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10 Things To Know Before The Road To Hana


The sole purpose of going to Maui was for a relaxing, tropical vacation to celebrate my birthday. But I knew I wanted to at least do one thing that required me leaving the beach or poolside. In Maui, there's a lot of adventurous and scenic activities you can do, one of them being the Road to Hana.

Before I discuss my concluding thoughts regarding the Road to Hana, I thought I would list things I would have liked to know before I went - which is a lot. If you're headed to Hana anytime soon, I hope you find the next 10 tips helpful!

1. Leave Early - The Road to Hana is only 65 miles but with all the stops and curvy roads through the mountains, it can take anywhere between 3-6 hours one way (2.5 hours with no stops). Leaving early was one of the best tips I received from a friend. I was out the door by 5:00AM (we were in Lahaina). There's barely any traffic and you beat everyone to scenic spots.

2. Dress for Hiking - The whole point of the Road to Hana is to explore several spots on the way to Hana. Hana is actually a small, sleepy town with nothing to do. Several spots require walking distances from the parking spot; some rocky and/or slippery. Make sure you're basically dressed for a hike. You don't want to be that person in flip-flops and a dress missing out on a scenic spot!

3. Get Gas - Warning! There are no gas stops until you're almost at Hana. Fill your tank before starting the trek or you'll be very, very sorry.

4. Bring Cash & Water (Banana Bread!) - First of all, bring water with to keep hydrated. There are no vending machines nor easy spots to buy water. Also, cash is king on the Road to Hana. The vendors selling items out of their trunk, the coconut stations, banana bread - all of these delicious items are cash only. A bit about the banana bread; there are several places that sell freshly baked mini loaves or banana bread and it's apparently a Road to Hana thing! Do it, it's delicious.

5. Download the GyPSy Road To Hana App - This is the best decision you'll make for your trip through the Road to Hana. Several people on Twitter and personal friends told me about this and came highly recommended. Not only am I the worst skeptic, I never pay for apps so a whopping $4.99 made me cringe. But now that I've used it, I would have paid $20 for it if I had to. Without this app, the chances of you missing something beautiful or going stir crazy skyrockets. It guides you through the road, tells you the best spots to turn into, keeps you on track and teaches you a lot about Maui and the Hawaiian culture. I can't recommend this enough!

6. Plan out Stops in Advance - Time management is key during the Road to Hana so it's probably smart to plan out your stops in advance. Yes, you can totally wing it like I did and get assistance from the GyPSy app but it wouldn't hurt to plot some must-see spots. For example, the Black Sand Beach was awesome (although entry was closed), the 7 Sacred Pools, the Tropical Gardens, etc.

7. Prepare for 600+ Hairpin Turns & 50+ Bridges - Do you get motion sickness? If yes, do yourself a favor and grab some Dramamine pills beforehand. There are 600+ hairpin turns and over 50 one-lane bridges and frequently with no rails. Not only did this give me an unbelievable amount of anxiety, I was sick within the first 10 hairpin turns. I think simply being mentally prepared for it will help.

8. Know One-Lane Road Etiquette - Not a lot of people know the rules of the road through mountains and this was obvious during the Road to Hana. 2 quick things to remember. 1, when crossing the one-lane bridge, alternate between oncoming and going traffic. Treat it like a 2-way stop. 2, during a one-lane hairpin turn, honk so you don't crash into oncoming traffic.

9. It's the Journey, Not the Destination - Like I said in the introduction, Hana is not the destination. Sure, the Road to Hana ends in Hana but the town is small, sleepy and there's nothing to do. It's an anticlimactic ending so don't rush to Hana! It's the process of getting to Hana that's enjoyable; the local merchants, the wrong-turn-turned-beautiful-spot, the tropical gardens, the beaches, the waterfalls.

10. Get Back Before Dark - For the simple reason that it's terrifying to drive through the unlit hairpin turns and one-lane roads in the dark.

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In conclusion, if you haven't done it before, do it at least once. It's a once in a lifetime experience with unbelievably beautiful spots, friendly people and it sends all your senses in a glorious, tropical whirlwind.

With that said, there's a few things to consider. For example, it takes up an entire day, between 8-10 hours. That can be unattractive to people that are only spending a few days in Maui when chances are, they're most likely there to relax. Another thing to take note that nobody talks about? It can ruin a relationship (or strengthen one; hey the glass is half full right?)! I can't tell you how many couples were fighting during the several stops, topics ranging from driving skills, time management and the lack of preparation.

But with this list, you're sure to be prepared both physically and mentally to best enjoy the Road to Hana!

Here are some photos to give you an idea of what you'll see during your journey:










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42 comments

  1. Three of my Co-workers and I vacationed in Maui 11/7 to 11/14!! We LOVED the GyPSy Road To Hana App!! We named him Stanley!! The road can be a little dicey, with the locals on your tail...But we had a wonderful. long full day!! Beautiful stops and scenery! We even made it to the Seven Sacred Pools!!

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    1. Omg YES! The app was AMAZING! His voice was so soothing too during a stressful drive, haha! And yes to the locals on your tail!! You totally know what I went through, I love it! Thanks for stopping by!! xo

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  2. Sounds like it could be a stressful trip - but following these tips (plus those beautiful views) could surely minimize that!

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    1. It was pretty stressful but the views were definitely worth it :) Thanks for stopping by Ava! xo

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  3. I had to make sure I read that twice when you said "600+ hairpin turns"!! That's one crazy road trip. The views and banana bread stops sound awesome!

