Are you planning an amazing family vacation in Maui? Or do you want to see this fabulous Hawaiian Island with your kids and possibly your grandkids? If you answered yes to either of those questions, there is one activity that must be on your itinerary. That activity is exploring the Road to Hana with your family. This winding road has been wowing visitors for years. It is one of the best ways to see many of the best sights in Maui in a single day. Today, I am sharing my helpful guide to the Road to Hana. My guide is designed to ensure you have a wonderful experience while exploring this area of Maui with your family.
The Road to Hana was paved back in 1962. Until that time, visitors had to drive along unpaved roads to experience the undeveloped beauty this side of the island is known for.
The Hana Highway, or Road to Hana as it is mainly called, is fifty-two miles long. There are six hundred and twenty curves. So, when you hear someone say the Road to Hana is winding and curvy, they are not lying.
There are also fifty-nine bridges that must be crossed during this drive.
You will have a few options for traveling on the Road to Hana. Some people want to tackle the drive themselves. If you decide to do this, make sure the policy of the rental car you are using allows you to drive it on this road. Some rental car companies will not allow anyone to drive their vehicles on the unpaved portion of this highway. This section is past Hana Town and is usually considered the back way to Hana.
If you are unsure, simply ask the rental car company prior to getting in the car.
Oh, and as I learned from my son, you should never ride a motorcycle on the Road to Hana. It is much more difficult than it seems. My son is a good driver and used to motorcycles, and still struggled to keep the bike on the road during this drive.
If you don’t feel like tackling this drive on your own (and I don’t blame you there with all the hairpin turns), you can leave the driving to a professional. There are plenty of tour buses that travel the Road to Hana every day. The only time you will not see them on this road is when there is inclement weather.
Your guide will share lots of information about what you are seeing out the windows and at the areas where you stop.
I usually recommend that all my clients do the tour bus option. It allows for a calmer experience, while also allowing you to see the views instead of solely paying attention to the road.
I can easily arrange for a tour of the Road to Hana as I am personalizing your itinerary for your family vacation in Maui.
You should expect this trip to take between ten and twelve hours. And that is if you don’t stop at every single destination along the way. If you want to explore this area completely, you may want to spend a night in Hana and then make the drive back the following day.
Most guided tours are between ten and twelve hours.
There are a few items you should have with you when you are exploring the Road to Hana with your family. Those items include:
You won’t need to travel too far on the Road to Hana to reach the first best stop. At mile marker 2, you should get out and walk for five minutes to see Twin Falls. These are some of the most famous waterfalls in Maui.
There is also a farm stand at this mile marker. It is an excellent place to grab some fresh produce to eat during your journey.
Between mile markers 4 and 5, you will see the Huelo Point Lookout. The views of the ocean from this lookout are spectacular.
Grab your camera at this stop, so you can capture the beauty of the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. These trees have bark that is multi-colored. I guarantee you haven’t seen tree bark like this before!
It is best to wear sneakers or hiking boots when you decide to explore the Road to Hana with your family. When you reach this mile marker, it will be time to get out of the vehicle for a little hike. This looped trail is less than a mile long.
Unfortunately, you will need to get back in the vehicle and drive a half mile longer to see Waikamoi Falls.
Mile Marker 10 holds more than just the beauty of Waikamoi Falls. It is also where the Garden of Eden is located. This garden has twenty-six acres of rare Hawaiian plants and flowers.
It will be easy to lose track of time as you are walking along the trails in this garden. You will be tempted to stay longer than planned. However, that may mean skipping another stop on the highway later.
Some people skip this stop on the Hana Highway. If you do stop, you can either take pictures at the Keanae Peninsula or see the flowers at the Arboretum.
The Upper Waikani Falls are also known as Three Bears Falls. All three waterfalls merge to create a grotto that peaks at seventy feet high. All the water from these waterfalls goes directly into the Wailua Nui Stream.
Parking can be a huge issue at this stop. Some people will skip these waterfalls if they can’t get into the lot. If you are on a tour bus, they may pull over slightly after the parking area. That will allow you to see the waterfalls after crossing over a bridge. It is best to use extreme caution when crossing the bridge. Other cars on the road may not be paying attention and may not see you.
There aren’t many restrooms on the Road to Hana. Pua’a Ka’a State Park has restrooms, so it is always packed. This is a great place to stop for a snack or picnic lunch. You can hike to the nearby Pua’a Ka’a waterfall if you have the time.
One of the best places to see Hanawi Falls is from the Hanawi Bridge. There are only a couple narrow pullouts off the road at these waterfalls. So, parking may be challenging. Don’t be surprised if you need to skip this stop during your journey.
You won’t want to miss a stop at the Nahiku Marketplace on the Hana Highway. This marketplace sells all types of food. You can find everything from seafood and tacos to coffee and other beverages. It’s a great place to grab lunch if you didn’t pack one.
The largest heiau, or religious structure, on the island is located here. This heiau dates all the way back to the 16th century. After you have seen the heiau, you should explore the botanical garden.
The Kaeleku Cave is also called the Hana Lava Tube. I recommend heading into this lava tube to see the extraordinary beauty of the cavern. The best part is it will be much cooler inside. You may appreciate it during a really hot day!
See how you really don’t need to drive too far to see the next beautiful thing on the Hana Highway?! At mile marker 32, you can stop and explore Waianapanapa State Park. The whole family will love hiking the trails, taking a dip in the freshwater pools, and checking out the views. Don’t forget to leave time to visit Pailoa Bay though. This black sand beach is worthy of your time.
A little time in Hana Town can make you feel like a local. If you are on a tour bus, your tour guide will share what areas of town are best to visit.
The Pipiwai Trail is located within Haleakala National Park. This trail is four miles long. I recommend planning to stay long enough to complete the hike, plus have a little extra time at Waimoku Falls at the end.
Not too far from the Pipiwai Trail is Ohe’o Gulch. This area is known for its Seven Sacred Pools. You must hike half a mile to reach these pools.
Another stunning waterfall in Maui is Wailua Falls. Surprisingly, there is plenty of parking at this waterfall along the Road to Hana.
There are plenty of fabulous beaches in Maui. However, one of the best along this road is Hamoa Beach. This secluded beach is perfect for snorkeling when the water is calm. When the water is rough, you’ll see plenty of people out there on bodyboards.
These are the best stops along the Road to Hana. Between these and the other helpful information I shared; you should enjoy your experience exploring this road with your family. I would love to make sure your family sees this beautiful part of the island by adding it to the itinerary I personalize for your Maui vacation.
If you said yes, I would like to invite you to click here to schedule a personalized family vacation planning session with me. When you click the link, you will be taken directly to my digital calendar to schedule a time that is convenient for you.
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