Every time you run a search for top holiday getaway destinations, Hawaii never misses out. Ever wondered why? Yep, that’s right! The beautiful summers, rich heritage, and a diversity of flora and fauna. But did you know that Hawaii holds one of the best destinations to take a road trip to for unforgettable experiences? So have a look at our sampling of best Hawaii road trip destinations.
It does sound a bit ridiculous to take a road trip in Hawaii, but the fact that it’s the only state you can’t drive to, which makes it a perfect destination for a road trip once you’re there. The spectacular landscape, beaches and the sparkling sea will catch your fascination. If you want to look at affordable things to do, check out our dedicated sampling.
Set to hit the road? Look at the following compilation of the amazing road trip destinations in the Aloha State. Luckily, most of them are going to take a day or less to cruise depending on your starting point!
- The Historic Waimea – The Great Kamehameha’s Legacy
- The Spectacular Road Trip To Hana, Maui – Scenic & Beautiful
- Become a Cowboy at Parker Ranch – Unique Experience
- Oahu’s Haunted Road Trip – A Thrilling Experience
- The Turtle Bay trip in Oahu – Watersports Paradise
- The Saddle Road thrill – 54 miles, Longest Road on The Big Island
- Pololu Valley Lookout – Cliffs & Valley Views
- Maui Waterfalls Trip – Hike, Camp, Falls & More!
- Ready to Check Out Hawaii?
The Historic Waimea – The Great Kamehameha’s Legacy
If you’re fond of anything relating to the ancient times, you’re definitely going to be amazed by the big island. Waimea, also Kamuela, is popular for its rodeos’, cowboys and horseback riding expeditions, but the place has got plenty of activities you’ll enjoy. This place features on all Hawaii road trip destinations itineraries.
Kahua Ranch offers a fun hands-on experience for horseback riding. The authentic King Kamehameha statue is also found here, don’t miss it out. The statue at Honolulu is a replacement of the original one. Finally, make a stop at Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site built in 1790 by the orders of The Great Kamehameha.
Actually, this is the only place in the US you’ll get to walk in a king’s footsteps. This is where you’ll get to experience a people’s culminating event which was foretold in the past centuries.
And the charming view of the beaches is magnificent. Where else in the US are you going to stand by the beachside and watch sharks crisscross over a sunken temple?
The Spectacular Road Trip To Hana, Maui – Scenic & Beautiful
Who doesn’t love spectacular sceneries native to a place? If you’re an enthusiast of the enthralling beauty of the earth, you’re definitely going to fall in love with the road trip to Hana, Maui. Hana is located to the east on the rugged coast of Maui. Every turn you take on the trip, there will be a breathtaking vista lying along for you to see.
Road to Hana, also known as the Hana highway, is one of the most scenic highways in the US, to find out more such highways, check out our dedicated sampling of Most US Scenic Road Trips.
The road to Hana presents more than just a thrilling drive through the beauty of Maui. Many of the visitors to this place tend to carry with them a checklist of the sceneries to photograph. That’s a slightly wrong approach to go about. Instead, carry your checklist but also be flexible, there’s plenty to explore so don’t limit yourself, unless running out of time.
If you’d love to have a taste of the local cuisines, the Waimea’s farmers markets usually on Saturdays have great breakfasts to kickstart your day. During the night, You can enjoy the nightlife in Maui as it is known for the warm ocean and beautiful beaches. Even you can grab some dinner at Big Island Brewhaus that serves tasty homebrewed beer and a taste of Mexican delicacies.
Become a Cowboy at Parker Ranch – Unique Experience
The Big Island’s Parker Ranch was at some point the United States’ largest ranch. They have a rich history which is intertwined with that of Americans’ in Hawaii. Nowadays, they host fascinating horseback riding tours.
After the thrill at Parker ranch, you can also arrange a visit to Anna Ranch, another ranch among the oldest in the US. Anna Ranch organizes famous ranch house tours every 4 days per week. Here you’ll get to learn plenty of the rich history about ranching and cowboys in Hawaii, which dates back to the times of King Kamehameha I.
Oahu’s Haunted Road Trip – A Thrilling Experience
Are you fascinated by the scary stories about ghosts haunting a place? Apart from Oahu Island housing, it’s home to terrifying ghosts residing permanently in the place, so do the stories go. This is the place to visit if you’re after a different kind of thrill.
You’ll get to explore plenty of haunted places, from haunted hotel rooms, highways possessing some mysterious pasts to the ancient landmarks and battlegrounds possessing some paranormal sightings.
Iolani Palace reigns with high-end paranormal activities, including scary sounds and unexplainable apparitions. The meticulously reinstated palace, built-in 1882, was once home to King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani (his sister), the last royalty of Hawaii. Following the Hawaiian monarchy overthrow, the queen was imprisoned in her bedroom for months. Although she passed away in the year 1917, locals believe that her spirit and that of others still roam the palace.
