Where to Stay in Maui First Time: Best Areas

In this guide we will be looking at Where to stay in Maui first time, the best areas to stay in Maui for first-time tourists (include map and video), and the best hotels in Maui for all budgets.

The Maui has six regions including West Maui, South Maui, East Maui, Central Maui, Upcountry, and North Shore. West Maui and South Maui are the best side of Maui to stay on the island for first-timers because they both have highest concentration of hotels and tourist amenities. It is about an hour drive by car between West Maui and South Maui.

Where to stay in Maui first time?

The best areas to stay in Maui for first-timers are Lahaina, Wailuku, Kihei, Paia, and Kaanapali. These towns offer plenty of things to do and see for visitors.

South Maui is the driest area of Maui, so it’s very popular for tourists. The South Maui includes Kihei, Wailea, and Makena which is a half house from Kahului Airport. Kihei is a good option for families and couples who travel on a budget, while Wailea has lots of luxury resorts and fine dining, ideal for honeymooners.

West Maui encompassess Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua that is also home to many beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, high-end shopping, stunning golf courses, and fine dining. Kaanapali is an upscale, resort-style area in the west side, and if you are looking for more budget-friendly, it’s best to stay in Lahaina.

Kahului International Airport handles most arrivals although there are two other regional airports and regular cruise ships. Direct flights, especially from the western side of North America, make Maui easy to reach.

Car rental is inexpensive and is advisable if you choose one of the more remote parts of the Island where bus services are infrequent. There are good shuttle services around Maui but they do not permit luggage so you can forget them for arrival and departure. 

Map of the best areas within Maui for first-timers:

Map of the best areas within Maui
Map of the best areas within Maui

West Maui (Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kahana/Napili)

This area of Maui developed from the 60s as tourism numbers began to rise. Today, it is a very popular part of Maui. Kahului Airport is around half an hour away making this stretch of coastline very accessible for arrivals on Maui.

The best choice of accommodation in Maui is in the west whether you are looking for luxury resorts or a condo.  There are plenty of good restaurants, and shops when you decide to take a break from the beautiful beaches. West Maui is the best area to stay in Maui for couples, golf enthusiasts, and luxury travelers.

Water sports are readily available with snorkeling being particularly popular. Tours out to sea for a few hours are worth doing, possibly to see whales and dolphins.

West Maui’s climate and attractions are such that this region is filled with tourists all year round. You must expect crowds. This is a tourist area, and you need to understand that before deciding to book accommodation in West Maui.

Best areas to stay in Maui for first-time tourists are:

1. Kaanapali

Kaanapali, where to stay in West Maui for luxury
Kaanapali, West Maui

This small town developed as a resort in the 1960s with a mile-long beach of the same name as its major attraction. It is on the west coast of Maui just north of Lahaina and less than 15 minutes by road south of Kapalua. It is more crowded than Kapalua but has more in the way of activities, useful if you have kids with you.

Kaanapali is the luxury area of West Maui. You will find hotels and condos along the stretch of beach and beyond in both directions. Major hotel brands selected this part of Maui for their hotels, including Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton, and Westin. Their present hotels date back to the 1980s though original hotels sprang up two decades earlier.  

There are a number of microclimates on Maui. You can get bright sunshine in one place and clouds just a short distance away. That certainly applies on this stretch of coastline. 

Shops and other tourist facilities grew as hotel developments sprang up. Whalers Village is a shopping mall close to the beach where you will find several boutiques, quality restaurants, a whaling museum, and even hula lessons.

The popularity of Kaanapali with tourists ensures that there are good employment opportunities and hence little in the way of social issues and poverty.

Other attractions include Lahaina Snuba, Royal Kaanapali Golf Course, Whalers Village Museum, Drums of the Pacific Lu au, Hanakaoo Beach Park, Honokowai Beach Park, and Wahiku Park.

There are tours that will take you out into the Pacific and that is very attractive as the sun is setting. Make sure you have your camera with you.  Kaanapali is also a good spot if you want to do some snorkeling. 

Stay in West Maui – Kaanapali if you want to stay in the luxury part of the west side of Maui; You want a range of facilities and activities and are unconcerned by crowds; Your priority is a beautiful beach with accommodation looking out to sea; You are interested in snorkeling and sailing; A place for best beaches, sightseeing, families, honeymoon, nightlife, romantic.

