No trip to Maui is complete without exploring the Road to Hana. The Road to Hana is famous for the natural beauty of its unblemished landscapes. With a number of breathtaking viewpoints (waysides), lush scenery for the entire drive, endless waterfalls and your choice of red, black and white sand beaches, the road to Hana will leave you amazed. The places listed in this blog are an absolute must see and in my opinion are the best stops on the Road to Hana. I am certain you will find many more amazing places along the way – let me know your favourites by commenting below.
To explore the road to Hana, you will need to hire a car. Alternatively, you can book a tour.
Best stops on the Road to Hana
Paia is a laid-back town with a welcoming, hippy atmosphere. Nestled amongst some of Maui’s best beaches and surrounded by sugar cane and lush greenery, the town is one not to be missed. Paia attracts many windsurfers as the region is classed as one of the world best-windsurfing destinations. When you read my recommendations below, you will see that I suggest basing yourself in Paia, however, if you are planning to stay somewhere else, make sure you allow time for a stop in the charming coastal town.
Bamboo Forest – Mile Marker: 6.7
A short way along the Road to Hana you will find the Bamboo Forest, at mile marker 6.7. If time allows, you can hike through the Bamboo forest to two different waterfalls. This was a beautiful hike that I spent one full day doing. If you are planning to do the full Road to Hana in one day you may not have time to hike to both or either waterfall in the Bamboo forest, but if you do have all the time in the world, definitely check it out.
Kaumahina State Wayside Park – Mile Marker 12
Just a quick stop at this lookout for a break and a few photos will suffice.
Wailua Valley State Wayside – Mile Marker 20-21
Take the stairs to the top of the lookout for a view of Ke‘anae Valley, Ko‘olau Gap and the village of Wailua. This is a quick stop, but well worth it for the scenery. On one side you see the luscious valley and volcano formed mountains, with two massive flowing waterfalls. To the other side, you see the mountains meeting the ocean.
Waianapanaka State Park/ Black Sand Beach – Mile Marker 32
My second favourite stop along the Road to Hana, perhaps because I found the red and black sand beaches to be so unique and different from the other more typical Hawaiian landscapes. The uniqueness left me mesmerised by the beauty, and in a state of complete appreciation of nature. There are many walking trails in the Waianapanaka State Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the black sand beach followed by a walk on the trails or through the cave formations. You could easily spend an entire day in this State Park. There are fruit stalls as you drive in, support the locals and stop and buy some fresh organic produce.
Red Sand Beach on Kaihalulu Bay – Just South of Hana Bay
My absolute favourite stop on the Road to Hana. The red sand beach is truly unique and magical, and also one of the least crowded beaches I visited on Maui. Perhaps it was quiet because it was hard to find, and the trail down in steep and dangerous, but in my opinion, it was well worth it. The most magical places are the ones that are hardest to find. This bay has a rugged beauty to it.
Just passed Hana is Koki Beach. I loved this beach, stop in for a swim if you have time.
Ohe’o Gulch – Seven Sacred Pools – Mile Marker 42
The reward for driving all that way, some of Hawaii’s most pristine pools. Photo from this website
Road to Hana – Travel Tips
Leave early! There is so much to see and do, so get a kick start on the day and leave as early as possible.
Base yourself in Paia. Paia is a charming little town on the Coast of Maui, located at the beginning of the road to Hana. Staying here will allow you to get straight on the road, which is important because it is a long day in the car. You want to minimise the driving time and maximise the adventure time.
Pack a picnic – Enjoy your lunch in one of the many scenic pitstops you will be making.
There is honestly not a lot to see in Hana, it’s famous for the road in so don’t expect anything amazing from Hana itself.
This guide names only a few of the amazing places to stop along the road to Hana, these are my personal favourites, but there is much much more to explore.
Disclosure: This post on the best stops on the road to hana contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something I will make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.