Maui Towns And Areas
These are the major towns and areas on Maui. We recommend that you rent a car. You can also use the Maui Bus (https://www.mauicounty.gov/1310/Maui-Bus-Route-Maps).
- Ma'alaea. The beaches are not great, and it is windier than the rest of the island. You typically go through/near here on your way to West Maui. Some reasons to visit this area are the harbor (if for whatever reason the Kihei Boat Ramp doesn't work for your chosen activity), the Maui Ocean Center, or the Maui Golf & Sports Park (see Non-Water Activities).
- Kihei. The seaside town of Kihei is the area with most of the condominium resorts, and is the sunniest & driest area on the island. It is divided in North Kihei and South Kihei. The beaches and water in North Kihei are not as good, and we define South Kihei as the area behind the three Kamaole Beach Parks (see Beaches). This is the area you want to call "home" while on your vacation, e.g. staying at Kihei Akahi D-211.
- Wailea. Further south from Kihei, this is the most expensive part of the island with luxurious hotels and spas. You'd visit this area for an event/restaurant at one of the hotels, or for the nice beaches.
- Makena. Further south from Wailea is Makena, which marks the end of the paved road, and in fact you won't be able to go much further. More nice beaches.
- Hana. If it were possible to drive further round the island from Makena, then the next town you'd find would be Hana. But you can't drive further than Makena, so you have to turn round and go clockwise all the way to do the Road To Hana. Hana itself is small but, as they say, it is about the journey and not the destination.
- Pa'ia. On the northeastern side of the island, you typically drive through this town on the way to Hana. If you are an expert surfer or windsurfer, you may call this town your home. Ditto if you are in your early twenties looking to party with the surfer crowd.
- Upcountry (Haliimaile, Makawao, Kula, Ha'iku). Typically you drive through upcountry on your way to or from Hana, or while going to Haleakala. It is actually one of our favorite places on the island to visit in its own right, e.g. see 4-5 items on the Non-Water Activities list, and also 3 items on the Alcohol list. It is also cooler up there so it is a good area to visit on your last day after you checkout from your condo and before your departure flight time.
- Haleakala. The national park, with the legendary sunrises, but also good for sunsets, not to mention a favorite stop on the way back from Hana - see Must Do.
- Kahului. This is where the airport is, so you will go through this at least twice on your vacation. Other than Costco (see Grocery Shopping), there are other reasons to visit, including the Maui Arts Cultural Center (see Shows and Events) and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center (see Souvenirs).
- Wailuku. Most of the locals seem to live in Wailuku. There are few reasons to visit here, but a big one is if you are doing the West Maui circle and the nearby Iao Valley (see Nature).
- Lahaina. A busy old town, which you must visit once or twice during your trip - see Must Do.
- West Maui Circle. Further up from Lahaina, is the resort-heavy Ka'anapali beach and further up is the small Napili beach (see beaches). If you continue past Kapalua, you can go on to the Nakalele Blowhole and Olivine Pools (see Nature). From there, if you are super brave and expert driver with nerves of steel, you can go on driving to complete the West Maui circle and end at Wailuku (DISCLAIMER: very narrow single lane for two-way traffic, very challenging).
Looking for more stuff to do? Why not check out all of our recommendation lists for Maui: Maui Towns And Areas, Must Do, Road To Hana, Beaches, Nature, Food, Beer/Alcohol, Water Activities, Non-Water Activities, Shows and Events, Souvenirs, Grocery Shopping, and What The Owners Still Love About Maui.