Heading to Maui with kids? Keep scrolling to find out the best Road to Hana stops that are totally worth it for your next Maui family vacation!
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If you are planning a trip to Maui for the first time, you probably are doing tons of research to figure out the best things to do in Maui with kids.
One of the most famous Maui attractions is the Road to Hana. It’s a 64-mile road jam packed with stunning views at every corner, hair-raising spins, short detours that lead to one magnificent natural attraction or another, and an open road that never disappoints.
The Road to Hana is an epic Maui day trip you will love taking with your family.
Because there are so many stops on the Road to Hana, you’ll have to pick and choose which ones are worth it.
This article acts as a guide for the family-friendly Maui attractions you should not miss along the Road to Hana with kids.
Be sure to check out my top Road to Hana tips!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Maui with kids.
Best Kid-Friendly Maui Tours/Activities
- Be a Mermaid (this is a unique experience where kids learn to swim with mermaid tails)
- Surf Lessons for Kids (this is the BEST way for your kids to learn how to surf in Hawaii)
- Adventure Park in Lahaina (this is great for older kids who love climbing through obstacle courses)
- Old Lahaina Luau (the is the most popular luau for families)
- Camp Maui Ziplining (this is the top kid-friendly zipline on Maui for families)
- Molokini Crater Snorkel Trip (we love this one because they have kickboards for kids and a water slide on the boat)
Best Kid-Friendly Maui Resorts
- Hyatt Regency Maui (this has the BEST pool area and on-site shave ice stand)
- Honua Kai Resort & Spa (this is one of our personal favorites because there are tons of pools and there are condo options)
- Fairmont Kea Lani (this is a swanky resort with incredible kids’ programming and an awesome pool area)
Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Maui Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.
Road to Hana FAQs
What is the Road to Hana?
The Road to Hana is located in Maui and connects Maui to Hana, and beyond. On a map of Maui, you can find it listed as Hwy 36. It’s a really cool scenic drive from North Shore Maui to East Shore Maui with hairpin turns, one lane bridges, and some of the prettiest Maui waterfalls. It’s one of the best things to do on Maui.
How long does the Road to Hana take?
If you drive without making any stops, you can get to Hana in about 2-4 hours, depending on the traffic. It’s only 52 miles, but you won’t be able to drive very fast most of the time. But, the whole point of driving to Hana is to stop at the mile markers along the way. For the average tourist who makes a few stops along the way, it’s usually a 13-hour day trip from Lahaina or Kihei to Hana and back.
Where does the Road to Hana start?
The Road to Hana officially starts in the hippie town of Paia, located in North Shore Maui. It’s the last “big” town before hitting the road. You can pick up something to eat or drink here and be sure to fill up your gas tank.
What’s the best day to drive Road to Hana?
The most important thing is to check the weather before you drive the Road to Hana. Don’t go on a rainy day or the day after it has rained a lot, as the drive will be dangerous and some of the stops might be closed. If you have good weather for your whole trip, I’d suggest driving it mid-way through your trip. That way, you can use it as a break from the sun. And you won’t want to drive it any day you have evening plans. You’ll need the entire day.
Best Road to Hana Stops for Kids
Before we get into the best kid-friendly stops on the Road to Hana, I want to make sure you understand that this is a full day adventure.
You’ll need to start early in the morning and you’ll be pretty wiped by the end.
BUT, you can totally just do the first half of the Road to Hana if you aren’t sure your family has the stamina for a full day trip on Maui.
In fact, I think the first half is the prettiest. And there are plenty of cool stops to do with kids.
This is the last Maui town where you can get all the supplies you need before you get onto the Road to Hana.
Make sure you fill up your gas tank because you might not have another chance to do so. Although the distance you will drive is not long, you may have detours along the way or might deal with traffic.
Paia is actually a super cute boho/hippie town on the North Shore of Maui and it’s adorable. There is not much to see in Paia, but you can sit at a cafe to enjoy a local beverage or meal or pick up snacks for the trip.
