Photo: Hana Maui Resort

Enjoy Maui’s Road to Hana Longer With an Epic Overnight Stay Along the Way

Hawaii Road Trips Epic Stays
by Tim Wenger Nov 18, 2020

The famed Road to Hana on Hawaii’s Maui island starts in Kahului, near the airport. It traverses 63 miles and a seemingly endless stretch of one-lane bridges and switchbacks — taking you past some of the planet’s loveliest waterfalls and hiking trails. It’s a drive that embodies the journey-is-the-destination mindset. So why not keep the journey going a little longer by breaking it up with some overnight stays? Add in some beachside camping and waterfall hiking without having to skimp your time in the destination itself.

This plan will be rewarded with some of Maui’s most memorable, off-the-resort-path lodging options. Accommodations along the route and in Hana range from campsites to luxury hotels, with everything in between. No matter which you choose, you’ll wake up surrounded by the beautiful scenery for which Maui’s eastern side is famous.

Where to stay by the Road to Hana’s best hikes and waterfalls

Hana Highway waterfall

Photo: arkanto/Shutterstock

Upper Waikani Falls is located between mile markers 19 and 20, about halfway timewise along the route. Nearby along the route are Puohokamoa Falls, Makapipi Falls, Waiokilo Falls, Kopiliula Falls, and others, a handful of which require a hike in. There are also plenty of popular hikes — like the Bamboo Forest, Twin Falls, and the many trails at Ko’olau Forest Reserve — each of which is doable as a day hike. To spend more time exploring the falls and forest before continuing on to Hana, you have a few options for overnight stays.

Hipcamp lists some camping and glamping available near the falls, including at Hawaiian Jungle Escape. For $125 per night, you have an entire acre filled with organic fruits like bananas and papayas and plenty of nature walks, including an add-on guided walk of the nearby terraced gardens.

Or, get more rustic and camp in the jungle near a waterfall for $38 per night. A jungle hut is also available, though the owner requests a four-night minimum stay, according to Hipcamp. With each option, you’ll be surrounded by hiking and sightseeing opportunities just outside the Haiku-Pauwela town, a short drive from Paia.

Aloha Surf Hostel

Photo: Aloha Surf Hostel/Facebook

Paia itself is a hippie beach town that combines a laid-back vibe with upscale amenities. It’s the place to sip the perfect cup of coffee at Island Fresh Cafe in the morning and spend the afternoon overlooking the windsurfers hucking their moves at Ho’okipa while eating the best fish taco you’ve ever had. With a town so epic, there’s no reason to pay hundreds of dollars a night to stay right above the beach. Sleep in town for about $150 per night in an apartment or at the renowned Aloha Surf Hostel, where for $113 per night you can become buddies with fellow surfers who can show you the best waves before you hit the road to Hana.

Camping at Wai’anapanapa State Park

Hana Maui beach

Photo: Shane Myers Photography/Shutterstock

Wai’anapanapa State Park is among the top stops on the Road to Hana, largely because of its famed black-sand beach and trails through the lush forest. Camping is available in the park with a reservation at $30 per night for non-Hawaii residents, with the same rate applying to campervans. The park also rents out cabins for $100 per night, two-night minimum, which are as secluded as the surrounding park is beautiful.

Should you elect to spend the night at the park, make the most of your time by doing the quick hike at the nearby Hana Lava Tube and stopping by the Hana Maui Botanical Gardens. Inside the park, you’ll likely spend most of your time hiking and lounging on that black sand. Just don’t forget your camera, because unless you make it back to the Wai’anapanapa, you’ll never find yourself in a setting like this again.

Where to stay in Hana town

Hana Maui plantation house

Photo: EQRoy/Shutterstock

If you’re going to take the Road to Hana, it’s well worth staying over in Hana itself for at least a night. The most unique lodging in Hana town is the Hana Organic Farm & Retreat, reservable on Airbnb. For about $155 per night, you get a small studio apartment on farmland on the outskirts of town, immediately surrounded by nothing but dense tropical foliage. Head just up Uakea Road to Kapueokahi Beach, or into the town center via the Hana Highway. If your goal in getting to Hana is to soak in the island’s wilder side, this is the place to stay.

That said, luxury is never far away on Maui. If cost is not the issue, check into the Hana Maui Resort. This Hyatt property has all the trimmings of a luxury beach resort, with outdoor dining, a massive pool, and an on-site spa. You can take a morning walk to Hana Bay Beach Park, savoring the view before the day-trippers arrive from Maui’s west side. Just be ready to spend over $550 per night.

For a more humble but no less picturesque stay, consider the Hana Inn (long known as Joe’s Place). Rooms here start at just over $100 per night with easy access to Hana Bay. The house deck and barbecue make this an easy place to meet fellow travelers and share recommendations — and swap ideas for yet more magical spots to visit on your way back west.

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