The Ultimate Guide to Maui's Road to Hana

Man look at waterfall along the Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Are you looking for a thrilling adventure? If so, then the Road to Hana in Maui is calling your name. This spectacular road will give you an unforgettable journey full of unique experiences that will have you wanting more. We're always on the lookout for a good road trip with breathtaking sights and fun things to do- and they've found it all here on Maui's Road to Hana. From cascading waterfalls, to black sand beaches, infinitely curvy roads with stunning views, lush rainforests...the beauty is unreal. The best part about exploring this eye-catching landscape? It can take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on how often (and where!) You decide to stop along the way. Read on for our detailed guide of things to do during your odyssey through Maui's amazing sightseeing paradise.

We were lucky enough to housesit for some friends who call Maui home over Christmas, which is when we had the chance to drive the Road to Hana. Because our friends are locals on the island, they gave us all the best tips, tricks, and stops for the drive which made our day run smoothly and help us to see all that we wanted to see in one day. We're passing on the lessons from our friends (plus a few of our own) here in this travel guide today. So let's get going...

Looking for something specific? Jump to a section using the links below.

Rather watch instead of read? Checkout our vlog from the Road to Hana!

What is the Road to Hana on Maui?

The Road to Hana is a popular roadtrip on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Located in the east of the island, it's an unforgettable journey along winding roads that hug mountain cliffs and skirt stunning tropical beaches. Along the way you'll find a host of attractions such as waterfalls, pools, black sand beaches, and parks. The Road to Hana is renowned for its breathtaking views, rich history and friendly locals.

Waterfall along the Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

How long is the Road to Hana?

The Road to Hana is approximately 64 miles from the start point just east of Paia to the town of Hana.

How long does it take to drive the route?

The Road to Hana can be completed roundtrip in one day, but it'll be busy and you certainly won't be able to see everything. We completed it in a day and wish we had had longer to enjoy the many stops. I think in an ideal world you'd spend two days exploring the area. However, if you want to take it really slow and enjoy the more remote side of Maui, consider camping at Haleakala National Park or book one of the other great accommodations along the road to Hana.

The drive on the Road to Hana takes around two and a half hours each way without stops. The journey can take much longer if you decide to explore the attractions along the way, which you should definitely do. While we did the Road to Hana in one day, I wish we had taken at least two, spending a night along the road somewhere. One day felt very rushed and we didn't have time to stop at all of the places we wanted to!

Man overlooks ocean while sitting on rocks at Wai'anapanapa State Park

How many turns are on the Road to Hana?

The Road to Hana features around 620 turns and 59 one-lane bridges – it's a thrilling journey, but be sure to drive carefully.

Where to start you Hana road trip

The official start of the Road to Hana begins just east of the town of Paia on Maui's north shore. We were conveniently staying in the town of Paia which is where we began the road trip. We found this to be a really great place to start the route so we could grab coffee and breakfast before the long drive.

Where does the Road to Hana end?

The official end to the Road to Hana ends in the town of Hana (as the name suggests), which is located on the eastern coast of Maui. However, many people choose to drive another 10 miles (~30 minutes) past Hana to the eastern entrance of Haleakala National Park, which we highly recommend!

Note: When people refer to the Road to Hana, they're referencing the road from Kahului to Hana. However, the road that you drive to reach Hana technically continues another 50ish miles around the southeastern corner of Maui until you reach Kula. This section of the road roughly circumnavigates Haleakala National Park. The section of road from Hana to Kula, Hawaii is much rougher and not as well maintained. So much so that many rental car companies do not allow their cars to be taken there (more on this later in this article...).

Rainbow over ocean from Maui

What is there to do on along the route

The Road to Hana is full of attractions and activities. Along the way you'll find waterfalls, pools, black sand beaches, and parks. There are also plenty of spots to take a break and relax – perfect for breathtaking photos! If you're feeling adventurous, there are many hiking trails in the area that range from easy (like the Pipiwai Trail) to more difficult (like the Waimoku Falls Trail). There are also plenty of activities for those looking for a thrill, such as ziplining, off-roading, and kayaking.

Before you start your drive....

Keep in mind that most of the sites along the Road to Hana operate on a first come first serve basis. This means that if you're pressed for time and are having to plan your route more carefully, you'll want to do a bit of research to decide which stops are must-sees for you. For the ones you'd most like to visit, be sure to get there as early as possible to snag a parking space.

