Hawaii Travel Guides

Three Beautiful Maui Drives That Don’t Lead to Hana

west Maui drive

While driving the road to Hana is an amazing experience, filled with spectacular waterfalls, endless jungle, and some incredible stops, it is not the only beautiful Maui drive.

The valleys and almost constant ocean view make Maui one of the ideal places to get in a car and drive. We’ve picked some of our favorite Maui drives (and destinations) to help you better explore the island. The road to Hana is by far the longest drive on Maui meriting an entire day (at least); these three drives are shorter and dotted with activities and places to eat along the way.

1) Kula – An Upcountry Maui Drive

Maui, the ‘Valley Isle’, as viewed from Kula

The road to Haleakala, particularly on the way to Kula, is one of the prettiest stretches of road on Maui and is worth exploring even without a visit to the summit.

The high elevation keeps the temperature comfortable while providing a view of the entire valley and the West Maui Mountains, perfect for island photography. The sloping green hillsides are more reminiscent of Ireland than Hana – it’s no surprise that paniolo (cowboys) still raise cattle here.

The Kula area is home to the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm as well as the Olinda Forest, one of the most photogenic forests on island (not counting the bamboo forest, of course). In the spring and early summer, this area is also filled with fragrant purple jacaranda blossoms. To give yourself a clear destination, drive to the Kula Lodge for breakfast or brunch and then head down the mountain, stopping for photos along the way.

2) Nakalele Blowhole – A West Maui Drive

The Nakalele Blowhole

The famously narrow road to Kahakuloa might be more than you want to tackle, but the beginning of the drive from the West side of Maui is relatively easy going (though still winding) and leads to the blowhole and Olivine pools, two of Maui’s stunning natural formations.

The Nakalele Blowhole is about forty-five minutes away from Lahaina town, and most of that distance is covered on the main highway. Overall, the drive features rugged cliffs and red dirt bluffs that are almost identical to those in Haiku in about half the distance.

For the more adventurous traveler, continue on down the often one-lane road to Kahakuloa, which is another alternative to the road to Hana and leads to Maui’s farmlands.

See our blog on the West Maui Circle Drive for our top 10 stops on this stunning route around West Maui.

3) La Perouse – A South Maui Drive

The black lava fields meeting the shore at La Perouse

While the drive to Makena and Wailea is not the main attraction, the lava fields and snorkeling at the end of the road make this drive down the south side of Maui well worth it.

Portions of the King’s Road are still visible near the lava fields at La Perouse. Depending on your fitness level and the time you spend there, they can provide a challenging hike or a brief stroll through some of Maui’s newest land. On the ocean side, the La Perouse Fish Preserve is perfect for snorkeling on a calm day.

Take a trip around Maui

Have you ever taken one of these Maui drives? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.

And if you’re new to driving on Maui, then read our Driving Tips on Maui for help navigating around the island.

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One thought on “Three Beautiful Maui Drives That Don’t Lead to Hana

  1. Joe says:

    Speaking of the drive up to Kula here is a little fact for you – for every 1000 feet change in elevation the temperature changes by 3 degrees.

    If I recall correctly Kula is at about 2300 feet so it will be about 7 degrees cooler than at the shore and the Haleakala summit at almost exactly 10,000 feet another 22 degrees cooler than at Kula.

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