I left part of my heart in Hawaii

My husband and I have traveled to most of the Caribbean Islands. So, while I knew I would like Hawaii, I quickly realized it is so much more. From the moment we set foot on Hawaii's volcanic soil, a sense of wonder and awe envelops the soul. The islands boast a mesmerizing blend of lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and pristine beaches fringed by turquoise waters, each scene more breathtaking than the last.

Hawaii's diverse landscapes is nature's artistic paintbrush. There are towering volcanic peaks, such as the iconic Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa that rise majestically above the clouds. The fiery birth of these islands is evident in the dramatic cliffs of the Napali Coast on Kauai or the lunar-like landscapes of Haleakalā on Maui, where otherworldly beauty reigns supreme. There are lush green valleys, stunning mountains cascaded with waterfalls, and of course beaches. In Hawaii, beauty is more than just a sight to behold—it's a feeling that lingers long after you've left its shores. It's the sense of awe that washes over you as you witness the power of nature in all its glory, the feeling of connection to something greater than yourself, and the knowledge that you've experienced a piece of paradise on Earth. We visited several of the islands, I will post several blogs about them. This blog describes the magnificent Road to Hana on Maui. 

Driving the Road to Hana

Just before my husband and I were starting our trip on the road to Hana, someone mentioned, “it’s too long” and it’s boring. Well, now that I have been on the entire road down and back, if you are looking for some phenomenal Hawaii scenery and views into how some live on Maui, it’s the best.  


  1. Start early.  The road does get busy.  On our way back around 3:00 we ran into a couple just starting their trip asking us how much farther—— hmmm, not going to make it there and back.  We were near the end of our trip. 
  2. Bring water. It’s still Hawaii and still hot. If you want to walk any trails or even seeing the signts you need water.  I don’t recall any places to run in and grab water. 
  3. Bring food. We ate lunch in Hana. There are limited places to get something to eat. We brought our own. 
  4. Plan your trip ahead of time.  There are so many beautiful things to see. If you plan on taking a hike or walk along the way, you may want to plan which one(s) so you don’t run out of time.  
  5. Fill your car before you get on the road. You won’t find gas stations on the road.  
  6. Bring your swim suit. There are many places to swim including swimming at the water falls.  
  7. The road is winding and narrow. Sometimes there is limited visibility. The bridges are narrow. Be prepared.  
  8. The road to Hana is not about Hana. It’s the experience of getting there. But more about that later.  

Painted Eucalyptus Trees 

Take time to stop to see the painted eucalyptus trees. At first glance you may think you are driving by big trees. These aren’t just any trees. These rainbow eucalyptus trees are beautiful. They are also huge.  

No one is sure how these trees came to be on Maui. Two theories are that they were planted to control soil erosion due to over logging or they were planted as a source of lumber for the sugarcane industry.  

The trees grow an average of 6 feet per year, can reach heights of up to 200 feet and almost 8 feet in diameter.  

Look for these around mile marker 7. 

Painted eucalyptus tree

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Black sand beaches, blow holes, lava tube, sea stacks (giant pillars of rocks that have risen from the ocean floor) and a lava formed sea arch are some of the few sights here. It is well worth the stop here. It’s a great place to eat lunch if you started out early.  

Blow hole on the black sand beach

Black Sand Beach

The cliff in the background is where Steve McQueen jumped in the movie Papillon.


You will pass numerous natural waterfalls on the road to Hana, with several more that you can hike to.  

Many locals use the water for swimming.


Hana greets you with a sign and you know you made it. One of the most beautiful scenic drives you can see. The road may be windy and narrow but it is one of the most scenic 52 or so miles you will drive.  

At Hana there is a stand with some baked goods and pretty gardens.  Notice the pineapple plant that was here. This plant is landscape and ornamental, but certainly resembles a pineapple.  

Pineapple plant


The Road to Hana is not about Hana!!! It 's about the journey into the heart of Maui's soul-stirring beauty. This iconic route unfolds like a treasure map, revealing a tapestry of lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic seascapes at every turn. The road, with its hairpin curves and narrow bridges, demands patience and reverence for the journey itself, rather than the destination. Each bend in the road unveils a new vista, inviting you to pause and immerse yourself in the natural wonders that abound.

I have several Hawaii posts if you are interested in seeing more of Hawaii. My blog posts can be found on my website.

Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.

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