The 7 Most Stunningly Scenic Drives in Hawaii
Hawaii, the tropical paradise known for its breathtaking views, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture, offers some of the most scenic drives in the world. From winding coastal roads to lush rainforest routes, Hawaii’s stunningly scenic drives are a great way to explore the natural wonders of the islands. So, get ready for a ride through the 7 most stunningly scenic drives in Hawaii.
1. Hana Highway (Maui)
Miles: Approximately 64 miles
Starting Point: Kahului
Ending Point: Hana
The Hana Highway on Maui is a scenic drive in Hawaii that takes you through lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic coastal cliffs. With over 600 hairpin turns and 59 bridges, this road is an adventure in itself. A must-visit spot along the Hana Highway is Waianapanapa State Park, home to a captivating black sand beach. The contrast between the dark volcanic sand, the turquoise waters, and the lush greenery surrounding the beach is stunning.
2. Chain of Craters Road (Big Island)
Miles: Approximately 19 miles
Starting Point: Crater Rim Drive
Ending Point: Holei Sea Arch
Located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Chain of Craters Road offers a unique opportunity to see the raw power of volcanic activity. As you drive along this road, you’ll encounter vast lava fields, ancient petroglyphs, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to stop at the Holei Sea Arch, a natural wonder carved by the relentless waves, where you can see the sheer force of nature.
3. Kamehameha Highway (Oahu)
Miles: Approximately 64 miles
Starting Point: Pearl Harbor
Ending Point: Haleiwa
The Kamehameha Highway on Oahu is a scenic drive in Hawaii that takes you past iconic landmarks and picturesque beaches. Explore the historic Pearl Harbor, where you can see the USS Arizona Memorial and learn about the events that shaped the course of history. Soak in the beauty of the emerald-green waters of Kaneohe Bay and indulge in the famous shrimp trucks in Kahuku. No trip along the Kamehameha Highway would be complete without indulging at these roadside eateries that serve up mouthwatering shrimp dishes. In addition, don’t forget to stop at the North Shore’s Banzai Pipeline, a world-renowned surf spot with waves up to 30 feet.
4. Saddle Road (Big Island)
Miles: Approximately 52 miles
Starting Point: Hilo
Ending Point: Waimea
The Saddle Road, also known as Hawaii Route 200, is another scenic drive in Hawaii that cuts through the heart of the Big Island. It offers stunning views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s tallest mountains. As you drive along this road, you’ll see a dramatic change in landscapes, from lush rainforests to barren lava fields. On a clear day, you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano standing tall at over 13,000 feet above sea level.
5. Kahekili Highway (Maui)
Miles: Approximately 18 miles
Starting Point: Wailuku
Ending Point: Kahului
The Kahekili Highway, also known as Highway 340, is a thrilling drive along Maui’s rugged northwest coast. With its narrow lanes and sharp turns, this road offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai. One of the highlights along the Kahekili Highway is the Nakalele Blowhole, a natural wonder that shoots water high into the air and makes for a fun photograph.
6. Kuhio Highway (Kauai)
Miles: Approximately 56 miles
Starting Point: Lihue
Ending Point: Haena
The Kuhio Highway on Kauai is a scenic drive that takes you through lush green valleys, towering cliffs, and stunning beaches. The drive begins in the town of Kapaa, a charming town with shops, restaurants, and galleries to explore. Kuhio Highway provides access to the famous Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast, which is a challenging but rewarding hike with great views. Also, during the drive, stop at Anini Beach and Tunnels Beach for an oceanside break.
7. Piilani Highway (Maui)
Miles: Approximately 40 miles
Starting Point: Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Ending Point: Kaupo
The Piilani Highway, also known as Highway 31, is a remote and rugged drive that showcases the untouched beauty of Maui’s southeastern coast. As you navigate this winding road, you’ll encounter pristine beaches, lava fields, and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Make a stop at the Seven Sacred Pools in Oheo Gulch. These natural pools, also known as the Pools of Oheo, are a series of cascading waterfalls and freshwater pools perfect for a refreshing dip.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Shane Myers Photography/Shutterstock.com