Best places to stay in Maui near Kaanapali:


2. Lahaina

Lahaina, West Maui

Lahaina is best to stay in the west side if you are traveling on a budget with amazing restaurants, shops, and hotels. Lahaina is the old whaling village and the largest town in West Maui with boundaries stretching along the coast to include Kapalua and Kaanapali Resorts.

The resident population is just over 11,500 but it regularly numbers approaching four times that during the high season.

The real estate prices in Lahaina reflect its popularity. Some of the best places will cost over $5m so you may only be able to dream. Lahaina was formerly the island capital with Front Street the center of activity two centuries ago as it is today with shops and restaurants. It is also the place for nightlife.

One interesting attraction is the huge banyan tree planted by William Owen Smith in 1873. It was to commemorate the arrival of Christian missionaries 50 years earlier and almost 150 years later, it is the largest banyan tree in the USA. You will find the tree in Banyan Court Park.

The Town has a few different microclimates with some neighborhoods averaging four times the average rainfall of others. However, what is a little rain in a warm and welcoming environment? 

There are a few landmarks to see in Lahaina including the prison, the courthouse, and Bailey Museum if you have a spare hour or two. The ruins of an old fort and its cannons are interesting while in the small harbor, look out for the Pioneer Inn and Baldwin House Museum.

The Lahaina Harbor offers a range of water excursions with many tour boats operate including whale watching and snorkeling tours.

The West Maui Mountains are visible from the historic part of Lahaina and each evening a rainbow appears in front of the valleys. Out at sea, you can expect to see whales, especially between January and March. Another reason to have your camera ready. 

Other attractions are Lahaina Historic District, US Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Pa’ahao Old Lahaina Prison, Lahaina Historic Trail, Wo Hing Temple Museum, Baldwin Home Museum, Maui Myth and Magic Theatre, Dickenson Square Shopping Center, and Lahaina Market Place Shopping Center.

The best beaches in Lahaina for surfing are Ka’anapali Beach and Napali Beach. If you like walking head to Old Town.

Lahaina has plenty of budget guesthouses and hostels; and many outdoor activities like surfing, snorkeling, and trekking that are perfect for backpackers and budget travelers.

Lahaina is the best place to stay in Maui if You are interested in local history; Holidays with plenty of variables are important to you; You want a good choice of restaurants and plenty to do in the evening; A place for the best beaches, sightseeing, families, honeymoon, nightlife, romantic.

Best places to stay in Maui in Lahaina:


See also: Best Island to Stay in Hawaii

3. Kapalua


Kapalua along with Kaanapali and Wailea is one of the best place to stay in Maui for couples because it has white sandy beaches, and luxurious romantic resorts. The Resort has plenty of accommodation, good restaurants, shopping, and golf courses.

This development on former plantation land is purely to attract tourism. Kapalua is on the northwest coast of Maui along the Honoapi’ilani Highway extending from Kapalua and Honolua Bays. It is fairly small, covering just under 5 square miles with an additional small section of water.

The beaches are also something that ensures tourists will always consider Hawaii for a relaxing holiday and Kapalua has plenty. Kapalua Bay received the honour, ‘’Best Beach in the World’’ from one travel magazine, and ‘’Best Beach in America’’ on our listings. 

Golf became a popular tourist attraction in Hawaii some years ago. The Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua hosts the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions each January while the Bay Course is equally impressive. It is not always possible to find a suitable tee time so booking in advance is important. There are other public courses on Maui so it is a thriving golf holiday destination.

Attractions nearby including Kapalua Golf Resort, Honokowai Beach Park, Royal Kaanapali Golf Course, Whalers Village Shopping Center, Whalers Village Museum, Lahaina Cannery Shopping Center, Front Street Lahaina, Lahaina Historic District, Iao Needle State Monument, and Iao Valley State Park.

You have plenty of choices when it comes to accommodation. If you do not want serviced accommodation, you may decide to book a villa or condo to give you more independence. Whatever your choice, you can be certain of quality and a lovely setting. 