The only exception to this rule is Wai'anapanapa State Park which works on a reservation system. Reservations for this park can be made 30 days in advance, but no less than the day before you plan to visit the park. More information about the reservation system can be found below.

Girl standing in bamboo forest at Haleakala National Park, Maui

What to see and do on the Road to Hana

The most important thing to keep in mind when planning your itinerary for the Road to Hana is time. The route is loaded with amazing stops so be sure to plan ahead and make sure you keep at least a rough schedule of when you want to be at what stops so you don't run out of time before you make to the stops you're most excited about. Trust me, it's easy to lose track of time when you're soaking in all of Maui's beauty!

Paia, Maui

Paia is the perfect beginning and ending a road trip down the Road to Hana. This is our favorite little town on Maui full of cute shops, restaurants, and cafes. We'd recommend grabbing coffee and breakfast at Paia Coffee Bar or Better Things coffee shop before starting the drive. If you decide to end your drive in Paia too, we'd recommend dinner at Paia Fish Market or Flatbread Company followed by dessert at Artisan Ice Cream or Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice.

To get there:  Google Maps

Twin Falls

Located towards the very beginning of the Road to Hana, Twin Falls is a great spot to stop and explore. The falls are privately owned and operated and work on a first come first serve basis. There are 55 parking spots in total and the rate to park and explore is $10 per car. The hike is quite easy, only about 1 mile round-trip, but can be pretty slippery so wear shoes with a good grip and be careful. You can even take a swim in falls if you'd like!

To get there: Mile maker 2, Road to Hana | Google Maps

Ke'anae Arboretum

This is a free arboretum on the Road to Hana. This is a great place to see Maui's famous Rainbow Eucalyptus trees up close as well as other flora and fauna native to the area. While the Ke-anae Arboretum is smaller and less refined than the more famous Garden of Eden on the Road to Hana, Ke'anae is free and will take up less time which is great when you already have a packed itinerary of things to do and see on this roadtrip.

To get there: 13385 HI-360, Kula, HI 96790| Google Maps

Man looks up at Rainbow Eucalyptus trees at Ke'anae Arboretum, Maui, Hawaii

Ke-anae Peninsula

Between mile marker 16 and 17 will be a turn off to visit Ke'anae Lookout which is a small peninsula out into the ocean. This little strip of land holds a lot of history (be sure to read the signs about the tsunami of 1946) and enjoy the beautiful views from this beautiful place. There are restrooms and free parking down at the point, making is a great stop to stretch your legs.

To get there: 211003001, Haiku, HI 96708 | Google Maps

Nahiku Marketplace

This is the perfect little stop for a snack while driving the Road to Hana. By the time we reached Nahiku Marketplace, we were thirsty and their fresh fruit smoothies were just the thing we needed.

To get there: 1546 HI-360, Hana, HI 96713 | Google Maps

Hana Farms Roadside Stand & Restaurant

Maui is famous for banana bread and macadamias, and Hana Farms Roadside Stand might be the best place in all of Maui to sample these Hawaii treats. Grab some bread (and maybe several other snacks) to enjoy on your road trip.

To get there: 2910 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713 | Google Maps

Girl standing on the beach on Maui

Wai'anapanapa State Park

This is an absolute must-see on the Road to Hana and probably the most recommended stop along the route. The park is most famous for its stunning black sand beaches, but its sea caves, trails, and shaded picnic areas make it the perfect stop. Like camping or want to rent a cabin? You can stay on the state park's property either camping or in a cabin, but be sure to grab reservations in advance.

Important note: Even if you're planning to just stop and visit Wai'anapanapa State Park for a few minutes to catch a glimpse of the black sand beaches, you'll need a reservation. Reservations cab be made 30 days in advance but no less than the day before you plan to visit. Reservations are $10 per car + $5 per person.

If you plan to complete the Road to Hana in one day, we suggest snagging the 10:00am-12:30pm time slot since that will be around the time your route will bring you past the park. Keep in mind that while you can enter any time during your time slot, no matter when you get there, you must be gone by the time your time is over.

