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. The views of the islands from your windshield while on any of these 13 roads will absolutely astound you. The views from inside your car, in fact, are so incredibly jaw-dropping that there is no need to make any stops, though we’re positive you’ll want to.
Ready for a scenic drive? Pack up your bags and check out any of these gorgeous roads:
1. Kohala Mountain Road, Hawaii Island
Meandering across the northern tip of Hawaii Island from Waimea to Hawi, Kohala Mountain Road will transport you to another place — perhaps somewhere in mainland America where cows easily outnumber people? Known locally as "The High Road," this scenic road measures in at just under 20 miles — and is positively stunning the entire way, passing by rolling hillsides, ranchlands, lush forests, open pastures, brilliant meadows, and towering mountains.
2. Farrington Highway, Oahu
Farrington Highway begins in Ewa, and makes its way to Oahu’s leeward coast, before ending at Kaena Point State Park, the northwesternmost tip of the island. Not only is the Pacific Ocean breathtaking, but the lush mountains towering overhead are absolutely dreamy.
3. Haleakala Highway, Maui
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.
4. Saddle Road, Hawaii Island
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.
5. H-3 Highway, Oahu
Hop on Oahu’s H-3 headed from Honolulu to the windward side of the island for some of the best views on the island. The highway runs through the Ko’olau Mountains via the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels, and once you emerge from the mountainside, you’re sure to feel as though you have been transported to the world of Jurassic Park — perhaps because part of the movie was shot here?
6. Waimea Canyon Drive, Kauai
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, wouldn’t you agree?
7. Chain of Craters Road, Hawaii Island
Located on Hawaii Island, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is the 18.8 mile Chain of Craters Road, which will take drivers — and their passengers — on an unforgettable journey from 4,000 feet above sea level to the ocean that will make you feel as though you’re a million miles away from civilization. Plus, the views are positively second to none. As the name indicates, this scenic road leads drivers from the center of the national park towards the coast, past several volcanic craters from historic eruptions, lava formations, and incredible vistas and scenic spots overlooking the island’s southern coast.
8. Road to Hana, Maui
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.
9. Kalanianaole Highway, Oahu
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.
10. Maluhia Road, Kauai
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.
11. Mauna Kea Access Road, Hawaii Island
The Mauna Kea Access Road takes you on an unforgettable — and potentially nerve-wracking — journey to more than 13,700 feet above sea level. It is not only the highest road in the Aloha State, but one of the highest paved roads in the world as well. The eight-mile road to the summit from the visitor’s center requires that you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, but the expansive views from above the clouds are well worth the effort it takes to get here. Did we mention that only three miles of the eight-mile road are actually paved?
12. Round Top Drive, Oahu
Once you turn onto Round Top Drive, which connects with Tantalus Drive, you will be met with driveways at impossibly steep inclines, hairpin turns, blind corners, sheer drops into rainforest valleys, and views of the city that cannot be beat. This two-lane, ten-mile loop is one of my personal favorite drives, and one of the best places to get away from the stress of daily life for just an hour.
13. Kahekili Highway, Maui
Living in the shadow of Maui’s famous Hana Highway is the island’s Kahekili Highway — a road just as pretty and perhaps even more dangerous than its famous neighbor. This is easily the loneliest road in Hawaii, and it is an absolute must-visit for anyone who loves long, winding drives along the coast. Be warned, however, that this is a dangerous drive not suitable for the faint of heart.
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