Travel & Destinations

The Road to Hana: Worth the Journey AND the Destination

Is the Road to Hana worth the drive?

I always say YES! 

It’s an unforgettable winding journey of amazing sights and scenery. Something makes you gasp in awe around every corner — the very essence of a “bucket list” experience.

One of the best coastal drives in the world, it leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools, and dramatic seascapes.

The Hana Highway is a snake-like road 52 miles long, running from Kahului to Hana. Most of the 59 narrow bridges are only a single lane wide. It has approximately 620 curves — with the ocean down one side and the mountains rising on the other.

Get the Most out of Maui’s Natural Side

Your first decision: Should you take a van tour or drive to Hana? Both have their advantages.

When driving, you can travel at your own pace and stop where you like. On the other hand, van tours have expert guides driving for you, so you can focus solely on enjoying the ride.

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Stop at a fresh fruit stand on your journey | Photo courtesy of Visit Maui

With more than 40 scenic stops, it’s impossible to see it all in one day. My biggest tip is to leave early, keep some “must-see” sites in mind, and stop at a roadside stand for legendary Maui banana bread or at a local fruit stand for the island’s tasty fresh treat. Either way, you’ve got to experience the Road to Hana at least once — if only for the bragging rights!

Take the Maui Mãlama Pledge

The Maui malãma pledge asks you to “mindfully experience the breathtaking natural beauty of the ‘aina (ancestral land) and the welcoming aloha spirit of the kama’ ãina (local people).

Drive slowly and carefully. Use pullouts to let faster drivers pass. Stay alert: The weather and road conditions change quickly and can pose dangers.

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Wind surfing at Ho’okipa Beach Park | Photo courtesy of Visit Maui
My Favorite Stops

Find Paia’s quaint hippy surfer community just before the start of the Road to Hana. It boasts excellent breakfast spots, beach shops, and art galleries. Keep your eyes peeled for the surfers at Hookipa Beach Park and Lookout, one of the top places for windsurfing on the planet.

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Take a dip at Twin Falls | Photo courtesy of Visit Maui

You’ll get your first waterfall opportunity at Twin Falls. Located near the beginning of the Road to Hana, it has easy access and a spectacular setting. The Twin Falls trail is 1.8 miles out and back. There are several waterfalls, and even pools to swim in.

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Enjoy the black sand beach at Wai’ãnapanapa State Park | Photo courtesy of Visit Maui

Wai’ãnapanapa State Park, famous for its black sand beach and stunning coastal views, is my favorite stop. The remote, volcanic coastline is where wind and waves collide. The rugged, untamed beauty of the black lava rock, rich tropical vegetation, and deep blue turquoise water genuinely intoxicates. Take the time to walk along the trail through the lava beds created hundreds of years ago. Wainapanapa State Park is now requiring reservations for entry and parking.

Heavenly Hana

Hana is a sleepy seaside town at the end of the road, one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. On the isolated eastern tip of Maui, it is a paradise of green landscapes and historic sites. The Hasegawa General Store has been owned and operated by the same family since 1910.

Beyond Hana

If you have time and want to venture further afield, there are some great stops beyond Hana.

  • The Pools of ‘Ohe’o (the “Seven Sacred Pools”) are part of the Haleakala National Park.
  • Wailua Falls is one of Hawaii’s most iconic and photographed waterfalls. At 80 feet, it is also one of the most accessible, just off the side of the Road. Remember: Tread lightly with an Aloha spirit. Each step you take is someone’s home, sacred site, and living history.


The Road to Hana is one of the most beautiful drives on the planet. If this incredible experience is on your bucket list, remember to take nothing from the wahi (place) but memories and leave nothing but gratitude. For more information, visit

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Leave the driving to a tour bus as you enjoy the journey
An Alternate “Road to Hana” Experience

If the thought of driving yourself and your family is making you sweat, no worries: There are van tours with knowledgeable and entertaining guides. You’ll have a great time with zero stress. Two excellent options are Hāna and Beyond and Valley Isle Excursions.

Stay in a Luxury Boutique Hotel in Hana

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Hana-Maui Resort

The Hana-Maui Resort in Hana town is nestled along the famed Road to Hana. The secluded luxury oasis offers a beautiful escape of aloha spirit and coastal charm close to renowned beaches, tropical forests, waterfalls, and the majestic Pacific Ocean.

There aren’t many hotels in Hana, but the Hana-Maui resort is one of the best hotels on the island. The location is perfect, too; next to one of Maui’s most elusive red-sand beaches. You can choose a hotel suite or a Bungalow that looks right out onto beautiful Hana Bay. Hungry for a late snack or meal? The resort has a restaurant on site which comes in handy when most places to eat shut down relatively early.

Hana-Maui Resort is a Hyatt Luxury Property | 5031 Hana Hwy., Hana, Hawaii


Sharon Kurtz

Sharon Kurtz is a freelance writer and photographer. Her passion is travel, telling stories, and tussling with her four-legged friends. As a baby boomer who loves adventure, she welcomes opportunities to share stories of people, places, food, and flavors around the corner or around the world. A regular contributor to fyi50+ Magazine, she's published 200 articles in various digital and print publications. Austin, Texas, is home with her husband and three spoiled dogs when not searching out new adventures. You can follow her travels on Instagram and Facebook.

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