6 Unforgettable Pitstops on Maui's Road to Hana

Seven Sacred Pools
Seven Sacred Pools | © Joe Parks / Flickr
Kalena McElroy

There’s nothing quite like driving along the Hana Highway—a fact that local Hawaiians and visitors will certainly affirm.

The partially single-lane winding road sweeps across Maui with ocean views, bridges, hippie towns, and roadside waterfalls. Though many visitors try to stuff the entire adventure down Hana into one day, the area less traveled is overflowing with natural beauty and things to do.

From state parks and hiking trails, to botanical gardens and guided tours—it’s hard to see it all. We’ve broken down the six pitstops on Maui’s Road to Hana that you just can’t miss.

1. Wai‘anapanapa State Park

Natural Feature

Waianapanapa black sand beach, Maui | © GE Keoni
© GE Keoni
The 120-acre Wai‘anapanapa State Park is often referred to in Hawaiian myths and legends. The main draw to the area is the captivating black sand of Pa‘iloa Beach, but the park is also home to impressive lava rock formations, anchialine pools, heiau (ancient Hawaiian temples), blowholes, and caves that only add to the area’s mysterious appeal.

2. Na‘ili‘ili Haele Trail

Hiking Trail

Bamboo Forest | © Max Delaquis/Flickr
© Max Delaquis / Flickr

This easy walk also known as Bamboo Forest, passes through green groves of bamboo to reach a string of waterfalls and multiple swimming pools. The hike is a great little place to take a break from driving, though it is an infamous rescue spot because of the slippery river bed.

3. Hana Lava Tube

Natural Feature

Entrance to Hana Lava Tubes | © Flavio Ensiki/Flickr
© Flavio Ensiki / Flickr

Formed nearly 1,000 years ago, the Hana lava tube is the largest of its kind on the island. Visitors explore the caverns, view stalactites, and rock formations while learning about the different types of lava in Hawaii on a 40-minute guided tour.

4. Aunty Sandy's

Bakery, Smoothie Bar, Snack Bar, Healthy

Banana Bread | © Jo del Corro/Flickr
© Jo del Corro / Flickr

It’s impossible to drive the Road to Hana and not try local banana bread—it’s sold at every shop. Aunty Sandy’s has long been rumored to have the best on the entire island. The tiny family-run cafe has been baking this delicacy and serving up sandwiches and shave ice for over 30 years. Go there early because once they sell out for the day, they close their doors.

5. Wailua Falls

Natural Feature

Wailua Falls, Maui | © James Brennan/Flickr
© James Brennan / Flickr

Probably one of the most iconic and easily accessible pitstops along the Hana Highway, Wailua Falls—not to be confused with the waterfall on Kaua‘i with the same name—cascades down over 80-feet right next to the road. The frigid swimming pool at the bottom is usually filled with swimmers while the bridge up top is nearly always crowded with people trying to capture the perfect shot.

6. ‘Ohe‘o Gulch

Natural Feature, Park

Seven Sacred Pools | © Joe Parks/Flickr
© Joe Parks / Flickr
Though technically past Hana if you go the usual direction, this area should not be skipped. ‘Ohe‘o Gulch is part of Haleakalā National Park and the site of Seven Sacred Pools, a set of swimming holes each connected to the next by rushing waterfalls, before emptying out to the open ocean. Though many people choose to take a dip, the area is extremely dangerous with frequent rockslides and flash flooding which has taken more than one life over the years. Further into the valley, the short Pipiwai Hiking Trail takes adventurers through a bamboo forest and along a bubbling stream to view the stunning Waimoku Falls up close.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

close-ad
Edit article