Stay in West Maui – Kapalua if you are looking for the best area in Maui to stay for the best beaches, sightseeing, families, honeymoon, nightlife; You want to enjoy beautiful beaches just to relax; You can afford to pay for quality and are happy to do so.

Best places to stay in Maui in Kapalua:


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4. Kahana/Napili

Kahana/Napili, West Maui

This stretch of coastline on the northwest coast of Maui is known for a number of things. One of the most interesting is the chance to see humpback whales offshore but the best chance is during the winter. Kahana is a lovely setting close to Napili Bay that is almost at the northern tip of this part of Maui.

Lanai and Molokai Islands are in the distance as you look out to sea. The coral reef is worth exploring if you enjoy snorkeling. The further out you swim, the clearer the water. You should keep your eyes open for marine species like Wrasse, Moorish Idol, and even turtles.

Some visitors are happy to lie back on the white sand and take in the sun. This is a popular place for families with kids because of the calm waters in the sheltered bay so ideal for novice snorkellers. However, in the winter, the winds get stronger so snorkeling is out; try boarding instead.

It has a large shopping center, Kahana Gateway Shopping Center, with several dining options and its own brewing company, taking the name of the Island.  Lahaina is close to the south if you want even more choices of entertainment.

Accommodation is plentiful on this stretch of coastline. There are beachfront villas with 2 or 3 bedrooms as an alternative to booking into one of the hotels. 

Stay in West Maui – Kahana/Napili if You want a beach with a safe swimming area for young children; Exploring marine life is of interest to you.; You prefer to avoid crowds but want good tourist facilities; A place for best beaches, sightseeing, families, honeymoon, nightlife, romantic.

Best places to stay in Maui in Kahana:


South Maui (Kihei, Wailea):

South Maui is the best area to stay in Maui for couples and families with beautiful beaches. While the south attracts fewer tourists than the west, there are still plenty of things that appeal to visitors, including the towns of Kihei and Wailea. If anything, the climate is better than the west because there is less rain. The beaches are quieter than in the west. 

Kahului Airport is also around half an hour from most parts of the south. In Kihei, you will find hotels and condos for rent that will be cheaper than anything in the west. Some may be a walk from the beach and older than others, but all are valued for money. 

Wailea is a different proposition pricewise. There are beachfront resorts and complexes of condos for those that can afford them. You need to be selective when it comes to restaurants; some are very basic. There is an outdoor shopping, but Wailea does not have the quality choice you will find in the west.

5. Kihei

Kihei, South Maui

Home to many affordable apartment rentals, condos, and hotels, Kihei is best located on South Maui for family and couple whoe traveling on a budget. Located on the leeward side of Haleakala, Kihei is still the western side of Maui but further south than places like Lahaina. Lahaina is in fact not much more than 20 miles to the north but the coast road is slow.

It receives little rainfall, only about 10 inches annually, so its climate is regarded as arid. There is no public bus service to this southern part of Maui. However, Ma ‘alaea Harbor Village is not far away and public transport is available there.

Kihei has almost 6 miles of beaches. It is little wonder that it was very popular with Hawaiian royalty in days gone by. The sands are an obvious attraction but if you make Kihei your base, you will also have a choice of other activities. They include surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. 

Kalama Beach Park is 36 acres fronting the beach with pleasant lawns and shade from palm trees. It has recreation facilities, notable courts for basketball, volleyball, and tennis, baseball fields, and a roller skating rink. It is a great place for a family picnic with a playground for youngsters. 

Kihei is popular with hikers and bikers who regularly meet there before setting out for the day. The National Wildlife Conservation District provides a chance to see Hawaiian stilts. The Aquatic Center is also popular, hosting a number of swimming events.

You also have the Kealia Pond Wildlife Refuge, the Humpback Whale Sanctuary, Kihei Regional Park, Kihei Town Center Shopping Center, Elleair Maui Golf Club, Kalama Park, Cove Park, Maui Ocean Center, Shops at Wailea, Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, Wailea Emerald Course, and Makena Landing Beach Park.

Kihei offers great budget condo rental and hotel options and a wide range of accommodations such as private inns, condominiums, B&Bs, guest houses, and luxury resorts

Stay in Kihei, South Maui if you travel on a budget; A place for best beaches, families, honeymoon, nightlife, romantic.

