The Road to Hana is a magical place, unlike anything on the island. This scenic route is one of the island’s top attractions, with Road to Hana stops taking you through lush tropical rainforests, past majestic waterfalls, into lava tube caves, and to a unique black sand beach.
The winding road covers 64.4 miles, stretching along Maui’s eastern coastline. However, many visitors end their journey at the 52-mile mark in Hana Town. While you can enjoy spectacular views without getting out of your car, many incredible places are worth stopping by.
Depending on where you stop, you could spend an entire day on the road. It takes longer, but it is worth it. So, prepare for a full day of waterfall chasing, beach bumming, fresh fruit tasting, and trekking as you embark on the best Road to Hana stops.
- Paia Town
- Twin Falls
- Garden of Eden Arboretum
- Honomanu Beach
- Ke’anae Arboretum
- Ke’anae Peninsula
- Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside and Falls
- Roadside Lava Tube Cave
- Nahiku Marketplace
- Hana Lava Tube
- Waiʻānapanapa State Park
- Hana Town
- Hamoa Beach
- Wailua Falls
- ʻOheʻo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)
- Pipiwai Trail (Bamboo Forest)
The Road to Hana technically starts in Kahului, but many consider Paia Town the first official stop. Paia is an ideal place to stop for gas or grab a coffee and snacks. You’ll also find plenty of great restaurants along the main street to enjoy a good breakfast.
Paia has two main streets with numerous shops, restaurants, cafes, and beaches with no high-rise resorts. The laidback town is home to warm and friendly people. Many are locals, but some are visitors who planned on staying here for a few days but never left!
Parking: Parking in Paia is not as challenging as the other areas in Maui since it’s not usually that busy. Most days, you can find ample parking spaces on the street or in the various free and paid parking lots around town.
Gorgeous waterfalls are one of the things people most look forward to on the Road to Hana. The first set of waterfalls you’ll pass by is Twin Falls. They are on the right side of the road, just past Haiku, and require a short hike from the parking lot.
Getting to the first waterfall requires a 5-minute walk down the path. Along the way, you can catch an aerial view of the waters beautifully cascading down into a pool below, from where you can take a dip or a swim! Getting to the second waterfall requires 5 to 10 minutes more of hiking. It’s the biggest of the two, which means it has more space for swimming.
Even if you don’t wish to get into the water, the Twin Falls are worth stopping by to relax and marvel at the beautiful surroundings.
Parking: Twin Falls has limited parking, with only 55 paid parking spots available, and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. But don’t let the packed parking lot turn you off. Most visitors that come here are only on a short stop, so you’ll likely get a parking spot.
Garden of Eden Arboretum
The Garden of Eden Arboretum is a family-owned farm with over 700 botanically labeled flowers and plants. It also has a duck pond and bird feeding area. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee of $20, but the views and resident peacocks wandering the grounds are worth it. It also has a coconut cafe selling delicious treats like acai bowls, quesadillas, coffee, and smoothies.
If you have ample time, walk along the walking paths throughout the farm, with several waterfall and ocean view lookouts. The most famous viewpoint is the viewpoint of Keopuka Rock, which appeared in the opening scene of the Jurassic Park film.
Parking: There are three parking lots at the Garden of Eden Arboretum, with the main one serving as a hub for some of the farm’s hiking trails. The person at check-in will tell you to drive and park at each one to explore the park, or you can walk between them if you don’t want to get in and out of your car several times.
If you’re looking for an ultra-secluded beach, check out Honomanu Bay Beach, one of the Road to Hana’s best beaches. This remote beach is a popular spot for locals in the area, so remember to be respectful if you plan on stopping here.
The beach can be accessed via a dirt road that may be best to avoid depending on your vehicle. You don’t necessarily need four-wheel drive, but it can be muddy with potholes, so exercise caution. If you don’t want to drive down, you can park on the side of the road and walk in.
Honomanu Bay is an ideal place to stop if you’re looking for a unique beach to explore. You’ll sometimes find local surfers riding its waves. However, if you want to swim, this is not the ideal beach to stop by since it has strong currents and sharp reefs.
