Road Tripping the Honoapi'ilani Highway: Road to Lahaina
April 15, 2022
You’ve probably heard all about the road to Hana with its twisting turns, waterfall hikes, and swimming holes — but what about the road to Lahaina? If you visit Hale Pau Hana chances are you’ll make it over to Lahaina at least once. Art galleries, restaurants, and a giant banyan tree are just a few highlights of the historic town, and the drive there is pretty great too! Read on to learn why the road to Lahaina is all about the journey.
Get Road Trip Ready
You might be tempted to hop in your car with just your coffee, camera, and flip-flops, but we suggest packing some supplies for this mini-adventure. Here’s a list of essentials to enjoy our recommended stops along the way!
Snacks and lots of water
Hat, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes
Binoculars and camera
Swimsuit, towel, and your snorkel gear (or a beach chair if you'd rather take a nap in the shade)
The Honoapi'ilani Highway
Head north out of Kihei until you hit highway 30. Turn left (toward Ma'alaea) and you’ll be on the Honoapi'ilani Highway! Following the terrain of the island, this scenic highway curves around the West Maui Mountains and has amazing views of the coastline. It can be slow going, so you’ll want to take it easy and enjoy the sights. From December through May this section of the island is perfect for whale spotting and with the morning sun at your back the view of the pacific is stunning. Get ready for your first stop because we have a great place for you to search the horizon for spouts!
Just past Ma'alaea Harbor you’ll see an easy pull-off with parking between mile markers 8 and 9. From this scenic lookout the islands of Kahoolawe and Molokini are visible across the bay, and if you’re really motivated it’s a great place to see the sun rise over Haleakala Volcano. Also known as Whale Lookout Point, the views are gorgeous and you’re bound to see whale pods even without binoculars. A naturalist from the Pacific Whale Foundation is often there in the winter months with information and exhibits. Remember that patience is key when spotting a whale. You may need to hang out for a bit before something happens. But once you see a breach you’ll never forget it!
Photo courtesy @krists
Lāhainā Pali Trail
When you fly into Maui you’ll likely see the wind turbines, but what you might not know is that you can hike up to them! While we don’t recommend that you make the trek to the top of the mountain on this road trip, you can still find some amazing views with a little hike. There is a small dirt parking lot at the trailhead near Mile Marker 11 and the finding the trailhead can be a bit tricky. Take this hiker’s advice so you don’t miss it! Wear sturdy shoes, bring lots of water and a snack, and prepare to sweat. Head up until you’ve had your fill and found a good view, take a breath, take some photos, then head back down. If you want to do the entire hike on another day, Maui Hikes has some great information to help you prepare!
If you hiked up that trail you’re probably ready for a swim! Just 10 minutes down the road you’ll be rewarded with incredible turquoise water above Maui’s largest and healthiest reef. There are easy access points for beginners, and for those of you who want to venture out a bit more you can explore the narrow channels between reefs. Pick up some reef friendly sunscreen and get some tips — and gear — from a local snorkel shop before you go. And if you’d rather take a break and catch some rays, find a shady spot under a kiawe tree and stick your feet in the sand!
Photo courtesy @prideofmaui
Time for Lunch — and Pie!
Who’s hungry? Just after you leave Olowalu Beach keep your eyes peeled for Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop on the right. You’ll find familiar lunch items, but with island touches like kiawe smoked ham, pineapple chutney, and poha berry mustard. And make sure you save room for dessert! Once you’ve had your fill, hop back in the car, roll down your windows, and turn up the music. You’re only minutes away from Lahaina Town with plenty of time to spend the afternoon cruising the shops and galleries along Front Street.
Photo courtesy @leodasmaui
If you take the road to Lahaina we’d love to see your photos! Share them with your HPH ‘Ohana by tagging @thehalepauhana on Instagram and Facebook. Aloha!