Hawaii Road Trips August 19, 2017
by Megan Shute The Ultimate Maui Road Trip Is Right Here – And You’ll Definitely Want To Do It
When most people think of Hawaii, it’s the gorgeous island of Maui that comes to mind: With a plethora of beach resorts, outdoor activities, world-class beaches and diverse geography, Maui is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Hawaii. And for good reason – the island is home to countless incredible attractions, natural wonders, and adventures.
From towering mountain peaks and lush valleys to cascading waterfalls and breathtaking beaches, this epic road trip takes you to ten of the island’s most magnificent attractions, measuring in at nearly 160 miles and six hours of driving time. We’ve included a link to the Google Maps here, and if desired, the road trip can be customized based on your particular interests – and how many days you have available to complete the perfect Maui road trip.
1. Mount Haleakala
Your epic Maui road trip begins with a magnificent sunrise over the iconic Mount Haleakala. Just 27 square miles short of equaling the entire size of Oahu, Mount Haleakala is a gentle giant – a dormant volcano that has inspired those who make the journey to its summit for centuries. Translating to "House of the Sun," Haleakala rises more than 10,000 feet above sea level, comprises 75 percent of Maui Island, and is home to desert-like conditions, rainforests, and everything in between.
2. Kula Ali’i Lavender Farm
Next up is a fragrant lavender farm you’re sure to fall in love with. Upcountry Maui, near Mount Haleakala, gets a great deal of rain, resulting in lush, green scenery, and flourishing lavender at the Kula Lavender Farm. But the beautiful, fragrant lavender isn’t the only thing to see at this gorgeous farm – visitors will also be rewarded with panoramic views of the entire western half of the island.
3. Oheo Gulch
Located past Hana in the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park and near the Pipiwai Trailhead is an idyllic valley full of cascading waterfalls and picturesque pools known as the Seven Sacred Pools. Officially known as Oheo Gulch, these breathtaking swimming holes aren’t actually sacred, and there are far more than seven pools. The nickname was coined by the owner of what is now the Travaasa Hana – previously the Hotel Hana Maui – as a way to market this then-unknown, remote location to tourists. And the publicity stunt worked – the "Seven Sacred Pools" are now one of Maui’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason; they’re absolutely gorgeous.
4. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
Located almost in the heart of Hana town, on the eastern coast of Maui, is one of the few red sand beaches in the world. The breathtaking Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is one of the most incredible wonders you’ll see in your lifetime, and an absolute must-visit, as long as you are accustomed to navigating cliff edges with less-than-perfect footing.
5. Hana Lava Tube
While the Big Island’s Thurston Lava Tube gets all the glory, the Hana Lava Tube is just as magical - and far less crowded. Also known as Ka’eleku Cave, the lava tube is the most accessible formation of its kind on Maui, and visitors are able to explore approximately ⅓ mile of the large cave.
Along The Way Hana Highway
Your journey will take you along Maui’s famous Hana Highway - in the reverse direction of most visitors. 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 but for the incredible journey it takes to get there. The highway passes over 59 bridges and features a whopping 620 turns.
6. Garden of Eden
These lush botanical gardens are set on 26 acres full of trails, picnic spots, waterfalls and coastal views. Visitors should be sure not to miss this incredible grove of rainbow eucalyptus trees, which look as though they have materialized here from the pages of a storybook.
Just four miles from Kahalui on Maui’s famous Road to Hana is Paia, a small beach town big on charm. The town is not only known for its epic surfing and windsurfing waves, but is the epicenter of Maui’s north shore, and is full of artsy, bohemian vibes. While the adorable seaside town is gaining traction with tourists, it is still often seen as merely a spot to refuel, grab some food, and head out on the Hana Highway.
8. Iao Valley
Located just south of the West Maui Forest Reserve and near Wailuku is Iao Valley State Park, a lush, 4,000-acre valley with miles of hiking trails, stunning vistas, and the famous Iao Needle. The fern covered lava formation rising 1,200 feet from the valley’s floor was formed from millennia of erosion of the softer rock surrounding the peak, and is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture.
Once the original seat of Hawaiian monarch and King Kamehameha the Great’s royal playground, this beachside oasis is full of history – and natural beauty. For a quintessential evening in Lahaina, park on Front Street and explore the town’s surf shops and art galleries or hang out in Banyon Tree Court.
10. Ka’anapali Beach
You magnificent Maui road trip will end with a breathtaking sunset over the vast Pacific from the popular Ka’anapali Beach. Once the vacation retreat of choice for Hawaiian royalty, today Kaanapali is one of the island’s most popular expanses of white sands, surrounded by luxury hotels and resorts.
So, when will you be embarking on this epic road trip? Share this with your road trip partner on our Only In Hawaii Facebook page.
You might also like to check out our ultimate road trip itineraries for Oahu and Kauai.
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