Updated June 10, 2021
Driving the road to Hana is a popular tourist activity on Maui. So popular, you’ll probably find it ranking somewhere in the top ten of most Maui must-do lists. It is an amazing drive.
But, actually staying in Hana- that’s a whole different level of amazing. We lucked out by stumbling upon the Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins. The cabins are the perfect lodging option in Hana if you are looking for something comfortable, in the perfect location, and amazingly affordable.
Before driving the Road to Hana you will want to read – Driving the Road to Hana – Stops You Don’t Want to Miss. This extensive guide has everything you need to know about driving the Road to Hana.
Very few people who visit Maui actually stay in Hana and there’s a reason for that. Although Hana is arguably the most beautiful spot on the island of Maui, it’s a tiny town. The lodging options are limited and extremely expensive. The range of lodging options is comparable to what you’ll find in Hanalei on the island of Kauai.
How We Stumbled Upon Our New Favorite Place to Stay on Maui
Long before Eli was born, Chad and I splurged on an ocean view condo in Hana for a few nights. We had been dying to go back ever since. Last fall the opportunity to return to Maui came up and we jumped right on it. We were meeting Chad’s family in Kihei for a week and decided to fly in early to spend three nights in Hana before we met up with the fam.
We started looking at available lodging options in Hana and weren’t finding anything that worked for us. Then, out of the blue, Chad remembered seeing a sign about cabins at Wai’anapanapa State Park (he’s good like that). To our amazement, there was one cabin available for two of the nights we needed and a different cabin available for the third night. Perfect.
We loved the Wai’anapanapa State Park cabins so much that we just got back from our second trip staying in the cabins. We hope to go back again in the next few years.
Why Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins Are So Perfect
Price. Although the cabins are very basic, you can’t beat the price. Ninety dollars a night. You wouldn’t be able to find any other accommodations that fit six people anywhere near that price in Hana. Because of this, the cabins are a great option for a family or a group booking several cabins next to each other. Each cabin accommodates six people comfortably (although with very minimal privacy).
Location Location. Location. Wai’anapanapa State Park is an amazing landscape of stark contrasting colors. Bright blue ocean against the jet-black lava rock and vibrant green vegetation. It’s absolutely stunning. The cabins are right in the park; so close to the ocean that you can hear the waves from your porch.
Most visitors to Maui drive to Hana in the morning and then back to the west side of the island in the afternoon. Wai’anapanapa State Park’s black sand beach is a popular stop along the way. It’s usually hard to even find a parking spot between the hours of eleven AM and one PM. If you stay in a cabin in the state park and take the short walk to the black sand beach first thing in the morning, you might it all to yourself!
The town of Hana is a five-minute drive away and there are some beautiful beaches just past Hana. The Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park where you can find the seven sacred pools is a twelve-mile drive from Hana. If you stay in the state park cabins you again have the luxury of beating the day-tripping crowds to the National Park.
Another added bonus to staying in the Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins is access to a trail along the coast to the south. You can only access the trail from the cabins. We loved to hike along the trail and look in the tidepools.
Booking a Cabin at Wai’anapanapa State Park
Cabin reservations can be made through Wai’anapanapa State Park’s website. Before Covid, you could book the cabins up to a year in advance. Now you can only book a cabin 30 days in advance. Because the cabins are so popular, you will need to get on the website at 9:00 am thirty days in advance for any chance of booking a cabin. It helps to be flexible with your dates if at all possible. Hopefully, the rules change, and the reservations go back to booking a year in advance.
You can’t go wrong with any of the cabins but cabins number five and six are in the best location. There is a view of the ocean from the deck through the trees. You can also see the ocean from cabins ten and twelve but your view is over the roof of cabins 9 and 11. There is a two-night minimum rule but if you find a single night available between two bookings they will make an exception to the rule. The price is $70 a night for Hawaii residents (you will need to put in your Hawaii driver’s license number in order to get the discount) and $100 for everyone else.
Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabin Amenities
If you are looking for luxury accommodations you will be sorely disappointed. If you are fine with very basic amenities in the perfect location, you will be pleasantly surprised.
