Black sand beach is one of the best stops on Road to Hana and a must in any Road to Hana Itinerary

1-2 days Road to Hana Itinerary – 21 Best Stops on Road to Hana

Are you looking for the Road to Hana itinerary that best suits your needs?

Road to Hana is about the journey to Hana and not so much about the destination of Hana. Driving on the Road to Hana and experiencing all the sights and natural beauty is a must-do on any trip to Maui. It is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world.

The waterfalls, unique black, red, and white sand beaches, lush tropical waterfalls, amazing hikes, charming towns and villages, food trucks and fruit stands, all make for a truly memorable experience.

The Road to Hana drive is highly popular and always very busy with tourists. But it is also infamous because of the challenging road to Hana drive with its narrow and curvy roads and one-lane bridges. There are around 600 curves in the road and 59 bridges, 46 of which are one-way bridges on the Road to Hana!

Single lane bridges on Road to Hana
Single lane bridges on Road to Hana

Experiencing the Road to Hana is a bucket list item for many. But it is also daunting to plan this road trip and figure out when to start, what stops to make, where to eat, what entrance permits should you get ahead of time, if you should stay overnight in Hana or do a day trip, when to start back, and so many more things to decide.

I recently did the Road to Hana on my family’s 7-day trip to Maui and I did endless research on everything related to Road to Hana. In this post, I have combined my research with my personal experience of the Road to Hana, so that you can plan your own Road to Hana itinerary and experience all the best stops on the Road to Hana!

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About the Road to Hana Drive

Before we dive into the Best stops on the Road to Hana and possible Road to Hana itinerary options, let’s go over some of the logistics of the Road to Hana drive.

Possible Road to Hana driving routes -and what locals recommend!

If you look at Google Maps, there are two possible routes shown to do the Road to Hana. The routes differ in mostly how you return from Hana back to your origin, whether it be West or South Maui.

Out and back Route for Road to Hana

Drive from Kahului to Hana in a clockwise direction passing the town of Paia, and then returning back the same way. This is the most common route for the Road to Hana and is a concrete road the whole way.

The majority of the road is a 2 lane highway except for the bridges and the road after Hana leading to Oheo Gulch which is one lane.

The out-and-back route of Kahului-Paia-Hana is recommended by the locals in Maui for tourists who are driving the Road the Hana. If this is your first time on the Road to Hana and you are driving instead of taking a tour, this is the route I recommend you stick to!

This Road to Hana itinerary follows the out-and-back route i.e. driving to Hana from West Maui or South Maui to Kahului-Paia-Hana-Oheo Gulch and then back the same route.

Loop route for Road to Hana via Back Road

There is another loop route that involves driving on the backside of Haleakala mountain. This would mean continuing further down the Hana road, which loops around the backside of the island, passes Kula, and then returns to Kahului.

This route has stretches of gravel roads, and very narrow one-lane roads, which means sometimes backing quite a bit if another car comes from the opposite direction.

The Back Road to Hana route is not recommended for tourists self-driving the Road the Hana and can be dangerous if you are not experienced with such road conditions. If you want to experience the back road of Hana, I highly recommend taking a tour and leaving the driving to the experts!

My Top Pick – This Reverse Hana Road Loop – Private Jeep Adventure run by a local company, comes highly rated and covers most stops. Best Private Tour!

How long is the Road to Hana drive?

Most tourists either stay in West Maui (Lahaina / Kaanapali area) or South Maui (Kihei/Wailea area). You should plan for a total of 10-12 hours for a Road to Hana day trip. If you want to hike the Pipwai Bamboo forest trail, add another 2 hours to this. Yes, it is a very long day trip to Hana!

An alternative for visitors who are short on time or are traveling with younger kids is to drive only Halfway to Hana which can be done in 6-8 hours with most stops. Keep in mind that the Black Sand Beach / Waiapana State Park is near Hana and is not a stop in a Halfway to Hana tour.

Driving distances from West and South Maui to Hana

Below is the expected one-way time frame without any stops and traffic from Lahaina in West Maui to major milestones on Road to Hana:

  • Lahaina to Paia – 1 hour
  • Lahaina to Halfway to Hana – 2 hours
  • Lahaina to Hana – around 3 hours

Below is the expected one-way time frame without any stops and traffic from Kihei in West Maui to major milestones on Road to Hana:

  • Kihei to Paia – around 30 minutes
  • Kihei to Halfway to Hana – 1.5 hours
  • Kihei to Hana – around 2.5 hrs hours

But the reality is that there is lots of traffic during the day and lots of stops on the way. You also spend a lot of time waiting for others to pass on the one-lane bridges and will most likely be moving really slowly with the traffic in both directions.

