The Hawaiian Islands are home to unsurpassed natural beauty, and while there are some wonders that can only be seen via strenuous hiking trails, or even helicopter tour, there are others that simply require a vehicle – as well as a camera and killer driving playlist. These 15 roads, highways, and byways are among the prettiest in all of Hawaii and are absolutely perfect for a scenic drive.
1. Kalanianaole Highway
From incredible lava formations and charming coves to challenging hikes and beautiful beaches, Oahu’s Kalanianaole Highway is a treasure trove of incredible spots you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Pro tip: it’s an even more incredible drive when done on a motorcycle.
2. Hawaii Belt Road
Mamalahoa Highway, referred to modernly as the Hawaii Belt Road, includes Routes 11, 19, and 190, encircling the Island of Hawaii, from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Waimea through Kona. This is perhaps the greatest - and longest - road trip you can take while in Hawaii.
3. Honoapiilani Highway
Also known as Hawaii Route 30, this 35-mile road in west Maui circumvents the West Maui Forest Preserve, beginning in downtown Wailuku and travels south through Waikapu and Maalaea.
4. Maluhia Road
The Holo Holo Koloa Scenic Byway serves as the gateway to Kauai's southern shore, and is full of magnificent views and gorgeous stops, including Maluhia Road, a stretch of highway covered in a canopy of eucalyptus trees.
5. Kamehameha V Highway
On the small island of Molokai, the Kamehameha V Highway follows the island’s coast from Halawa Beach to Kaunakakai, where the road turns into Mauna Loa Highway.
6. Round Top Drive
Also known as Tantalus, this two-lane, ten-mile loop features a series of steep inclines, hairpin turns and blind corners that challenge even the most skilled drivers in the smallest cars you can find.
7. Saddle Road
Hawaii Route 200, also known as Saddle Road, traverses Hawaii Island for 52.7 miles from downtown Hilo to its junction with Highway 190 near Waimea. The highway received its nickname for being the “saddle” in between the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes, and is notoriously dangerous.
8. Kuhio Highway
Stretching 28 miles from Lihue north to Princeville is Kuhio Highway, also known as Hawaii Route 56. While classified as a highway, this stretch of road is particularly small, and even features a one-lane bridge, making the traffic on Kuhio pretty rough.
9. Keeaumoku Road
With only 30 miles of paved roads, the island of Lanai is perhaps Hawaii’s most untouched natural beauty. And Keeaumoku is perhaps the prettiest of those few roads.
10. Chain of Craters Road
As the name indicates, this scenic road leads drivers to the coast, past several craters from historic eruptions. Since the road was opened in 1965, several parts of the road have been buried in lava due to volcanic eruptions. The Chain of Craters Road is located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and currently measures in at 18.8 miles. Oh, and just as a warning - there is no food, water of fuel available along the path.
11. Kamehameha Highway
Take Kamehameha Highway and drive around the north and eastern shores of Oahu. With stunning beaches, gorgeous lookout spots, and majestic mountains, the drive is a perfect day trip to experience the true beauty of the island.
12. Haleakala Highway
The drive to the summit of Mount Haleakala is exhilarating to say the least - it’s almost as though you are driving upwards towards the heavens. While this drive is certainly known for its incredible destination, the steep, winding road is still pretty cool.
13. Waimea Canyon Drive
Nearly 14 miles long, one mile wide, and more than 3,600 feet deep, the stunning Waimea Canyon is full of striking cliffs, incredible colors, and cascading waterfalls; it is perhaps Hawaii’s most unspoiled natural beauty. And the road into the park is certainly incredible as well.
14. Farrington Highway
Farrington Highway begins in Ewa, and makes its way to Oahu’s leeward coast, before ending at Kaena Point State Park, the northwestern most tip of the island. Not only is the Pacific Ocean breathtaking, but the lush mountains towering overhead are absolutely dreamy.
15. Hana Highway
Maui’s Road to Hana is perhaps the most popular scenic drive on the island – and possibly all of Hawaii. This infamous 64.4-mile highway stretches from Kahului to Hana is popular not for the destination – Hana Town – but for the incredible journey it takes to get there. The highway passes over 59 bridges and features a whopping 620 turns.