A Road to Hana Guide: Stops You Can't Miss

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Driving the Road to Hana is one of the top activities for Maui visitors. With its scenic views of waterfalls, ocean vistas and unique stops along the way, it is a popular way to spend a day in paradise. If you've never been on the Road to Hana, you'll want to read further to plan your outing, get an idea of what to expect and determine whether this drive is for you. We have included Hana mile markers and bathroom stops to make your day as comfortable as possible.

Heads up: The mile markers don't always make sense. They start over after #16. Also, after Hana Town, they jump to #51 and then go backwards. The Road to Hana is 64.4 miles long, with over 600 hairpin turns and many single-lane bridges. The speed limit is 25 mph and it takes 3 hours from Paia to Hana without stopping. The journey to east Maui and back requires an entire day, which is why we recommend this adventure if your vacation to Maui is more than 5 days long.

Some Tips for your Hana Road Trip

  1. Start early: The road is long and tiring at times. Starting around 6 or 7 in the morning, especially if you’re coming from South Maui, will give you more leeway to see the sites. Taking a leisurely pace is the only way to drive this road. The other option is spending a night in Hana town. This will give you two whole days to complete as many of the activities we have listed below, without the added stress of driving back before dark.
  2. Eat breakfast: Having food in your stomach will make you less prone to car sickness. While there are food trucks along the way, you'll want to start your day off right, so you can enjoy every moment.
  3. Go clockwise from Paia: This is the general flow of traffic which is safer on a one lane road, allowing the passenger to be on the mountain side. And, as we'll note later on, the backside of Hana isn't all the way paved and is prone to mudslides and road washouts. We recommend sticking with this part of the road, especially for first time visitors.
  4. Bring the right gear: closed toe shoes, bathing suit, towel, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water, snacks and cash for the food trucks. (Note that food trucks may not accept credit cards and may run out of food by 2PM.)
  5. Be careful: The drive isn't necessarily hard, but it is long and passengers prone to car sickness may need to sit in the driver's seat or have plenty of stops. The road is also narrow with blind turns and it is not recommended to be driven in the rain. Hard rain on this side of Maui does cause flash flooding. It is best to check the weather report before embarking on your expedition.

Our Hana Itinerary

The attractions on the road to Hana can take up to 90 minutes or more, which is why it's important to know what stops are considered must-see. When planning your stops, be aware that you'll want to be back in Paia, located on the North Shore, before dark. This list will help you plan your day, so you won't waste time stopping at random pullouts on the side of the road. Just because cars are parked somewhere, doesn't mean there's something to see. We've added timeframes for each activity, so you can plan a day that makes sense for your schedule.

1. Ho‘okipa Beach Park

  • Mile marker 8-9
  • Public restroom
  • Timeframe: 15 minutes
This iconic wind surfing beach is a great place to see Honu sea turtles and visit the restroom before the twisty turns of Hana Highway start. You'll be able to view the turtles from a high vista overlooking the rocks below or from the main beach. Please be aware that all turtles and Hawaiian Monk seals are protected. Don't get too close.

Local Fact: You might see a Hawaiian Monk Seal on the west side of the beach. If one is resting in the sand, do not approach it and stay at least 20 feet away.

2. Twin Falls

  • Mile marker 2
  • Port-o-potty
  • Timeframe: 30 minutes-1 hour
This farm stand is privately owned with 55 parking spaces. It is $10 to park and walk around the grounds. It is open from 8AM-3:30PM. There is a moderately difficult 25 minute/1.8 mile hike with access to 3 waterfalls and swimming holes. The farm stand offers fresh fruit, juices, coconuts and baked goods.

Local Fact: The falls range from 10-40 feet tall!

Garden of Eden

  • Mile marker 10
  • No public restrooms
  • Timeframe: 1-2 hours
With its panoramic view of the ocean and the lower and upper Puohokamoa Falls, the Garden of Eden is a worthy stop if you plan to stay for 1-2 hours. The entrance fee is $20/adults and $10/kids. The garden is open from 8AM-4PM and does have restrooms for paying guests.

Local Fact: Your ticket is good all day. If you visit in the morning, you can come back later the same day. If you arrive by 4PM, you can stay till 6:30PM. 

Kaumahina State Wayside Park

  • Mile marker 12
  • Public restrooms
  • Timeframe: 5-20 minutes
With its picturesque view of the Keanae peninsula, this 7.8 acre area of rainforest is a great stop for a photo op and bathroom break.

