Saturday, December 3, 2022

Best Side To Stay In Maui

Best Area To Stay In Maui

Top Places to Visit in MAUI HAWAII | Ultimate Maui Travel Guide

So what is the best area to stay in Maui? Every part of Maui is wonderful, so you cant go wrong whatever your choice. If you want a luxury hotel or resort, choose Wailea on the south side of Kaanapali on the west side. If you want a condo, choose Kihei on the south side or Honokowai-Kahana-Napili on the west side. Then choose your specific hotel or condo from the reviews and photos at Where to Stay in Maui, which has links to reviews of each individual hotel and condo.

What part of Maui has the best weather? The least rain is in Wailea or the south part of Kihei. On the west side, the farther south you stay, the less rain you get, so Kaanapali has less rain and Kapalua has more rain. There is much less rain everywhere on Maui in the summer than in the winter. For details of rain and temperature in each month, see Maui Weather.

It is about an hours drive between West Maui and South Maui . And no matter where you stay, youll need to get all around Maui to see the sights. So once you have decided on your hotel or condo, make sure to reserve your Maui car rental.

Now that youve decided whether to stay in a hotel or a condo and have picked which part of Maui youd like to stay on, you are ready to move on to these next two steps:

The Island In Brief In Maui

This medium-sized island lies in the center of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Central Maui

Maui, the Valley Isle, is so named for the large isthmus between the islands two towering volcanoes: Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. The flat landscape in between, Central Maui, is the heart of the islands business community and local government.

KahuluiMost Maui visitors fly over former sugarcane fields to land at Kahului Airport, just yards away from rolling surf. Sadly, your first sight out of the airport will likely be Target or Costcohardly icons of Hawaiiana but always bustling with islanders and visitors alike. Beyond that, Kahului is a grid of shops and suburbs that youll pass through en route to your destination.

WailukuNestled up against the West Maui Mountains, Wailuku is a time capsule of faded wooden storefronts, old churches, and plantation homes. Although most people zip through on their way to see the natural beauty of Iao Valley, this quaint little town is worth a brief visit, if only to see a real place where real people actually appear to be working at something other than a suntan. This is the county seat, so youll see folks in suits . The town has some great budget restaurants, interesting bungalow architecture, a wonderful historic B& B, and the intriguing Bailey House Museum.

West Maui

South Maui

Upcountry Maui

Things To See And Do In Paia

Lounge on the beach or hit the waves at Hookipa Beach, the windsurfing capital of the world.

Feast on a variety of American-style dishes at Charleys Restaurant.

Watch the windsurfers zip across the horizon at H.A. Baldwin Beach Park.

Chill out on the golden sands at pristine Lower Paia Park.

Explore the calm and relaxing grounds of the Paia Peace Stupa.

Indulge in incredible seafood dishes from local landmark Mamas Fish House.

Hop in the car and explore nearby natural attractions like Hana and Haleakala.

Enjoy a delicious meal at Café Mambo Cinema.

Hunt for treasures and souvenirs at the Swap Meet at Paia Bay.

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Where To Stay In Upcountry

This is rural Maui, also in the middle of the island, just south of Central Maui. While its not a typical tourist choice for a base, youll meet more locals than tourists with easy access everywhere.

Upcountry Maui is locals Maui away from the beaches. In fact, Hawaiians have been farming taro and sweet potatoes in this fertile heartland of green rolling hills and drifting fog for generations.

Youll inevitably pass through here on your way to Haleakala even if you dont stay here as you pass rural outposts and goat farms. Upcountry is more than just a place its a way of life.

Pros and cons: Stay in upcountry if youre looking for a peaceful, authentic Maui experience. Skip it if youre interested in nightlife. The weather can also be cooler here .

Here are my picks for Upcountry:

1. Coast to Coast Views in Kula

Nestled on the slopes of Haleakala, the Haleakala Princess Estate is a unique property with sweeping views of both coasts! Its possibly the best view on island. Youll be wandering 3.5 acres of native Hawaiian gardens here and lounging in special outdoor nooks and watching the sunset around the gas fire pit or hot tub. A huge tile deck wraps around the whole house.

Best for: Groups of up to six people as both a main house and cottage are included.

2. Modern Cottage in Historic Wailuku

Best for: A couple or solo traveler on a budget.

Lahaina Where To Stay In Maui For Your First Time

Best Area To Stay In Maui

Lahaina is our top recommendation for where to stay in Maui for your first time.

It is a lively town with a rich history. It is believed to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th-century and today boasts a great variety of historic landmarks and popular tourist attractions.

Lahaina is the best area in Maui to stay in for sightseeing because its so easy to explore on foot. No matter where you choose to stay in Lahaina, youre never far from the beach, restaurants, bars, and landmarks.