Best places to stay in Maui in Kihei:


6. Wailea

Wailea, South Maui

Located in South Maui, Wailea is a luxurious beach resort that is famous for its golden sand, crescent-shaped beaches, and stellar golf courses. If you’re looking for high-end shopping, world-class golfing, beautiful beaches, and celebrity spotting, Wailea is your best bet.

Wailea’s development in the 1970s was to take advantage of the opportunity that tourism was increasingly providing. Before that, Wailea was just a small fishing village, lying just over 6 miles south of Kihei. The Resort covers 1,500 acres with this location selected because the leeward side of the South Coast is the sunniest part of Maui.

The Community has received awards for its design and the facilities it provides. Golfers can enjoy the courses while restaurants, shopping, and beaches are all features that attract visitors and more than satisfy local property owners. Wailea is certainly an area that satisfies the most discerning of residents and visitors.

You can find organized snorkeling tours where guides know the best places to go. If you are lucky, you may catch sight of a turtle.  There is no doubt that swimming with dolphins is a unique experience while kayaking is fun if you prefer to stay above the waves. 

The Resort hotels and the golf courses are major employers in Wailea which has a professional management structure to handle all its affairs. Wailea Blue, Wailea Gold, and Wailea Emerald courses are 3 top-rated Maui golf courses.

The beaches are all public but you can get valet service from a hotel to get you to the beach and provide everything you need for the time you are there. The popular beaches in this area are Polo Beach, Wailea Beach, Makena Beach, Palauea Beach, Po’olenalena Beach, and Ulua Beach.

You will find some big hotels like Marriott Wailea, The Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, Andaz.

Stay in Wailea in south side if you want to stay in high-end resorts; you are couple on a honeymoon; you love golf;

Best places to stay in South Maui – Wailea:


East Maui (Paia, Hana Highway)

This is a remote part of Maui so you can immediately see it will appeal to some, but not to others. Plenty of waterfalls, stunning views with fewer crowds. This east side of the island area is ideal to stay for active adventures with fewer tourists.

The famous Hana Highway is here yet it is not a busy road. Much of the east’s accommodation is on that highway, B&Bs, and inns. Do not expect luxury hotels or resorts in the east.

It will take more than 2 hours to get to Hana Town from Kahului Airport so you must be certain it is for you before you take the trip or make a booking.  The setting is lovely but is that enough for you? You will get some good shops along this coast but not the choice of elsewhere.

While temperatures are good, this is the wettest part of the island. However, there are lovely, small beaches with few people on them. If you just want to relax, do not expect luxury, and come prepared, give the east a go.

7. Paia and Ha’iku

Paia and Ha’iku are some of the best places to stay on Hana Highway, East Maui just after you leave Kahului. The Highway runs along Maui’s beautiful northern coastline. There are less than 3,000 inhabitants in Paia but you will find a decent tourist infrastructure including surf shops, art galleries, and restaurants. 

The restaurants of Paia are well-known throughout Maui while there is a natural food store that has few equals.  The shops are interesting so all in all, Paia has much to recommend it. Many of the buildings come in pastel colors; in some ways, it is like going back in time to a 60s small resort town.

Paia is a well-known windsurfing venue, sometimes being called  “The World Capital of Windsurfing”. There are several amazing beaches like Baldwin Beach Park; Peʻahi Beach (also known as “Jaws,”) which is famous for advanced surfers; and Ho’okipa Beach Park which is a renowned windsurfing site in the world;

Paia is also a place where you will see at first hand the ethnic and cultural diversity of Maui. You can meet hippies, professional surfers, preachers, or even the legend that is Willie Nelson who owns a bar in Paia.

Because the restaurants have locals as their customers, the prices are not at the level you would expect in a typical resort area close to the beach. Paia has a fish market that is casual and inexpensive if you choose self-catering accommodation. 

There is also a flavor elsewhere in Paia; there is a hundred-year-old Buddhist stupa (temple) consecrated by the Dalai Lama. Paia is gradually making an impact on the tourist trade. It was once a place that people simply passed through along the highway. The word is now out about its attractions. 

Other things to do in Paia are: Lower Paia Park, Paia Peace Stupa, and shop at the Swap Meet at Paia Bay.