Parking: If you don’t want to drive the dirt road, you can park along the main road and walk towards the beach. Those driving to the beach can park at a relatively small dirt parking lot in front of the beach.
Ke’anae Arboretum is another relaxing place to get out and stretch your legs. The stunning botanical garden is about .8 miles past the 16-mile marker. Unlike the Garden of Eden Arboretum, which requires a $20 entrance fee, Ke’anae Arboretum is free to enter, so it makes a great alternative if you don’t want to shell out $20 to visit a botanical garden.
A paved walkway leads to a half-mile walk into the different varieties of tropical plants, including gingers, papaya, hibiscus, taro, and native Hawaiian trees. Each plant has a label for your convenience. The beautiful rainbow eucalyptus trees are some of the most coveted views at this Road to Hana Stop, offering a stunning photo opportunity.
Important: Do not pick any plants or flowers here.
Parking: Parking is near the sign on the side of the road heading to the entrance to Ke’anae Arboretum. Because of the sloped curve in the road, be careful crossing the street from the parking area on your way to the garden.
Just past the Ke’anae Arboretum at Mile Marker 16, you’ll find Ke’anae Peninsula, home to the village of Ke’anae. The peninsula is made up of a newer lava formation that came from the Haleakala Volcano, offering a scenic spot that can be viewed from lookouts along the road.
The low-lying peninsula was once home to a taro-producing Hawaiian village in the 19th century. Unfortunately, a tsunami in 1946 almost completely wiped it out. However, be sure to check out the Lanakila Ihiihi O Iehowa Ona Kava Church, the only building left after the tsunami.
The Ke’anae Peninsula is a unique place to enjoy a short break from your drive. You’ll also find the famous Aunty Sandy’s, renowned for its delicious banana bread and smoothies.
Parking: You can park in a large dirt parking lot across from the church. If you don’t feel like getting to the peninsula, you can marvel at the rugged coastline and the huge waves crashing against the rocks from lookouts on the main road.
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside and Falls
Located at Mile Marker 22.5, Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside and Falls is a lovely park featuring a pair of waterfalls and a swimming hole. Aside from the views, it has all the amenities you need after a long drive, specifically bathrooms! There are also a number of picnic tables.
Getting to the waterfalls is easy as they are across the road from the parking lot. As always, be very careful when crossing the road. The upper falls are located at the back of the short walking path and where most people swim. The lower falls are just off the side of the main road.
Parking: Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside has a decent number of spaces in a paved parking lot right off the road. It’s a popular stop, so parking can fill up, but it’s usually not too difficult to snag one.
Roadside Lava Tube Cave
The Roadside Lava Tube Cave rarely makes it onto lists of Road to Hana stops since not many people know about it. However, the convenient location of this lava tube cave makes it one of the most accessible of all the Lava Tube Caves along the Road to Hana. It’s right off the roadside as you drive along mile marker 23, making it an easy stop.
Compared to other lava tubes, this one is rather small, which also makes it a quick stop. You’ll find a small hole in the wall on the side of the road that takes you through the lava tube cave and out to the other side, where you’ll find a bridge over a stream.
Since there aren’t any signs on the road for this lava tube cave, finding it can be tricky. You have to keep your eyes peeled on the side of the road when you get to mile marker 23. The best part is that, unlike the other lava tube caves, you don’t need to pay an entrance fee.
Parking: You will find a small turnout across from the entrance where you can park your car. Once parked, look for a small hole in the wall across the road to access the cave.
If you run out of snacks on your drive, you’ll have nothing to worry about since you’ll find plenty of Road to Hana stops to grab food and refreshments. One of these places is the Nahiku Marketplace, located approximately six miles before you reach Hana Town. It also has amenities like porta-potties, so it’s an ideal place to stop for restroom breaks.
The area has low-key food stalls with outdoor dining. Aside from local treats and coconuts, you can order international dishes like tacos and Thai noodles. There are also vegan and vegetarian options. You will also find local vendors selling souvenirs and other items.
Parking: Nahiku Marketplace has parking right off the road that can fill up during busy midday hours when many other travelers stop for lunch. But if you stop by later in the day, you likey won’t have trouble finding a parking spot.
