Black Sand Beach - Maui, HI

Surviving The Road To Hana in Maui

While visiting Maui, the Road to Hana is absolutely worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. It’s a twisting drive through the rainforests in Maui with some of the most incredible ocean views and unique destinations.

On the drive to Hana you can see the infamous black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park, hidden swimming holes and waterfalls, Ho’okipa lookout, caves, Wailua Valley, and so many other gems of the island.

The drive was my favorite part of visiting the island because it’s rich in nature and it’s something totally different from what the rest of what Maui has to offer. That being said, you do need to prepare for this day-long trek.

Since it’s a popular destination, it gets crowded and the entire journey can be quite overwhelming. Successfully navigate the road, and survive the trek to Hana with these tips!

Halfway to Hana Stand

Download Shaka Guide

This was seriously a lifesaver during the drive around the island. It’s an intuitive app that recognizing your driving route and location to offer insights, tips, information, and directions.

This app was great for the Road to Hana because it not only guided us through the winding roads and pointed out hidden sights we may have overlooked, but it gave us in-depth information about the road’s history, Hawaiian history, and cultural insights. Sure, you can read travel books or research this information online, but it was a unique experience to soak up these details while being in the destination.

Start The Drive Early

The Road to Hana is one of the biggest attractions on the Maui island, so the roads get packed! The drive is long, the roads are narrow and winding, and parking is super limited at the popular sights along the drive. If you want to avoid traffic and see everything the drive has to offer, get an early start to your day!

Hidden Cave on Road to Hana - Maui, HI

Fill Up On Gas Before Heading Out

There is maybe one gas station along the entire drive to Hana, and the mixture of the road type and duration of this trip can eat away at your gas tank quickly. Don’t get trapped on the road and be prepared!

Prepare For The Twists & Turns

If you’re someone who gets car sick or who does not enjoy long drives on narrow roads, this might not be the adventure for you. If you still want to stick it out and give it a go, just be prepared for what’s in store.

Passengers who get sick should sit in the front seat or drive on the Road to Hana to reduce car sickness, and it’s important to stay hydrated. Pack plenty of snacks that are hydrating and calm on your stomach like watermelon, cucumbers, and fresh vegetables. Ginger chews are also great for nausea and can ease an upset stomach or headaches on the drive.

If these remedies don’t help you, but you still want to go on the drive, just be prepared for what may happen (maybe bring some nausea bags), drive slowly, sit in the front seat, and get plenty of fresh air. There’s no rush on this drive so take as much time as you need to actually feel well and enjoy the journey!

Bring Plenty of Water

Driving the Road to Hana will take up an entire day, and there aren’t stores or shopping areas along the route, so make sure you packed up plenty of water. You’ll want enough to keep you hydrated and refreshed for outdoor activities and the tropical climate. Plus, if you get car sick, you’ll want to be extra hydrated while driving this curving highway.

Be Flexible & Patient

Again, this drive gets packed with tourists everyday. That means there will be some traffic, there may be some crazy drivers, and parking lots may be full at top sights. Keep this all in mind and adopt the island mindset of staying calm, relaxed, and easygoing. You’ll be stuck in the car all day, so you might as well enjoy the ride and not let little nuisances bother you.

Pack Snacks, But Also Stop For Treats

Since you’ll be driving on the Road to Hana all day, you want to be prepared with plenty of food! Pack items that will withstand high temperatures in your car without melting or going bad. Fresh fruit and vegetables are great for staying nourished and hydrated on the road, plus they pack well! Make sure to pack plenty of snacks and food with protein and that are high in nutrients to stay in tip-top driving condition.

While you do want to pack up plenty of snacks for your drive, the Road to Hana is full of great local, fresh food as well. It’s a little sparse on the drive but there are major hot spots of tiny restaurants, food huts, fresh tropical fish, fruit stands, and famous banana bread sellers. Try some of this cuisine on the drive to supplement what you packed! Nahiku MarketPlace is a great pitstop for some great fish tacos and Hawaiian treats.

Dress For An Adventure

On the Road to Hana, you’ll be driving primarily, but when you do finally get to stop at breathtaking waterfalls or the black sand beach, you’ll get to experience the tropical rainforest you’re submerged in.

Dress for tropical weather, and wear a swimsuit; there won’t be many places to change along the drive. It’s easy to wear your swimsuit and throw on some shorts, tank tops, or beach cover ups over it for the drive. Also be mindful of footwear. Sandals seem like the obvious option in Hawaii, but you may have to do some light hiking and climbing on rocks to get to the destinations along the drive. Wear shoes with a good grip and that are comfortable for these activities.

Take Advantage Of Bathrooms When You See Them

There are rarely bathrooms available along the drive, so keep that in mind when you start your day. If you do come across a bathroom, always stop and go because you never know when the next one will appear.

Black Sand Beach - Maui, HI

Be Cautious

The highway is very narrow and makes sharp, blind turns. Because of this, the drive can be pretty intense and exhausting. Switch off drivers and take breaks if you need to along the way. Keep your Shaka Guide at a good volume so you can listen to the stories but also pay focus on the road ahead of you.

Reduce Your Stress

Even though the road can be difficult to navigate and the drive will be super crowded, enjoy your drive to Hana! It really is such a unique experience and has such a wide offering of activities and sights that you can’t see elsewhere. Take it slow, stop where you want, don’t feel obligated to see anything and everything, and have fun!


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