Hana Driving Checklist

1. Decide on a day-trip or staying overnight

Hana is best experienced over at least a few days. This being said, you can still have a great time in a day. You need to decide just how much you'd like to see and do and whether you can handle a full day of driving. If you decide to stay overnight, make reservations at a hotel now. We really like the the Hana-Maui Resort, since it's right in the middle of Hana Town and it's one of the nicest places to stay in Hawaii. If going for the day, we suggest doing a Road to Hana tour. You'll be safer by going to approved, legal locations, traffic will be cut down, and Hana local will appreciate your visit more than in a solo vehicle. We really want to cut down on cars and mishaps along the road.

2. Rent a car

Again, we encourage visitors to do a tour over renting your own car for this journey. Jeeps are sometimes available and so are convertibles. Keep in mind that it may rain at any moment. So, if (read: when) it does rain, prepare to be a little wet before finding a safe place to pull over and pop the top. Rent something reliable that gets decent gas mileage. We sometimes see massive SUV's driving the road to Hana, which is weird to us. Unless you have a really big family, choose a mid-sized car. If you've got a big family, opt for a tour.

In our opinion, a fun way to drive the Road to Hana is in a sporty 356 Porsche Speedster convertible from Maui Roadsters. Their classic 1957 Speedster reproductions come in many different colors, so you can travel in your own style. You'll appreciate your Speedsters performance and handling around the many curves and bridges.  6 and 12 hour rentals are available.

3. Get The R2H CD Guide

We love this Road to Hana guide. It's inexpensive and walks you through every cool spot along the journey. It's like having an experienced guide sitting next to you. Another great thing about this guide is that it offers both 1 and 2 day itineraries and comes with a folding map. You can order a physical copy on their website, download it from the website, or visit one of many shops on Maui that sell it.

4. Do some research

Even with the CD, it's good to decide on which spots to checkout beforehand. Do yourself a favor, and DON'T do everything possible along the Road to Hana. It's too much. You'll be exhausted and you won't enjoy the trip. Choose a handful of fun places that catch your eye, then spend a little extra time at each one. You'll thank us for it. You'll also want to decide which direction to go: beginning with Paia Town or Upcountry along the Back Road to Hana.

5. Pack a bag

    Some things you'll want to bring include:

  • Food - (see #6 below)
  • Water - Bring plenty, though you can buy it along the way.
  • Cash - Most of the banana bread and smoothie places only take cash.
  • Towels - It's most likely going to rain. Be prepared.
  • Hiking Shoes - If you want to hike. Bring shoes you don't mind getting muddy.
  • Bug Spray - Mosquitos love Hana tourists.
  • Charged Cameras - Many photo opps await you!
  • Full Gas Tank - You most likely won't need a whole tank, but just in case.
  • Respect for the land & people - A crucial component to everyone's happiness.
  • Music - It's nice to have your own selection of tunes.
  • DON'T BRING - any unnecessary valuables. Maui is pretty cool, but there are still some bad apples.

6. Leave early and grab a picnic lunch

You may or may not want to stay all day long, but either way you should leave early. Kuau Store is on the way and opens at 6:30am. So, you can top off the gas tank in Paia, get some fresh coffee, grab a picnic lunch, drinks, and some snacks for hiking. Look for the famous surfboard fence. (808) 579-8844

Kuau Mart Store


7. Pay attention to time

The last thing you want to do is drive the winding road to Hana in the dark. Make sure to leave Hana area at least a few hours before sunset. If the roads are open, and your rental car agreement allows, consider driving the backside of Haleakala. You'll watch sunset either from the back of the island or Upcountry near Kula and Makawao, which is pretty amazing.

Hana Maui businesses

Hana Tours

Have Hana locals that truly know the best of Hana show you their home and beyond!

Road to Hana tours

Skyline Hawaii

With courses at both Haleakala and Kaanapali, your unforgettable zipline experience is just down the road!

Skyline Hawaii

The R2H CD

Let this guide lead you to adventure and romance along the road to Hana, Maui.

Hana Guide

Maui Roadsters

The ultimate car rentals ideal for your drive along the Road to Hana.

Speedster Rentals