Hawaii Travel United States

7 TIPS FOR DRIVING THE ROAD TO HANA

Seven Sacred Pools Ohe'o Maui

Aloha! Against my better judgment, I’m starting my second Hawaii post with “Aloha!” 🤣.  One of the main reasons Paul and I chose Maui for our Hawaii trip, was to drive the famed Road to Hana (RtH).

The Hana Highway is a 64 mile “highway” that connects Kahului to the small town of Hana. I said “highway” because its a narrow, winding, 2-lane road with over 600 hairpin turns and 59 one-way bridges. If you Google the Road to Hana, you’ll find endless blogs with loads of information. I’m switching it up a bit and sharing my quick top 7 tips for driving the RtH.

Road to Hana ocean views

7 TIPS FOR DRIVING THE ROAD TO HANA

  1. Leave early
  2. Bring snacks
  3. Watch the mile markers
  4. Visiting Ohe’o & the Seven Sacred Pools costs money
  5. Drive the ENTIRE island
  6. Bring a swimsuit & towel
  7. Allocate a minimum of 10 hours for the drive

LEAVE EARLY

Plan to be outside of Paia by 7am. If you want to avoid traffic and crowds of people at the stops, make sure to get up early and beat the tourists! The road is notoriously narrow and winding. Trust me when I say, you do NOT want to be stuck behind a ton of cars.

BRING SNACKS

Pack snacks! Especially if you’re following tip#1 and leaving early. While there are limited places to stop along the Road to Hana, the ones that are available are not open early. I suggest grabbing coffee, bottled water and some chips, pretzels or popcorn and something sweet!

Road to Hana Cafe

WATCH THE MILE MARKERS

The Road to Hana mileage begins just after mile 16 outside of Paia. Meaning, it starts back over at 1. PRO TIP: Set your odometer when the Road to Hana markers start over, incase you miss the mile marker signs. Between focusing on driving and the overgrown vegetation, its easy to miss a marker. This way, you won’t drive past any of your top stops!

Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe'o Maui

VISITING OHE’O & THE SEVEN SACRED POOLS COSTS MONEY

Plan to spend money if you want to swim at the Seven Sacred Pools (SSP). We read so many blogs and had so many people tell us to stop at Ohe’o, but not ONE of them mentioned the $25 car fee! No big deal because they do take credit cards, but it would have been nice to know ahead of time!

The swimming “pools” at the SSP are covered in incredibly sharp and slippery rocks. It may not sound bad, but even with water shoes, it’s hard to balance. We slipped a couple of times and banged our knees into sharp rocks. I recommend bringing water shoes if you are planning to swim here.

DRIVE THE ENTIRE ISLAND

You may think the Road to Hana ends in Hana. But there’s so much more to see if you keep going. Yes, Ohe’o/SSP is past Hana, but that’s where the majority of people turn around.

Road to Hana Ocean Jeep

Do yourself a favor and drive around the entire loop instead of turning back the way you came. Just pass Ohe’o is where the fun really starts! There is very little traffic on this side of the island and the views are incredible!

BRING A SWIMSUIT & TOWEL

This probably goes without saying, but bring a swimsuit and a towel. There are a ton of spots to pop out and swim! Always obey posted signs and if there is any chance of rain, do not go in the water. Flash flooding can happen quickly and without warning.

Swimming in Wailua Falls Wailua Falls Maui

ALLOCATE A MINIMUM OF 10 HOURS

Plan to spend a MINIMUM of 10 hours on this journey. There are plenty of people who take multiple days to do the Road to Hana, but for some people that’s just not possible. No matter how quickly you plan to do it, allow yourself 10 hours. The roads are very narrow and its impossible to go much over 15mph for most of the drive. Keep yourself and others safe, and give yourself the whole day!

Road to Hana sign gravel one-lane road along the ocean beach, palm trees, ocean Road to Hana

If you’re heading to Kauai, you can find my guide here. I’ll be back next week with my full guide to Maui.

Tips for Driving the Road to Hana

Why not PIN for later?

What are you favorite stops along the Road to Hana?

 

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