39 Best Stops to Add to Your Road to Hana Itinerary

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‘Iconic’ is overused when describing Hawaii’s most famous driving route – except it is.

The Road to Hana is on every Maui to-do list.

It’s demanding, comprised of hundreds of hairpin turns. It’s breathtaking, stitching together the coast and lush scenery.

It’s a journey through Maui’s beauty and history.

This Road to Hana itinerary will squeeze out every bit of your energy, and you’ll love it!

Gorgeous waterfalls, lush rainforests, black sand beaches, banana bread addiction and garden walks; you’ll experience it all.

Road to Hana Tours

If you’re feeling overwhelmed – hit pause. You don’t have to do the drive on your own.

Why not sign up for a tour?

Hit all the major stops with this Road to Hana Adventure Tour, starting with a hotel pick-up.

An informative guide takes the wheel of a luxury mini-van to ferry you to the multiple photo ops.

As they rattle on about Hana’s history (like being the birthplace of Queen Ka’ahumanu), you’ll be passing by Pa’ia, Ho’okipa Beach Park, Upper Waikani Falls, Pua’a Ka’a State Park, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Wailua Falls and other scenic locations.

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Map of the Itinerary for Road to Hana

road to hana itinerary map maui
(Click Map to Interact)

Road to Hana Itinerary: Part 1

Welcome message on surfboards

Officially, the Road to Hana starts right before Pa’ia and ends at Kipahulu, boasting pretty impressive numbers:

64 miles, 617 curves, 56 single-lane bridges and too many attractions to name.

If you’re operating on a time crunch, you can speed through Road to Hana in 10 to 12 hours.

The downside – you chop off most of your bucket list except for the most classic sites (marked with a 🌟).

But if you can afford 2 to 3 days on the road, do pay proper homage to all these Road to Hana stops!

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1. Grab Breakfast

Grab breakfast on the road at Mana Foods!

Health-conscious or not, it’s rated the best grocery store on-island for its organic and local produce.

It’s a popular spot for nutty pies, customizable smoothies, cinnamon rolls and fresh-out-of-the-oven deli goods that’ll prep you for the day ahead.

Make sure to buy some sandwich ingredients for a picnic lunch later!

If you’re counting minutes, quickly sweep through lovely Pa’ia town for some interesting shops and galleries.

Otherwise, save it for the end of the full loop trip.

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2. Ho’okipa Beach 🌟

Ho’okipa Beach is the first sandy strip on the list but you’re not here for typical beach activities.

While you might catch some morning surfers coasting the waves, the main atrraction are in fact – sea turtles.

These gorgeous hard-shell creatures tend to pack the beach between sunset to evening, as many as 90 at a time.

Hookipa white sand beach maui
Ho'okipa white sand beach

3. Twin Falls 🌟

Cruise the rest of Highway 36 with anticipation, because next up is Twin Falls.

As you pull up to the entrance, grab some refreshments – the quaint shack offers pineapple bites, coconuts and popsicles on sugarcane sticks.

The hike up to the accessible waterfalls is gentle; pack a towel if you’re planning to cliff jump!

The pool is also peaceful and large enough for a short swim.

4. Waikamoi Ridge Trail

Once you’ve cooled off at the waterfalls, it’s time to sweat it out again.

The next 20 minutes is a tense but picturesque drive; every turn cuts through streams and lush landscapes.

Don’t worry!

Once you pull up to the Waikamoi Ridge Trail parking area, the quick hike will stretch out those kinks, so make sure you have your hiking shoes.

The trail itself loops through moss-strewn trees and huge roots to cleanse those lungs.

Tip: Slather on your mosquito repellent or risk becoming food.

5. Garden of Eden Arboretum 🌟

A word of warning before you enter the Garden of Eden Arboretum: you might disappear in there forever.

Not because of carnivorous plants, but because it’s truly paradise!

Bamboo groves, flourishing red blooms, soft grass and peacocks are spread out over 26 acres; the walking trails even look out over a hidden watering hole.

You’ll feel as though you’ve ventured into Jurassic Park.

Hands down, this garden is one of the most beautiful Road to Hana stops.

6. Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread 🌟

You’re probably getting hungry at this point so head straight for Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread.

