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Step by Step on the Road to Hana

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As one of the biggest tourist stops in Maui

The Road to Hana is a destination in and of itself. It’s not really WHERE the road goes but the JOURNEY you have while on it. Fewer places in Hawaii boast such a scenic driving tour of a tropical paradise. Also called Highway 36, the Hana Highway is chock full of twists and turns so varied you may think the road will never end. Easily the most famous road in the whole state, it can be twisty, curvy and downright dangerous in parts, but it’s still a major attraction. From botanical gardens and rainforest to waterfalls and seascapes, the Road to Hana has it all. Let’s go through it step by step so you don’t miss anything. Be sure to set out on your voyage by 7 a.m. if you’re starting in Paia, and don’t forget to get gas before embarking.

Mile Marker 9: Here you’ll come upon every surfer’s dream, Hookipa Beach. It’s a great place to observe the surfers trying to tame the crazy waves here, as the waves break on black lava rock. Have a picnic here and visit the restroom for a break.

Mile Marker 14: Stop at the Maui Grown Market where you can grab a few essentials for your trip as well as food and drink. After this, the mile marker re-sets to “0” to mark the official start of the Hana Highway.

Mile Marker 2: AKA the Twin Falls stop, here you’ll get a breath taking view of the famous waterfalls called Twin Falls.

Mile Marker 3: Don’t miss a stop at the Huelo Roadside Stand where you can sample a tasty tropical fruit smoothie or pick up some souvenirs. If you take a small detour here, you can navigate down the narrow roadway to check out Kaulanapueo Church, established in 1853. It features an old cemetery that has graves dating back to the early 1900s. Next up, you’ll follow through the Koolau Forest Reserve.

Mile Maker 9: Go off the beaten path and take a hike on the Waikamoi Ridge Trail, which will take you about a half hour.

Mile Marker 10: This is the Garden of Eden and Botanical Arboretum, famous for its backdrop in movies like “Jurassic Park.”

Mile Marker 11: Take a swim in the Lower Puohokamoa Falls.

Mile Marker 12: Enjoy a picnic in the beautiful Kaumahina State Wayside Park.

Mile Marker 22: Visit Pua’a Ka’a State Park, located right off the road, perfect for viewing waterfalls and cooling off in swimming holes.

Mile Marker 32: Visit Waianapanapa State Park, home to cavernous sea caves, a rock arch, black-sand beach and the ruins of the old King’s Highway.

Mile Marker 42: Here’s the ‘Ohe’o Gulch featuring seven holy pools within Haleakala National Park.

Mile Marker 45: A must-see, Wailua Falls descends a whopping 80 feet.

When you reach Hana

You may be exhausted from traveling all day. Many people end up rushing this part because they’re tired and want to get back to their hotel. You’re best off staying over night and savoring this place of wonder, complete with waterfalls, bamboo forests and tropical flowers. You can get a blessing while at St. Sophia’s Church, shop for gifts at Hasegawa General Store or the Hana Ranch Store, swim at Hana Beach Park or Hamoa Beach, snorkel at Waianapanapa State Park, and visit the Piilanihale, the biggest temple in all of Hawaii.

To see it all in one day, leave before sunrise and return after sunset. Pack accordingly and be prepared to rest up the next day. When on your next stop on the island of Oahu, don’t forget to book a trip with Hoku Hawaii Tours, your trusted excursion provider in Hawaii.

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