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The West Side Of Maui Includes Kaanapali Honokowai Kahana Napili Kapalua And Lahaina

Kaanapali Beach is my favorite area of Maui to stay on. This is the luxury part of the west side of Maui. There are several large hotels with elaborate pools, grounds, and lobbies, plus a couple of large luxury condos. All of these hotels and condos in Kaanapali are within walking distance of each other, and of restaurants, all beach activities, Luaus, snorkeling, and the Whalers Village shopping center.

Honokowai, Kahana, and Napili are just north of Kaanapali Beach. They contain numerous large and small condo complexes that are less expensive than staying right on Kaanapali Beach, but they are not within walking distance of the big resort hotels and shopping and restaurants, and some of them do not have air conditioning or daily maid service. Most of these condo buildings are right on the beach.

Kapalua is at the far north end of West Maui. It has a few condos and one hotel. But Kapalua gets more rain and wind than any other part of West or South Maui, so I would not recommend this area. Although some people disagree, in my opinion, this is not the best area to stay in Maui.

Where To Stay On West Maui

West Maui was developed in the 60s as the prime tourist destination on Maui. And when you visit, its easy to see why. The West Maui Mountains offer a beautiful view from the white-sand beaches. The water is crystal blue and there are plenty of easy places to swim for people of every ability.

West Maui is on the leeward side of the island, meaning youll get less rain, but things will also look a little drier. There are four main areas to stay on West Maui:

  • Kaanapali: A master-planned resort community, Kaanapali first opened in the 1960s. Hotels, condos, and resorts are built along the white sand beach with shopping and restaurants in the center in Whalers Village.
  • Lahaina: An old historic whaling village, Lahaina is now a bustling center with lively stores and restaurants lining Front Street. Its also a launching pad for many of the ocean excursions like snorkeling and whale watching. There are few hotels, no large resorts, and a handful of vacation rentals.
  • Napili: Picturesque Napili Bay offers a laid back vibe, with low-rise condo buildings and small beachside resorts. Napili itself is a small community centered around a beautiful bay, great for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Kapalua: A luxury resort area in Northwest Maui, theres the main resort and vacation rentals that line the bluffs and the world-class golf courses. Kapalua gets a little more rain and wind, but its also more lush and green.

Resorts line West Mauis Kaanapali Beach.

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Things To See And Do In Kaanapali

Enjoy an afternoon of shopping at Whalers Village.

Get your adrenaline pumping by cliff-diving at Black Rock or Puu Kekaa

Explore the outstanding Hanakaoo Beach Park where you might even see a sea turtle!

Splash in the tide pools at Napili Bay.

Build sandcastles and soak up some rays at Kaanapali Beach.

Rent snorkels and explore a vibrant and colourful world beneath the waves.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a cool and refreshing cone of Hawaiian Shave Ice.

Dine on tasty American dishes at Hula Grill Kaanapali.

Start your day with a filling and flavourful breakfast at CJs Deli & Diner.

The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas

Maui Regions Explained (What Side Of Maui Should You Stay On?)

West Maui

Sitting upon approximately 26 acres of Kaanapali, the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas is the place to be. In line with the exceptional reputation of Westin vacation properties international, this is one of the very best places to stay in all the Hawaiian Islands.

Guests will surely enjoy sleeping in the Heavenly Beds and awakening to the smooth rolling sounds of gentle Pacific Ocean waves tempting the shoreline. Whale watch from your own private lanai during the Winter months and enjoy all the wonderful advantages of oceanfront Maui luxury living. The Villas, are a mastermind of comfort. They are impeccably designed, and beautifully furnished with a long list of vacation amenities. Spa Helani at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas is one of the overall best spas in the Hawaiian Islands. Guests will surely feel revitalized and at ease while they enjoy their customized treatments. Plush accommodations most definitely surround you while enjoying all the superior spa services, with a multitude of massage and aesthetic offerings.

Guest will enjoy the amenities here with six heated lagoon pools surrounded with cabanas, four hot tubs, tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness workout studio, outdoor BBQ grill stations, three restaurants, and two markets, all in arms-reach.

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Where To Stay On South Maui

When people mention staying in South Maui, theyre likely staying in one of two places: Wailea or Kihei. South Maui is the second most popular location for vacationers to stay and its easy to see why. The beaches in South Maui are just as spectacular as youll find on West Maui the Kamehameha beaches in Kihei offer long stretches of beach with calm water. And the luxury resorts in Wailea are perfect for people looking for an upscale vacation.

Also located on the leeward side, South Maui offers even less rain than youll find on West Maui. But you may have to contend with the Makena Cloud a low cloud that rolls into the area some afternoons .

