Thousands of people take our Road to Hana tours every year, and while everyone knows the goal is to get to Hana, not everyone knows what to expect along the way! Here’s a list of the major “sights” you’ll see on our Road to Hana tours. Some are longer stops, where you’ll have an opportunity to walk around and explore with your Hawaii-Certified Guide, and other are quicker “photo-op” stops. Of course, there’s much more to see and do on our Road to Hana tours besides these, but you can get a good idea of what to expect the next time you join us!
Paia: The Road to Hana begins in the small, vibrant town of Pa’ia. “Pa’ia” is the Hawaiian word for “fish fence.” Low stone walls were built underwater to capture fish. Fish swim into small cracks in the wall when they’re tiny, feast while inside, and then grow too large to swim back out. Ancient Hawaiians used these fish fences to have easy access to large, nourishing fish.
The town started growing as a sugar plantation community, where the immigrants working the fields would settle. The tolerance for the different cultures all living in close proximity eventually evolved into a tolerance for different lifestyles, and Pa’ia became (and remains) a thriving “hippie town.”
Ho’okipa: This famous beach just outside of Pa’ia is a world-renowned windsurfing spot. It’s where someone first got the idea to attach a sail to a surfboard, and the rest is windsurfing history. Hawaiian green sea turtles also love this spot to relax in the sun, and lay their eggs.
The brown, rocky shoreline is a benched reef—an ancient coral reef that formed when ocean levels were higher.
Haiku: The name of this small community means “shoulder.” Since the island of Maui was seen as an embodiment of Kane, the god of men, this area was seen as his “shoulder.”
The pineapple fields that once dominated this area have been shut down. Pineapple is no longer produced on a large scale on Maui, but a few former employees of Maui Land and Pineapple have started growing a special, sweet hybrid variety quite successfully on a small scale.
Painted Bark Eucalyptus Trees: The bark of these unique trees—native to the Philippines—peels away to reveal brilliant colors. They were brought to Maui in the 1940’s, when people in Maui’s burgeoning tourism industry were beginning to suspect that the Road to Hana would become a popular visitor destination. Your Tour Guide will point these out at Mile Marker Six—and they’re a great photo op!
Kaumahina State Park: Hawaiian for “gathering of moonlight,” this state wayside park boasts many varieties of native and indigenous plant life. Look for the paper bark tree!
Honomanu: Meaning “bay of birds,” this pristine and almost-hidden rusty-sand beach at Mile Marker Fourteen sits between towering cliffs—making for a peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful sight along the Hana Highway.
Keanae Peninsula: This quiet Hawaiian fishing village at Mile Marker Seventeen is still populated—look for lo’i, traditional swampy taro patches. The main staple crop of the native Hawaiians, kalo (taro), is still grown, cultivated, and prepared via traditional methods among the residents of Keanae.
Waikani Falls: At Mile Marker 17, you’ll see this picturesque “triple waterfall,” which is the upper fall of Wailua Stream.
Pua’a Ka’a State Park: The name of this park found at Mile Marker Twenty-Two means “rolling pig.” It features smaller waterfalls, and refreshing, natural pools. If you’re so inclined, this is a great place for a quick swim—weather and safety permitting, of course!
Wai’anapanapa State Park: Enjoy the exploration of this beautiful black-sand beach at Mile Marker Thirty-Two. With its vast expanses of lava rock contrasting with the white sea foam and brilliant blue ocean, Wai’anapanapa earned its name—“sparkling water.”
Hana Bay: Hana Bay and the surrounding town of Hana mark the end of the very special journey along the Hana Highway. This “safe bay” is a quiet, laid-back, and very Hawaiian town, where life moves at an even slower pace than the rest of the island.
If you’re on one of our land-based tours, you’ll see most of these points of interest both to and from Hana—plenty of time to get those perfect Road to Hana photos! If you’re on a Hana Sky-Trek, you’ll get to experience even more incredible sights from a state-of-the-art helicopter, truly giving you a “best-of-both-worlds” experience! However you decide to travel the Road to Hana, you’ll be sure to get plenty of great photos, and come away with even more incredible memories. Join us soon!