While Oahu gets the most tourists every year, falling in a close second is the island of Maui. So it’s also fitting that Maui is the second-largest island in the chain. Maui is an excellent blend of natural spaces and modern city living, making it a haven for tourists who want to avoid crowds and massive hotel chains.
There are many things to do on Maui, but one of the most memorable is the Road to Hana. While most roads simply get you from point A to point B, the Hana Highway turns the trip into a one-of-a-kind adventure.
A big reason why this highway is so memorable is that it follows the island’s coastline. Since Maui isn’t a major urban center, the road isn’t built for heavy traffic. Here are some stats to help you get a sense of what it’s like:
617 hairpin turns keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
Fifty-nine one-lane bridges allow you to play a game of chicken every few miles or so. When you stop, you’ll even see real wild chickens out and about.
Twenty-five miles per hour is the average speed limit. The distance is only 52 miles, so even if you’re the only car on the road, it’ll take over two hours to reach the city.
However, the goal isn’t necessarily to reach Hana. Yes, you’ll make it there, but you’ll also find plenty of gorgeous spots to stop at along the way. In this instance, it really is about the journey, not the destination. Some notable stopping points on the route include:
Waianapanapa State Park – This park is a perfect encapsulation of what makes Maui so great. The black sand beach does get pretty hot during the day, so be sure to wear foot protection when you’re not in the water.
Waterfalls – There are multiple waterfall sites, and some are more secluded than others. It’s almost impossible to hit them all, so you’ll have to pick and choose. You can either stop where everyone else does, or you can try to find a fall that isn’t crawling with people.
Fruit Stands – While you’re in Maui, you have to sample some fresh, locally grown pineapple. It’s guaranteed to make anything you find on the mainland seem sour by comparison.
Kahului is the best place to start and end your journey. It’s located in the center of the island, where the two sides of Maui meet.
-While you can drive the Hana Highway yourself, you’ll miss a lot of the history and background of the various sites along the way. If you have the time, we recommend taking an official tour, then driving the road yourself and spending more time at the locations you appreciated the most.
-Another issue with driving yourself on the road to Hana is that it gets pretty narrow in spots, and there are lots of tight corners and curves. Make sure that you’re always paying attention, and never pull off where it’s unsafe. Tour shuttles go through there all the time, and they need extra clearance.
-Finally, plan on spending most of the day on this journey. With so many twists, turns, and one-lane sections, you’ll be lucky to complete the trip in four hours, assuming that you make a few stops on the way. However, if you’re not stopping on the road to Hana, why are you going?