Ho’okipa Beach and Lookout
Just past the town of Ku’au, you will come across the Ho’okipa Beach Park. If you love surfing, this will be a natural Hana road stop.
At the Ho’okipa lookout, you can spend time with your family, lounging by the beach on picnic tables, observing surfers take on massive waves.
Take a walk along the beach and you might come across turtles sunbathing close to the sea.
Just past marker 2, there is a beautiful attraction that may be worthy of your attention.
Twin Falls may not be the tallest waterfall in Hawaii, but taking a dip inside the pool will surely be refreshing, especially if the day is hot.
From the parking area, it’s an easy quarter-mile Maui waterfall hike that is perfect for kids. There’s actually a really cool Maui waterfall tour that’s perfect for families!
Waikamoi Ridge Trail
This is a moderate and short (1.5 miles) trail ideal for beginner hikers. This Maui trail takes you through lush vegetation, bamboo forests, and flowers.
Be sure to carry your camera as every turn is scenic.
It is a quiet and calm place and the only voices you will hear in the forest are the voices of birds chirping as they cheer you along.
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden lives up to its name and is one of our favorite stops along the Road to Hana with kids.
It is a gorgeous arboretum that has been well maintained for a long time. There are beautiful plants all around and well-manicured walking trails. The flowers bring this place to life. The lush gardens make a great spot for a picnic.
Deep inside the arboretum, you may see the Puuhokamoa Falls.Read my full guide to the Garden of Eden Arboretum.
Ke’anae Arboretum and Peninsula
Further down the road, you will come across the Ke’anae Point and Peninsula. It is a popular spot for photography because of its strategic location. The cliffs offer great outlooks to take stunning photos.
You can also stop briefly at the Ke’anae Stone Church to learn about the only building that was left standing when the village was hit by a tsunami in 1946.
On the other side of the road, you may decide to pop into the Ke’anae Arboretum, if you had skipped the Garden of Eden.
Upper Waikani, Upper Hanawi and Makapipi Falls
From Ke’anae to Hana town, you experience three Maui waterfalls along the way.
Although these are not large falls, they are worth a mention because they are some of the more popular Road to Hana waterfalls.
Upper Waikani Falls (aka Three Bears) is a trio of large waterfalls. It’s a popular Maui swimming hole and it’s simply gorgeous.
And the Makapipi Falls is kind of unique because the viewpoint from the bridge is actually at the top of the waterfall. So, you’ll be looking down at the waterfall.
Halfway to Hana Stand
While there are several fruit stands along the Road to Hana, I think kids get a kick out of going to the Halfway to Hana stand simply because it marks the halfway point.
We like to get out and stretch our legs here while grabbing drinks and snacks. And we always pick up a loaf of their famous banana bread.
There are even some signs that make good photo ops.
This is also a good place to turn around if your family is tired.
Wai’anapanapa State Park
This is a famous Hawaii State Park at Mile Marker 32. People stop here to experience freshwater caves, black sand at the Pa’iloa Beach, and blowholes.
It’s a 122-acre park ideal for hikers, rock climbers, and campers. Swimming, hiking, or camping is allowed, but only if you have a permit. Because of the jugged rocks and the black sand beaches, swimming is restricted to certain sections of the park.
The drive from Hana Highway is bumpy but once you get to the beach, the lava tubes, outcrops, and turquoise waters will pull you in. You will find plenty of parking spots.
This Maui black sand beach is special because the sand is produced by volcanic activity.
Many locals view the beach as a sacred place, so please be respectful when you visit.Read my top tips for visiting Waianapanapa State Park.
The next stop would be Hana Town, at Mile Marker 34. Hana town is a small town and not much happens here. There aren’t many things to do in Hana, but that’s kind of the point.
Despite the interest in the Road to Hana and the town itself, the locals have deliberately kept the town small, to preserve their culture.
You may find local food and boarding but do not expect to find luxurious amenities.
Sure, there may be a few luxury hotels close by such as the Hana-Maui Resort (formerly Travaasa Hana) for people looking for a luxurious experience. But mostly it’s a low-key town.
