This is considered the most beautiful road in all of Hawaii! Along it you’ll find waterfalls, swimming holes, red sand beaches, black sand beaches, hikes, etc. The road to Hana covers the entire east coast of the island. It snakes and dips around the volcano and coast (so if anyone in your group gets motion sickness, be sure to bring medicine). There are over 100 stops you can make along the way. Isn’t that amazing?! It’s no wonder that this is a must-do for Maui visitors.
Driving this road will also take you all day, so don’t make any other plans. Our day was 7AM – 4PM leaving and arriving from Kihei. It may take longer if you’re coming from Lahaina. And because this is popular, you’ll want to start early and be on the road by 8AM. You’ll also want to bring snacks and sack lunches. There are not many food options along the way!
Also note that you won’t be able to stop at each location. If you did, you wouldn’t make it back before dark (and you’ll want to be off the road before then). So be smart about time! Pick and choose which locations are worth it to you and which ones you wouldn’t mind passing by. Know your group and what they would actually be interested in seeing. We passed up many stops along way, because we just didn’t care about seeing certain things.
The typical way to drive this road is from North to South, but we decided to drive the opposite way to avoid a long trail of cars. We don’t regret it either and would highly recommend this route! Some rental car agreements will discourage you from driving the back side of this road, but we had a 2WD sedan (Hyundai Elantra to be exact) and we made it just fine. Just be a cautious driver and take it easy during the rough road conditions. They weren’t bad, and if we could make it then so can you!
I also recommend purchasing an audio tour on the Shaka app. It’s only $10 (as of 2019) and will narrate your tour as you drive. You can choose from several options: north to south loop, south to north loop, north to south turnaround (most popular). We chose south to north loop. The tour will mention the 100+ locations you can stop at along the way if you wish. It also includes history of the island, which stops to pass over, etc. It also mentions where there are restrooms. It was a great resource to have! Tip: purchase your tour and download it at least a day in advance before you drive the road. You’ll need to download it because you will lose phone service during the drive.
Our Road to Hana stops:
Our next stop was one of my favorites: Alelele Falls! It takes a short 5-10 minute hike (that’s pretty easy) to get here from the road. As you can see, there was only a small flow when we visited, but it was still awesome! Hawaiian waterfalls are just so cool! You can swim in the water below too, but the water is very cold. And beware of falling rocks that come over the water’s edge. One hit my phone while I was holding it! Overall, we spent about 20 minutes here enjoying the falls and snapping pics. Then we hit the road again.