Other haunted places you might want to pay a visit include the Nuuanu Pali Lookout believed to be haunted by spirits of warriors and Morgan’s Corner where some of the most mysterious murders in the island took place.
The Turtle Bay trip in Oahu – Watersports Paradise
If you reside in Oahu, the Turtle Bay resort town is a must-visit site. Most of the tourists that visit the Turtle Bay come to surf and deep dive into the ocean. If looking to have some water sports fun in the sea during your road trip, you definitely want to come here.
Turtle Bay’s sandy beaches present nice hang-out joints, the rocky bottoms aren’t favorable for swimming. The most sought-after North Shore presents some of the magnificent sightseeing sceneries. The Kukaniloko Birth Site, situated at Whitmore Avenue and Kamehameha Highway intersection, is not only a great landmark but also an important ancient cultural site on Oahu Island. As Oahu’s geographical navel, Kukaniloko used to be an important birth site for high chiefs of Oahu.
A few minutes’ drive from Kukaniloko Birth Site, you’ll come across the famous Dale Plantation, where pineapples from various parts of the world, such as the Brazilian pink pineapples, are grown. You can enjoy the educational expedition on Pineapple Express. You’ll also enjoy the spectacular plantation mazes, the largest in the world, and probably get lost in it.
If you love to surf, check out our dedicated sampling of best surfing spots in the US, some are in Hawaii itself. Water sports are the spirit of Hawaii so the list of Hawaii road trip destinations can’t be complete without visiting the Turtle Bay.
The Saddle Road thrill – 54 miles, Longest Road on The Big Island
If you enjoy trips on roads that seem to be endless heading to nowhere, a road trip on the Saddle Road in Hawaii is a sure way to thrill your nerves. Saddle Road is the longest on The Big Island, built in 1942 by the military and serves as a shortcut to connect the eastern side of Hawaii Island to the western side.
The road runs 54 miles across a valley, hence its name, between the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea mountains. Along your trip, you will come across dried volcanic lava flows, desert, rolling pastureland, trailheads and lush rainforests.
Along this route lies roads that lead to the tops of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, plus Bradshaw Army Airfield and the largest military training reserve. The road’s highest point is 6,632 feet, portraying a moonlike landscape, containing little vegetation and bare lava.
Back in the past, Saddle Road was classified as the world’s most dangerous road due to poor terrain and rough areas. Nowadays, it is renovated, well maintained, and safer but still holds the thrill for expedition.
Pololu Valley Lookout – Cliffs & Valley Views
If looking for a spectacular experience for a road trip in Hawaii, the Pololu Valley offers such an experience. Out of all the attractive valleys carved into Kohala volcano in Kohala region, Pololu is the one located to the extreme northern side.
The valley has remarkable views with steep cliffs running into the oceans’ depth making a road trip to the valley worthwhile. One sure thing to do in this valley is hiking the black sand beaches located on the valley floor.
From the Pololu Valley lookout point, there are other valleys that stretch southeast to create an impressive view that can be seen partly. The series of valleys include Honokane Iki, Honokea, Waimanu Valley, Honopue, and Waipio Valley. Water carved out of the valleys is the reason why the native Hawaiians chose this as a favorite place to live. The water supply however disappeared after the completion of the Kohala Ditch in 1905.
Maui Waterfalls Trip – Hike, Camp, Falls & More!
Anyone who has been to a Maui road trip to Hana knows that this is one the most fascinating drives through the Big Island. The iconic highway also has several waterfalls, and the ultimate trip will not be complete without a view of the scenic Maui Waterfalls.
Maui is a natural treasure bustling with beautiful landscapes like the deep blue ocean, pristine beaches, volcanic rocks and waterfalls. On the road to Hana, the Twin Falls presents a must-see attractive view. Take a hike along the scenic paths towards this gorgeous waterfall. Don’t forget to carry a bathing suit for a rejuvenating swim into the ocean. Hawaii also offers one of the most challenging hikes in the US, check it out in our dedicated sampling.
Another spectacular waterfall view in Maui is the Wailua Falls, situated at the 45-mile marker along the road to Hana. It’s the island’s most photographed waterfall, and you’ll understand this better once you set your eyes on it. Check out the water flowing 80 feet down on the wall of the jungle. And the better part of it is that there’s a parking area, lots of local snacks and vendors. Bring your bathing suit along for a dive into the ocean!
Other magnificent waterfalls you’re sure to set your eyes on include the Waimoku Falls, Upper Waikani Falls, and Honokohau Falls.
Ready to Check Out Hawaii?
Hawaii stands out as one of the United States’ most attractive states for its natural diversities of beautiful landscape, beaches, rich cultures, and history. It is almost impossible to exhaust all the beautiful sceneries the Big Island has to offer, but be sure that these ones will leave you with memories of a lifetime!
Hope our sampling of Hawaii road trip destinations helps you plan an amazing vacation. To have the experience of a lifetime, book your vacation rentals at RentalTrader.com. If you need any more information, fill our web form or give us a call, we’ll be happy to help you.