop for gas before beginning your journey. Even if you’ve already filled up on gas, it’s worth stopping by – you can’t miss the main street with coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, and surf shops.
2. Twin Falls - Mile Marker 2
Road to Hana waterfalls are definitely worth visiting. We were surprised to learn that Twin Falls is located on a family-owned farm! Parking was easily accessible, and I was tempted to try some fresh fruit from the Twin Falls Farm Stand at the entrance of the trail. We took the Lower Falls Trail, a quick and easy walk from the parking lot.
Pro Tip: As it turns out, the Upper Falls Trail had a better vantage point of the waterfalls (whoops). If you decide to take the Upper Falls Trail, keep in mind that the hike is one mile round-trip and will take a bit more time to finish.
3. Ka Haku Smoke Shack - Mile Marker 10.2
Ka Haku Smoke Shack truly is a roadside shack, famous for its grilled chicken plates. If we hadn’t just eaten breakfast, we would have definitely stopped here for a taste of Maui’s local fare.
4. Garden of Eden - Mile Marker 10.5
This family-owned arboretum is home to over 700 botanically labeled specimens and several waterfall lookouts. I debated whether or not to include it on the list, but in the end concluded was worth the stop.
The entrance fee of $15 per person (not vehicle!) almost deterred us from going in. The garden’s claim to fame is a view point of Keopuka Rock, featured in the opening scene to Jurassic Park.
We weren’t too impressed with the view – maybe it would be better with a pair of binoculars, haha – but enjoyed the clean bathrooms, well-kept gardens, and resident peacocks wandering the grounds.
5. Keanae Arboretum - Mile Marker 16.7
We missed several opportunities to see rainbow eucalyptus trees, so we were excited to wander into the free Ke’anae Arboretum to look at them up close. The paved walkway takes you through half a mile of about 150 tropical plants. We especially loved admiring the moss covered stones and tree stumps along the path.
6. Keanae Peninsula - Mile Marker 16.8
Don’t miss the hairpin curve that leads to Ke’anae Peninsula – this was one of our favorite stops. The traditional Hawaiian village of Ke’anae sits upon a rugged peninsula made from lava rock that flowed from Haleakala.
While the village is tranquil (it almost felt like a ghost town), the waves are the complete opposite – tumultuous and explosive against the black lava rock. We were lucky enough to enjoy the scenery right before a downpour of rain sent us running back to our car.
7. Ching’s Pond - Mile Marker 16.8
Popular amongst locals, this swimming hole is so under-the-radar that we didn’t know it existed until after making our trip! The picturesque, emerald pond has a small waterfall and concrete platform that the more adventurous visitors use to jump in (we will happily stand aside and watch).
8. Halfway to Hana Shop - Mile Marker 17.3
Our first banana bread experience in Maui took place at the Halfway to Hana Shop. By the time we reached the halfway point, we were hungry and in need of food in our stomachs; banana bread was the perfect solution.
While browsing the stand’s menu, we also picked up another local treat – coconut candy!
10. Upper Waikani Falls or Three Bears Falls - Mile Marker 19.5
Also known as the Three Bears Falls, the Upper Waikani Falls are located just off the side of the highway. If you have time, take the path under the bridge to get a closer view.
Around the 22.5 mile marker, you’ll find the Pua’a Kaa State Wayside Park. At the park, you’ll find a few small waterfalls and a picnic area.
11. Nahiku Ti Gallery and Coffee Shop - Mile Marker 27
Our mealtimes were anything but normal on our drive, and banana bread from the Halfway to Hana shop only lasted us so long before we were searching for the next opportunity to eat. The Nahiku Ti Gallery was the perfect place to pull over for a quick bite – the kalua pork tacos and fish tacos were delicious.
12. Black Sand Beach Waiapanapa State Park - Mile Marker 32.2
Ask us what our #1 favorite Road to Hana stop, and this is it. A short hike from the spacious parking lot leads you down to the beach, where turquoise waters and vibrant foliage contrast against the breathtaking black sand. It makes it one of the best bang for buck Road to Hana hikes.
There were photo ops at every angle! The resident mongoose population also kept us entertained as they scurried across the park. It often makes the list of the best stops on Road to Hana for everyone that visits.