Local Fact: The views are striking and you will want to take some photos or have a meditation moment, but there's not much else to do.

Ke'anae Arboretum

  • Mile marker 16
  • No Public restrooms
  • Timeframe: 30-60 minutes
Halfway between mile marker 16 and 17 is a grove of rainbow Eucalyptus trees. Open from dusk till dawn, this arboretum offers a paved half mile walkway along the Pi'inau'au stream through a tropical rainforest. Enjoy the over 150 assortments of tropical plants, including taro, bananas, yams, papaya, hibiscus, and gingers. You'll become educated on the native Hawaiian plants, as well as the imports that grow on Maui from all over the world. This site is perfect for getting out, stretching your legs and taking some photos with the rainbow trees.

Local Fact: The arboretum is always free and one of the only spots to get up close to the rainbow Eucalyptus.

Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread

  • Mile marker 16
  • Open Monday-Saturday 8:30-2PM
  • Timeframe: 15-45 minutes
Aunty Sandy has been baking banana bread since 1983, so you're going to want to take this short detour off Hana Hwy onto Keanae Road. Other food available is shave ice, chili dogs and pulled pork sandwiches. Waialohe State Park is one of the lookouts on Keanae road. After Aunty Sandy's is another parking area and restrooms. Come for the food, stay for the view, but please don't try to swim in this area. The sharp rocks and rapid current make this spot exceptionally dangerous.

Fun Fact: Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey featured Aunty Sandy on his show, "Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted."

Waikani Falls aka Three Bears

  • Mile marker 19
  • No restrooms
  • Timeframe: Drive by - 30 minutes
This popular waterfall can be seen right from the road. For more adventurous hikers, there is limited parking about 1/10 of a mile past the falls where you can safely park off the highway and not block anyone. Be aware that after parking you'll have to walk back to the falls along the narrow road without a shoulder. The path can be sketchy, so be watchful of your surroundings and footing. This is a place you'll want to wear closed toed shoes if you choose to hike down to the trail and get close to the falls. If the falls are gentle this could be a ideal place to take a dip, however, it's pools are shallow so don't do any cliff jumping here.

Local Fact: During the rainy season, Wailua Valley can receive 100-300 inches of rain per year. This rain feeds the falls and can make them converge into a deluge.

Puaa Kaa State Wayside Park

  • Mile marker 22
  • Public restrooms
  • Timeframe: 15-45 minutes
A sweet stop to see waterfalls and take a snack break by the rainforest. This 5-acre park offers scenic views, a place to stretch your legs and take a dip in the water if the weather is nice. We don't recommend swimming by waterfalls during the rainy season. Always be aware of the possibilities of flash floods.

Local Fact: This waterfall is almost 20 feet tall, making it one of the best waterfalls on maui!

Hana Farms

  • Mile Marker 31
  • Restrooms available
  • Timeframe: 15 minutes - 1 hour

Hana Farms is four places in one. For a true Maui souvenir, visit their roadside stand where you can find exotic produce and locally made products from Hana residents. Visit their restaurant and bakery where they utilize the bounty from their 7-acre farm.

FunFact: The restaurant is vegan and gluten free friendly.

Wai’ānapanapa State Park

  • Mile Marker 32
  • Public restrooms
  • Timeframe: 3 hour limit
Wai’ānapanapa, means glistening waters, and is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and one of the best beaches. This popular, crescent shaped black sand beach requires reservations up to two weeks in advance. Sights to see during your quick stay on the beach: The King's Highway - historic hiking trail, hala tree forest, freshwater cave, an impressive lava tube, and sea arches and cliffs. There are no same day reservations. The reservation includes a $10 parking fee and $5/person in your party, not including young children. The reservation also gives you a 3-hour window to visit the beach. When making your reservation, be aware that if you miss your reservation time, you will not be able to get a refund. However, if you don't get a reservation, keep reading- there are a few other points of interest that are worth the long drive. 

Local Fact: This black sand beach is connected to the Hana airport by the King's Highway. You'll notice the "highway" by the large smooth stones. It is believed that the King's Highway used to go all the way around the entire island of Maui.

Hana Town

  • Mile marker 0
  • Timeframe: 10 - 45 minutes

Hana is known as 'Old Hawaii.' Before the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Hana Cultural Center was open to the public. Their museum features traditional artifacts that were used by the Hawaiian people. We encourage you to check back with them before your trip to see if they're open to learn more about the history of the Hawaiians in Hana. Hana Town is home to restaurants, shops and a gas station. Be sure to check out the local stores to support the community.