With traffic, and a couple of restroom stops it’s usually around 4 hours drive one way from Lahaina / Kihei to Hana. If you add sightseeing stops, it’s a lot more!!!

Road to Hana Itinerary Options

There are several ways to do the Road to Hana and I am going to list down all the options for you!

  1. Road to Hana day trip to Hana town and back the same way – This is the most common option that people choose to do. It means starting really early from South or West Maui, between 5 and 6 AM.
  2. Road to Hana day trip to Halfway to Hana and back the same way – This is ideal for those who are short on time or for families with younger kids.
  3. Road to Hana overnight trip and back the same way – This is the best option if you can spare two days for the Road to Hana drive. This will allow you enough time to explore all the best stops and not worry about returning before dark. This is what I did!

Keep reading to find out detailed information about each of these itinerary options. But first, let’s get acquainted with the best stops on the Road to Hana so that you can determine if you should do a 1-day or 2-day trip to Hana.

21 Best Stops on Road to Hana

The Road to Hana starts at Mile Marker (MM) 0 on Highway 360 and ends just before the start of the Piilani Hwy 31. Most travelers turn back after Oheo Gulch.

It is recommended to turn back after Oheo Gulch for the normal out-and-back route.

Below is a list of the Road to Hana stops that are legal to stop at. I will not be mentioning the stops that are on private property and involve trespassing as we should respect the locals living in Hana and not be trespassing on private lands.

Must-do stops have a ⭐ next to the name!

1. Paia Town

Paia is a small surfer town with a somewhat “hippie” vibe on the way to Hana. It is not actually a part of the road to Hana but is a great place to stop and get some essentials for the long and windy Road to Hana drive.

Most visitors pass Paia town either very early morning on late in the evening on their Road to Hana journey. There are several restaurants and marketplaces here to grab some to-go breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the way back.

Surfboard wall in Paia town
Surfboard wall in Paia town

This is also the last place to fill up gas before Hana. It might be a good idea to ensure you have some cash for street vendors in Hana, and some motion sickness medication and gum, if not get it in Paia.

I do not recommend spending a lot of time in Paia in the morning. You can always come back to Paia on some other day, or stop in the evening for dinner if doing a day trip to Hana.

2. Ho’okipa Lookout and Ho’opika Beach ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Ocean views and seeing surfers in action, beach, turtles
  • Parking – Yes, free parking

A little further down Paia town, you will see the turnout to go to the Ho’okipa beach and Ho’opika Lookout. Ho’okipa beach is one of the best surfing beaches in Maui, as it picks up the ocean swell from the North, especially in winter. There are a lot of kite surfers and windsurfers here.

View from Hookipa Beach Lookout
View from Hookipa Beach Lookout

Ho’okipa beach is also a popular place to find sea turtles later in the afternoon. As you will probably pass this beach early in the morning, there is less chance of spotting the sea turtles as they usually come in the afternoon to rest on the rock beach.

If you find parking, you can spend 5-10 minutes at Hookipa Beach Lookout watching the surfers at the beach riding the ocean waves. After this stop, we will be driving inland and away from the ocean for a while.

3. Twin Falls

  • Type of Stop – Waterfalls, swimming. Optional Stop
  • Parking – Yes, with a parking fee

Just shortly before Twin Falls, you will pass a small Mile Marker 0 sign which is the official starting point of the Route 360 Road to Hana. Twin Falls is a cool waterfalls area on private property but you can use it with a parking fee. We stopped here and paid for parking with a credit card.

Twin Falls on Road to Hana
Twin Falls on Road to Hana

There is a parking space for about 30 cars here. There is a small waterfall area just a short walk from the parking lot. There are more waterfalls that can be accessed by a one-mile hike.

Twin Falls is an optional stop as there will be several more waterfalls on the Road to Hana. But if you are only doing Halfway to Hana, you will have time to stop here.

4. Garden of Eden

  • Type of Stop – garden, trails, picnic area, waterfalls. Optional Stop
  • Parking – Yes, there is an entrance fee per person

By now with the curves and turns on the road, you will have gotten a feel of how it is to drive on the Road to Hana. Garden of Eden is a beautiful garden with an impressive collection of flowers, trees, and even birds. There is an entrance fee per person for visiting the Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden stop on Road to Hana Itinerary
Garden of Eden on Road to Hana

Great stop to take some photos in beautiful surroundings. There is a duck pond and bird feeding area. This is a great place to spend a few hours for families with younger kids. There are a total of 26 acres of beautifully landscaped trails here. There is also a lookout area for Puohokamoa Falls.

I recommend the Garden of Eden stop for visitors going only Halfway to Hana. For visitors going to Hana and Oheo Gulch, there won’t be enough time to explore this paid stop on a day trip.