Koki and Hamoa Beaches
Both of these Maui beaches are close to each other but Hamoa Beach is more popular.
You will walk down a steep road from your parking area but once you get to the beach, the views and feel of soft sands on your feet will be worth the trouble.
You are allowed to swim and sunbathe on the beach. Plus, they have great amenities including showers and bathroom facilities.
This beach is also a popular surf break spot, something that attracts tourists from all over the U.S.
Other popular activities include swimming, surfing, snorkeling, sunbathing, and scuba diving.
Pipiwai Trail and Waimoku Falls
The Pipiwai Trail cuts through a dense forest that has diverse flora and fauna and ultimately ushers you to the base of another spectacular Maui waterfall.
This is a 1.8-mile trail that takes you through several pools and small waterfalls, past dense bamboo vegetation, and direct to the base of the Waimoku Falls.
Waimoku Falls is a 400 feet tall waterfall that looks like a long curtain of water cascading down a jugged cliff inside the Haleakala National Park.
The trail is moderate and safe for all levels of hikers, so it’s great for families with kids.
Even before you have gone deeper into the park, you can see the Makahihu waterfall that plunges about 200 feet below. You may decide to explore this fall or head straight to Waimoku Falls.
Things to Know BEFORE You Drive the Road to Hana
It would be almost impossible to explore all the attractions on the Road to Hana in just one day. There’s just so much to see, and so much to do. The key is to be well prepared.
This quick guide might come in handy when preparing for a trip along the Road to Hana with kids.
Should you take a Road to Hana private tour or drive yourself?
The Road to Hana has a lot of curves and bends, which makes it both incredible and potentially terrifying. If you do not want to keep thinking about the next hair-raising bend, join a Road to Hana tour. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Booking a Road to Hana private tour is a great way to be able to have your whole party look out the window while deciding which stops you’d like to make.
If you are driving yourself, be on the lookout for these sharp corners and one-lane bridges. It is easy to get pulled in by the stunning scenery along the way.
If you are going to rent a car in Maui, find a car that gets good gas mileage. Remember that you may not find re-filling stations after Paia. And gas in Paia is more expensive than in other places on the island.
Worrying about getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because your vehicle might run out of fuel can dampen the experience you anticipate having.
Do You Need a Road to Hana App?
If this is your first time driving the Road to Hana, it can be super helpful to download a Road to Hana guide so you know which Road to Hana stops to skip.
The Shaka Guide is a super popular Road to Hana app for people who want to drive themselves but also get the benefit of hearing about the places they are driving past.
And it’s a lot cheaper than booking a tour for families. Find the best prices here.
What to Bring on the Road to Hana
This drive to Hana will be just like the normal road trips you are used to. So, carry everything you would normally pack when going on a road trip.
I suggest bringing lunch, snack bars, drinking water, and beverages to keep you hydrated.
Be on the lookout for rain showers. Occasionally, rain showers come without a warning and they can wreak havoc on the Road to Hana. Always check weather conditions before you go.
If you are planning on camping in Hana, carry camping gear and essentials. You may rent out camping tents at some campgrounds but they are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
Some parks and Hana road stops (such as Garden of Eden) charge entry and camping fees.
And be sure to carry some cash with you. Many local vendors just take cash and it’s better to be prepared.
What to Wear on the Road to Hana
Since the Road to Hana drive has so many cool stops, what you wear really depends on the activities you’re planning to do.
If you’re just doing the drive and sightseeing, I suggest wearing something comfortable for the car ride (I love maxi dresses and sandals.)
For those who plan on swimming or doing a Maui waterfall hike, you can wear your swimsuit under your clothes or pack it separately.
If you will be doing a Road to Hana hike, wear breathable clothing and bring comfortable shoes. I don’t recommend hiking in flip flops.
Leave Early and Be Prepared
Driving the Road to Hana is a popular thing to do in Maui, so chances are that you will find other people hoping to enjoy the same experiences and adventure.
That’s part of the reason it helps to leave early, if possible. But, you really do want an early start in order to fit in more stops.
