10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana

There’s a reason why there are souvenir shirts being sold in Maui with the statement “I survived the Road to Hana.”  It may seem like a quick 2-hour one-way drive based on the map but the stops that you will encounter along the way as well as the countless road curves and one-lane bridges will make this road trip at least 6-12 hours long roundtrip!  It’s grueling but, I assure you, the stops make everything worth your time and energy.  We chose to do a self-drive tour of the Road to Hana so that we could stop anywhere, anytime! 🙂  Here’s a list of our 10 memorable stops on the Road to Hana drive and 5 incredible stops we would come back for.

Road to Hana is more about the journey than the destination 

Prepare yourself mentally for the long drive and plan which stops you would like to make.  Remember to take in everything you experience.  The stops may be the same but your adventure will be different than ours.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana Drive (in chronological order)

1 – Jaws Beach

If you’re doing the Road to Hana during December to March, stop by at the Jaws Beach to watch surfers riding the big waves!  During our trip, there were a lot of surfers and big waves but we only watched from the cliff.  We wanted to go in and out quickly and focus on the other stops of Road to Hana. 🙂

Tip:  Check the surf conditions to confirm that there are big waves on your drive before adding this as your stop.  You could check the Jaws surf and wave height forecast here.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Jaws Beach

2 – Twin Falls

Twin Falls is the first set of waterfalls that you will encounter on the Road to Hana.  You could also swim in the pools.  To reach the waterfalls, you have to do a small hike with slippery rocks.  If you have spare time, go past the gate for another short hike and find the other waterfalls!

Like most of the visitors, we were excited to see Twin Falls because it was the first and closest stop from the beginning of the trip.  Its close proximity and the chance to swim in the pool attract a lot of tourists so expect a big crowd.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Twin Falls

3 – Ke’anae Peninsula

At the end of the road of Ke’anae Peninsula, you will have an amazing view of the ocean with the shore made of lava rocks.  It was very relaxing as we watched the big blue waves crash against the lava rocks.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Ke’anae Peninsula

4 – Ching’s Pond

Although the waterfall at Ching’s Pond is nothing compared to the other waterfalls you will encounter in Road to Hana, I think its picturesque setting is a must-see.  There is an old bridge between the lush greenery and underneath it is a small waterfall flowing to the emerald pond.

There is a small hike from the road to get to the pond.  You could also jump and swim in the pool but there are other better swimming options as you go further on your drive!

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Ching's Pond

5 – Wailua Valley Viewpoint

Most visitors pass this because of the unpromising view from the road and the parking.  When Mr. C and I reached the top of the stairs, we had the whole view for ourselves.  For the first time in our Road to Hana drive, we were able to appreciate the beauty of Maui in peace.  It has an amazing view of the Wailua town and the ocean.

6 – Wailuaiki Falls (Hidden Waterfalls)

We were lucky to find somewhere to park along the street because this is one of our favorite stops in our Road to Hana drive!  After a short hike, you will find one waterfall after another and a pond to swim in.  The scenery is breathtaking!  In a sea of green, there are two waterfalls in the middle which are separated by a footbridge.

7 – Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach

If you haven’t seen a purely black sand beach yet, now’s your chance. 🙂  You could swim at the unique black sand beach or explore the freshwater caves, lava tube cave, and blowhole.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach Lava Cave
Lava Tube

8 – Koki Beach

Koki Beach has impressive views of the ocean, a big red rock, and the unique sand with a dark red tint.  From afar, you would see the Alau Island with coconut trees on top.   We weren’t able to swim in Koki Beach because of strong waves but the view was already worth the stop.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Koki Beach Red Rock Alau Island

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Koki Beach Red Rock Alau Island
View of Alau Island

9 – Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach is a cove and it is one of the good options for swimming on the Road to Hana drive.  If the water is calm, you could also go snorkeling.  It is pretty popular with families too!  This beach has a large sandy shore where people can bring their own beach chairs for relaxation.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Hamoa Beach-2

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Hamoa Beach-2

10 – Wailua Falls

Make a quick stop for this beautiful waterfall.  You could easily find it at the side of the road, along the bridge.  Parking is available past the bridge.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Wailua Falls Maui, Hawaii

Since Mr. C and I could only do a daytrip of Road to Hana, we still have several stops to cross off our list when we return to Maui.  If you have time to spare, make the most out of your Road to Hana experience by allotting 2 days for this trip!

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Views

5 Stops We Wish to See When We Return to Road to Hana

1.  Na’ili’ili-haele Waterfalls

It has a bamboo forest and 5 waterfalls.  They say that the first two hikes are the easier ones and getting to the succeeding waterfalls could be very challenging and dangerous.  If you are an experienced hiker or an adventure-seeker, you might want to explore the other waterfalls.  As for us, we will stick to the first two. 😉

2.  3 Bear Falls or Upper Waikani Falls

As its name suggests, this stop has 3 waterfalls with different heights.  We were only able to get a sneak peek of this gorgeous place since we couldn’t find any parking near the area.  Even the street parking was full!  If you go early, you might have the chance to secure a spot for this must-see location.

10 Memorable Stops in Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii 3 Bear Falls or Upper Waikani Falls

3.  Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach

One red sand beach is not enough.  They say that there is a natural reef at this beach which makes it perfect for snorkeling, given that it is safe to swim.  It would also be amazing to see the contrast between the red sand and rocks against the blue ocean.

4.  Pipiwai Trail

This 2-hour hiking trail is recommended for those staying at Hana overnight.  Here, you get to explore Hana’s rainforest, waterfalls, and bamboo forest!