5. Kaumahina State Wayside Park (Scenic Overlook and Restrooms)

  • Type of Stop – Scenic Overlook, Restrooms
  • Parking – Yes, free

We are now back near the ocean with ocean views along the Road to Hana! Kaumahina State Park has an overlook for excellent views and a sneak peek of the Ke’anae Pennisula

View of Kaenae Peninsula from Kaumahina Park Overlook
View of Kaenae Peninsula from Kaumahina Park Overlook

Kaumahina Park is a good place for a quick restroom break with free parking. Make sure to carry toilet paper and hand soap as there wasn’t any in the restrooms when we stopped.

6. Ke’anae Arboretum ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Garden stroll to see unique trees like Rainbow Eucalyptus
  • Parking – Yes

Ke’anae Arboretum is a nice garden with some unique species of trees and plants that is free to explore. Also, this is where you can see the famous Rainbow Eucalyptus trees up close and they are amazing.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees at Keanae Arboretum
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees at Keanae Arboretum

There are many other spectacular varieties of trees here like Bamboo, Narra, Breadfruit, Torch Ginger, Ti Leaf, Taro Papaya, Hibiscus, and many others.

There is a free parking space for 7-8 cars on the side of the road outside the Ke’anae Arboretum.

7. Ke’anae Peninsula ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Ocean views, lava rocks, historic church
  • Parking – Yes, side of the road

Immediately after the Ke’anae Arboretum, you will reach the turn to go to the town of Ke’anae. The uniquely flat Ke’anae Pennisula is a must-do stop on the Road to Hana.

Church at Kaenae Peninsula
Church at Kaenae Peninsula

The town of Ke’anae is known for taro farming, a historic 150+ years old Ke’anae Congregational Church, and amazing views of ocean waves crashing against volcanic lava rocks. The Church is made of lava rocks and looks really serene against the Haleakala mountain backdrop!

Ocean waves crashing against lava rocks at Kaenae Peninsula
Ocean waves crashing against lava rocks at Kaenae Peninsula

If you keep going to the end of the road on Ke’anae, you can park on the side of the road and watch the huge ocean waves crashing on the volcanic rocks. It is a breathtaking sight of the power of nature.

8. Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Food stop
  • Parking – Yes
Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread
Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread

The most famous banana bread in Maui, Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread, is located on the Ke’anae Pennisula. the bread is baked fresh daily and they close once it’s over. Pick up a loaf or two and snack on it on the Road to Hana! It’s delicious!

9. Halfway to Hana

  • Type of Stop – Optional food stop
  • Parking – Yes

Halfway to Hana is more like a milestone than a stop. Conveniently at this milestone, there is a Halfway to Hana rest stop and food stand where you can buy banana bread, shaved ice, and other snacks.

Visitors who are doing only the Halfway to Hana route can turn back at this point. Visitors going to Hana and beyond can keep going.

10. Upper Waikani Falls (3 Bears Falls)

  • Type of Stop – Waterfalls, Optional Stop
  • Parking – No

Upper Waikani Falls is a popular waterfall on the Road to Hana, also called the Three Bears Falls. When the water flow is moderate, you can see three distinct waterfalls of varying heights – tall, shorter and shortest. Thus getting its nickname. We saw a lot of people swimming below the waterfalls.

Upper Waikani Falls or Three Bear Falls on Road to Hana
Upper Waikani Falls or Three Bears Falls on Road to Hana

You can slow down on the bridge and take a good look at the falls. There is no real parking here to safely stop. Many folks park at the side of the bridge, but that is not a good idea out of consideration of traffic.

If you really want to stop, there is a small clearing for a few cars a little further down the road and you can walk back to the bridge.

11. Pua’a Kaa State Park and Puaakaa Falls

  • Type of Stop – Restrooms, waterfall, swimming hole. Optional stop
  • Parking – Yes

This is an optional stop if you need a quick photo or a restroom break. As the Road to Hana has fewer restroom stops, it’s a good idea to use the restrooms as you approach them.

A short trail from the car parking leads to the waterfalls and a swimming hole. This is a popular swimming hole for the locals of Hana.

12. Hanawi Falls

  • Type of Stop – Waterfalls, Optional Stop
  • Parking – Yes, side of the road
Hanawi Falls on Road to Hana
Hanawi Falls on Road to Hana

Hanawi Falls is a small waterfall and pool on the way to Hana. There is a small parking space for about 4-5 cars. You can make a stop to see the falls if there is parking available. Otherwise, you can take in the scenery while driving over the bridge.

