How Long Does it Take to Drive Around the Island of Maui?

Scenic Hana Highway on the east coast of Maui, Hawaii, USA

Maui, known as the “Valley Isle,” is a dream destination for many travel enthusiasts and adventure seekers. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and majestic mountains, it’s no wonder Maui is on so many bucket lists. One of the most exhilarating ways to explore this paradise is by driving around the island. But how long does it take to drive around Maui? This blog post will provide a detailed guide to help you plan your adventure.

The Route: Detailed Description of the Most Scenic Drive Around the Island

Driving around the island of Maui is not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about the journey and the breathtaking scenery along the way. The most popular route for circumnavigating Maui involves a combination of the Hana Highway (HI-360) on the east side and the Piilani Highway (HI-31) on the south side.

Starting from Kahului, most visitors head east on the Hana Highway, which is a winding, narrow road that takes you through lush tropical forests, past cascading waterfalls, and along rugged coastlines. From Hana, the journey continues to the quieter part of the island along the Piilani Highway, offering sweeping views of the ocean and the volcanic landscapes of Haleakalā.

This route is considered the most scenic and offers a comprehensive view of Maui’s diverse ecosystems.

Duration Calculation: Breakdown of Time Needed, Including Stops

Driving non-stop around Maui would take approximately 9-10 hours. However, making stops to fully appreciate the island’s beauty turns this into a full-day adventure or even a two-day trip if you wish to spend more time at each location.

Here’s a rough breakdown:

  • Kahului to Hana: Approximately 2.5-3 hours (without stops)
  • Exploring Hana: 1-2 hours
  • Hana to Kipahulu (Haleakalā National Park): 30 minutes
  • Exploring Kipahulu: 1.5-2 hours
  • Kipahulu to Kaupo: 1 hour
  • Kaupo to Kula: 1 hour
  • Kula to Kahului: 1 hour

Adding up these times, plus some buffer for unplanned stops, photo ops, and food breaks, you’re looking at around 12-14 hours.

Points of Interest: Highlighting Must-See Stops Along the Way

Hana Highway Highlights:

  1. Twin Falls: Your first major stop from Kahului, these waterfalls are perfect for a quick dip.
  2. Garden of Eden Arboretum: A lush botanical garden with panoramic views of the coast.
  3. Wai’anapanapa State Park: Famous for its black sand beach and freshwater caves.
  4. Hana Town: A quaint town ideal for grabbing lunch and exploring local shops.

Piilani Highway Highlights:

  1. Haleakalā National Park (Kipahulu District): Offers a chance to hike to the Waimoku Falls and visit the Oheo Gulch.
  2. Palapala Ho’omau Church: The resting place of Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator.
  3. Wailua Falls: A stunning waterfall perfect for a quick visit and a taste of natural beauty.

Tips for the Trip: Advice on the Best Times to Go, What to Bring

When to Go:

  • Early Start: Begin your journey early in the morning to avoid traffic and make the most of daylight.
  • Weekdays: Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends.

What to Bring:

  • Snacks and Water: While there are places to stop, having your own supplies ensures you’re never caught out.
  • Comfortable Clothing: Layers are best, as temperatures can vary.
  • Camera: For capturing the stunning views.
  • Map/Navigation App: Cell service can be spotty, so having a downloaded map is helpful.
  • Emergency Kit: Just in case, carry a basic emergency kit and a spare tire.

Conclusion: Recap and Encouragement for Readers to Plan Their Adventure

Driving around the island of Maui is an unforgettable experience, offering the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. From lush forests and dramatic coastlines to charming towns and historic landmarks, this journey encapsulates the essence of Maui. While it’s possible to complete the drive in a day, taking your time to fully appreciate the island’s beauty is highly recommended.

Ready to explore the stunning landscapes of Maui? For an even more adventurous experience, consider a haleakala bike tour to complement your driving adventure. Happy travels!