Pro Tip: The Hana Lava Tube is also close by if you have some extra time.
The small town of Hana has limited food options, so a quick search on Yelp led us to this unassuming but delicious roadside stand. After all, when you’re looking for things to do on the Road to Hana, you need to mix in some food to give you fuel for all the hikes and adventures.
We joined a long line of hungry tourists and patiently waited for our pad thai and red curry to arrive. The food was absolutely worth the wait! Authentic, filling, and flavorful. Highly recommended.
14. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach - in Hana
We read mixed reviews about the level of danger involved in hiking to Kaihalulu Beach. Garrick made the executive decision to pass by this stop, but it was my biggest Road to Hana regret.
The scenery looks worth it – the dramatic, hidden cove made of red lava cinder stands out against the blue ocean water.
Note: Part of the trail was lost to a landslide and has become more dangerous than it once was. This is not a safe hike for anyone unaccustomed to navigating cliff-edges with slippery/unsound footing.
15. Koki Beach Park - in Hana, near Mile Marker 51
The first thing that struck us about Koki Beach Park was the peacefulness. Though wooden signs warn of dangerous swimming conditions, the secluded beach would be a perfect spot for a quiet picnic and why it makes the list of places to stop on the Road to Hana.
Red rock cliffs provide a scenic and shady backdrop, and the lush, mountain-shaped island just off the coast reminded me of the volcano in Pixar’s short film, Lava.
16. Hamoa Beach - in Hana, near Mile Marker 52
This crescent-shaped beach stretches over 1000 feet, lined by cliffs and lush tropical vegetation. The strong waves make it a one of the best places to stop on Road to Hana if you surf or boogie board.
17. Wailua Falls - Mile Marker 45
This is one of the best waterfalls on Road to Hana. It’s absolutely majestic and is one of the most accessible in Maui – we drove right next to it on the Hana Highway. The surrounding area is lush and forested and there’s plenty of parking along the side of the road.
Admire the 80 ft cascade of water from the highway bridge or walk down to the plunge pool to get closer to the action.
18. Oheo Gulch or Seven Sacred Pools - Mile Marker 42
Now that ‘Ohe’O Gulch is officially a part of Haleakala National Park. This is one of the most popular things to see on the Road to Hana, and for good reason.
The easy walk to a lookout point rewards you with a view of streams and waterfalls that lead all the way to the ocean. Below the bridge, you can take a dip in the pools. It just reopened in Dec 2018 after being closed for 2 years.
Fun fact: Seven Sacred Pools was a catchy name made up to promote tourism to this remote location. (It worked.)
Pro Tip: The recreational day pass required for entry can be used for a visit to the volcano summit within 3 days.
19. Pipiwai Trail - Mile Marker 42
This is located at the same parking lot as the ‘Ohe’O Gulch. The bamboo forest towards the end of Pipiwai Trail was one of our top priorities out of all the Road to Hana stops.
The 4-mile roundtrip hike takes about two hours to complete and starts from the same place as the trail to ‘Ohe’O Gulch. Before reaching the picturesque bamboo, stop to admire other scenic points of interest like the huge banyan tree and a breathtaking view of the 200-ft Makahiku Falls.
Bonus: The Back Road of Hana
If you’re willing to go off the beaten path (into unpaved territory), check your rental car agreement first to see if doing so will violate your contract. The first few miles of narrow hairpin curves are harrowing, to say the least. But the landscape that lies past Hana is well worth it.
Road to Hana Map with Maile Markers
Best Places to Stay on the Road to Hana
Keep in mind that this won’t be your budget vacation. Prices here are much higher than other destinations by at least $100. All accommodations listed here have Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and at least 4 stars on both Yelp and Tripadvisor except for our Maui Seaside Hotel. We wanted to make sure we had one “budget” option though.
Have you driven the Road to Hana? What are your favorite stops?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Fern is a wedding and portrait photographer with an adventurous spirit and mega sweet tooth. Her preferred style of travel is to stay in one place and live like a local. When she’s not exploring new cities, you can find her frolicking at the happiest place on earth or at home in her pajamas catching up on social media.