13. Nahiku Marketplace

  • Type of Stop – Optional food stop, shopping
  • Parking – Yes, side of the road

Just 6 miles before Hana, Nahiku Marketplace is located at Mile Marker 29. There are several food vendors here like Nahiku Cafe, Island Style Tacos, etc. There are portable restrooms here. Stop her if you are getting hungry and cannot wait till Hana.

Avoid driving down Nahiku Road as there is nothing much different there than the main Road to Hana route, and the locals living there discourage the tourist traffic.

14. Hana Lava Tube / Lava Cave

  • Type of Stop – Lava Tube, Optional Stop.
  • Parking – Yes, per person entrance fee

Hana Lava Tube or cave is located on Ulaino Road off Hana Hwy just before reaching Hana and past Mile Marker 31. They are also known as Ka’eleku Caverns.

If you have never seen an underground lava tube before, this is a good stop to make on your Road to Hana journey if you have time. There is a cave room here that looks like molten dripping chocolate!

There are self-guided tours of the lava tube that you can take. The tour cost includes flashlights to use while in the cave. The Hana Lava tube is open 7 days a week from 10:30 AM to 4 PM. Expect to spend around 30-45 minutes here if you make a stop.

15. Waianapanapa State Park / Black Sand Beach ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Black Sand Beach, coastal trail, caves
  • Parking – Yes, Advance paid reservations are required to enter

Important: Advance paid reservations are required at Waianapanapa State Park, and same-day reservations are not allowed. You can make the reservations online at State Park’s official website. The reservations are available in 3-hour time slots. If you are unsure about when you will reach the black sand beach, you can book multiple slots for the same day to be safe.

Black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park on Road to Hana
Black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park on Road to Hana

Waianapanapa State Park is the most popular stop on the Road to Hana, and rightly so. The beautiful black sand beach and the black lava rocks are a stunning contrast against the blue ocean waters and the surrounding lush greenery.

The beach is really small and can get very crowded. We reached here towards closing time and so had the entire beach to ourselves! The black sand is actually disintegrated lava rocks after hundreds of years of erosion by the ocean waters.

There is a small lava cave here to the right of the beach which opens to the ocean. There is a spectacular rocky coastal trail to the left of the beach with great views of the ocean and lava cliffs.

Cave at Black Sand Beach
Small Lava Rock Cave at Black Sand Beach

There are picnic tables here and restrooms. There is also a campground at Waianapanapa State Park with campsites and a few cabins, reservations are booked months in advance! Believe me, I kept checking daily for months but could not get my hands on a cabin reservation!

16. Hana Town ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Food, Gas, Essentials
  • Parking – Yes, in front of shops, restaurants

Once you reach Hana, you will quickly realize that Road to Hana is really about the journey to Hana, as there is nothing much to do in Hana. It’s a small town, with food stands, a couple of grocery stores, and gas stations.

Sunrise on Road to Hana
Magical Sunrise in Hana

Hana Farms is a great place to stop for some delicious pizza that is so welcome after the long journey. Try arugula salad and pesto add-on toppings on the pizza! Delicious!

Thai food by Pranee is another great place for some hot food. There is also a small food truck area further down the road on the Hana Hwy.

Hasegawa General Store is a local supermarket to pick up some essentials for the road trip back. There is a gas station on the right to fill up gas and check tire pressure if needed.

Hasegawa General Store in Hana
Hasegawa General Store in Hana

Hana Maui Resort is a luxury hotel here with sweeping ocean views. Hana Kai is another awesome hotel with ocean views and access to a black sand beach. We stayed at Hana Kai and loved it!!

17. Koki Beach ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Red Sand Beach
  • Parking – Yes

You can reach Koki beach by taking a detour to Haneoo Rd off the Hana Hwy, past the town of Hana.

Koki beach is a good alternative to see a red sand beach on the Road to Hana, as the other red sand beach at Kaihalulu Beach is very dangerous to reach due to part of the trail being lost to a landslide.

Koki beach is a red sand beach stop on Road to Hana
Koki beach is a red sand beach on Road to Hana

At the very end of Koki beach, you can see the dramatic red rock cliff and the red sand which looks amazing against the blue waters. Parking can be tough to find here. If you do not find parking continue on the Hamoa beach.

Koki beach is not suitable for swimming due to the ocean currents. Hamoa Beach a little further down this road is a better beach for swimming.

Huli Huli Chicken is a very popular food stand next to Koki beach.

18. Hamoa Beach ⭐

  • Type of Stop – White sand beach, swimming
  • Parking – Yes
Hamoa Beach on Road to Hana
Hamoa Beach is one of the best beaches on Road to Hana

Continuing further down Haneoo Rd, you will reach the beautiful Hamoa Beach with pristine white sand! This is a great beach for swimming, snorkeling, or just a picnic in the sand. Parking can be a challenge to find here as this is the nicest beach on the eastern side of Maui.