Before your trip, do a little research and come up with your Road to Hana itinerary. That way you can keep on track and make sure to fit in the stops that you really want to do.
Be on the lookout for bad drivers. The road will have a lot of tourists and Road to Hana first-timers who may be distracted while driving.
However, there are also locals who drive on the Hana Highway as their daily routine. Please be courteous and let them pass you.
While you may be tempted to stop at every bridge, make sure you aren’t blocking traffic or being unsafe.
And please don’t risk your safety in order to get the perfect Instagram shot. It’s not worth it.
There are so many fun things to do in Maui and the Road to Hana is definitely at the top of the list!
And once you drive it, you’ll realize that the Road to Hana is a must-do in Maui! You might even consider spending the night in Hana!
Looking for more things to do in Maui with kids? Check out the best Maui luaus, snorkeling at Molokini Crater, top Road to Hana tours, Maui whale watching tours, and where to find the best Maui shave ice!
Your first decision: Should you do a van tour or drive yourself to Hana. Both have advantages: When driving, you travel at your own pace and can stay overnight. On the other hand, van tours have expert guides driving for you, so you can focus solely on enjoying the ride.Do you need a small car for Road to Hana? ›
We sometimes see massive SUV's driving the road to Hana, which is weird to us. Unless you have a really big family, choose a mid-sized car. If you've got a big family, opt for a tour. In our opinion, a fun way to drive the Road to Hana is in a sporty 356 Porsche Speedster convertible from Maui Roadsters.How do you avoid crowds on the Road to Hana? ›
The best way to avoid the crowds is to get an early start. While sleeping in late is a time-honored tradition of vacation, the day you choose to drive to Hana should start very early. Locals recommend starting no later than 7:30 a.m.Is Road to Hana worth it with kids? ›
Road to Hana, Maui with Kids – Exciting Half-Day Itinerary. The Road to Hana is undoubtedly one of Maui's most famous attractions. With 617 curves the road twists and turns, each new vista beckoning travelers onward. Kids will love jumping out to explore any of the 10 waterfalls you'll see along the way.Is the Road to Hana a scary drive? ›
However, the Road to Hana is not dangerous in and of itself, and for seasoned drivers, the trip should be a breeze. The Road to Hana is about 65 miles long, but don't let this relatively short distance fool you. You'll want to budget your time for slow, careful driving and any stops that you might like to take.Is the Road to Hana really worth it? ›
A Road to Hana tour and drive is well worth it if you are on any Islands of Hawaii and will make for a memorable trip with stunning views and fascinating and far-reaching history. Former President Bill Clinton also designated the Road to Hana as the Hana Millennium Legacy Trail.How many days do you need for Road to Hana? ›
To make the most of this stunning coastal road trip, you should set aside 2 days for your Road to Hana itinerary. This will allow you to take your time on the winding cliff-side road, and to explore each stop at a leisurely pace! Many visitors spend only a day on the Road to Hana, but I don't recommend this.Are rental cars allowed on the Road to Hana? ›
Most all rental car companies on Maui will allow you to drive to Hana. Driving the backside of Haleakala, past Oheo Gulch is not recommended for the faint of heart. The ROAD TO HANA is open: The best parts of driving to Hana are between Paia and Seven Sacred Pools. Check the rates for Road to Hana car rentals on Maui.Should you wear a swimsuit on the Road to Hana? ›
Wear something comfortable
You'll be spending much of the day driving, so be comfortable. Also, bring a swim suit, These luxury vans make stops where you have the opportunity to swim in fresh water pools and beaches along the way for those who want to cool off.
The road from Paia to Hana is completely paved and even beyond Hana you won't need four wheel drive. Jeeps and Mustang convertibles are the most popular rentals with tourists, but I personally would not want to do this drive in a convertible. It rains too often and rockslides (even tiny ones) aren't terribly uncommon.
