Hey there, fellow Maui adventurers!
You know, there’s just something magical about exploring the breathtaking landscapes of this beautiful island, with its enchanting beaches, waterfalls, and hiking trails just waiting to be discovered. And let me tell you, after countless trips to Maui with my boyfriend (we’re practically locals by now!), we’ve experienced some truly unforgettable road trips.
Now I’m no stranger to adventure – in fact, I’ve been studying and researching the best roads to travel for ages. So trust me when I say that I’m here to make sure you don’t miss a single must-see spot on your own scenic drives around Maui. Whether it’s famous landmarks or off-the-beaten-path local joints that only the savviest travelers know about – consider me your personal guide!
We all long for those picture-perfect moments and memories during our travels, yet sometimes planning the perfect route can become overwhelming. But worry not – as an expert on all things Maui, I’ll make sure you get the absolute most out of these picturesque drives without breaking a sweat.
Warning: After reading this article and experiencing these amazing routes firsthand, you might just find yourself daydreaming about relocating to paradise… forever!
So sit back and buckle up – because together we’re going on an incredible journey through the most scenic drives in Maui!
Road to Hana – Best East Maui Drive
Consistently rated the best road trip in Maui and the US, the Road to Hana is a stunning 64-mile drive leading to and from the town of Hana. Along the ride, you’re met with waterfalls, secluded beaches, lush hiking trails, and quaint towns at every turn.
Some great stops on this drive are Paia town to stock up on essentials, Ho’okipa Beach for windsurfing, the Twin Falls to swim in freshwater pools, and a stunning black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park.
You can drive the road in a few hours, but we love taking this trip at a relaxed pace and stopping by each site to fully explore it, which can take up to two days.
Here’s why Road to Hana is the best Maui scenic drive:
- There are terrific photo ops at every turn.
- The drive feels like a roller coaster with the road’s 620 curves and 59 bridges.
- You can sample fresh fruits, cane juice, and coconuts from roadside stands and towns on the way.
Haleakala Highway – Exploring a volcanic summit
As the largest summit in Maui, the Haleakala volcano towers 10,000 feet on the island’s eastern side and is a natural wonderland of gardens, hiking trails, and stunning views. Those on a four-wheeler can explore the summit from the Haleakala National Park, which allows driving through the 37-mile winding road to the volcano’s tip.
Haleakala is famed for its breathtaking sunrise and sunset views, which you can experience by making reservations with the National Park.
In addition, you’ll encounter weather changes from Haleakala’s elevation, with fog and mist settling on the slopes and temperature dropping as you reach the top.
My boyfriend and I always squeeze in a drive up Haleakala on our trips, as it’s the best Maui scenic drive.
- The drive to Haleakala is much safer and more well-developed than Maui’s coastal roads.
- You can spot Hawaiian geese and stray mountain goats while driving.
- Visitors can also visit the sacred Ohe’o Gulch falls from reservations with the Park.
Upcountry Maui – See the lush Maui countryside
Set away from the island’s coastal side, Upcountry Maui is on the backside of Haleakala and winds through beautiful ranches, plantations, and historic towns. You can explore the lush Maui countryside starting from Haleakala, then head to the island’s inner regions where most farmlands lie.
Stop by Makawao town to see Hawaii’s infamous pineapple fields and enjoy the cowboy culture. Next, drive to Kula, at a 3000-foot elevation, and houses lavender fields, botanical gardens, and a great restaurant at the Kula Lodge.
We love taking a detour to this secluded side of the island whenever we visit, and it’s one of the best Maui scenic drives.
- T. Komoda Bakery is a must-stop in Makawao, as it resembles a store from the past and sells the best cream puffs.
- You can see coffee farms at the Maui Tropical Plantations, which produce the island’s local beans.
- There are options to pick strawberries and try local spirits from farms and distilleries.
Kahekili Highway – A thrilling ride from North to West Maui
If you’re an experienced driver, prepare for the road trip of a lifetime on the Kahekili Highway, a West Maui coastal road that links to the North shore. The drive passes by winding roads, narrow turns, single-lane bridges, and hairpin curves, but these are well worth the vistas of Maui you’ll pass.
Visitors will enjoy cliffs on one side, which give views of the Pacific Ocean, and lush valleys on the other. Some great sights on your way will be Honolua Bay, a favorite diving spot, the Nakalele Blowholes, and the stunning Olivine Pools, where you can stop to take a dip.
Finally, stop at Kahakuloa, an ancient Hawaiian village, to refresh with shaved ice and banana bread from local stands before making the journey back.
Here’s why Kahekili Highway is the best Maui scenic drive:
- There are guided tours on this Highway that pass by all the famous spots, led by experienced drivers.
- You can stop at the many lookout points on the road, which serve as terrific photo ops.
- The lack of infrastructure on the Highway gives rustic views of what the island looked like in the past.
What is the most famous drive in Maui?
The Road to Hana is the most famous drive in Maui, as it winds for 65 miles across the island’s best waterfalls, beaches, hiking trails, and gardens. You can easily spend two days exploring each stop on this road and stay in the quaint towns along the way.
Which part of Maui is the most beautiful?
Although this is highly debatable, West Maui is considered one of the most beautiful parts of the island. That’s because West Maui is both developed from its towns and rustic on its mountainside. You can find the island’s best beaches and hiking trails on the West side by driving the Kahekili Highway.
How long does it take to drive around the island of Maui?
If you drive around Maui’s perimeter and stick to the road for the whole journey, it can take 10-12 hours, depending on how fast you drive. There are also roads to explore the island’s shores, like the Hana and Haleakala Hwy on the East and Kahekili Hwy on the West.
Winding Up The Best Maui Scenic Drives
The island of Maui offers the most beautiful sceneries in Hawaii, all easily accessible by road. So you can take some terrific road trips on the island, driving by secluded beaches and rushing waterfalls, passing through farmlands, and stopping at local towns.
Want to take the most famous drive in Maui? Head to the Road to Hana in East Maui.
Need to drive up Maui’s highest summit? Take a drive up Haleakala Highway to the volcano’s tip.
Looking for the most thrilling drive in Maui? Brave the Kahekili Highway from West to North Maui.
The most scenic drives in Maui will take your breath away!
Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Brigitte