Road to Hana#1 in Best Things To Do in Maui
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To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 52 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty.
The Road to Hana might seem short, but traveling it will most likely take all day given the number of scenic lookouts and other places to stop. Those who have driven the Road to Hana highly recommend taking your time and stopping as often as possible. Reviewers also recommend starting your drive early in the morning, as the road grows congested as the day progresses. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, there are several tour companies that offer tours in luxury vans, including Valley Isle Excursions and Temptation Tours. Though pricier than driving yourself, taking a tour allows you to focus on the incredible scenery while someone else focuses on navigating the winding curves.
There are several notable photo opportunities along the way, including the Twin Falls around the 2-mile marker (driving from Kahului to Hana); and the Wailea Overlook or Waikani Falls around the 21-mile marker. Waianapanapa State Park and Hookipa Beach are also popular stops. Since the trip will take you awhile, pack snacks and a cooler with drinks. Also, some travelers note that the winding route can weak havoc on those prone to motion sickness – make sure to take it slow and allow for plenty of time outside the car. There is no cost to drive along the highway.
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#2 Helicopter Tours
After you've experienced Maui through the eyes of a fish, consider getting a bird's perspective on a helicopter tour. Recent travelers describe this experience as a "splurge" (tours can cost between $150 and $350 per person, depending on the tour operator and the duration of your flight), but they also concede that seeing Maui from the air is an incredible sight. What's more, helicopters can access parts of the island unreachable by boat, car or foot.
Most operators offer tours of West Maui and Molokai, and Hana and Haleakala, though some also take passengers on scenic, hourlong flights of the whole island. No matter which route you choose, you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas of Maui's waterfalls, craters, cliffs and valleys. Some of the most popular operators include, Air Maui, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and Maverick Helicopters. Most tours depart from the Kahului Heliport in west Maui (packages do not include transportation to or from the helipad). For more information on tour inclusions and prices, consult our list of the best Maui helicopter tours.
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