19. Wailua Falls ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Waterfalls
  • Parking – Yes

The road past Hana and towards Oheo Gulch gets more narrow and single lane at most places and is very lush green and dense with canopy trees and hanging vines.

Wailua Falls is a beautiful waterfall located near Mile Marker 45 on Honolewa Stream. Even though you might have seen many waterfalls on your Road to Hana journey, this one is the most recommended.

Wailua Falls on Road to Hana
Wailua Falls on Road to Hana

Wailua Falls is around 80 feet high, surrounded by lush forest greenery with a nice swimming hole beneath it. There is a parking space for a few cars right after crossing the bridge. You can park and walk back to the bridge to admire the falls.

20. Oheo Gulch / Pools of Oheo / Seven Sacred Pools ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Waterfalls, pools, ocean views
  • Parking – Yes, entrance fee to Haleakala National Park

Important: Pools of Oheo are inside the Haleakala National Park and you will need to purchase an entrance permit at the gate for around $35 to access it. The good news is that the entrance fee is valid for 3 days and you can visit the Haleakala Summit for sunrise or sunset views within the next 3 days with this same permit. Save the entrance permit!

Pools of Oheo
Pools of Oheo

After the parking lot, the trail to the right of the fork goes to the Oheo Gulch. The Kuloa Point Trail is a 0.5-mile easy loop with viewpoints for the Pools of Oheo. There is another 0.3-mile Kahakai trail here with excellent coastal views.

The Kipahulu visitor center is great for information about the park and learning about the current park conditions. The parking lot is quite large and there are restrooms and benches here.

After visiting the Oheo Gulch and the Pipiwai trail, it is recommended to turn and head back to Hana, if you are staying overnight in Hana, or all the way to your origin in West or South Maui.

21. Pipiwai Bamboo Forest Trail ⭐

  • Type of Stop – Hiking, Bamboo Forest, Waterfalls
  • Parking – Yes, entrance fee to Haleakala National Park

Pipiwai Trail is inside the Haleakala National Park and the parking is the same as that for Pools of Oheo. After the parking lot, the trail to the left of the fork goes to the Pipiwai trail.

Pipiwai Bamboo Forest Trail
Pipiwai Bamboo Forest Trail

Do you have time for the Pipiwai Trail hike? – If you are on a day trip, you need to make sure you have 2 hours of daylight left to complete this trail, plus two hours of daylight to drive back to Paia. If it’s already past 2 PM, it might be wise to skip this and turn back so that you do not have to drive the Hana Hwy in the dark.

💡 Tip: If the Pipwai trail is a must-do hike on your list, plan to skip all of the optional stops before Hana and only do the must-do stops so you have enough time to finish the hike. Another alternative is to drive straight to Pipiwai trail first for the hike and do the other stops on the way back as time permits.

Pipiwai trail is the most unique and one of the best hikes in Maui. This is a moderate 4-mile out-and-back hike with quite a bit of a climb, around 650 feet elevation. The trail surface is varied and has steps, rocky paths, wooden planks, and dirt paths.

You will encounter a stunning and huge Banyan tree a little further into the hike. The Bamboo forest is halfway and is the most amazing part of this hike. This was the first bamboo forest I had ever seen and I was fascinated by it. The wind made the bamboo plants whistle and it was magical!

Waimoku falls at Pipiwai hike
Waimoku falls at Pipiwai hike

The last part of the hike takes you to stunning Waimoku falls which drops from 400 feet against a forest backdrop. The path to the base of the falls is a restricted area now, but that did not prevent hikers from going past the sign.

If it rained recently, the trail can get quite muddy and slippery. Luckily the trail was really dry when we went. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended for this hike, and flip-flops are a bad idea due to the rocky terrain.

Road to Hana itinerary for one day

If you have allotted only one day for the Road to Hana drive, it is entirely possible to see some of the best stops and enjoy the journey.

Just set your expectations that you will not be able to see all the stops listed above in one day. Pick a few that sound most appealing or are the most popular and aim to do only those.

It is very hard to find accommodations in Hana as the best ones get pre-booked months in advance. So a majority of visitors choose to do a day trip to Hana.

What time should you start for a Road to Hana day trip?

For a successful day trip to Hana, which means having enough time to see the major attractions, you will need to start very early, starting between 5 and 6 AM will be ideal.

Road to Hana itinerary to Hana and Oheo Gulch

If you want to go all the way to Oheo Gulch on your Road to Hana day trip, then you will only have time to see the most popular stops on the Road to Hana.