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    1. Haha right?! I didn't even know there was 600+ until the app told me when we started and I was like.....omg NOOOOOO! Thanks for stopping by Gemma! xo

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  4. I've had Maui on my list for such a long time, sounds and looks beautiful and the banana bread is even more reason to go! Don't like the sounds of the roads though bit scary! Great info and insight into yet another dream destination #flyawayfriday

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    1. Have you been to Honolulu? I had a ton of people told me that Maui was much better but I personally prefer Honolulu - although, I think they're completely different so it's hard to compare! Hopefully you can make it out there! xo

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  5. Never been to Maui or Hana, but sounds like its both an interesting journey and destination. Looks like fun! #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. It's beautiful - Hawaii is always a good idea, haha! Thanks for stopping by David! xo

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  6. Beautiful photos. I did this so long ago I barely remember all the bridges and turns, the beauty stays in my mind. In New Zealand (where I live) we have lots of one lane bridges in quieter areas, and they have a right of way sign telling you which direction has right of way. However if you arrive to the bridge and the car in front of you is already/still on the bridge you would go. Basically, everyone in one direction goes before the other direction starts, it speeds up traffic flow. Interesting that it is opposite in Hawaii.

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    1. Interesting about the rules! Do people follow the signs? There were signs in Maui but NOBODY was following them so it got quite dangerous! I'm going to New Zealand next year, I'm so excited! Thank you for stopping by Rhonda! xo

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  7. The road to Hana was one of my favourite adventures from my trip to Hawaii ages ago! These tips are all really great and I wish I had read something like this before we went. We ended up going too slow and then having to hurry to finish everything and drive back before it got dark. How I'd love to go back and do it all again!

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    1. Awwww! It really was beautiful wasn't it? I had a lot of anxiety but the views are beautiful! Hopefully you make it back out to Maui soon! Thanks for stopping by Lynne! xo

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  8. Great tips, Kana! Driving along the Road to Hana is on my bucket list (maybe 2018?) so definitely bookmarking this for the future!

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    1. Thanks Flo!! You get some awesome tropical experiences over there so I'm sure Maui isn't on the top of your list but hey, someday?! :) xo

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  9. That looks like something I would do but not my husband (he gets motion sickness) but maybe with a bit of preparation he may be convinced! The photographs are certainly inspiring me! Thanks for the tips! #FlyawayFriday

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    1. Haha, I totally understand! I get motion-sickness too and it was pretty difficult for me! At least there are a ton of stops to recover :) Thanks for stopping by Tracy! xo

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  10. The bridges with no rails gives me anxiety just thinking about it! If we ever did this my husband would drive for sure. And I would shut my eyes on the bridges, haha. #FlyawayFriday

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    1. I know!! The anxiety was a serious struggle for me! Fear and motion-sickness is not a good combination! But the views are killer and totally worth it! Thanks for stopping by Allison! xo

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  11. The waterfall photograph sold me!!! Now I need to see this place for myself :) #flyawayfriday

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    1. You're super adventurous so I'm sure you'll LOVE the Road to Hana!!! Do it! :) Thanks for stopping by Lauren! xo

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  12. I would love to do this trip! Like you said, I will start early. I would not want to be stuck on a traffic line or share very attraction with a 100 others. Your photos are gorgeous! #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Thanks Ruth! Nope, definitely don't want to share the roads with too many people! xo

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  13. this sounds like my kind of road trip! Awesome!
    #flyawayfriday

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    1. It was super awesome!!!! You'd love it, I think!!! Thanks for stopping by Natalie! xo

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  14. This has been my favourite post of the week I think Kana - I've never even heard of this trip but I just loved reading about it in the way you've formatted it! This might be a 'tips' post but I think you really spelled out the beauty of this place and I love the last fact about making or breaking a relationship, that made me laugh, I could just imagine it! #flyawayfriday

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    1. Aww Alex, thank you so much! That made my day <3 Thanks for stopping by, too! xo

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  15. Inspirational post! Gave me another place to add to the wish-list, thanks!

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  16. This sounds like an absolutely stunning journey! I love adventures like this - where it's more about the travel there rather than the destination. It's like the road to Milford, in New Zealand. The road itself is a stunning piece of highway with the most incredible views that you really want to take your time driving and stopping for photos. I must admit the price of coconuts seems insane! That's US dollars, right?

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    1. Ooooh! Since I'm off to New Zealand next year, I'll have to keep that in mind haha! YES US dollars - that's crazy right?! Thanks for stopping by Juliette! xo

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  17. Wow - this sounds like an epic mini adventure! Great tips! The pics are soooooo enticing. Although I am in a totally different currency for shaved coconut ice right now in SE Asia. It looks wonderful and glad you had a good time for your birthday. :)

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    1. Thanks Tiffany! It was definitely a unique experience, haha! Oh I bet, the coconut was WAY overpriced but I figured it was the experience and went for it :) xo

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  18. Sounds amazing, and those photos look incredible. Another thing added to my never ending bucket list!

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    1. Thanks Erin! Haha, yes all our bucket lists are never ending aren't they?! xo

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  19. aww this is so cool!! We might go to Hawaii for our baby moon and have heard so many great things about Road to Hana!! Will def bookmark this one!

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  20. This looks absolutely gorgeous! Loving all the photos and the tips you share too! I am the same when it comes to apps that you have to pay for, but have a similar experience with Wikicamps in Australia that has been so worth the money! And wow, bridges with no handrails? I would like to spend more than a full day stopping in all these beautiful places! Thanks for sharing! I had actually never even heard of it!

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    1. I'm headed to Australia next year so I'll keep Wikicamps in mind - I had never even heard of it! Thanks for stopping by Kreete! xo

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  21. Love this list - Very helpful and very true! Planning out a few stops is really helpful...it's way too easy to spend half the day and only get halfway to halfway thru! Also...Banana Bread for the win. #yum!

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    1. Thank you so much RobRob! I'm glad you agree that it's pretty realistic :) Yes Banana Bread for the win!!!! xo

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