Hana Highway © alexa627
No visit to Maui is complete without hitting the highway - the Hana Highway, that is - that runs for about 50 miles (81km) between Kailua and Hana on the northeastern coast of the island. This hair-raising but incredibly scenic coastal drive was built in 1927 by gangs of convicts. It twists and turns its way along the coastal cliffs, containing 56 bridges and 600 hairpin bends. The route winds through numerous lush valleys lined with dozens of waterfalls, dense rainforest, bamboo thickets, fern groves, and tulip trees. Visitors need at least a day to traverse the highway, stopping to enjoy a dip in mountain pools or exploring off-shooting hiking trails, many of which lead to historic sites like the little 19th century church built of lava and coral in the village of Ke'anae. There are two national parks on the route, some lava caves, blowholes, temple ruins, and of course unsurpassed views.