Updated July 1, 2021.
If the Road to Hana is on your Maui “to do” list, you’re probably getting a lot of information about doing it all in just one day. And sure, that’s a fine way to do it. However, I strongly suggest you consider spending a night or two somewhere along the Road to Hana, and here are my top 10 reasons why:
10. Enjoy a Leisurely Meal with a View
Our vacation rental was tucked up on a hillside, nestled in the jungle out back with a view of the ocean out front. Where else can you have that? Both nights we were there, we picked up some food for supper and enjoyed dinner with a view–whichever view we chose!
More here: Where to Eat on Maui
9. To Explore the Road Beyond Hana
Many Road to Hana road trippers make Hana their turn-around point due to time constraints and the fact that the road narrows quite a bit the farther you go on the other side of Hana. But I have to say I thought that was the prettiest stretch of road on the whole 66+ miles of Hana Highway! It was even more lush, even more colorful, and even more diverse. We drove through fields where sheep and cattle were grazing and wondered if we’d somehow transported ourselves to the Scottish countryside! Not only that, the best hike of all is near the end of the Road: the Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo Forest. You do not want to compromise and miss that if it’s on your list!
More here: Hawaii for History Lovers
8. Enjoy Long Hikes
The Road to Hana has some really nice short hikes to whet your appetite for a quick walk through nature, but the two best hikes we did took at least two and then two and a half hours. That would have been four and a half hours out of just one day, not to mention the time to drive to the trail heads along the road to begin with! Instead of skipping either or both of them, or perhaps only doing a short distance, we got to enjoy long hikes at our own pace and saw some truly incredible things!
More here: Hiking Hawaii: Maui
7. Get the Red Sand Beach to Yourself
The Red Sand Beach is one of the most unique sites on the Road to Hana, and the fact that the trail to get there is on private property makes it all the more enticing! (Don’t worry, the owner put up a sign stating that he is not liable and you can hike at your own risk.) To have something like that to yourself for an hour or so before anyone else gets there is a pretty fantastic thing to put on your list of things you’ve experienced!
Need more? The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips
6. Get to Do Everything You Want
If you’re doing the whole Road to Hana, or even just half of it, all in one day, you’ll need to keep an eye on your time. You’ll also have to guess about which sites are worth a stop, and you might have to miss something you really wanted to do–like some gorgeous waterfall hikes. But if you take two or even three days to explore the whole road, you can do everything you want and never have to worry about driving back along the winding road at night!
Must know info: What to Know Before Driving the Road to Hana
5. To Take Your Time
When you dedicate just one day to the Road to Hana, you have to be turning around no later than 4:00pm to really be sure you won’t be driving it after dark (around 6:30 all year round). For people like Steve and me, that is not at all relaxing! We would have been checking our time all day long, and we would have totally rushed through the best Road to Hana sites without really appreciating them. We are so glad we got to spend all the time we wanted, wherever we wanted!
More here: The Best Hawaiian Souvenirs
4. Get Multiple Chances for Good Weather
Our first day on the Road to Hana was rainy–so much so that some of the hikes we wanted to do were not going to be a good idea! Lucky for us, we got two more chances for beautiful weather, and we got it. The next two days were lightly overcast, but not rainy, so both hiking and driving were much more enjoyable–and safer!
Keep reading: The Top 10 Sites on the Road to Hana
3. To Relax
I was shocked at the calming effect of the Road to Hana, but I didn’t really appreciate it until we got back to Paia and the rest of “mainstream” Maui. Neither Steve nor I really enjoy driving, but it’s remarkable how quickly we eased into the groove of driving the small road and allowed it to become second nature. We found ourselves being more patient with other drivers, too. But the most relaxing part was spending our evenings and nights in the jungle with a view of the ocean out front! You will instantly find yourself in a slower life, even if only for a few days.
Read next: How to Practice Self Care on Travel
2. To Get the Bamboo Forest to Yourself
We intentionally started our second day on the Road to Hana at the very end so we could get the Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo Forest all to ourselves! We walked the whole 2.5 miles from the parking lot to the waterfall at the end and only saw three other people. This is a very popular spot and can get crowded in the afternoons, so having it to ourselves with the morning light coming through the stalks was extra special! I might even call it romantic and magical.
Get more: Epic Landscapes of the World
1. To Get Photos with No People in Them
I don’t know about you, but I am not a patient photographer. I get kind of frustrated when people just won’t get out of my picture, and I even give up more often than I’d like to admit! But the best way I’ve found to avoid that is to avoid the people altogether! Because most Road to Hana road trippers do it all in a day, we were able to be the first people to several sites farther into the road while others were starting way back in Paia Town!
More here: The Ultimate Maui Bucket List
So what do you think? Does this post convince you to stay in or around Hana for a night or two? Comment below to tell me!
Want to know more? Check out What to Know Before Driving the Road to Hana, 3-Day Road to Hana Itinerary, and my Top 10 Sites on the Road to Hana! And visit my Hawaiian Islands Page for all my Maui posts!
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