The Road To Hana provides a taste of old Hawaii, with unspoiled, beautiful water views along the way, waterfall hikes and fruit stands. Hana is a small town on the East coast of Maui that can be accessed by car on a long, windy road. I’ve been to Maui eight times over the past 30 years (including my honeymoon), but this is the first time I’ve been to Hana.
Each time our family has gone to Maui, the thought of driving close to 3 hours on a windy road to a remote part of the island was enough to sink the idea. However, this year, I was determined to see a different part of the island. My boys are also older now and were up for a new adventure (my boys would not have enjoyed this trip when they were younger). We always stay in either Wailea or Lahaina/Kaanapali, or a combination of both. These towns have beautiful beaches but the area is jam packed with hotels and restaurants, and tons of people.
Hana, on the other hand, has just one hotel, with no TV’s in the rooms and no air conditioning (we haven’t stayed here yet, but did stop by on the way back to Wailea). The drive to Hana from Wailea is close to 3 hours but, with all the stops along the way, our day was 9-10 hours. We went on a tour with Holo Holo Maui so we didn’t have to drive. The road to Hana has also been called “the road to divorce” and I can see why. It is definitely not a relaxing drive for the driver who has to maneuver around sharp curves, narrow roads, and figure out where to stop along the way. I was concerned about my youngest son who gets motion sickness, but he didn’t have any trouble, which I attribute to our experienced Hana driver who knew how to cut sharp corners and make the ride smoother.
Not only was our driver an experienced “road to Hana driver,” but she also knew where to stop where there were fewer tourists, including a lava tube on the side of the road that we crawled through.
The road to Hana has incredible plus landscape views,
waterfalls that you can hike up and jump into (our tour guide took the boys up to a second waterfall that other tour groups did not climb up to; Note: the hike up the waterfall was not an easy one – slippery rocks and an uneven climb up)
lava tubes you can crawl through (our guide gave us headlamps so we could crawl through without hitting our heads), unspoiled beaches (including black sand and red sand beaches),
as well as fruit stands along the way. Many of the fruit stands are unmanned and work based on the honor system, with just a container for customers to leave money in for their purchases.
There are also a few food trucks as you approach Hana. We stopped at Da Fish Shack for lunch to sample some fresh local fish caught that morning.
There is also Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread stand (delivering hot-from-the-oven dense mini loaves of banana bread). There are many banana bread stands, but our tour guide said Aunty Sandy’s is the best.
And, our final stop was Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream (made with organic coconut milk), the perfect way to end our trip. I am so glad I finally made the trip to Hana. It was one of the boys’ favorite excursions during our vacation in Maui. I highly recommend taking a tour so you can enjoy the views and won’t have to worry about where to stop along the way to climb the waterfalls, see the black beach, and crawl through a lava tube.
Have you taken the Road to Hana? If so, what was your experience? I’d love to hear.
Note: We flew directly to Maui from Portland, Oregon, which was about 5 1/2 hours. It was a great way to break up our trip, which originated in NYC. Read highlights from my Oregon Road Trip.