Sundays and Thursdays are heavy travel days (arriving and leaving the island) so the road to Hana may be less crowded. Start early to get the most out of your day. This is one of the best things to do in Maui on a budget.Is the Road to Hana worth it 2022? ›
With its generous waterfalls and dramatic ocean views, the Road to Hana in Maui is a “can't miss” experience. It's one of North America's most scenic drives …and the most famous in Hawaii. The challenge is that you could spend a week or more exploring waterfalls, beaches, and hikes here.Is Road to Hana overrated? ›
The Road to Hana is known as one of the most beautiful drives in the world due to its lush forest, coastal views, and stunning beaches but it's not all rainbows and sunshine. It's extremely crowded, touristy, and can easily be an overrated attraction if you don't do it right.Do I need a jacket for Road to Hana? ›
Furthermore, you should definitely pack a sweatshirt or jacket for the Road to Hana if you plan to drive up to the Haleakala volcano.Can you do Road to Hana with a toddler? ›
Our Decision to Experience Road to Hana with Kids
There are so many travelers who advise not to take young children (ages 2 & 4) along on this journey, as it's an exhausting day across 59 miles, 620 curves & 59 one-lane bridges. Some adults can't even handle this trip!
With winding roads, one-lane bridges, and lots of visitors, traffic jams are common on the Road to Hana. If you are prone to motion sickness, take some Dramamine or skip this drive. With 620 curves, this road is constantly winding, so if you tend to get car sick, this could be a rough drive for you.How long does it take to drive the Road to Hana without stopping? ›
The road to Hana will use up a full 10 to 12 hours of your day and is an exhausting drive. If you do all the driving and try to fit in a luau that same evening, you may find yourself face down asleep in coconut pudding by 8 pm! Don't plan on anything else after this full day adventure.How many accidents happen on the Road to Hana? ›
The Top 10 Roads for Accidents in Maui.
|Roadway||Accidents||With Reported Injuries|
|S KIHEI RD||124||102|
It is a long day of tight, winding roads that can be stressful for those who aren't prepared. After spending lots of time driving around Maui, these are my 10 tips for the Road to Hana that will reduce your stress and make sure you have the best time.Why are the Seven Sacred Pools closed? ›
Please Note: Oheo Pools aka Seven Sacred Pools are currently closed due to Covid-19. Seven Sacred Pools (AKA Pools of Oheo aka Oheo Pools aka Oheo Gulch) are one of Hawaii's most surreal natural formations.
- Hana is not a destination, but a journey. ...
- The Road to Hana doesn't actually end at Hana. ...
- Don't drive back the same way you came in. ...
- Don't make dinner reservations. ...
- Stop early, stop often. ...
- Think hard before taking a van tour. ...
- Bring a bathing suit and hiking shoes. ...
- Kapu means keep out.
How long does it take to do the Road to Hana loop? The roundtrip drive time is between 4-6 hours without stops (depending on point of origin), but you should plan for a 10-12 hour day or even an overnight stay near Hana if possible in order to see the many stops along the way.Is the Road to Hana difficult? ›
The Road to Hana is not a Formula 1 race track - there are about 600 curves and 54 bridges between you and the sleepy town of Hana - so slow down and drive carefully. There are many distractions from rubbernecking tourists to gorgeous waterfalls. It's acceptable to go the minimum speed limit.What time should I wake up for Road to Hana? ›
Most people who make the drive to Hana start sometime between 7:00am - 10:30am.Is the Road to Hana Open 2022? ›
Current Closures and Updates
There are currently no known closures on the Road to Hana on Maui or Pi`ilani Highway.
Expect to lose cell phone service
Hana Highway runs along an isolated part of east Maui that is shielded by Haleakalā Volcano. This means that cell phone reception is spotty at best and most likely non-existent along the majority of the road. Hana Town and the Ke'anae Peninsula are your best bets for finding coverage.
