The Road to Hana: Driving vs. Taking a Tour

We want you to love Maui as much as we do, so we partnered with a number of tours and excursions to provide you the best experience. We may make money when you click on the links.

The Road to Hana is a beautiful drive into old Hawaii. With its 600 hairpin turns and single lane bridges, it's truly a drive back in time. The drive to Hana town is only 64.4 miles, but will take approximately 3 hours (one way) without stops via Hana Highway. In order to make the best decision for your vacation, here are the pros and cons of booking a tour versus driving on your own.

Driving the Road to Hana Yourself


  • You can travel at your own pace, exploring as many attractions as you want. We have compiled 15 must see Hana stops with their corresponding mile marker and pertinent facts. Not all points of interest are available on tours. If you're hoping to visit the Keanae Coast, go to the Seven Sacred Pools or hike the Pipiwai Trail,  driving yourself is the only way to spend time at these locations.
  • With 600 hairpin turns, those who get severe motion sickness would benefit from being able to drive or sit in the front seat. There are plenty of places to pull over and take a break from driving.
  • If staying the night in Hana is part of your vacation itinerary, taking a tour isn't possible, as all of them are day trips starting around 6AM and ending around 6PM.
  • If you decide halfway to Hana that you don't want to go any further, you can always turn back. There are bamboo forests, waterfalls and banana bread stands available an hour or so into the drive.


  • The road is a bit dangerous, as there are 59 single lane bridges with many blind curves making visibility limited.
  • The road can become crowded at popular attractions, making parking difficult. More rental cars on the road might mean missing out on a site you were eager to explore.
  • One of the most popular beaches, Wai'anapanapa, requires reservations with specific 3-hour timeframes to visit. This means booking at least 48 hours in advance and planning your day around one specific attraction. This beach is on most tours.

Why a Road to Hana Tour


  • The drive itself can be stressful. A tour allows you to sit back and enjoy the scenery, taking in the majestic views. Your driver will also tell stories and facts about the area that you're unlikely to find on your own.
  • While you may be picturing  a huge tour bus with 75 people on it, tours to the Road to Hana are relatively small with private options also available, making it a safer and pretty intimate excursion.
  • Planning a Hana itinerary can be a daunting challenge, with sights such as Oheo Gulch, Black Sand Beach, the Hana Lava tube, and Hanawi Falls being just a few to choose from.. Knowing where to stop and how long to spend in each destination could make your day more nerve-wracking than you hope for on a vacation.
  • Breakfast, lunch, snack and drinks are all provided on your tour, giving you one less thing to plan for.


  • Each tour has a specific itinerary and there may be places you want to visit that aren't available.
  • Tours start early, between 6:00-7:00AM. While we recommend getting an early start, this may be too early for some people who want a leisurely morning.
  • Spontaneous explorers may prefer less constraints on their adventure. Tourists who enjoy spur-of-the-moment opportunities will desire the freedom of their own vehicle.

Our Recommended Tour

If you've decided driving the Road to Hana yourself isn't for you, we recommend the Hana Full Circle Tour. This tour starts at 7AM, with a pick-up from your accommodations in a luxury van with no more than eight passengers. This tour goes all the way around the backside, making more stops than other tours. You'll also get to experience Wai'anapanapa black sand beach, all while enjoying local Maui snacks and full day beverage service.

Is the Road to Hana worth it?

It really depends on how many days you'll be visiting Maui. If you are here less than five days, we would suggest taking it off your Maui itinerary  on this trip, since it will take a full 12 hour day. A better use of your time would be spent exploring the beaches, attending luaus and enjoying water excursions. But if you plan to stay longer than five days, we recommend checking out our Road to Hana complete guide. It's an experience that will never leave you.

After spending our working lives abroad as expatriate Americans, my husband and I escaped a worsening Covid pandemic and came to Maui, just a day before lockdowns went into effect. We have spent the past year exploring this wonderful island which we now call our home!

Julia H.