👉 I recommend the following stops for a day trip Road to Hana itinerary to Oheo Gulch with a start time of 6 AM from West or South Maui:

  • Grab and Go Breakfast at Paia Town
  • Hookipa Beach Lookout
  • Ke’anae Peninsula and Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread
  • Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach
  • Lunch at Hana town
  • Wailua Falls
  • Pools at Ohe’o
  • Pipiwai Bamboo Forest Trail

Depending on the amount of daylight time you have left after seeing the Pools at Oheo, you may or may not have time to do the Pipiwai Trail hike. If it is already past 2 PM, I would suggest skipping the Pipiwai hike as it takes a minimum of 2 hours.

Remember to start your return drive one hour before sunset so that you can reach back to Paia town before it gets dark.

Tip 💡: If the Pipiwai Trail is a must-do on your list, then an alternate day trip itinerary is to breeze past all the stops, and drive non-stop to Pipwai Trail first. Then visit Pools of Oheo. Later grab some lunch at Hana and relax at the Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. That way you covered the 3 main stops, and if time permits you can stop at other stops on the way back.

Single lane Road past Hana
The Road to Hana is mostly single lane road past Hana to Oheo Gulch

Road to Hana itinerary for Halfway to Hana

If you are planning to do the Road to Hana drive only Halfway to Hana, you will still get to experience the lush green Hana Highway and several stops before the halfway point including Ke’anae Peninsula. You will have more time to explore the initial stops.

👉 I recommend the following stops for Halfway to Hana itinerary:

  • Grab and Go Breakfast at Paia Town
  • Hookipa Beach Lookout
  • Twin Falls
  • Garden of Eden (You can stop here on the way back if there is time)
  • Kaumahina State Wayside Park Overlook (Restrooms here)
  • Ke’anae Arboretum (short walk to see Rainbow Eucalyptus trees up close)
  • Ke’anae Peninsula and Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread
  • Halfway to Hana Fruit Stand

Road to Hana Overnight Itinerary

If you have allotted 2 full days for the Road to Hana itinerary and were able to find accommodations for the night in Hana, then you have a lot more time to do all the best stops on Road to Hana.

This is what I did on my family trip, and we thought this was a great way to do the Road to Hana and not feel rushed or keep worrying about returning before dark.

We also were able to start a little late, around 8 AM from Kannapali, and did not have to wake up super early. We just packed an overnight bag and some snacks and were good to go.

The downside was that we were double booked in accommodations for one night, but considering this was a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list drive, it was an easy decision.

Day 1: All the stops till Hana town including Black Sand Beach

As our journey on Day 1 ended at Hana, we had a lot more time to explore each stop. We had made reservations for the last time slot for Wainapanapa State Park from 3 to 6 PM, as that was our last stop before heading to Hana Kai hotel for the night.

👉 On Day 1 of 2 day Road to Hana itinerary, I recommend making the following stops:

  • Grab and Go Breakfast at Paia Town
  • Hookipa Lookout and Hookipa beach (eat your breakfast here while enjoying the surfers in action!)
  • Twin Falls
  • Kaumahina State Wayside Park Overlook (Restrooms here)
  • Ke’anae Arboretum (short walk to see Rainbow Eucalyptus trees up close)
  • Ke’anae Peninsula and Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread
  • Halfway to Hana Fruit Stand
  • Hana lava tube
  • Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach
  • Hana town

Keep track of the time needed to reach Black Sand Beach from your current stop, as you don’t want to miss your reservation window. You can enter Waianapanapa State Park anytime during your reservation window but you have to exit at the time your reservation window ends.

If you are running out of time, skip some of the stops, as you can do them on the way back the next day!

Day 2: All the Stops after Hana Town and Pipiwai Trail hike

On Day 2 we checked out at 7 AM, had a quick breakfast at the food trucks in Hana, and drove straight to Pipiwai trail. It took us around 45 minutes from Hana. We paid the entrance fee of Haleakala National Park at the gate and were on the trail by 9 AM.

As we were so early, we had the trail to ourselves pretty much the entire way going up. Most people doing a day trip, don’t reach here this early from West or South Maui, so we enjoyed the solitude. We could hear the forest sounds, the birds, and the bamboo plants swaying. It was awesome!

After the hike, we did the small loop trail to see the Pools of Oheo. Then we did the remainder stops of Wailua Falls, Hamoa Beach, and Koki beach, and then started our journey back to our Kannapali resort.