An SUV is not required. The road although curvy and narrow at parts, is paved and in excellent condition. You will require a large vehicle to insure your passengers are comfortable on this three hour drive, You must eat at at the Barefoot Café which is a little café by the beach in Hanah.Can you swim in the waterfalls at Hana? ›
There are actually only a few Road to Hana waterfalls that are safe for swimming. The most popular is Seven Sacred Pools (also called 'Ohe'o Gulch) but you'll want to check conditions first to see if it's even open. There's also the Upper Puohokamoa Falls near mile marker 12.Are there mosquitoes in Road to Hana? ›
That means incredible greenery, beautiful waterfalls, and lovely swimming holes. Unfortunately, it also means a wide variety of bugs, including the mosquitoes who are attracted to the many bodies of water that make up some of the Hana Highway's best attractions.Is there snorkeling on the Road to Hana? ›
Hana Bay itself features a black sand beach, a beautiful pier and lots of hiking trails to explore. Swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling are very popular activities to do here.
The Maui's Twin Falls is one of the very first stops on the Road To Hana. It is located on mile marker 2, not long after you pass the Jaws General Store. It's one of the best waterfalls in Maui.Do I need hiking boots for Road to Hana? ›
However, if you head out for your day on the Road to Hana with no footwear but slippers (as the locals call them) chances are you will miss out on quite a few things. Throw a pair of close-toed hiking or walking shoes in the car with you.Where does the Road to Hana stop? ›
Q: Where does the Road to Hana start and end? The Road to Hana starts in Kipahulu and ends in Kaupo on Maui. The Skyline Hawaii tour makes a loop around the island though so it starts in Kipahulu and then ends in Kipahulu again at the end of the day.Where does the Road to Hana begin and end? ›
The 64.4 mile Road to Hana starts officially in the town of Kahului. From there, it winds along the northeastern edge of Maui, where it concludes in the village of Hana. Cutting through high-speed urban areas and rural mountain passes, the Road to Hana offers stunning views.What is the first stop on the Road to Hana? ›
paia town. The first of the road to Hana stops you'll come to is Paia town. Paia is a small, laid back town on the Northshore of Maui.How long should I plan for the Road to Hana? ›
The road has over 600 turns and many stops. If you were to drive straight from Ka'anapali to Hana without any stops, you could make the journey in two hours and 40 minutes. With stops, expect that you'll spend six hours getting to Hana. You likely won't stop on your way back, so the return trip should take three hours.What time should you start Road to Hana? ›
It's best to be on the road, leaving your resort by at least 7:30 am. If you start late, the Road to Hana can be crowded with other drivers. That can mean that you might find yourself crawling along behind slower drivers at time.Where is the banana bread on Road to Hana? ›
Where is the banana bread on the Road to Hana? The famous banana bread on the Road to Hana is located on the Keanae Peninsula along Keanae Road just off the Hana Highway.Should I skip the Road to Hana? ›
The Road to Hana is a top three can't-miss Maui thing to do. There's no place else in the country where you will see diverse rainforests, swim under waterfalls, walk on black sand beaches, experience history, and drive the windy roads with one-lane bridges.How many accidents are on the Road to Hana? ›
|Roadway||Accidents||With Reported Injuries|
|S KIHEI RD||124||102|
A Road to Hana tour and drive is well worth it if you are on any Islands of Hawaii and will make for a memorable trip with stunning views and fascinating and far-reaching history. Former President Bill Clinton also designated the Road to Hana as the Hana Millennium Legacy Trail.How difficult is Road to Hana? ›
The Road to Hana is not a Formula 1 race track - there are about 600 curves and 54 bridges between you and the sleepy town of Hana - so slow down and drive carefully. There are many distractions from rubbernecking tourists to gorgeous waterfalls. It's acceptable to go the minimum speed limit.Why is the Road to Hana called the divorce highway? ›
Some call it the “Road to Hell” or the “Road to Divorce” because you will have to journey across 52 miles of winding road, hairpin turns and numerous one lane bridges to experience all of Hana. This treacherous drive causes couples to argue. Don't worry, it's not that bad. Just take your time and drive carefully.Can you do the Road to Hana in one day? ›
Most people drive the Road to Hana in one full day, but those who want to see everything should plan for a two-day journey with an overnight stay near Hana.