For example, for the 10am-12:30pm time slot, you can enter anytime between 10am and 12:29pm, but no matter when you get there, you still must leave by 12:30pm. You'll need at least 30 minutes to enjoy the park, but we'd recommend closer to an hour.

To get there: Mile marker 32, Hana Road | Google Maps

Hana, Maui

This is the official end of Road to Hana. If you're making the Road to Hana a multi-day adventure while visiting Maui, this would be a great place to spend the night. There are a few restaurants and shops here so it's worth checking out if you have the time.

To get there: Hana, Maui, Hawaii | Google Maps

Food truck village in Hana

This is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner after exploring Hana. Most of the food truck vendors have local favorites as well as Hawaiian classics such as poke bowls, loco moco, and more. You'll also be able to find other treats such as fresh fish, acai bowls, and even tacos.

To get there: 5123 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713 | Google Maps

Koki Beach Park

This is a great spot to take a break in Hana before heading back east on the Road to Hana. Koki Beach has calm waters and offers plenty of shade and grassy areas, perfect for relaxing or having a picnic.

To get there: 175 Haneoo Rd, Hana, HI 96713 | Google Maps

Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu Visitor Center)

While technically this is beyond Hana, in our opinion this is a must visit when road tripping along the Road to Hana. While most people visit Haleakala National Park via the Summit Entrance Station for sunrise or sunset, visiting it from the eastern side at the Kipahulu Visitor Center entrance is a very different experience. Hike to waterfalls along beautiful creeks shaded by banyan trees, and walk through a bamboo forests all within just a few miles. Experiencing this green side of Maui's national park is a must!

Checkout our travel guide for the perfect sunset experience at the Haleakala Summit!

To get there: Kipahulu Visitor Center, Hana, HI 96713 | Google Maps

Man hiking on a trail along the Road to Hana

What to pack for the road trip

Before heading out on your Road to Hana trip, make sure you're prepared with all necessary items. Pack lots of water and sunscreen as well as snacks and picnic supplies; cell phone coverage can be patchy so make sure you have a map and GPS system set up in case of emergencies. Don’t forget your camera either – there will be plenty of photo opportunities!

Can you drive yourself on the Road to Hana?

You can choose to drive the Road to Hana in your own vehicle or opt for guided tours with experienced guides who will show you hidden gems and give you insight into local culture. Whichever option you choose, make sure to plan ahead and leave plenty of time for your trip – this is one experience that won't disappoint.

Guided tours for the route

If you're looking for a more in-depth Road to Hana experience, there are plenty of guided tour companies that will take you on an adventure along the Road to Hana. Guided tours tend to include meals and stops at various sites, including off-the-beaten path spots that are hard to find otherwise. Another perk of hiring a guide for the Road to Hana is that they'll do the driving! This way you can enjoy the views the entire route instead of having to keep your eyes focused on the many hairpin turns along the route.

If you want the information of a guided tour without having someone with you in the car all day, we highly recommend GyPSy Guide for Road to Hana. This is an audio guide that you play through your car speakers during the road trip and because the app uses GPS, the route is always synced up to where you are along the route. On the way out to Hana the guide is telling you about stops and attractions along the way, and on the way back he tells you about the stories, legends, and history of Maui and its people which was super fun to hear!

Girl stands in front of banyan tree at Haleakala National Park, Maui

Can I take my rental car on the Road to Hana?

Yes! It’s absolutely possible to take a rental car on the Road to Hana. Just make sure that you understand and follow any restrictions put in place by the rental company, such as no driving on unpaved roads. Almost all rental car companies and Turos will allow you to take your car as far as Haleakala National Park, but not all the way around to the southern side of the island. Instead of making it a loop trip, your rental car company will only allow an out and back trip. This is what we did (and most other tourists do), and saw so much that we didn't feel like we were missing out by not seeing the rest of the route on our first trip there.

Side note: We recommend filling up your gasoline tank before heading out on the Road to Hana.

Final thoughts

Maui's Road to Hana is certainly a time commitment, but we can promise you that it's worth the drive. It's the perfect break from Maui's beaches with the weather isn't great for enjoying the water, or when you're trying to give your skin a break from further sunburn. No matter when you plan to drive the Road to Hana, you won't be disappointed!

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Hi! We're Chris and Sara a husband and wife video making, storytelling, travel loving duo with a passion for sharing travel tips, tricks, and inspiration with others.
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