The Long and Winding Road to Hana

I was excited to have a chance to take the Road to Hana last month, but after multiple horror stories about the infamously curvy road and resulting car sickness, I told my friends I was backing out. A couple of weeks passed and FOMO overtook my fear of channeling Linda Blair in the Exorcist.  I am of a like mind with Lucille Ball  who said “I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.”

The drive is full of twists and turns while it meanders slowly along the eastern coast of Maui. Many sections of road are only wide enough for one car to pass at a time and a majority of these spots are blind turns. If you love waterfalls, then it is worth the suffering because there are waterfalls everywhere you look, so many that you don’t even have to pull over to see them.

We had no issues navigating without a GPS or cell phone coverage because there is nowhere else to go once you are on Highway 360. The stops are obvious. Just pull over whenever you see three or more cars parked along the side of the road and ask the first person you come across what there is to see.

This plan worked like a charm for us. Twin Falls was the first of these stops and happened to be the most scenic waterfall we found.


While there are other falls along the walking trail, we didn’t look for them in an effort to conserve time. On the way back to the car, we stopped at the farm stand for a loaf of the banana bread we were told is “the thing” in these parts.

Farther along are roadside stands offering a wide range of food including American style bbq, tacos, and traditional Hawaiian fare. We stopped and had a wonderful meal of BBQ chicken and kalua pork served with rice and cooked bananas. It was the largest single serving of food I have ever seen so it was a good thing I shared. I felt like I was a contestant on the show Survivor as I sat on a log eating from a “plate” fashioned out of a piece of tree trunk and using chopsticks made out of freshly chopped bamboo sticks.

After many hours of driving and more waterfalls than I could count, we finally arrived at Waiʻānapanapa State Park.  There are many scenic overlooks for a nice picnic.  If you have time, there is camping available, too.

This park is where you will find you a gorgeous black sand beach.  These are rare phenomenon because they depend on volcanic lava flowing into the ocean at which point it forms the black basalt rock that later becomes black sand.

There was enough spotty cell coverage for me to locate GC1EGG5 (Black Sand Beach-Plage de Sable Noire-14), which is an Earth cache explaining the rarity of black sand.

This was the end of the road for us. By now it was almost 3:00pm and we wanted to be done with the drive before dark so we decided to go back the way we came from instead of continuing on in a loop. This way, we were able to avoid the mysterious gravel road that is so creates so much wear and tear on cars that rental car companies prohibit customers driving it. 

The good news is I never got car sick.  I took every precaution against motion sickness I could think of and it paid off. Despite the pharmacist telling me I was overdoing it, I still armed myself with a dose of Dramamine, a Sea-Band bracelet on each wrist, and sucked on hard candies per the  advice of the old and wise Target cashier. This (and sitting shotgun) was the magic formula.


5 thoughts on “The Long and Winding Road to Hana

  1. jonna says:

    I got motion sickness thinking about it, but the idea of the food, waterfalls, and the beauty of it all overrode those thoughts!!.. I will just add this to the list of places to visit!!!! per JWO!!!!!


  2. Leslie Miessner says:

    Hi JWo!

    Happy Independence Day! I’m just now getting caught up on email that piled up while we were on our Netherlands and Norway trip. First, happy birthday wishes almost a month late! It snuck by me while we were away. Second, love this blog post! Good job on the motion sickness prevention! Brings back memories of when my Mom and I did the road to Hana many many years ago. We took a van tour that did the full loop including the mysterious gravel road! The leeward side of the island was so totally different, with cattle grazing on hills reminiscent of Northern California. I still have a mental picture of the lone business on that stretch – the Kaupo Country Store, a weathered wooden structure like something from the Old West. I wonder whether that stretch is still so barren today.

    Looking forward to your next post, Leslie

    Sent from my iPad



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