ROAD TO HANA
The Road to Hana is a well-known 64-mile stretch of highway in east Maui, known for its breath taking beauty. There are many articles about its dangerous windy roads, narrow one-lane bridges, and blind turns. The warnings were so severe I found myself questioning whether or not it was worth the trip. We made the journey, obviously, so I wanted to take some time and tell you about The Road to Hana, what was helpful and what we wish we had known. I’ll throw in a packing list of things we used or I wish we had at the end, if you’ve been, feel free to comment supplies you wish you had or were glad you brought along!
First off we went the end of January, so regarding weather and attire I’m sure that varies depending on the season, although it does rain almost every day so you can pretty much count on that.
Everything I read online said to map out your trip, you loose reception pretty quickly into the drive. This is true and although mapping it out would probably work, you will miss a ton of the attractions, I can almost guarantee that. There are very few signs we would have never found some of the most amazing spots if we had only relied on a map. I Highly suggest using the app Shaka Maui. It was about $5 but made the road to Hana a seamless fun experience for us! It works offline so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing. Throughout the journey we could see every stop option, see which was people’s favorite, and then decide whether or not we wanted to stop. Our Road to Hana experience would have been wildly different without this app, this is not sponsored or anything it was honestly just so helpful.
If possible use a small car. The roads are pretty narrow, so cruising the windy road in a compact vehicle is ideal. Note, most care rental services wont come get you if your car breaks down on the Road to Hana. There are call boxes frequently as well as many tourist whom I’m sure would drive you to a call box for a tow truck. I also read everywhere to fill up before Paia (the last town before The Road to Hana) because it’s way more expensive. That’s not true at all, we filled up in Kihei and it was 3 cents cheaper.
Bring cash! There are some fun little fruit stands and food truck styled places on the road and they pretty much all only take cash! One of our favorite stops was Glenn’s Coconut Ice cream stand and it was some pretty amazing vegan ice cream!
Depending on weather some of the waterfalls may be closed. When there is a large amount of rain there are flash floods, making it impossible to cross small creeks to get to some of the waterfalls. Check online before heading out to see if any of the ones you want to go to be closed. Especially the Seven Scared Pools, since that is an extra couple hours tacked onto your trip and would be a shame to drive the extra way if its closed.
WHAT I WISH WE’D KNOWN
Honestly the roads are not that bad! Maybe I am just accustom to the small, windy mountain roads in Idaho, but if you have a small car and take it slow you will be all good! We almost didn’t go because of how all the insane warnings, in my opinion there were total overkill. Don’t get me wrong there are some crazy bends, and when a massive van is in oncoming traffic it’s a bit tight, but its totally doable, just drive at a speed that you feel safe at and pull over to let others pass (especially the locals).
It was so incredibly muddy when we went like huge puddles of mud blocking paths, so I do wish I had dressed a bit differently for our adventure! Wear some sort of water shoes like Chacos or Tevas, maybe even short rain boots. It rains just about everyday there, which is why it is so lush so be prepared for some rain. Even with the rain it was still warm so shorts or a dress is perfect, just throw your rain jacket in the car. With all that mud its super hard to keep your car clean, I do wish we had brought some trash bags to place on the floor mats, as well as baby wipes for easier clean ups!
OVERALL THOUGHTS / FAVORITES
The Road to Hanna is definitely worth the trip! It is a lot of driving but the views are some of the most breathtaking I’ve seen. If you are up for a little adventure and have an entire day to spare this is a great activity while in Maui!
Rachel and I both agree that the Red Sand Beach was our favorite stop on the trip! The one we went to is in the town of Hana and is just a small hike. When you walk up to see the beach and the water it is just a “wow” moment. The water is a crystal turquoise blue and the sand is a dark maroon color. A strange color combination to run across in nature is part of the reason it is so special! This is a great place to swim and just hang out for a bit. We both got a few cuts from the volcanic rocks here, so leave your shoes on if possible.
If you want to be able to see most of the sites on the Road to Hana you are going to have to leave early! I started the road around 9:15am and we were able to see just about everything that was on our list but id suggest starting around 7am if possible.
- Pre downloaded Shaka Maui app
- Rain Jacket
- Shoes for muddy/wet condition (Chakos, tivas, or short rain boots)
- Band Aids
- Car charger
- Sun screen
- Bug Spray
- Small backpack or fanny pack (for phone, keys, a water bottle)
- Baby wipes
- Garbage bags for floor mat