Road To Hana Checklist – 11 Things To Know Before You Go
Driving the Road to Hana is full of breathtaking scenery and is one of the most popular tourist activities in all of Hawai’i!
This remote Hawaiian community is located on the east side of Maui and is generally what you think of when you imagine Hawaii. Lush rainforests, dramatic seascapes, coastlines of lava rock, empty beaches, and slow living.
If you don’t stop along the way it takes approximately two hours from Kahului to reach Hana town. However, you will more than likely want to make stops along the way as the Road to Hana is itself an incredible experience offering many roadside viewpoints, waterfalls, and picnic areas to stop and enjoy the scenery.
The climate in Hana changes frequently between Warm and Sunny and Windy and Rainy and it is the wettest side of the island.
Most people go to Hana for a day trip and try to get in a collection of stops along the way. However, if you want to spend more time doing hikes and visiting waterfalls, you might want to consider staying a night (or a few nights) in Hana which will allow you to fully experience life in one of Hawaii’s most remote towns and enjoy being surrounded by its natural beauty, pristine coastline, and rainforest.
Pre-planning a few details will help you make the most of your trip to Hana.
To help you prepare, we put together a list of 11 things you should know before you go.
✅ 1- Plan To Be Gone All Day: Plan to leave early and be gone ALL day. The Road to Hana is a full-day trip. We always recommend the earlier the better to get on the road before the tour buses.
✅ 2- Decide Which Way You Are Driving: Look at a map and decide which way you will drive (in and out the north shore, or all the way around the backside coming back around upcountry). If you decide to drive the back way make sure to double-check that the road is open as sometimes there are road closures.
✅ 3- Pick Your Destinations In Advance: Coordinate in advance what things you may want to see and activities you may want to do along the way. Some places (like Wainapanapa State Park) now require reservations that can be made in advance online.
✅ 4. Fill Up With Gas Before You Go: We recommend stopping in Paia on the north shore on your way there or filling up your gas tank the night before. You may also want to refill in Hana before you head back.
✅ 5. Pack Properly: Make sure to take your camera, car phone charger, proper footwear, swimsuit, comfortable clothes for walking/hiking and sitting in the car, plus a change of dry clothes for the way home (especially in case it’s raining).
✅ 6. Take Water and Snacks: While there are stops with places to eat, you never know what will be open or how long you will be on the road. Make sure to take some water and snacks for the car just in case.
✅ 7. Plan To NOT Have Phone Service: There is no phone service (except in Hana Town) so plan to make your calls/texts before you go, or when you get back. Put your phone away while driving. You want to be fully present when driving this adventurous road (for safety) and enjoy the scenery and being in the Hawaiian jungle/rainforest.
✅ 8. Communicate in Advance For Bathroom Stops: There are a couple of places to stop along the way, however, let everyone know to communicate in advance. You will need time to find a safe place to pull over and be on the lookout for one of the designated restroom stops.
✅ 9. Be Careful: Stay on the paths and respect any closed area or private property signs. These are there for safety reasons as you are in nature where there are drop-offs, flash floods, falling rocks, etc.
✅ 10. Enjoy The Journey… Not Just The Destination: The whole road trip to Hana is an experience and adventure in itself. It’s not just one destination you arrive at. Have an idea of what you want to do, but also be willing to go with the flow as sometimes things are not open because of reasons such as weather/rain. Not everything can be done in a day. A day trip will give you a taste of Hana, but you really need time there to be able to enjoy the area and explore.
✅ 11. Most Importantly: Be sure to bring plenty of respect and aloha!
There you go…
These 11 important tips will help you along your road to Hana adventure.
We hope you have a great time!
And if you have any other tips you think we should add to our list, let us know!