You have heard about the Road to Hana, a scenic byways tour of some of Maui’s prettiest landscapes. But while the journey is quite wonderful, so too is that final destination. The peaceful town of Hana hugs the island’s eastern coastline and much of the area remains unspoiled by big developments. The Hana Bay Beach Park is a gorgeous waterfront park in this town and an excellent place to make your beachfront destination.
Hana Bay Beach Park is a centrally located county park that is very popular with the locals, serving as something of a town square or town center. It is rare to come here and find this place empty. As such, all Maui travelers should be mindful of the community at large when they visit this beach; don’t come expecting resort amenities or a private escape. But do come expecting friendly locals, easy beach access, good amenities, and a wonderful waterfront vista.
The sands at Hana Bay Beach Park are black and brown because they have been sourced from eroded lava rocks. Rocks that were once steaming plasma slipping down from Haleakala or from nearby volcano vents. That lava cooled to become rocks and those rocks became rinded down over the course of eons until becoming the fine-grained sand that everyone can enjoy today.
Parking for Hana Bay Beach Park is right in front of the beach itself, so you won’t have to lug your beach gear and picnicking items far. You will see parking areas both on your left and your right as you drive down Keawa Pl. The first spots on your left tend to be the most convenient, with a couple of picnic tables just in front. Further down, you will see a row of outrigger canoes that the local club frequently uses during the summer for practice and fun.
Go further down and on the right, you will see a long building with the name, Helene Hall. Helene Hall is Hana’s community center, and it is also where you will find general park amenities. Here, there is a bathroom and several showers. This public building is also where the village itself holds various community events throughout the year. For example, the big Taro Festival happening every March is held here while in April, the Canoe Regatta traditionally hosts the official opening of the island’s Canoe Season in the hall and throughout the Hana Bay Beach Park.
A large pier juts out at the very end of the road that cuts between the park and the hall. This pier and the jetty that marks the right side of Hana Bay help to shelter the park’s waters from high surf. However, while the waters at Hana Bay Park are going to be the calmest on this part of the island, the currents can still get dangerous. Unfortunately, there is no posted lifeguard here. So swimmers and snorkelers should always be aware of their surroundings, ask a local if you are unsure about the present conditions, and stay close to shore whenever in doubt.
-There’s a small sandwich shop nearby called, “Tutu’s Snack Shop” on the road just before Hana Beach Park. This is a perfect place to grab a sandwich and other snacks to enjoy at the beach, plus they have their own restroom for patrons.
-If you are in the mood for a short hike, there’s a pretty wonderful one just off the beach here. Walk to where the pier juts out over the bay and you should see a small trail cut out of the brush, leading up and around a large hill. This trail will lead you over the hill where you can get some pretty incredible views of the Hana coastline and the waves crashing against ancient lava coastlines. There’s even a small side trail leading down to Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, a small and very secluded beach boasting rust-colored sands (beautiful to experience but rough waves make swimming here dangerous). Some would say, however, that the best views are those you get when you head back on the trail and get to glimpse the village of Hana under the shadow of Haleakala.