Hana Driving Checklist

1. Decide on doing a day-trip or staying overnight

Hana is best experienced over at least a few days. This being said, you can still do it 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 Travaasa Hana Hotel, since it's right in the middle of Hana Town and it's one of the nicest places to stay in Hawaii. If you're staying overnight, consider having groceries delivered to your accommodation to save some money and have everything you might need.

2. Rent a car

Jeeps are readily available and so are convertibles. This is the best way to go, but 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. Here are some good prices for car rentals in Maui.

In our opinion, the best 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.

Alternately, Maui Lifted Jeep Rentals offer excellent deals on their fleet of colorful new Unlimited Sport Jeep Wranglers, which are ideal for driving the bumpier backside of Hana. Roll down the windows and enjoy the sites with the help of a lifted perspective!

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

Travaasa Hana Hotel

Experience Hana at your leisure by staying the night in luxury.

Hana Hotel

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

Rappel Maui

Explore Maui's rainforest cliffs and waterfalls by rappelling down them.

maui rappelling

Lifted Jeep Rentals

Take the worry out of driving the backside from Hana with a smooth, lifted ride.

maui jeep rental

Maui Rental Car

Get the best prices and ideal vehicle for your drive along the Road to Hana.

Hana CD Guide