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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.