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One Day on the Road to Hana - First Timer's Guide

With over 40 notable stops and countless other worthy viewpoints along the Road to Hana, it might seem impossible to experience this legendary road trip in just one day, but I’m here to tell you that it CAN be done! With that said, you should know that you won’t be able to see every stop and you might not get to spend quite as long at some stops as you would like, but if you’ve only got one day to spare, you shouldn’t let that stop you from experiencing this bucket list trip! In this blog, we’ll cover what we think are the must-see stops for first-time visitors… From quick photo-op stops to 2-3 hour adventures and everything in between.

And if you still aren’t sure what the Road to Hana is, let’s cover the basics. The Road to Hana, aka the Hana Highway (“highway” is a stretch of the word by the way), is a 64.4-mile-long stretch of road that connects the towns of Kahului and Hana. The iconic route boasts 620 hairpin curves and 59 one-lane bridges making it a journey not cut out for the faint of heart! But those willing to make the somewhat precarious drive will be rewarded with priceless views of flourishing rainforests, rushing waterfalls, plunging pools, dramatic seascapes, and more.

TIP: Download the “GyPSy Guide” app and purchase the “Road to Hana - Maui” guide. It is well worth the $9.99! It uses your GPS location to prompt a guided narration of the drive informing you of significant stops along the way as well as the history behind them. Money well spent!

*Be sure to check out our "Road to Hana - Maui Travel Vlog" for a closer look at our time on the Road to Hana!

Now, let’s get into the stops!

Paia - Mile Marker 0

Time Needed: 1 ½ - 2 hrs.

Paia is a small north-shore community that boasts colorful storefronts, local artists, and delicious eateries, including the infamous Paia Fish Market and Mama's Fish House restaurants. Even though Paia is mile marker zero, we recommend getting an early start to the drive (7-8am) and making your way back here for dinner rather than starting your adventure here. And if you want to dine at Mama’s Fish House, be sure to book your reservations well in advance!

Twin Falls - Mile Marker 2

Time Needed: 1 - 2 hrs.

The first main stop along the Road to Hana is Twin Falls. Although the parking here is dirt/gravel, it is easily accessible, and the hike down to the falls is a short .9-miles (1.8-miles roundtrip). If you chose to opt out of breakfast/coffee in Paia, Twin Falls Farm Stand (located at the Twin Falls Trailhead) is a great spot to grab a cold brew coffee, fruit smoothie, fresh fruit, or even banana bread to start your day… Although, we recommend holding off on the banana bread… there’s more of that to come!

Honomanū Bay - Mile Marker 14

Time Needed: 30 - 60 min.

While this isn’t THE black sand beach on the Road to Hana (that comes a little later), we honestly enjoyed this one equally if not more. We were the only non-locals here during our visit… Just us and a handful of locals enjoying a morning surf session. This is one of the stops that, if the weather had been nicer, we would have spent quite a bit more time.

NOTE: Having an SUV/4X4 will make the drive down to the beach much easier and less stressful. If you don’t have an SUV/4X4, you may want to park on the side of the highway and walk the half-mile down to the beach… especially after a storm.