Now, this is a Road to Hana itinerary highlight – so much that people drive here every day just to feed their banana bread addiction!

Crispy crust, moist center and freshly baked; not even the chili dogs beat it out for ‘hottest item’.

Load up on smoothies and pulled pork as well, then trek out to Keanae Lookout for a bombastic lunch.

Also, take a toilet break here if you haven’t already.

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7. Ke’anae Arboretum

Backtrack a few steps and stop at Ke’anae Arboretum.

Trees are the main players on this stage, towering over the walking trails like mystical giants.

Look out for Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees – the thick trunks look like they have paint splattered over them.

Those with keen eyes may have some luck spotting them near Hana Hwy Marker 7 too.

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Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees hana maui
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees

8. Wailua Valley State Wayside Park

Quick! Nab a parking spot at Wailua Valley State Wayside Park. 

You’ll want to get out of the car for panoramic views over the valley.

Can you spot the huge waterfall in the distance?

9. Upper Waikani Falls 🌟

Apart from the Twin Falls, Upper Waikani Falls (a.k.a Three Bears Falls) is another famous swimming hole.

The way the water fans down the rock cliff is glorious, as is the entire green surroundings.

Throw your hair back like Ariel and save those snaps!

Tip: The descent is a little tricky so make sure you’re wearing appropriate shoes (hiking or water shoes recommended).

Upper Waikani Falls
Upper Waikani Falls

10. Hanawi Falls

A tiny, quick addition to your Road to Hana itinerary is Hanawi Falls and pump house.

Spare just a few minutes here!

The series of cascades are actually part of the canal system that transports water to the sugarcane fields of central Maui.

Cool how they made use of nature, huh?

11. Nahiku Marketplace

If you’re still peckish, Nahiku Marketplace is a bright spot of color.

Hulu Hulu ribs and deep-fried shrimp are hot food recommendations. Otherwise, a smoothie and some pineapple coconut bread will keep you going.

Now it’s time to get creative with your Road to Hana itinerary. Just a few minutes’ drive away are a platter of attractions:

12. Hana Lava Tube 🌟

Turn down Ulaino Road and one of Maui’s most famous lava tubes awaits.

Created by underground lava rivers, the rocky tunnels are a fascinating natural phenomenon large enough to house mythical creatures!

A full tour takes 45-60 minutes; pay by cash only.

13. Kahanu Garden

Further down the road is a national treasure.

A deep well of history, Kahanu Garden houses the largest heiau (Hawaiian Temple) in Polynesia.

The structure is built from manmade lava, with wrap-around manicured lawns.

14. Hana Airport

Wait, why are we stopping at this tiny strip?

You’re not saying goodbye to Hana just yet; but hello, adrenaline.

Zip up your flight suits and tighten your goggles – you can finally fulfill those hang gliding and skydiving dreams!

If you’re terrified of reaching for the clouds, feel free to skip this spot.

15. Hana Gold Cacao Plantation

Learn how cocoa beans are grown and processed straight from the owners of this small plantation. It’s worth picking some chocolate bars as souvenirs.

waianapanapa state park maui
Wai’anapanapa State Park

16. Wai’anapanapa State Park 🌟

Pull up to this 122-acre coastal park to feel Hawaii’s magic.

The lush greens are a sharp contrast against the rocky tidal pools and Honokalani Black Sand Beach.

To feel like a fantasy adventurer, hit up the far side to coast through the volcanic field.

Reservations are needed to enter Wai'anapanapa State Park and can be made up to 14 days in advance.

If you’re sticking to this Road to Hana itinerary to a T, your entry time hovers around 3 PM.

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17. Hana Farms Roadside Stand & Restaurant

Another gold standard of what to eat along your Road to Hana stops, Hana Farms makes an awesome late lunch or early dinner destination.

If you’re planning on stopping for the night at Hana, feel free to hit up all the spots mentioned below!

If you’re speeding through the route, limit yourself to 1 to 2 sites.

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18. Hana Town 🌟

You finally reach the elusive Hana Town! Framed by Kaihalulu Bay, this gorgeous coastal town is a great place to unwind for the rest of the day.

19. Hana Cultural Center & Museum

First things first; learn about the history of Hana. 

This museum might not be large, but its lessons are vast.

