Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Drive The Road To Hana Like A Pro With These Must Know Tips

Jack Solomon

road to hana map in Hawaii with mile markers

Want to drive the Road to Hana in one day? You totally can and we're going to tell you how in just a second. But first, you're going to need to choose the best Road To Hana Driving route to take....

Now that you've made your decision, here are our top Road to Hana tips that will help you pack in a full day of fun on this amazing drive!

Road to Hana Shaka Guide Maui

Although the Hana Highway (State Highway 360) starts in downtown Kahului, Maui (where the airport is), the scenic portion of the highway starts as you approach Paia Town on the north shore.

From Paia to the turnaround-point on Road to Hana at Kipahulu, it’s about 2 ½ hours drive one-way, which makes it an 5-hour drive round trip! And that’s driving non-stop. With stops, you need to budget around 8-12 hours for the Road to Hana. Keep reading to know how to do it all one day.

Road to Hana Tip #1: Start Early (seriously, get out of bed early!)

Good to Know: The better stops on the Road to Hana are located towards the turnaround point at Kipahulu. Therefore, it’s important that you start your day early to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the drive and explore the wonderful stops along the way.

Rule of Thumb: Ideally, you will want to reach Paia Town by 8 a.m. That way you’ll have the good part of your day to enjoy the drive. If your hotel or condo is located in West Maui (Kaanapali, Lahaina or areas nearby), remember that it takes an hour or so to get to Paia (and you might run into some commuting traffic). So you should try to leave at least by 7 a.m. from West Maui.

Road to Hana Tip #2: Skip the So-So Stops 

Good to Know: There are so many places to stop on the Road to Hana, you just can’t do it all. Also, some of the stops on Road to Hana are either like the others down the road, or are mediocre in comparison to the really good ones.

Rule of Thumb: Plan for your trip. Know the best stops on the Road to Hana if you are visiting for the first time. To help you maximize your time and experience, take Shaka Guide's GPS driving tour that guides you to all the best stops and things to do. And remember, do NOT visit stops with no trespassing signs. You might have seen them on Instagram or in a guidebook, but they are no trespassing for a reason! 

RELATED: Road To Hana: Guide To Having An Epic Driving Tour

Road to Hana Shaka Guide MauiHawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Road to Hana Tip #3: Focus on the Whole Experience

Good to Know: You can get a taste of many Road to Hana stops without going very far. So instead of spending a lot of time at a few stops, focus your experience on what you will see and do from the entire day.

Rule of Thumb: Remember that there are a number of waterfalls, viewpoints, hikes, and beaches to do on the Road to Hana. It’s ok if you don’t do them all. And it’s ok if you only hike the first mile of the an 5-mile hike.

The point is not to conquer but to enjoy.

Road to Hana Tip #4: Avoid Driving in the Dark 

Good to Know: The Road to Hana has hundreds - literally hundreds - of twists and turns. Driving the road can be a daunting task once the sun goes down. In the winter, the sun sets at about 5:30 p.m., in the summer it's closer to 7:30 p.m. Be sure to check what time the sun sets so you can plan your visit accordingly. 

Rule of Thumb: For your safety, avoid driving in the dark on Road to Hana. Ever ride on a roller coaster in the dark? The experience is comparable, except you are driving the roller coaster this time! To avoid driving in the dark, try to leave Kipahulu by at least 4pm. This way, you can enjoy a relaxing return drive, with the possibility of stopping at a few places that you might have missed earlier.

Road to Hana Tip #5: Be Respectful 

Good to Know: Hana and the surrounding comminunities are home to thousands of residents who must drive this road everyday. You might be on vacation, but their daily lives are greatly impacted by tourism. 

Rule of Thumb: Please be respectful by letting locals pass on the road, picking up your trash, and sticking to sanctioned spots only. 

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RELATED: 10 Ways to Be a Safe and Responsible Traveler in Hawaii

Shaka Guide has three Road to Hana driving tours. Download our Maui app to explore the Road to Hana on your own terms. 


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