During my winter break for school, my mom and I were lucky enough to visit Maui, Hawaii! Although we have been to Maui before, we wanted to do something adventurous that we hadn’t done before – which included the infamous Road to Hana!
Honestly, if you do a quick Google search, the Road to Hana looks absolutely terrifying, impossible to navigate, and stress-inducing in figuring out which stops to look at. Being the big planner I am, I scoured several blogs in order to figure out the best stops. Every blog recommended different stops, and to be honest – it stressed me out. The best piece of advice I came across was download the “Road to Hana Maui GyPSy Guide” on the iTunes App Store. With this thing, there’s absolutely no planning necessary. The narrator tells you exactly which stops are “must-sees” and which ones are worth skipping over. Tired of researching, I left everything up to the app and couldn’t have been more happy with my choice.
Don’t be fooled – the drive is very tiring if you do the whole thing. But you will be very happy if you get up early (think 6am!) and are able to complete it! The roads are very narrow and there are lots of locals who will want to speed around you, but I didn’t think it was bad as some of the blogs and reviews made it out to be. If you take it slow and don’t mind being passed by locals, you will be fine!
The Keanae Arboretum was one of our first stops, mostly because we missed the first few and wanted to get a feel for the road first. This was one of the “must-do” stops. Here, parking is a little more plentiful and it’s a nice walk to stretch your legs. There are some really cool plants – a personal favorite of mine was the rainbow eucalyptus!
Wai’anapanapa State Park
My absolute favorite stop along the Road to Hana! Honestly, we could’ve spent all day here. There are tons of walking trails and the scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Highlights here included the gorgeous black sand beach and some awesome lookout points. Bring your swimsuit!
The Keanae Peninsula was also another awesome stop – and we almost missed it! The turn off for this one is right after the Arboretum, which we didn’t realize until we had already passed it. Keanae is a traditional Hawaiian village that has a few scattered homes, a baseball field, a bomb banana bread shop, and a very cool old church and cemetery (pictured above). There are awesome views to be had nearly everywhere you look!
Aunty Sandy’s – get the banana bread, you won’t regret it!
Another thing I realized during this journey was to be open to nearly everything! Don’t go in with a set plan and number of stops, because that will surely change! If you see a ton of cars pulled over on the side of the road, pull over and see what they’re looking at – it won’t hurt. We discovered an awesome swimming hole and waterfall this way.
Remember that the whole drive is about the journey not the destination! The town of Hana isn’t really much – but the sights along the way are much better! The diversity of landscapes along the 64-mile stretch is incredible and not something you’ll see in the mainland US! At times it felt like we were in Jurassic Park or on some Caribbean island.
Have fun, bring a swimsuit, and take lots of pictures! Oh, and buy the banana bread! 🙂