Road trips are a great way to see the United States, with varied terrain that offers mountains, beaches, country roads, and deserts. Outside the lower 48, Maui’s Hana Highway is probably one of the country’s most famous and stunning road trips and it offers a variety of stops along the way.
On the Edge of Heaven and Earth
Sometimes the word ‘road trip’ conjures images of a flat road driving through miles of farmland with field after field of corn ready to put you to sleep.
Hana Highway offers canyon switchbacks and one lane curves that carry you past azure waters with picturesque swimming bays, magnificent waterfalls and lagoons.
Along with stunning sea views, drivers will enjoy the pristine beauty of grand cliffs that make you feel like you’re driving on the edge between heaven and earth.
Things to See and Do Along the Way
For a Hana Highway road trip, plan to pack your hiking shoes, some rain gear, and be sure to take your time. Along with hairpin turns, 53 single-lane bridges, there are plenty of stops along the way for you stretch your legs and take in the rich tropical landscape.
The following list includes some favorites:
- Twin Falls (mile marker 2)
- Hookipa (mile marker 9)
- Waikamoi Ridge Trail (mile marker 9.5)
- Garden of Eden (mile marker 10)
- Kaumahina State Wayside Park (Between mile markers 12 and 13)
- Honomanu Bay (mile marker 14)
- Ke-anae Peninsula and Arboretum (mile marker 16)
- Halfway to Hana (mile marker 17.5)
- Wailua Valley State Wayside (mile marker 18)
- Upper Waikani Falls (mile marker 19)
- Pua’a Ka’a Park and Falls (mile marker 22.5)
- Hanawai Falls (mile marker 24)
- Nahiku Market Place (mile marker 29)
- Hana Lava Tube (mile marker 31)
- Wai’anapanapa State Park (mile marker 32)
- Pa’iloa Black Sand Beach (in Wai’anapanapa State Park)
- Hana Town, Bay and Ka’uiki Hill (mile marker 34)
- Ravaasa Resort (mile marker 34)
- Palapala Ho’omau Church (mile marker 41)
- Hamoa Beach (mile marker 50)
The name Wai’anapanapa means “glistening water” and the Wai’anapanapa State Park is located right off Hana Highway. Here you’ll find the black sands of Pa’iloa Beach.
This must-see Maui beach offers an unparalleled photo opportunity nestled between black lava cliffs and surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.
While this is a beautiful setting, it is important to note that swimming is only possible here when the water is calm. If the surf is up, visitors can use their time to explore two spring-fed sea caves while they are there.
Camping is allowed at Wai-anapanapa State Park, however a permit is required. For more information be sure to visit their website. If you prefer a comfortable bed, the Ravaasa Resort is the perfect place to spend the night.
Photo credits: Maui Hi