Hana Lava Tube
When you reach mile marker 31, you’ll find the Hana Lava Tube, one of the most famous Road to Hana stops. It’s an underground “lavascape,” which you can explore on a self-guided tour. The tour takes approximately 40 minutes, costs $12.50 per person, and is free for kids.
The Lava Tues were formed over 900 years ago, which resulted from the molten lava spewing from underground and flowing into the ocean. As the lava continued flowing, the top portion cooled and hardened to form a crust.
Visitors can only explore 1/3 of a mile of the lava tube. You will use a provided flashlight during your tour since it’s extremely dark inside. In fact, it’s so dark near the end if you turn your flashlight off, you literally can’t see anything. Be sure to try that for yourself!
Parking: The Hana Lava Tube is located along Mile Marker 31, only a few minutes before you reach Hana Town. Turn left towards Ulaino Road. Drive for about a half mile until you reach the signed entrance for Hana Lava Tubes on the left. You will find a small parking lot to park your car before heading towards the visitor center.
Waiʻānapanapa State Park
Thanks to its stunning scenery, Wai’anapanapa State Park is one of the most famous Road to Hana Stops. Here, you’ll find a lava tube, a black sand beach, sea arches, a blow hole, camping sites, and hiking trails with panoramic views of the East Maui coast.
Wai’anapanapa means “glistening water,” which refers to a specific area in a nearby stream causing an unusual glistening effect under the sunlight. However, others believe that Wai’anapanapa refers to the freshwater pools in the park’s caves. Whatever the name means, Wai’anapanapa is a beautiful spot to stop by.
While it might be tempting to stop in for a quick look before moving on, this is one of the places you want to make some time for. It has a lot to see and is worth exploring, including the black sand beach, which is a great place to lay out and relax before continuing your drive.
Parking: Wai’anapanapa State Park now requires reservations for entry and parking. They will turn you away if you do not have a reservation, so plan accordingly. To make reservations, visit the Waiʻānapanapa State Park website. You can also make reservations for camping if you wish to spend the night at the park. To get to the park, turn left onto Wai’anapanapa Road and follow the road to the park entrance, where an attendant will check your reservation.
Hana Town is one of the highlights of your road trip. It’s a charming small town home to great restaurants offering the perfect spot for lunch or dinner. If you have plenty of time, you can spend a few hours discovering its natural wonders, historic sites, and beaches.
One of the places to stop by in Hana Town is the Hasegawa Store, a traditional Hawaiian-style general store. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs and supplies or grab drinks and snacks. You will also find several food trucks in town to try local and international dishes.
If you want to stop by some beaches near town, Hamoa Beach and Koki Beach are two great options. Look for the popular Huli Huli Chicken vendor by Koki Beach Park to sample the tasty grilled chicken, a local Hawaiian dish.
Hana Town is also a great place to spend the night if you want to break up your trip into two days and give yourself more time to explore Road to Hana stops. There aren’t many options, but you will find a resort and a handful of vacation rentals on sites like VRBO.
Parking: Street parking is always free anywhere in town, but you might find it hard to find an available parking spot on busy days, especially the most coveted spots.
Famous for being a favorite of author Ernest Hemingway, Hamoa Beach is one of East Maui’s best beaches. It’s only a short drive past Hana town and is well worth a stop. Surrounded by lush vegetation and sea cliffs, Hamoa Beach is a long, crescent-shaped beach that offers the perfect place to relax and stretch your legs before continuing your Road to Hana Adventure.
If you’re looking to swim and get in the water, Hamoa Beach is not the place to go. Since it’s exposed to the open ocean, it has strong waves and currents, which makes it more suitable for water sports like surfing, boogie boarding, and bodysurfing. But if you want to relax as you enjoy a short break from your drive, Hamoa Beach is worth stopping by.
Parking: Located 3 miles south of Hana Town, Hamoa Beach is at Mile Marker 51. Turn left on Haneo’o Road and drive past Koki Beach until you reach Hamoa Beach. Parking is on the side of the road and fills up quickly. Once you park, take the stairs to get to the shore.