👉 On Day 2 of Road to Hana overnight itinerary, I recommend making the following stops:

  • Breakfast at Hana Town
  • Pipiwai Bamboo Forest Trail (2 hours needed for the hike)
  • Pools at Ohe’o
  • Wailua Falls
  • Hamoa Beach
  • Koki Beach
  • Lunch at Hana Town (or at Huli Huli Chicken at Koki Beach)

Finally, after seeing and experiencing everything that was on our list, we started our drive back to Kannapali. Amazing two days on the Road to Hana, a lifetime of memories!

Road to Hana Drive or Tour?

While planning the Road to Hana drive, all travelers face this dilemma – Should you drive the Road to Hana or take a tour?

You might be better off taking a Road to Hana tour if you

  • worry about driving on extremely windy roads with blind corners and very narrow lanes
  • are prone to motion sickness
  • want to enjoy the drive and scenery and not have your eyes on the road 100% of the time
  • worry about driving in the dark on windy roads
  • worry about not being able to find parking at stops
  • worry about losing track of time and not being able to make all the stops
  • you only have one day for Road to Hana, want to see everything, and time is more important than money in this case!
Narrow roads past Hana
Narrow single-lane roads past Hanathis is for 2 way traffic!

When you do the Road to Hana with a tour, everyone in your group can enjoy the scenery and stops and you don’t have to worry about finding parking or driving in the dark.

The tour operators know this road like the back of their hand and you can get a lot more from this drive than by doing it yourselves. Taking a tour also guarantees that you will make all the stops listed in the tour and will have time for the stops.

Best Road to Hana Tours

Taking a Road to Hana tour leaves the driving to someone else so that you can enjoy your day hassle-free, and not have to worry about parking or permits. Some tour operators can even drive the backside of Hana, doing a full loop tour. Most tours offer free hotel pickup and many include lunch.

Below are some of the top quality, highly rated Road to Hana tours –

✅ My Top Pick!! – This REVERSE Hana Road Loop – Private Jeep Adventure run by a local company, comes highly rated and covers most stops Best Private Tour!

✅ This highly-rated Small-Group Road to Hana Adventure Tour does a full loop via the backside of Hana. Best value!

✅ Do Road to Hana in style with this excellent quality Small-Group Luxury Limo Tour with Helicopter Flight Reverse. Includes helicopter flight above Haleakala crater and gourmet lunch! Best Luxury tour!

Road to Hana Audio Tour Apps- Gypsy or Shaka?

There are two popular self-guided audio tours for the Road to Hana drive that plays on your mobile phone with GPS tracking – Gypsy Guide and Shaka Guide.

I purchased both Gypsy Guide and Shaka Guide’s Road to Hana tour to compare the two. As we had two days on the Road to Hana, we listened to them alternatively to see the differences and which one we liked better to recommend to our readers.

Gypsy Guide’s Road to Hana Audio tour

Gypsy’s Road to Hana tour was quite impressive. The narration was short and to the point, giving enough detail about each upcoming stop but not too much.

It was also very accurate in pointing out the turns for each stop and where to park. There was silence between narration points which was good.

On going back to Paia, the Gypsy tour played the stops in reverse order which is great in case you missed some stops earlier.

We liked Gypsy’s Road to Hana tour the best and found the narrator’s voice quite soothing.

👉 Book this Gypsy Guide audio tour that includes the entire Maui island. Drive anywhere in Maui including Road to Hana, Haleakala, and West and South Maui, and the tour will narrate the upcoming stops. Best value!

Shaka Guide’s Road to Hana Audio tour

Shaka Guide’s Road to Hana tour was also good, but somehow we found the narration a little loud for our taste. The Shaka guide was also accurate in telling us which stops are considered trespassing or are illegal to enter.

One bonus of Shaka was that it played local Hawaiian music between narration points which was soothing.

👉 Book your Shaka Guide Road to Hana Audio Driving Tour here

Where to stay on the Road to Hana

There are not a lot of accommodations on the Road to Hana. The popular ones are booked months in advance during peak season and holiday break weeks. We visited during the winter break and luckily got a last-minute accommodation at Hana Kai due to someone canceling.

Below are some accommodation options in Hana:

Hana Maui Resort is a luxury Ocean-front resort in Hana and the place to stay if you can afford it! It is after all a bucket list drive. The resort has a spa, restaurant, pool, and many outdoor activities for guests.

Hana Kai Resort
Hana Kai Resort

Hana Kai Resort is a mid-range Ocean-front resort in Hana and where we stayed. The property is next to the black sand beach at Waikaloa Bay and we saw amazing sunrise in the morning at the beach! The condo was amazing with ocean views and a full kitchen.

Heavenly Hana Paradise is a mid-range guest house with several studio rooms with private bathrooms. The location is serene in a tropical setting, and close to food options in Hana.

There are a handful of very basic cabins available at Wainapanapa State Park but they are booked months in advance. You will have to bring your own linens, towels, etc.