The cabins were updated in 2016 with new paint, flooring, beds, and bathrooms.
Each cabin has enough beds for six people. There is one bedroom with two sets of bunk beds, and a common room connected to the kitchen with another set of bunk beds.
In the kitchen, you’ll find a hot plate, microwave, a small refrigerator with a freezer, and a sink. The dining room area has a folding table and a few folding chairs. Out the back door off the kitchen is a large porch with a picnic table.
The bathroom is basic but has everything you need- toilet, shower, and sink.
An outdoor faucet on the side of the cabin makes it easy to clean the sand off your feet.
What You Need to Bring
There is one drawback to staying at the Wai’anapanapa State Park cabins. The cabins are very basic. Standard amenities like sheets, towels, and soap are not included. Because of this, you need to strategically plan and pack to make sure you have everything necessary for your stay. Hana is a tiny, remote town. If you forget to bring an essential item, chances are you won’t find it in Hana.
This is the packing list I put together for our trip-
- Soap – Make sure to bring both hand soap and soap or body wash for the shower. The only soap provided is dish soap.
- Sheets – The twin beds have a mattress cover but no sheets. It doesn’t get cold so you don’t need to worry about a blanket.
- Pillows – Small camping pillows are comfortable and pack down tiny
- Towels – You will need a towel for the beach and one for after your shower. These quick-dry microfiber towels are perfect.
- Cold Brew – There is no coffee maker in the cabin! We didn’t even think of this and brought coffee and filters but were unable to make coffee. Yes, you can drive about ten minutes to get coffee in town. But if you are like me and want coffee first thing in the morning, cold brew is the perfect option.
- Kitchen Necessities-Speaking of coffee, you will need a coffee mug, along with a water bottle. If you want to cook at all you need to plan ahead and bring any pans and cooking utensils you will need along with silverware and plates/bowls. The cabin will provide a cleaning sponge but I would suggest bringing your own for washing dishes. There is no way of knowing if the cabin sponge was just used to clean the bathroom. Dish soap, a kitchen towel, and a roll of paper towels are provided in the cabin.
- Charcoal – There is an outdoor grill but you will need charcoal. You can buy it in Kahului before driving to Hana. You also might want some tin-foil because the grates on the grill were rusty.
- Clorox wipes – The level of cleanliness varies from cabin to cabin depending on how the guests before you cleaned. Yes, you are responsible to clean up the cabin for the next guests when you check out. That includes sweeping, mopping, taking out the garbage, and wiping down the kitchen and bathroom. Clorox wipes are good to have on hand if your cabin’s cleanliness isn’t up to your standards.
- Cooler and ice packs – We brought a full-sized wheeled cooler as one of our checked bags filled with all the above items and some pre-frozen ice packs. (I know it sounds crazy but we’ve used a wheeled cooler as our checked bag on several different trips). When we landed in Kahului we drove straight to the grocery store after renting our car. There is a small store in Hana but you’ll find a much better selection and cheaper prices if you shop in Kahului. The drive to Hana takes a few hours so a cooler is necessary if any of your food requires refrigeration. We only brought food for breakfast and lunch and went out to dinner every night we were there, but you could cook dinner in the cabin with a little more planning. It was nice to have the cooler to pack lunch every day so we didn’t have to go into town to find food when we were out exploring or hanging on the beach. The ice packs are perfect because you can put them in the freezer each night and they are ready to go the next day, you don’t have to worry about buying ice.
- Bug Spray – The first time we stayed in Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins in October we had no problem with bugs. The cabins are sprayed for bugs on the first of each month and on our first visit we arrived days after the cabins were sprayed. It also didn’t rain any of the three days we were there. The second time we visited was also in October. We got there one day before they sprayed the cabins and it rained off and on. The bugs were awful. Make sure to bring bug spray or you will be miserable.
How long to stay?
There is a minimum two-night stay at the cabins but I would suggest staying for three nights if you can. Hana is such a special place, you will want at least two whole days to explore.
We’re already looking forward to our next stay at Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins.
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