East of Paia is the rustic village of Ha’iku. The hub of the Haiku Community is the Haiku Marketplace at the Haiku Cannery. It’s also where you find incredibly picturesque Twin Falls and Makapipi Falls;

Other things to do in Paia are: Lower Paia Park, Paia Peace Stupa, and shop at the Swap Meet at Paia Bay.

Stay in East Maui: Paia if You want the challenge of some of the best surfing in Maui, indeed Hawaii and beyond; A beach holiday is not really your priority as long as you have access to beaches; You want value for money, especially when dining, and seeing local patronage is a good guide to quality; A place for best beaches, sightseeing, honeymoon, romantic.

Best places to stay in Maui in Paia: Paia Inn


8. Hana town

While Hana is fairly isolated on East Maui, there is a highway running there if this is a place you want to make your Maui base. It is a winding road just over 50 miles long, hence Hana’s remoteness, starting at Kahului and hugging the northern coastline to the extreme east of Maui. 

The Hana highway was gravel initially and its opening in the 1920s helped the sugar plantations. However, the last one closed two decades later. An alternative way to reach Hana is by boat or even light aircraft. The beautiful setting of Maui and its natural environment helps visitors forget a relatively long journey.

Those who make the effort to get to Hana can enjoy the natural environment including Haleakala National Park where there are several swimming holes. Haleakala is a dormant volcano with one of the largest craters in the world. If you go up to its rim, you will be more than 10,000 feet above sea level.

You can drive through the clouds in the National Park. The hot and wet climate is most conducive to the tropical rainforest that covers the region. There is a photo opportunity at every turn. Sunrise and sunset are two occasions each day when you will want to take a photo for your album with fewer crowds at sunset.

There are several places of interest in and around Hana. One that stands out that is manmade is the Pi’ilani Temple, the largest temple in the whole of Hawaii.  It sits in tropical gardens and seemingly it took three centuries to complete. Work began in the 13th Century and finished in the 15th.

There are parks, gardens, and beaches to enjoy including Kaia Ranch Tropical Botanical Gardens, the white-sand Hamoa Beach, the black-sand Waiʻānapanapa State Park, and the red-sand Koki Beach Park.

You can also explore St. Sophia’s Church, Hana Cultural Center and Museum, and St. Fagan’s Cross.

Stay in Hana, Road to Hana, East Maui if You are not looking for a typical Maui beach holiday; Maui’s natural environment appeals to you and you want to explore.; You are not interested in 5-star luxury hotels; A place for the best beaches, sightseeing, honeymoon, romantic.

Best places to stay in Maui in Hana:


Central Maui (Wailuku, Makawao):

The convenience of central Maui locations between West Maui and Hana highway, close to the airport, makes it ideal for budget travelers.

Central Maui is the best place to get a feel for the real Maui without having to go to the remote east. You will be close to the Kahului Airport and there are small inns and rooms for rent for those happy with simple accommodation. There are sufficient shops to get the things you need.

There are a few things to do without heading for the beaches that are equidistant in all four directions. The Iao Valley State Park is one option. There is a monument, an old lookout tower, and the flora typical of Hawaii. If you are feeling energetic and enjoy hiking, Haleakala is worth climbing to get some wonderful panoramas. It was the volcano responsible for the formation of Maui and stands at over 10,000 feet. 

Central Maui experiences significant rainfall each year but if you want to enjoy Maui’s natural environment, that should be no problem.  

9. Wailuku

At one time, Wailuku was the main resort on Maui but in recent times, newer resorts have taken over. It remains the county seat of Maui with a population of around 15,000. Few have any involvement in tourism anymore but there are several employers in administrative and service industries.

Wailuku is at the mouth of the Iao Valley just to the west of Kahului and below the West Maui volcano. It faces northeast despite still being in the western half of Maui. Wailuku is 22 miles by road due east of Lahaina but half of that distance as the crows fly.

Lovers of local history may enjoy the Civic Center Historic District where there is a history museum in Bailey House. It is the base for the Island’s Historical Society. Kaʻahumanu Church dates back to 1876, while there are also two old temples, the Halekiʻi Heiau and the Pihanakalani Heiau, both of which are much older.

Other attractions are Iao Needle State Monument, Kaahumanu Church, Iao Valley State Park, Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mill House, Wailuku First Friday event, Kapalua Coastal Trail, and Ho okipa Beach Park.

