Is it worth it to spend the night in Hāna, Maui?

January 24, 2024
Bay with a sandy beach
Hāna Bay Beach Park

Maui's scenic Road to Hāna is one of my all-time favorite drives: the narrow, winding highway through the rainforest features panoramic views, roadside waterfalls, and fascinating natural and cultural sights.  For most tourists, the Road to Hāna about the journey rather than the destination, and they stop in Hāna only briefly (if at all) before continuing along the route.  That's what we did on our trips to Maui in 2012, 2015, and 2019.

But in 2023, we opted to do the Road to Hāna differently: we spent two nights near Hāna in a rural Airbnb.  Here are the pros and cons of spending the night in Hāna, things to do in and near Hāna, what kind of accommodations you can expect to find in Hāna, and my take on whether or not spending the night in Hāna is worth it.

One lane bridge with a rainforest and waterfall in the background
Road to Hāna

Pros of spending the night in Hāna

1. You can take your time on the Road to Hāna

The Road to Hāna is a beautiful drive, and it's nice to be able to take your time along the route instead of pacing yourself to drive there and back in one day.  With additional time on the Road to Hāna, you have the opportunity to see additional stops, go swimming, hike, and spend more time at each stop.

2. You can get to Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District first thing in the morning

Want to enjoy Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District without the crowds?  When you stay in Hāna, you can get there at sunrise and have the park nearly to yourself.  Staying in Hāna also gives you enough time to hike the  Pīpīwai Trail, which can be challenging to fit in if you only have a day to see all the sights on the Road to Hāna.  (More information on the Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District below.)

Large waterfall tumbling down a cliff and surrounded by greenery
Waimoku Falls at Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District

3. You can get to Waiʻānapana State Park first thing in the morning

Waiʻānapana State Park, known for its striking black sand beach, can be crowded during the day—it's one of the most popular stops on Road to Hāna.  By staying in Hāna, you can get there before the rest of the tourists.  (More information on Waiʻānapana State Park below.)

4. The slower pace

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, Hāna is a great place to do it.  Hāna is a small, rural town with a local feel, and although there are definitely tourists, it doesn't feel overrun.  This is the place on Maui to unwind, unplug, and appreciate the natural beauty.

Green wood building with a sign reading "Hana School"

Cons of spending the night in Hāna

1. The slower pace

For some the slower pace of Hāna is a plus, but if you're someone who likes to have lots of dining options and shops to browse, Hāna will likely feel too small for your tastes.  In addition, most of the top sights in and near Hāna involve swimming or hiking, so if those aren't your thing, you might not have enough to do.

2. The price

Accommodations in Hāna are expensive—our Airbnb near Hāna was the most expensive place we've ever stayed ($447 per night), for a fairly average room with outdoor kitchen facilities.  In addition, most short-term rentals require a two-night minimum stay, pushing the cost up even more.

White church with a steeple with a palm tree in the front lawn
Wānanalua Congregational Church in Hāna

Things to do in and near Hāna

In Hāna

There aren't any headliner sights in Hāna—the town of about 800 people has a handful of restaurants, a food truck park, some convenience stores, and a couple of historic churches.  However, it's fun to wander around for 30 minutes or so to soak up an atmosphere that's likely very different from your hometown.  The Hāna Bay Beach Park has a large, sandy beach in a protected bay and is safe for swimming.  On Friday from 3:00pm-4:30pm, stop by the Hāna Farmers Market for locally-grown produce and food products.

Wooden building with a patched metal roof
Hasegawa General Store

Hasegawa General Store feels like a throwback to another era—it's like a grocery store, liquor store, drug store, hardware store, outdoors outfitter, and gift shop all rolled into one.  Most of the merchandise is geared towards locals, but they do sell Hawaiian and Hāna-themed souvenirs including apparel, books, food products, and mugs. 

Large stepped platform made with dark rock
Pi'ilanihale Heiau at Kahanu Garden

Near Hāna

Kahanu Garden is home to plant collections representing species from across Polynesia, as well as Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a National Historic Landmark.  A heiau is a shrine used for religious ceremonies, and Pi’ilanihale Heiau was built starting in the 13th century and is the largest heiau in Polynesia.  It's a truly impressive sight, and there are interpretive signs throughout the garden with information about Hawaiian culture.

Black sand beach with a few people wading the water
Waiʻānapana State Park

Waiʻānapana State Park has a stunning black sand beach, a hiking trail along the ocean with great views, and an expansive picnic area overlooking the ocean and the black sand beach.  Note that a timed reservation is required and can be made online.

White sand beach
Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach is a sandy beach that's great for sunbathing and swimming—the sand is so soft it feels like a plush blanket.  It's my favorite spot for swimming on the Road to Hāna. 

Large waterfall tumbling down a rock wall
Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls is my favorite waterfall along the Road to Hāna.  Water gracefully tumbles 80 feet down a rock wall, surrounded by a lush forest.  It's along the roadside, so you don't need to hike to enjoy the view.

Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District has two hiking trails, both of which I highly recommend.  The Kūloa Point Trail is a 0.5 mile round-trip trail that features ocean views, archeological sites, and the Pools of 'Ohe'o, (sometimes called the Seven Sacred Pools).  The Pīpīwai Trail is a more ambitious 4 mile out-and-back moderate hike through the rainforest, with views of Makahiku Falls and Waimoku Falls, plus bridges over streams and a boardwalk through a bamboo forest.  Getting to the park first thing in the morning and having the Pīpīwai Trail nearly to ourselves was one of the highlights of our 2023 trip to Hawaii.

Series of pools and waterfalls over black lava rock surrounded by rainforest
Pools of 'Ohe'o at Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District

Accommodations in Hāna

The main accommodation option in Hāna is the upscale Hāna-Maui Resort operated by Hyatt.  The luxury resort has 74 rooms (mostly bungalows and cottages) spread along the coast, with amenities including a full-service spa, fitness center, pool, and on-site restaurant.  Rates start around $750 per night after taxes and resort fees.

Airbnb and Vrbo have listings for dozens of rooms, condos, cottages, and homes in and near Hāna that you can rent on a short-term basis.  There's a wide range of options, with most falling in the $250-$400 per night range.

View of palm trees with sunset in the background
Sunset from our Airbnb near Hāna

Is it worth it to spend the night in Hāna, Maui?

Yes, with two caveats: you'll enjoy being in a rural, slower-paced destination and the higher cost of accommodations won't cause a financial strain.  We really valued being able to take the Road to Hāna at a slower pace and experience things we hadn't had time for when we did the drive in one day, like walking around Hāna and hiking the Pīpīwai Trail at Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District.

If you're planning to spend the night in Hāna, be intentional about it and consider what you hope to get out of the experience.  Do you want to wake up early to visit Waiʻānapana State Park or Haleakalā National Park's Kīpahulu District before the crowds?  Are you going for a laid-back day of relaxation?  Do you want to bring groceries and cook your meals, or check out one of the handful of local restaurants or food trucks (if so, confirm the hours)?  Do you prefer to stay somewhere remote and off the grid or at a luxury resort?  Putting in a bit of thought beforehand helps ensure that your stay in Hāna will be an enjoyable and memorable one.

Further reading:

Further viewing: Relaxing and beautiful Maui, Hawaii Mike made this relaxation video with footage from our 2023 trip, including drone footage of the Road to Hāna.

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Photo of a sandy beach and text reading "Is it worth it to spend the night in Hana, Maui?"