Driving the road to Hana is either billed as a little touristy, or the best way to see “the real Hawaii.” (It’s actually a little of both.) It’s 50 miles from Kahului (Maui’s main airport) to Hana on Highway 36 (which turns into 370). Note: this includes some tight-hugging curves. Depending on traffic, the drive itself is only a few hours, so it makes a great day-trip (in which case it’s best to leave before sunrise). But as the old adage goes, this adventure is largely about the journey, which means taking the time to stop and enjoy everything you’re passing—e.g. Maui’s magnificent coastline, rich rainforest landscapes, waterfalls cascading into blue pools, tropical foliage galore. There are also two standout beaches near Hana: the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park, called Pa’iloa, because it’s such a sight; and Hamoa Beach, because it’s likewise pretty and a relatively easy swimming spot. If you want to make a bigger trip of it, consider staying the night in Hana; Travaasa is a solid hotel option, and there are also some fun Airbnbs in the surrounding area.

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