There’s even a gift shop with locally made crafts so you can bring home meaningful souvenirs.

20. Hana Coast Gallery

Rather spacious, this gallery is located in Hana-Maui Resort (a.k.a your accommodation for the night).

Popular Hawaiian artists have crafted wooden picture carvings, silk kimono paintings, oil paintings and more fabulous works. It’s worth a skim!

Kaihalulu Beach maui
Kaihalulu Beach

21. Kaihalulu Beach

A steep hiking trail will bring you to the water front; the burnished, red sand of Kaihalulu Beach is stunning during sunset.

Isolated, it’s the perfect hideaway.

22. Hana Ranch Restaurant

Before you turn in for the night, treat yourself to American fare with a Hawaiian twist plus spectacular ocean views.

There’s nothing like a tuna poke or Kobe beef burger to replace your spent energy!

But wait – there’s more!

Those who reach Hana mid-afternoon and have energy to spare can continue on to attractions just minutes away.

The furthest site is only 30 minutes out from Hana:

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23. Koki Beach

The curved bay is an eclectic blend of beach, mountain and farm land.

Sit in the shade and bask in your surroundings, or go for a short swim. You can even enjoy a huli huli chicken dinner on-site.

24. Hamoa Beach 🌟

Just down the road from Koki is another popular beach.

The wild waves tempt you to splash around (close to shore, of course), but you can simply lounge and relax under the sun.

25. Wailua Falls 🌟

Speaking of iconic, Wailua Falls is an 80-feet waterfall right off the highway.

Park, walk 5 minutes, and you’ll hear the thundering gush of water. It’s an incredibly scenic and serene pond.

Seven Sacred Pools maui
Seven Sacred Pools, Maui

26. Seven Sacred Pools 🌟

Also known as Oheo Gulch and Pools of ‘Ohe’o. With so many names attached, you know it’s a significant site.

Can you imagine 7 swimming holes connected via waterfalls, hidden within a dense bamboo forest?

If possible, hike upstream; it’s totally worth it.

Stops Beyond Hana: Itinerary Part 2

Road to Hana Viewpoint

Do you really want to end your adventure on a dangling note?

This is your Road to Hana Itinerary Part 2, looping around Haleakala National Park to explore the back road to Hana.

Finish driving the Hana Highway via dry Kaupo and the lush upcountry areas of Kula. It’s a full circle back to Kahului.

27. Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park bridges Hana with the backroad.

The previous day should’ve been enough of a warm-up but do your stretches before challenging any hikes in Haleakala National Park.

Haleakala Crater in maui hawaii sm
Haleakala Crater

28. Sunrise at Haleakala Crater 🌟

Sign up for a sunrise tour; the stunning drive to the peak gets even better as you witness the morning rays break through the cloud layer.

Since sunrise hits early, staying the night in Hana means you’ll be in less of a rush.

29. Pipiwai Trail

This 4-mile hike trail unfolds through banyan trees and a bamboo forest, dense foliage paving the way to beautiful Waimoku Falls.

It’s around 2-hours round trip with some swimming holes along path.

30. Leleiwi & Kalahaku Overlooks

The best spots for beautiful views across the West Maui Mountains.

31. Triple L Ranch

No doubt your drive through Kaupo allows glimpses of lava fields and rusty swatches, but stop at Triple L Ranch for a custom horseback ride through the area.

It’s an intimate ride, your guide walking you through the history of the estate and pointing out roaming cattle.

32. Waiakapuhi Lava Field

Minutes away, Waiakapuhi Lava Field is large enough for you to pull over. Snap away with your camera to capture dark soil and pops of green.

33. Maui Wine

Wine connoisseurs will love Maui Wine! The scenic vineyard offers unique vintages (like pineapple-infused wines) to taste and buy.

Pick up a bottle to toast your trip tonight.

34. Kula Country Farms

If you’re lucky, Kula Country Farms will be open for some strawberry picking. If you arrive off-hours, patronize the farm stand anyway.

The farm animals, upcountry views and fresh produce make it a fun stop.

35. Visit the Gardens

Turn into Highway 377 for yet another floral paradise: Kula Botanical Gardens.

Diamond in the rough it may be, but it’s a beautiful oasis of flowers, flowers and more flowers.

If you’re sniffing for more flowery scents, Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is just up the road – complete with a gift shop.