This was the area in Maui where sugar plantations once dominated until the 1960s. It was of no value to the locals with foreign ownership but sugar flourished thanks to irrigation to capture the rainfall from the mountains. Workers came from many parts of the world to create the ethnic and cultural diversity you still see today.

Stay in Central Maui – Wailuku if You are not interested in beachfront accommodation as your base; Local history is important to you wherever you go on holiday; You like the idea of cultural diversity

Best places to stay in Maui in Wailuku:


10. Makawao

Makawao is the hub of ‘’Upcountry’’, the region of Maui which is largely agricultural and certainly rural. Its population is around 7,000 with far fewer as a proportion involved in tourism as elsewhere. The town is over 1,500 feet above sea level and hence altitude moderates the climate. 

There is limited accommodation in Makawao if you want to make this your base. You are not totally remote with the airport just 12 miles away.  You can reach the beach on the west coast by bus in an hour or perhaps enjoy a day in Kahului as an alternative? 

However, Makawao certainly has its own entertainment. If you are lucky, you can watch Hawaiian cowboys (paniolo) parade their skills in true rodeo-style; barrel racing, calf roping, and bareback bronco riding.  There will always be a parade with the event having Hawaiian twists to what you may have seen before.

Makai Glass is just one of the interesting art galleries here while you may like to visit the local distillery. The Sacred Garden of Maliko should also be on your list of places to visit while in Makawao.

Makawao Forest Reserve is just northeast of the settlement. There are several trails that you can take within the Reserve and good maps as your guide. It provides quite a contrast from the beach an hour away. You can enjoy the shade in the hot sun but still take plenty of water with you. 

Stay in Makawao, Central Maui if You want to be away from tourist crowds; The beach is of limited interest to you; You are an enthusiastic hiker and want to explore the interior of Maui.

Best places to stay Maui in Makawao:


Upcountry Maui (Kahului, Kula):

Another part of Maui where you can get away from the tourist crowds wanting to enjoy the beaches and warm waters is Upcountry, south of Central Maui, close to Haleakala National Park.

Do not expect to find much in the way of shopping or dining Upcountry but that may be unimportant to you on your visit. If you want to travel off the beaten path, the rural area of Upcountry is your best bet.

You will need to hire a car if you want a nice restaurant or a day at the beach. While Kahului Airport is not far away in miles, travel is slow and you will take an hour to get to one of its towns, Kala in the heart of Upcountry.

The compensation is the beauty of this part of Maui. The National Park and the chance to walk in a beautiful setting can occupy your days. This is not a place for families because children may get bored but those who like exercise and fresh air will be in their element.

11. Kahului

Kahului with its international airport Kahului Airport (OGG), deep harbor, shopping, and industrial districts is the main conurbation on Maui. The climate is semi-arid and hot, with Kahului sheltered from the prevailing trade winds. Kahului faces north across the bay of the same name. 

Today’s town has a limited history. The plague wiped out the population in 1900 so what you see now is a development funded by the sugar company. The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum tells the story of the sugar plantations on Maui and the influence they had on the life of the locals. 

Remember sugar also attracted workers from several parts of the world, hence the current diversity of Maui’s population. It is not really among the main tourist destinations on Maui but there are still reasons why you might choose it as a base for your holiday. 

The best shopping in Maui is certainly in Maui with the largest of the malls named after Queen Elizabeth Ka’ahumanu. It has some attractions including Kanaha Beach County Park, and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary.

If you want recreational facilities, head to the County Park. It has a lovely beach and the swimming is good. There are picnic areas, the chance to windsurf or fly your kite or play volleyball. 

The Wildlife Sanctuary between the Town and the airport to the east used to just be a royal fish pond. Today, there are several species of wildfowl including three that are endangered; stilt, coot, and Hawaiian Duck. 

Stay in Upcountry Maui – Kahului if You prefer an urban location rather than one on the beach; History is one of your real interests; You want a range of different things to do each day; A place for sightseeing, honeymoon, nightlife, romantic.