The Road to Hana is known for its majestic waterfalls, and one of the most photographed among them is the Wailua Falls. This 80-foot waterfall is one of the biggest you can see on the Road to Hana, making it a worthy stop if you decide to travel past Hana Town.
You can admire the cascading waterfall from the road or walk down to the plunge pool to look closer. Wear sturdy shoes since a hike down the trail is wet and slippery. If you view it from the road, stay off the bridge as cars can come flying around the corner.
Parking: You can park at Wailua Falls in the small parking area on the side of the road past the bridge. Just be careful when walking to the falls as you’ll have to cross the road.
ʻOheʻo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)
Also known as the “Seven Sacred Pools,” Ohe’o Gulch is part of Haleakala National Park in the backside Kipahulu District. Located about 10 miles past Hana Town, Ohe’o Gulch is a series of freshwater pools, and there are actually more than seven. The misleading nickname comes from an old marketing campaign by a local hotel to promote the area.
You will love the mesmerizing views of the cascading waterfalls and freshwater pools streaming into one another before reaching the ocean. Unfortunately, access to the freshwater pools has been closed off in recent years, but it’s still a must-see.
You will have to pay an entrance fee to get to the park, but your pass is good for three days and will also get you into the Haleakala Summit, so be sure to keep the receipt. Aside from enjoying the views, you will have access to various facilities within the park, including bathrooms and a campground with picnic tables and chairs.
Parking: Ohe’o Gulch is in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park. Park at the Kipahulu Visitor Center after paying a fee and then follow signs for the Pools of Ohe’o. Visit the official NPS fees page for the latest information on fees and closures.
Pipiwai Trail (Bamboo Forest)
If you’re willing to make the journey to what many consider the end of the Road to Hana, the Pipiwai Trail is a stop you absolutely can’t miss. This is one of the coolest places in all of Maui (in our opinion), with many natural wonders that will leave you in awe.
The Pipiwai Trail is roughly four miles round trip, however, you can still see most of the notable sights if you only want to hike a mile in. After a mile, you’ll have seen the large banyan tree, Makahiku Falls, and the majestic Bamboo Forest. The Bamboo Forest is my favorite part of this hike, as it’s unlike anything you’ll see on any of the islands.
Those who hike all the way to the end will be treated to a spectacular view of Waimoku Falls. This towering waterfall is a staggering 400 feet high and drops down the face of a cliff into the pool below. If you have the time, hiking to the end is well worth the effort.
Parking: Like Ohe’o Gulch, the Pipiwai Trail is located in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, so one parking fee gets you access to both. After paying the parking fee at the Kipahulu Visitor Center, follow signs for the Pipiwai Trail.
Places to Eat on the Road to Hana
In addition to the stops, the Road to Hana is also a paradise for food lovers looking to sample a variety of foods. Expect to find numerous stands and eateries to stop by for snacks or a full meal. Here’s our choice for the best places to eat on the Road to Hana.
- Maui Garden Grove Cafe – this charming cafe serves delicious coffee and smoothies, a perfect place to stop by to quench your thirst. Their menu has plant-based options to cater to vegan and vegetarian diets.
- Ka Haku’s Smoke Shack – if you’re craving barbecue while driving the Road to Hana, Ka Haku’s Smoke Shack would be the perfect place to stop. It’s a culinary gem specializing in barbecues, such as seasoned chicken, ribs, and glazed pork belly.
- Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread – fancy some banana bread for snacks? Drop by Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread. They also sell shaved ice, pork sandwiches, and chili dogs.
- Halfway to Hana Stand – another place renowned for its delectable banana bread is the Halfway to Hana Stand. They have excellent varieties of banana bread, made fresh daily from their locally grown bananas.
- Uncle Harry’s Marketplace – this low-key eatery is a great place to stop by for something to snack on during your drive. It has the usual tacos, banana bread, and delectable cookies, the perfect snacks for a long drive.
- Coconut Glen’s – this roadside stall is famous for its vegan coconut ice cream, making it a great place to stop by for refreshments. The ice cream comes in different flavors, including avocado mousse, pistachio, vanilla, and coffee.
- Nahiku Marketplace – as one of the most famous Road to Hana stops, Nahiku Marketplace has become a favorite stopping point for hungry travelers along the Hana Highway. It has several food shops serving local and international dishes in an outdoor dining setting.