The two main areas to stay on South Maui are:

  • Wailea: Wailea was developed in the 70s and is home to the best luxury resorts on the island. Staying in Wailea is definitely an upscale experience, though its also a little quieter with a little less to do.
  • Kihei: In Kihei, youll find more condos and no large resorts. While Wailea is luxury, Kihei can offer a price break that many travelers welcome. Kihei is often livelier than Wailea, and offers a hub of activities similar to Lahaina, though without the quaint historic downtown.

Lahaina West Maui Best Area To Stay In Maui For Surfing

Lahaina is 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 centre 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 neighbourhoods 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 harbour, look out for the Pioneer Inn and Baldwin House Museum.

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

Where to stay in Lahaina Maui

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How To Decide Where To Stay On Maui

Before booking your trip to Maui, itâs important to understand the layout of the island, which consists of five main regions:

  • South Maui
  • North Maui
  • West Maui
  • Central Maui

Each area has its own unique beaches, towns, and atmosphere! There are also two major volcanoes on the island, with an impressive valley running between them.

There are plenty of incredible options places to stay in each of these areas, with all kinds of accommodation options for all budgets to choose from!

While I would personally recommend West Maui, as this is the most scenic region for a classic island holiday , there are many idyllic beaches that stretch all across the island, but the beaches around Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Lahaina are easily the best!

Read on to discover the versatility of the island, through the best places to stay, Maui.

Where To Stay In Maui

Where to Stay

Maui is divided into 6 areas: West Maui, South Maui, Upcountry, Central Maui, North Shore & East Maui.

This is where to stay in Kaanapali for a world class resort feel and the best area to stay on Maui when youre traveling with your family.

The Whaler

The Whaler is a luxury ground floor condominium where the ocean and the sand are steps away. The condo has a full kitchen and in the middle of all the action in Kaanapali. The condo is open and perfect a small family or 2 couples traveling together. Black rock is steps away as well as the best restaurants and shopping.

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Kula Lodge & Restaurant


One of the very best panoramic views of the elusively gorgeous Island of Maui is from a prime vantage point in Kula, Maui. Lucky for the Kula Lodge and Restaurant, they have the most excellent piece of Upcountry Maui property for the most incredible view of the Valley Isle. Without a doubt, this location is magical. From here, guests can see the most southern part of the South Maui coastline stretch as far as the West Maui.

For years, the Kula Lodge has been a favorite destination for visitors and locals alike. The 5 Chalets are the accommodations provided by the Kula Lodge and are a perfect home-style place to stay for those that crave solace, comfort, and the closest lodging proximity to the Haleakala National Park. The Kula Lodge restaurant seats up to one hundred and fifty guests, with breathtaking views and a unique outdoor seating area that is nestled in a beautiful lush garden. This is a perfect location for a family gathering or wedding party or to stop with the family after watching the sunrise at Haleakala Crater for a delicious breakfast.

A stay at the Kula Lodge is most definitely an experience that will not soon be forgotten. The Upcountry areas of Maui are diverse in topography, rural Maui country culture, and unique offerings. Enjoy the many splendors of the Haleakala National Park, the Alii Kula Lavender Farm or Maui Wine just within a short drive away.

Kaanapali Best Area To Stay In Maui With A Family

Kaanapali is one of the most famous places in Hawaii. It boasts almost five kilometres of pristine white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters and was once considered the best beach in the United States.

Today, Kaanapali is home to a number of world-class resorts and luxurious condos. It offers a variety of activities and attractions, perfect for visitors looking for an idyllic vacation in paradise. Here you can swim and splash in the waves or build sandcastles on the beach which is why Kaanapali is our top choice for where to stay in Maui for families.

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Summary Of Main Maui Places

Central Maui:

Kahului, Wailuku, etc. This is the town youll pass through when you land, if you reach Maui by plane and touch down in Kahului . Kahului is more of a business spot, and a bit of a visible homeless population hanging out in vehicles by the harbour. The beaches here arent that great and wind is mighty, as you may have noticed while landing.

East Maui:

Hana is beautiful yet remote and rainforest-y and doesnt cater to tourists so much. My favorite place to recharge .

South Maui:

Kihei has everything you need for a smooth family vacation, and is right on the beach , and fairly central.

Wailea is expensive and swanky, with manicured golf courses and huge hotels lining the beach.

Makena Beach is great for sand, people-watching, and snorkeling with the sea turtles .

West Maui:

Kaanapali is a rightfully popular resort area located on the west coast of Maui, north of Lahaina. I prefer Lahaina, but Im not a resort kind of person. Lahaina town is busy yet feels authentic and situated in the middle of an actual town where people live and play, despite having an obvious tourist strip full of shops. North of Kaanapali is another small town of Napili Napili feels like all the locals commute there not a lot of grocery stores nearby.

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