Local Fact: Hana was first settled by the Polynesian people between 500-800 AD. Many battles were waged in Hana over control of the area and the entire island of Maui over the centuries.

Hana Bay Beach Park

  • Public Restrooms - 150 Keawa Place
  • Timeframe: 30 minutes - 2 hours
Hana Bay, known for its black sand, has family friendly waves and bountiful snorkeling opportunities. This beach park has picnic tables and BBQ grills, if you're looking to spend your time in Hana soaking up the sun.

Local Fact: If it's black sand you want to see and Wai’ānapanapa is booked, head down to Hana Bay. You can still get a photo of those toes in the sand!

Hamoa Beach

  • Mile marker 51
  • No Restrooms
  • Timeframe: 30 minutes - 2 hours
This beach is for the strong, confident swimmer looking to catch waves on a boogie or surf board. The waves and current are strong in this area, making it not a great beach for kids. When in doubt, don't go out. Ask a local for the surf report if you plan to surf this side of Maui, just to be on the safe side. 

Local Fact: Hamoa beach has silky sand, the kind most people only dream about walking on.

Oheo Gulch

  • Mile Marker 42
  • Restroom and $30 entry fee
  • Timeframe: 1-3 hours

Also known as The Seven Sacred Pools, Oheo Gulch is part of Haleakala National Park. The park pass is good for three days at any of the entrances to the park. There is a 0.6 mile loop you can walk in the area that is considered easy. This stunning spot is perfect for swimming and cliff jumping. As with any water activity, check the depth of the pools before jumping in below.

Local Fact: Kipahulu is the true name of this area. Oheo means "something special" but the pools aren't considered sacred in the traditional sense.

Pipiwai Trail

  • Mile marker 41
  • Connected to Oheo Gulch
  • Timeframe: 2-4 hours

This trail is above Oheo Gulch and a part of Haleakala National Park. The Pipiwai Trail is one of the most sought after hikes on Maui. This 4-mile round trip hike has two waterfalls, a bamboo forest and Palikea stream. Closed toed shoes are advised as parts of the hike can be slippery when wet. Walking the trail can take 2-5 hours, depending on how quickly you walk or take time at the waterfalls. If you're looking for a tropical rainforest feel without hiking anywhere dangerous, this is the perfect spot.

Local Fact: Swimming and wading in the streams is not recommended.

This is technically the end of the Road to Hana. However, many people do continue driving the 33-miles all the way up to Keokea. The backside, as it's known, is partially unpaved. Many rental car agreements do not allow rentals on unpaved roads, although many visitors take the chance and drive it anyway. It is less curvy, but still a one-lane road. We recommend going back to Paia the way you came, to be on the safer side.

If planning a day trip to Hana sounds stressful, leave your rental car behind and let a tour company pamper you as they drive into the rainforests of Maui.

Best Road to Hana Tour companies

Due to the hairpin turns, single-lane bridges, chance of flash flooding, many people who visit Maui choose to take a tour to see the sights The Road to Hana has to offer. Here are a couple highly recommended tours to make all your Hana dreams come true.

Polynesian Adventure Tours

This action packed tour starts at 6AM with breakfast and a drive through historic Paia town. Your expert tour guide will share stories and fun facts along the way. This tour includes a waterfall swim if conditions allow.

This tour includes stops at the following places:

  • Kaumahina State Wayside Park
  • Ke'anae Peninsula
  • Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park
  • Wai'anapanapa State Park
  • Lunch at Hana Farms
  • Hana Bay

Robert's Heavenly Hana

Enjoy the Road to Hana without any need to plan or make the drive yourself. This tour starts a little later, at 7AM and also begins with a drive through Paia Town. Your heavenly tour guide will ensure you have a magical time.

This tour includes stops at the following places:

  • Kaumahina State Wayside Park
  • Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park
  • Ke'anae Lookout
  • Waikani Falls
  • Wai'anapanapa State Park
  • Hana Town
  • Palikea Stream
  • Lunch at Tony's Place
The Road to Hana is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that will be unforgettable. Whether you choose to drive yourself or book a tour with an experienced guide, you'll want to come back again. A hui hou!

Been to Hana? What was your favorite stop?

Julia Wurst