36. Surfing Goat Dairy

Surfing Goat Dairy sounds cute because it is!

You can pet the goats in their pens and taste cheeses; even bring that bottle you bought earlier at Maui Wine.

Don’t pass up on the homemade cheesecake.

37. Piiholo Ranch

While it’s a slower-paced day compared to the twisty Road to Hana journey of yesterday, there is a stop that will make your pulse pound.

Piiholo Ranch offers more horse riding and one of the best zipline experiences on the island.

Zoom over treetops and yell like Tarzan; the guides make sure you’re safe and secure.

38. Maui Pineapple Tours

Make a slight detour off Baldwin Avenue towards Pa’ia for the highly-rated Maui Pineapple Tours.

These prickly fruits are hiding exceedingly sweet interiors – which you get to taste!

Not only do you get fascinating insight into pineapple growth, but you can take some of this sweet treat with you.

39. Pa’ia Town

Before you head back into Kahului proper, explore charming Pa’ia if you missed out the first time.

There plenty of cozy cafés and art galleries to browse through, but Pa’ia Fish Market is a must if you’re craving seafood.

Tadah! Here’s the end of your Road to Hana trip.

Alternatively, you could reverse this itinerary and enter Hana via Haleakala National Park instead.

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Where to Stay In Hana

The biggest pro to staying the night along the Road to Hana is being able to come full circle, with Hana being your resting stop instead of your final destination.

Better yet, the best accommodation in town lets you bypass the lengthy drive!

This allows you to make the drive in reverse, or to explore the surrounding area with less time constraints.

Hana-Maui Resort offers to fly guests in via a Cessna or helicopter, straight onto 66 lush acres.

The resort comes with ocean suites and family rooms, an outdoor pool that faces the stunning blue ocean, a bar lounge to kick back at and plenty of activity deals.

You can sign up for horseback riding, paddle boarding, making lei or playing the ukulele.

Its close proximity to Haleakala National Park also makes sunrise tours extremely accessible; hiking opportunities are endless too!

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Road to Hana Car Rental

driving the road to hana

While you can rent cars at the airport, you want to avoid any airport fees (a whopping 11.11% service charge).

The best solution is to rent in downtown Kahului.

There are several tips to renting cars (especially since public transport is minimal) for your road trip down Hana Highway:

  • Compare several companies because prices depend on season, duration, car type and many other factors that make pricing inconsistent. Reputable companies to start looking at include Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Thrifty and National.
  • For budget deals, check Cheap Maui Car Rental. It doesn’t hurt to refresh the page closer to the date of your trip.
  • Check your rental contract for any “off-limit” roads. You don’t want to return the vehicle with damages; document any existing interior or external damages.
  • Avoid spouse charges by checking with the rental company before the drive. It could turn a great deal into a terrible one.
  • Don’t pay for “pre-paid fuel”; simply refill the tank before you return the car.
  • Consider what kinds of road conditions you’ll be facing. Jeep rentals are great for the bumpier backside of Hana but mid-sized convertibles are best to deal with those curves and bridges.

The road is relatively narrow and mostly single-lane, not suitable for large vans as cars travel both ways.

If you’re not a confident driver, stick with day tours instead.

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Note that car rental companies don’t like it when you explore the dry, barren Kaupo stretch.

Not only may you have to sign a waiver, any trouble would require a tow truck rescue. Opt for a tour van if possible.

Road to Hana Tips

view of Honokalani Beach
  • Start as early as you can! There’s simply so much to see and not enough time to see it all. In fact, make it a multi-day trip to get the most out of your drive.
  • Never stop on a bridge and let people pass if they have the right of way. Wave if they offer it to you instead.
  • If you pull over, check that it’s an actual pull over spot and that you’re not blocking the road.
  • Make sure to top up on gas before your trip because there are no gas stations on the way.
  • Don’t drive at night! The windy road is difficult to navigate in the day due to numerous hairpin turns; it’s extra dangerous at night.
  • Pack smart. Wear comfy shoes in case of any hikes, but bring flip flops for beach visits. You’ll also want a jacket if you’re planning on watching the sunrise at the Haleakala summit.
  • Respect the land. Don’t leave behind trash and don’t trample over the fauna.
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