Favorite Road to Hana Activities

A favorite activity of many on Maui is a visit to Hana. The Road to Hana begins in Kahului, quite near the airport. It is highly recommended that you get the CD On The Road Again which is a Road to Hana audio tour. We generally leave one in the cabinet under the main TV, just please be sure to return it for us by other guests. Taking the trip to Hana is an all day event and you will want to be on the road no later than 9:00am, though many leave by 7:00am. The length of the trip is determined by the number of stops you decide to take.

Lots of people who drive the Hana Highway like to stop at Mama's Fish House for dinner on the way home. If this is your plan, make reservations a week in advance, as this is a very popular restaurant, and a bit expensive, but just completely excellent all the way around.

As you settle in for your drive on the Hana Highway, you pretty quickly come upon Pa'ia. While you will not have a great deal of time to explore, do take some mental notes as Pa'ia is worth a more in depth visit on another day. Mana Foods is an excellent place to stop up on top notch groceries for the Penthouse. This time, you may elect to purchase some food for later, though we always wait to get fish tacos at a roadside stand as you near Hana.

As you listen to the CD, you will hear about many places to stop, I will just discuss our usual stops as we drive the highway either with guests that are visiting, or just because it was time! Our first stop is usually Twin Falls. There are trails back along the river and to some nice waterfalls. Behind one of the falls you can walk into a shallow cave. Many people like to get in, so bring a swimsuit. Whether you plan to get wet or not, reef shoes make this journey much easier. There are always a fair number of people, but not so many that it feels crowded. There is also a nice refreshment stand at the highway.

A bit further along, we like to veer off onto the Kweanae Penninsula. You will have to watch for an interesting left turn off of Hana Highway onto the Keanae Peninsula Road. Drive down to the end of this road to a nice rocky beach with a beautiful view. Take a moment to walk along the rocks and check out the tide pools as there are almost always some interesting creatures lurking there, but be careful, you can get splashed.

Now the drive gets really interesting. There really are hundreds of curves and bridges. Many of the bridges are single lange, so you have to watch the other side to determine if it is safe to proceed, or if you should wait for the bridge to clear. It isn't dangerous if you just take your time. Also, as the rest of the road is narrow two lane, if someone behind you wants to go faster, do not feel bad about pulling over and letting them by. It happens all the time. Hopefully ify you run up on someone, they will return the favor.

By now, we are usually getting hungry and are about to decide that Hana has magically moved, and, just then, voila. The roadside fish taco stand comes into sight. This used to be just a bamboo hut covered with a tarp, but last time we were they they had built it up with a real cafe on one end, a gift shop, the fabled fish taco stand (also a great place to try breadfruit, which my wife loves), and another stand that is difficult to describe. Mostly handiworks, but they also sell flavored coconut. Buy a bag and enjoy as you get hungry later in the day.

Next, we generally drive on in to Hana, taking the first left as we enter town, which takes you down to the water's edge and Hana Beach Park. You will veer left onto Uakea Rd (Hwy 360). We like to take a few minutes to walk around the park, always filled with locals, and have some ice cream. The haupia (coconut) ice cream is excellent. By the way, some people wonder if they should continue on around the island to return to Lahaina......

When we asked at the ice cream shop above, the answer was that it was all paved, and a nice drive. Well, let me tell you that less than one year ago, it was not all paved, much of it was a one way road with intermittent oncoming traffic, and took much more time than going back on the Hana Highway. At one point, we had to back up on that one way gravel road about 1,000 feet when we met a truck pulling a trailer. Not recommended!

Another place in Hana that we find interesting is the Hasegawa General Store. This is just a little further through town on the Hana Highway. Hasegawa Store is interesting in the choice of provisions, and a great place to grab a soda or snack for the return trip.

There are a couple of things that we have done which are past Hana, and worth adding a little more to the day. First, and we do this every time we go to Hana, continue on the Hana Highway past the town and then take a left onto Haneoo Road. This takes you to Koki Beach Park, which will be on the left. As you drive along, there is a big ranch on the right. When you get the park, visit the beach. Much of the sand is red, and it only takes a minute to figure out why as there are large red cliffs around the bend of the beach to the left. This is really a cool place with nice surf, and the occasional local surfer.

The other place we have visited is the grave of Charles Lindbergh, which is at Palapalo Ho'omau Church Cemetery. ,It's a bit further along, but certainly worth the visit if you have a history buff in your group. To get there, you will turn right on a small dirt road just past mile marker #41.

On the return trip, just after you leave Hana is Waianapanapa State Park. This is a must see. In one area, you can go thru a cave and come out on a black sand beach. In another area, you can walk out on an old lava flow where the surf often pops up from below through the holes. There are also old lava tubes left behind from a subterrainian lava flow. This is a great place to stretch your legs and explore.

At this point, we generally settle in for the great twisty ride back through the jungle. We always make one more stop before we get to Pa'ia, and that is at Hookipa Park. From your vantage point after you park, you'll likely see surfers on the huge waves. Often there are some great sunset pictures available from here as well.

For us, this wraps up a pretty usual trip to Hana for us. There are lots of other stops we make for photos, as well as other attractions that you may choose to investigate. Remember, the biggest part of the Road to Hana is the journey, not the destination. Hana is a very nice place, but this is more about getting there. The most important thing is to HAVE FUN!!!

They Say ...

What a wonderful break for us from cold, gloomy Illinois! The condo is amazing - had everything we needed. We loved the location and spent many hours gazing at the water! Mahalo!

Suzan & Doug
Penthouse 5

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