Best Hotels in Maui in Kahului:


12. Kula

Kula is a district on the western-facing slopes of Haleakala Volcano, with most of the buildings at 1,500 feet and above. It is due south of Paia, the 12-mile trip easily done in under half an hour. The altitude ensures that residents avoid the hotter weather found at sea level and the tourist crowds who prefer the beach.

Kula is Maui’s prime agricultural region with many farms supplying high-quality vegetables, fruits, herbs to Hawaii’s finest restaurants. The fertile fields of Kula are an ideal place for a farm tour.

There are OCEAN Vodka, Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery; Alii Kula Lavender Farm with the floral affair, sweet lavender; the Shim Coffee and Protea Farm Tour where you can pick coffee beans and see the pulping process; Surfing Goat Dairy, award-winning cheese, and goat milk soap farm.

Among the places, you will enjoy here are the Haleakala National Park and the Kula Botanical Garden. Haleakalā, a dormant volcano, in Kula dominates the local skyline, indeed the skyline of the whole island of Maui. 

You should go to the summit of Haleakala. It is 10,000 feet above sea level but you do not have to climb it. The road is winding and you will make slow progress but quicker progress than if you were walking. 

Apart from farms, and parks, Kula is also home to Holy Ghost Church, a historical landmark, a gift from the king and queen of Portugal to Portuguese sugar plantation workers.

There are a few wilderness cabins available for rent but you must book well in advance to be certain of availability.  The alternative is to pitch your own tent on one of the two campsites. Perhaps you could book something in Kula as a base but then spend a couple of nights out camping? 

Stay in Kula if You would like to look down into the crater of this extinct volcano; Ordinary accommodation, even camping, is perfectly fine with you; You want to avoid the hotter weather down at sea level; A place for sightseeing, honeymoon, nightlife, romantic.


North Shore:

If you want a coastal base in Maui, the North Shore is worth consideration, especially if you are not expecting much in the way of tourist infrastructure. You can buy the things you need if they do not include anything too fancy. If you take the Hana Highway, you will pass the North Shore region which is bordered by Central and Upcountry Maui.

The limited development means that the North Shore has beaches without crowds. This is a dramatic coastline that is proving popular with surfers. There are holiday rentals if you want to stay here as your Maui base. North Shore has a small but diverse population, creating an atmosphere that experienced travelers might enjoy.

North Shore is a friendly place with farmers, hippies, and even some celebrities among the people you might meet. Kahului Airport is just 10 minutes away by road so the reason for not staying in the North Shore is not one of inaccessibility

What’s the Best Area to Stay in Maui?

The most popular part of Maui for tourists is in the South Maui. Kihei and Wailea appeal especially to families and couples. Several resorts in Wailea have excellent beaches. The next choice is probably West Maui which is the most scenic part of the Island, staying in places like Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kapalua.

Is It Better to Stay in Lahaina or Kihei?

Both Lahaina and Kihei have things to recommend them. Lahaina’s history makes it attractive to many tourists who can also enjoy its nice restaurants and overall evening atmosphere. Kihei is well-developed and certainly has lovely beaches that appeal to plenty of tourists.

What Part of Maui Has the Best Beaches?

You will find good beaches throughout Maui. If a beach is your main priority, Wailea is a place to look at closely. It is a well-developed area and can attract crowds as a result. You can easily find quieter beaches if that is your preference and there is even black sand in places on the highway to Hana if that appeals to you.

Where Should I Stay in Maui Wailea or Kaanapali?

If you are on holiday primarily to relax, Wailea is a good choice. Wailea is effectively a purpose-built place with a good infrastructure. You will want for nothing in this well-run place. Kaanapali’s development began a little earlier with the lovely beach identified as a good start. Visitors will also find plenty of facilities and branded accommodation here.

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Hawaii is an exotic location. Maui is the second largest of its islands and tourism is the major source of income. As a state of the USA, it is no surprise that Americans make up the majority of tourist visitors to Maui. There are plenty of direct flights, especially from the western side of North America.

Overal, West Maui and South Maui is the best side to stay in Maui because they have the widest range of accommodations. They both excellent place for couples, families, and honeymooners, but if you are into luxury resorts and condo, you can book a hotel in Kaanapali in the west side and Wailea in the south side. Meanwhile, if you are traveling on a budget, Kihei on the south side and Lahaina on the west side is the best choice.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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