Road to Hana

Headed to Maui in a couple weeks with the family (kids are 6 and 8). Road to Hana is on the agenda, but curious what the can’t-miss stops are on the route. Don’t think we will keep the kids’ attention long enough to hit all the spots, so looking for a few to prioritize into the day.


Mama’s Fish House and Seven Sacred Falls and Ohe’o Gulch are what I most remember–but it’s been about 15 years.

it’s VERY twisty and windy, so people may get car sick… also if you can, continue driving through the backside back to town… (so u don’t go back through the windy section)… the backside is gorgeous… altho the road gets a bit questionable.

Was reading about this, but apparently the rental car companies prohibit driving on the back roads? I rented a Wrangler so not really worried about unpaved roads

Most do prohibit and if you do you invalidate your rental agreement. Having said that many do it anyway.

Paia Fish Market is a good alternative to Mama’s if you are interested in something a lot more casual (and inexpensive)

Yah. We drove a van and it was no problem. But what Joe said :slight_smile:.

Only a small stretch of bumpy road and then mostly paved or very even dirt roads. No problems at all unless there are flooding. Views are beautiful. More so than the road to hana itself I think.

I found the time commitment of driving it to not be worth the payoff. We also did the Pipiwai trail hike at the end. It was nice, but not worth the 7 hour round trip drive.

David…It is a long drive…we did it as newlyweds…with young kids I would have something to keep them occupied. As others have mentioned, the pace of the drive is slow…several narrow spots where you need to let someone from the other direction go before you can proceed.

Lindbergh’s grave is another stopping point.

You should stop when you see cars parked along the road. They are usually on an adventure. (There is a tape or audio accompaniment to the drive), key spots I enjoyed were the bamboo forest hike, the various beaches red sand, black sand, didn’t get to the lava hole, but it sounded neat. There are also mango and pineapple fruit stands that are pretty good. Make sure you have the right shoes if you go hiking. It can get slippery near the streams that run through the hike.

Somewhere on the road to Hana there is a turnout where you park and walk east on a path to take pictures of the jungle/valley whose name I can’t remember. Don’t let anybody walk south of the trail where they hear a water fall and walk the path along the water. It’s beautiful but in at least 10 of the 16 photos Carrie took you can see part or all of the corrugated metal drain pipe sticking out of the hillside about 12 feet above the water.

Do not leave ANYTHING in your parked car along that route unless you want it stolen. Look for a place to rent for an evening and spend the night in Hana. Makes for a more pleasant trip.
When in Hana proper go to Red Sands Beach, hidden access at the end of Uakea Rd (from Highway take Haouli Rd to Uakea and turn right.) on the left past the sign that reads “Stop, Go Back.”
But alas, you’ll have your children with you so maybe not.
Just South of Hana stop at Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill. Don’t blink, you’ll miss it. The guy grills in his front yard and you eat at folding tables. Way laid back, The kids will love it. Worth it.
Further South are the Seven Sacred Pools, park at the Kipahulu visitor Center and take the trail.

Many of the Bridges along the highway will feature waterfalls to the hill side of the bridge. Good places to stop for pics or take a dip in the pools at the base of the falls. All it takes is a few stops along the way to make you wish you could spend the night before returning. Look into it.

If you can time it to be in Pa’ia at sunset, it can be awesome.

The rainbow eucalyptus are incredible, Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill is a must, Hamoa Beach, and waterfalls galore along the way. We had a guide for our family of 6 which took the driving out of the picture and we went all the way around. It is a long day and once is certainly enough.

I’d pass on Mama’s Fish House - great fish but too expensive especially when we get the freshest of fish at Eskimo Candy and grill it ourselves. Paia Pizza is a low key stop with some really good pizza.

We decided the take the drive up to Halekala instead because of the time commitment to Hana. Really enjoyed it. Road is twisty and curvy and you have to watch the altitude for us flat landers but it was really cool. Our kids loved it. They were 9 and 13


George - did you do sunrise/sunset or just go in the middle of the day? What all is there to do once you get to the top?

Top of Haleakala will be cold…yes down jacket cold, at 10,000 ft elevation. Fun drive, amazing scenery. Just did it last week.

Re road to Hana…it can be brutal esp w little kids. If you go West, instead of East to Hana, there is an excellent short hike called Makamakaole creek that takes you across a river few times and their bamboo forest. Really really cool.

Consider The Mill House for dinner. Super cool plantation, excellent setting and great food.

You’ll be fine with a jeep. I took a Ford Mustang all the way around in 2017 for our honeymoon. Backside is amazing. Still dream about it.

The trip is easily an all day event. Set an itinerary and stick to it. There’s so much to see that you can get caught up and not see what you want. Like us!

Mama’s is amazing. One of the best meals of my life. That Bouillabaisse. My gawd…

We just went up late morning. The traffic can get pretty bad around sunset/sunrise. Driving up in the dark could be interesting.

We just spent most of the time walking around different “climates” as you go up in altitude. The views are fabulous. At or near the summit there is a museum of sorts. At the top it is an amazing contrast feels like you are on a different planet and obviously spectacular views. We probably spent less than an hour as it is pretty high. Haleakalā National Park (U.S. National Park Service)


This was my take on it as well, especially after coming from a week in Kauai which I thought was way more naturally beautiful than R2H.