5.  Pools of Ohe’o

Although it is famously known as the 7 Sacred Pools, it actually has more than 7 pools!

It was a big disappointment when we arrived late at the Pools of Ohe’o because it was supposed to be one of the highlights of our trip.  Since we were only doing a one-day roadtrip and we got caught by the mesmerizing beauty of the other stops, we didn’t get to explore the pools of Ohe’o.  We were quickly losing daylight and despite our effort to hike and find it, there wasn’t enough time.  We returned before we lost daylight completely.  Lesson learned, spend the night at Hana and allot 2 days for your Road to Hana drive!  They also say that it gets heavily crowded at the Pools of Ohe’o so you might want to visit before noon.

Another thing to consider is the availability of the pools.  The pools were closed for swimming during our visit.  If you plan on swimming on these pools, try to call the park first.  Depending on weather conditions, the pools might be closed for safety reasons.

Tips for your Road to Hana self-drive tour:

1.  Start as early as possible and not later than 8 am

10 Memoraable Stops in Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Mile zero mile marker

2.  Consider making it a 2-day trip and staying at Hana overnight

In case you want to hike the trails, swim in the beaches and waterfalls, and see all of the scenic stops, you have to stay at Hana overnight.  You could only do so much during daylight.  The drive back could also be dangerous without daylight because of the winding roads and lack of streetlights.



Booking.com

3.  Bring snacks, drinks, and cash

If you want to avoid unnecessary stops, bring your own snacks and drinks.  These could also come in handy in case you get hungry or thirsty along the way.  You could also buy snacks, fresh fruits and drinks along the way but they might only take cash.

10 Memorable Stops in Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Fruit Stand

4.  Fill up your tank in Pa’ia town

The next gasoline station is at Hana town, 2 hours away from Pa’ia town.

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Wailua Falls Maui, Hawaii Paia

5.  Wear hiking shoes and bring a pair of water shoes

Avoid slipping on the rocks or getting injured!  There are many hiking opportunities in Road to Hana.  In some stops, you have to do the small hikes to reach the waterfalls.

10 Memorable Stops in Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii Wailuaiki Falls Hidden Waterfalls

6.  Wear your swimsuit

Get ready to swim anytime!  The quicker you start, the more stops you will be able to see.

7.  Bring towels and changing clothes

8.  Use an insect repellant

Prevent those mosquito and insect bites!

9.  Wear sunscreen

10 Memorable Stops in Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii

10.  Watch out for flash floods

Although they close some stops due to safety reasons such as flash floods, you still have to be cautious when swimming in the waterfalls.

Map of the Road to Hana

10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana Map for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii

Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana

10 Memorable Stops in Road to Hana for A Self-Drive Tour Maui, Hawaii

Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana | Stops on the Road to Hana

Looking for more activities in Maui?  Check my posts on our kayak AND snorkel tour experience in Olowalu Turtle Garden, Maui guided tour, the evening we spent in a traditional luau, and our whale watching adventure! 🙂




11 Replies to “10 Memorable Stops on the Road to Hana”

  1. I loved driving the Road to Hana! We set out quite early as to beat the crowds. Of course we had to stop for fresh pineapple and coconut water at Twin Falls and do the hike. Since we had hiked the Kalaupapa cliffs the day before in Molokai, my feet weren’t too happy with the short and slippery hike. But I think my favorite stop was the Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach. I’d never seen a black sand beach before and exploring the caves made me feel like I was in an adventure movie.
    If I remember right, we actually downloaded an app that narrated for us along the way. I wish I could remember what it was called!

  2. This something that i definitely would like to do. I love the look of Black Sand Beach.I definitely like to do a couples of days hike. I wonder if you are able to camp along the way, The scenery looks amazing. I would love swim at all of the locations along the way. Hamoa Beavh looks great. Looks like a nice place to eat pineapple and drink coconut water!

  3. These waterfalls and beaches are just beautiful. I only made it to Oahu so far but when I see the beauty of Maui it makes me want to re-visit Hawaii to see also the other amazing places. And especially this trip seems to be a great opportunity to see so many great spots in quite a short time. For me personally the Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach look the most interesting. I think I could spend hours there in the black sand.

  4. This sounds like an amazingly scenic drive and a must do while in Hawaii. I really liked the Wailuaiki Falls photo. I think it captures the essence of the place. Your tips will certainly come in handy for anyone planning the drive.

  5. What a beautiful drive and more waterfalls on one trip than I’ve ever experienced in one drive. Since I would be stopping every two seconds, literally, I would definitely have to make this at least a weekend trip. And of course, stop at that black sand beach. I been to a lot of beaches but not one with black sand yet.

  6. Such a detailed guide! Road to Hana contains many beautiful spots, especially the Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach and Koki beach. I’d love to see those hidden waterfalls as well. I hope that I can do a similar trip one day.

  7. I loved the road to Hana! The bamboo forest was one of my favourite stops!

  8. The 2 hour becoming 12 are so justified by the pit stops. I loved each one of them.. Especially the black sand beach. I might just want to spend more time there. You are so right abt it being more Abt the journey than the destination

  9. Initially I thought it might be taking 12 hrs instead of 2 because the road conditions might be bad. I was so wrong. There are so many picturesque halts on the way that it ought to take this long. I really loved the hidden falls. Gives such a perfect view.

  10. This is the first time I am hearing about the Road to Hana and I am so grateful to read your post and comprehensive guide, Jen! I would love to stay in Hana for a while and maybe hike the Pipiwai Trail!

  11. Amazing, i had no clue about this place and now after reading your post, I would love to take this road trip, so many beautiful places and those water falls, they all make me really go crazy after them. I am sure you would have had a lot of fun

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