- Hana Farms Roadside Stand –this local marketplace sells local produce, homemade baked goods, souvenirs, and locally-made food products.
- Huli Huli Chicken – this place specializes in a local specialty called Huli-huli chicken, a grilled chicken dish prepared by barbecuing over wood and smothered with the sweet huli-huli sauce.
Where to Stay on the Road to Hana
Breaking up your trip into two (or even three) days is a great way to experience all of the best Road to Hana stops without missing anything. In addition to that, Hana Town is a charming little town with a lot of character and a vibe you won’t find anywhere else on the island. It’s worth spending a day or two here if you have room for it on your trip.
There aren’t as many options as other parts of the island, but you’ll still find places to stay here. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay on the Road to Hana.
- Hana-Maui Resort – located on Maui’s eastern shores, the Hana-Maui Resort looks out to Hana Bay’s dramatic coastline. The secluded resort exudes a relaxing vibe, offering the perfect sanctuary to rest after driving along Hana’s twisty roads. You’ll sleep in a lavish accommodation equipped with the amenities of a home away from home.
- Hana Kai – Hana Kai Maui is an oceanfront vacation rental along Hana Bay’s Waikoloa Beach. Offering luxurious condominium units with panoramic oceanfront views, Hana Kai is the perfect place to relax and spend the night after a long drive. Wake up to incredible sunrises and watch for turtles and dolphins swimming in the nearby surf.
- Hana Vacation Rentals – staying in Hana vacation rentals allows you to enjoy the comfort and freedom you won’t get when staying in resorts or hotel rooms. These vacation rentals are perfect if you plan on staying in Hana for some time or need a place with multiple rooms, including a kitchen, living room, and dining area.
Road to Hana FAQs
Is the Road to Hana Dangerous?
The Road to Hana has its tricky parts (mainly the one-lane bridges), but as long as the weather is good, it’s not as bad as you might have heard. If you’re a confident driver and drive carefully, you should have no problem driving the Road to Hana. However, if you’re unsure, a guided Road to Hana tour is always an option.
The main thing to know about driving the Road to Hana is how to handle the one-lane bridges. Slow down when you approach a bridge and let the first car to reach the bridge pass. However, if you’re in a line of cars passing a bridge, don’t stop. To keep things moving, traffic already heading in that direction has the right of way.
Another thing to know about driving the Road to Hana is to let locals pass. Many locals drive this route for their daily commute or to get supplies from town. If you notice someone behind you who seems in a hurry, pull over when you can and let them pass.
Do You Need Reservations?
You don’t need to make reservations when driving the Road to Hana. It’s a public road accessible to all. However, some stops may require a reservation. Also, start the drive as early as possible to avoid heavy traffic and secure parking at the more famous Road to Hana stops.
Where Does the Road to Hana Start?
The Road to Hana officially starts in Central Maui in the town of Kahului. However, many consider Paia Town the start of the Road to Hana as it’s widely considered to be the first stop. The drive from Paia Town to the end takes approximately 2.5 hours without any stops.
Can You Do the Drive in One Day?
Yes, you can drive the Road to Hana in one day. But since it’s a popular route, you should start early (6 am is a good time to leave your hotel) and plan for a full-day trip. The drive can take up to six to ten hours, depending on how long you spend at the different stops. Just be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get home as the drive becomes more challenging after dark.
What is the Backside of the Road to Hana?
The Backside of the Road to Hana refers to the stretch of road past the Kipahulu Visitor Center at the end of the Road to Hana, where it turns into the Piilani Highway. This road will take you around Maui’s southern coast, back up through Upcountry to Central Maui.
While there are sights to see here, this road is generally not recommended for most people. It’s largely undeveloped and can be dangerous. Additionally, if you break down and get stuck out here, towing is extremely expensive, often costing over $1,000 dollars.
Meet the Authors
Aloha! We’re Justin and Katie, the owners of Maui Hideaway. We’ve been visiting Hawaii together with our family for 20 years and would love to share the experience of the islands with you. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or just some vacation advice, we’re here to help!
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