There are camping sites available as well at Wainapanapa State Park for online booking. But if you are a tourist in Maui, you probably will not have camping supplies. So a hotel room might be cheaper than buying all the camping gear!

Where to eat on the Road to Hana: Best food stops

There are several food stops on the Road to Hana and in Hana and beyond.

Hana Farms in Hana– This was our favorite food stop in Hana! Delicious pizza with a great selection of toppings! Everyone in our family was happy here. They also have a marketplace to shop for banana bread and gifts.

Thai Food in Hana
Thai Food in Hana

Thai food by Pranee in Hana- Great tasting fresh Thai food with fresh veggies and huge quantities. This is a food truck turned restaurant. There is seating.

Huli Huli Chicken at Koki beach – This is a very popular food option at Koki beach! If you go to Koki beach definitely try it!

Nahiku Marketplace before Hana – Located just 6 miles before Hana, Nahiku Marketplace is located at Mile Marker 29. There are several food vendors here like Nahiku Cafe, Island Style Tacos, etc. Great stop for coffee, and snacks.

Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread at Halfway to Hana – The most famous banana bread stop in Hana.

Halfway to Hana Food Stand – Quick snack shop for banana bread and shaved ice.

Vegetarian and Vegan food on the Road to Hana

Hana Farms – You could customize your pizza and make it vegetarian or vegan. The marketplace had vegan banana bread!

Thai Food by Pranee – They have some vegetarian options like spring rolls, rice dishes, veggie stir fry, etc. The sauces are pre-made but contain fish sauce. Some people in our group were vegetarians and they could not taste the fish sauce in the dishes.

Tips for driving the Road to Hana

👉 Most important tip – Driver should have eyes on the road at all times!!!

👉 On a day trip, avoid stopping at every garden, waterfall and overlook, else you will not have time left for the main stops – Black Sand Beach and Oheo Pools. You can always stop on the way back if you have daylight hours left.

👉 If you are making a day trip make sure you are back in Paia before night-time and avoid driving on Road to Hana in the dark. The turns can be hard to navigate in the dark.

👉 If you see several cars lining up behind you, pull over when you have the opportunity and let the cars pass. Many times if someone is right behind you, it might be a local and it is a good idea here to allow locals to pass. They drive on this road every day and probably do not want to go at the speed tourists go.

👉 On Single Lane bridges those who arrive first have right of way and it is not one car at a time. If there are 3-4 cars lined up on the other side, allow all of them to pass.

👉 Do not exceed the posted speed limit. Go very slow at blind turns or if the road is wet and can be slick.

👉 Completely pull out of the driving lane, whenever you decide to stop. Also, obey the no parking signs.

👉 Please do not trespass on private property to reach waterfalls, beaches, or trees.

👉 I read about a lot of car break-ins and petty theft stories when researching the Road to Hana. I booked a sedan with a closed truck to avoid dealing with broken glass. A car with a closed truck is a better option than an open Jeep or Convertible, or even an SUV so that the trunk contents are not visible. Keep all stuff out of sight, not just valuables.

Fruit Stand on Road to Hana
Fruit Stand on Road to Hana

Final Takeaways: Road to Hana itinerary covering 21 Best Stops on Road to Hana

Road to Hana drive is the most scenic and amazing experience on Maui and a bucket list item for many. Plan the perfect Road to Hana itinerary and see all the amazing best stops on the Road to Hana.

To summarize below are the possible Road to Hana Itinerary options

Road to Hana day trip to Hana and Oheo Gulch: Best to do only the main stops -Keanae Peninsula, Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach, Koki Beach, Hamoa Beach, Wailua Falls, Pipiwai Trail, Pools of Oheo

Road to Hana day trip to Halfway to Hana: Will have more time to do all the stops till Halfway to Hana, ideal for families with younger kids or who have less time.

Road to Hana overnight itinerary: Possible to do all the stops. Day 1, do all the stops till Hana town and Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach. Day 2, Do the Pipiwai bamboo forest trail first, then Pools of Oheo, Wailua Falls, Hamoa beach, Koki beach.

Best Road to Hana Tours –

✅ My Top Pick!! – This REVERSE Hana Road Loop – Private Jeep Adventure run by a local company, comes highly rated and covers most stops. Best Private Tour!

✅ This highly-rated Small-Group Road to Hana Adventure Tour does a full loop via the backside of Hana. Best value!

✅ Do Road to Hana in style with this excellent quality Small-Group Luxury Limo Tour with Helicopter Flight Reverse. Includes helicopter flight above Haleakala crater and gourmet lunch! Best Luxury tour!

Hope you have an amazing time on your Road to Hana journey!!!