1. Drive the Road to Hana
This is definitely my favorite thing that we did while in Maui. It can be a scary drive if you’re not prepared for it. Just know that the roads are EXTREMELY narrow and twist and wind more than they are straight. Along this crazy road, there are many waterfalls, hiking opportunities and beaches. I can also say that it is the most distracting view of any road I have ever been on. The views of the Maui coastline and mountains all along this road are UNREAL. There is so much to do here that you should research the things you want to do and then pick your favorites and stick to it. If you try to do everything you won’t even make it a quarter of the way. I have some of my favorite things that I think are worth checking out listed below (I will mention if they are on the Road to Hana).
The Road to Hana is definitely an all-day activity so you need to come prepared. The following are some tips for your road trip:
1. Bring snacks or pack lunches. There are a couple of fruit stands and restaurants scattered along the way but they are sparse and the road is long.
2. Bring cash! Most of the restaurants and fruit stands only accept cash and you don’t want to be without some.
3. Plan your day wisely. The road takes about 3 hours to drive alone without making stops. If you don’t want to be on the road in the dark you need to know when to head back. (We drove back at night and it wasn’t too bad but it was a little scary)
4. Download the Road to Hana app. The app I used was the GyPSy Guide. Just search “Road To Hana Maui” on the App Store and it should come up. It goes by GPS and narrates your entire trip. It also you about all of the stops you pass along with some Maui history. The only bad thing was that I did lose service a couple of times along the road and the narration out (I have Verizon). Other than that, it was really helpful.
5. Mile markers. The road goes by mile markers. So if you want to stop at a particular location, all you have to do is write down your mile markers of the stops you want to check out (in order) and it is pretty easy to find everything.
2. Go to Black Sand Beach
Black Sand Beach is one of the stops on the Road to Hana.The black sand was created from volcanic activity and is quite a site to see. Not only is there a beautiful beach but there is also a sea cave and blowhole area. We felt like we had stepped into a Jurassic Park movie. The beach is located right after mile marker 32 on the left and once you continue down the road and see the yellow gate, turn left. That way will bring you closer to the beach.
Fun fact: They have a couple of vending machines here along with public restrooms (which saved my life).
3. Devour an Acai bowl
It doesn’t really sound outstanding or look outstanding but trust me, its outstanding. Hawaii is known for this special treat and you can’t leave without trying one. I’m sure you’re wondering what an Acai bowl is exactly. Well, the base is the consistency of a yogurt mixed with sorbet and tastes like berries. It is usually topped with bananas, honey, strawberries, and blueberries. We paid about $10 for ours and it was worth it. It is pretty filling too. It also is healthy which makes you feel good about going out in your bathing suit later. We got ours from Island Vintage Coffee which is located in Whalers Village (a really cute shopping center with some nice shops) near Kaanapali Beach.
4. Seven Sacred Pools
Seven Sacred Pools is located past the town of Hana in Haleakala National Park. The cost to get into the park is $10. You walk along a trail and can go down to the water or to the pools. On the day we went, the swimming area was closed because the water levels were too high and there were threats of flash floods but it was still a really beautiful sight to see and one of my favorite along the Road to Hana. There is also a really pretty view overlooking the pools when you go over the bridge before actually entering the park.
5. Enjoy the waters of Napili Bay
This is a great place to come if you are just wanting a relaxing day on the beach with a beautiful view. Napili Bay is known for snorkeling and sea turtles. It is a secluded, calm bay that is great for relaxation. When we went, the water was so beautiful and clear. To get to the bay, you have to park on the side of the road and just walk down past the houses and condos towards the water.
We even saw a couple rainbows form perfectly over the bay during our visit
6. Visit the “Painted Forest”
The Pained Forest is located between mile markers 6 and 7 on the Road to Hana. You will see it off to your left-hand side as you approach mile marker 7. These rainbow trees are natural and are known as Painted Bark Eucalyptus Trees. There isn’t too much room to pull over but we found a spot near a fence a little bit past the forest. It is definitely worth seeking out a spot to pull over to get out for closer look at these magical plants.
7. Hamoa Bay
Hamoa Bay is a well-known snorkeling spot and provides some beautiful scenery. We were able to go on a day with large waves and got to watch some very talented surfers from the cliffs above. Because the water was so rough, we weren’t able to snorkel but I would still recommend stopping by. There is also a rain forest-like path to get down to the water that has an abundance of chickens and really cool trees. The path has a creek running through it and is a neat thing to see in addition to the bay itself.
One of the talented surfers we spent quite a while gawking at
The beautiful path to get down to the bay.
8. Cool down with some shave ice
Shave ice is a popular treat in Hawaii. We went to Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice located in Lahaina. Here, there were many other cute shops located along the water. We got our ice here and ate it on a bench overlooking the bay and then did a little shopping after. Be aware of the time of day when you go because parking can get pretty hairy. We went right when they opened at 10:30 and had no problem finding street parking. When you order your shave ice, you can get ice cream in the bottom of the cup (which I highly recommend paying the extra dollar to do). At Ululani’s, the flavor selection is endless. Luckily, they let you pick three. I got mango, coconut and papaya. It was the perfect afternoon treat to enjoy on the water.
The cute Lahaina shopping center.
The lovely view from the shops.
Maui has many many MANY waterfalls. Most of the waterfalls we saw were during our drive along the Hana highway. All you have to do is drive down this road for a couple of hours and you will see plenty. One of my favorites was Wailua Falls(pictured above) past the town of Hana and before Seven Sacred Pools. It is right off the side of the road on the right side. You can’t miss it. There is also a cool lookout about a half mile past mile market 18 where you can go up some stairs and see some larger waterfalls off in the distance. Twin Falls (mile marker 2.1) is also another popular spot where you can even jump from the waterfall!
The beautiful view from the top of the stairway
10. Unwind with a Mai Tai
So lets be honest, not only is Maui the perfect place for recreation, it is the perfect place for relaxation. What better way to relax than with a cool Mai Tai in hand laying beach-side watching the clear blue ocean waves crash upon the soft sand? There isn’t one. No matter how adventurous your Maui trip is, don’t forget to allow time to kick back for a little and do absolutely nothing.