North Shore Maui Is Where To Stay For Windsurfing And Visiting The Road To Hana
North Shore Maui is best known for the windsurfing at Hookipa Beach Park which some consider the windsurfing capital of the world . This is where to stay in Maui for a less crowded and less touristy experience that the Road to Hana begins from. It is also a great area to stay in Maui with kids!
In North Shore, you are closer to the natural wonders of Hawaii but further from swimming friendly beaches. The beaches in this area have larger waves and are typically windier but also less crowded. The area used to be home to a plantation town named Paia that is now full of boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and shops.
The Road to Hana with all its natural wonders along the way, including waterfalls you can swim under, a red sand beach, a black sand beach, and so much more begins at the edge of the North Shore area so this is where to stay in Maui for visiting the Road to Hana. As a slightly less touristy area, there is less traffic and any drive from here is also a very scenic experience on the way to your destination.
Upsides: Some of the best windsurfing can be found here. The road to Hana is only a short drive away. It is a short 12-minute drive or shuttle from the airport.
Downsides: There arent any major resorts and the beaches can be windy and have larger waves, better for surfing than swimming.
Best Hotels in North Shore Maui
Affordable: Nalu Kai Lodge Paia Hotel
Where I Like To Stay On Maui
Everybody has different opinions and different things work for different people, but heres what I think :
Most people talk about the west side vs. the south side and which is better, but its a bit more nuanced than that. For example, I prefer the south side because I like WAILEA, but if my budget prohibits that then Id pick Kaanapali on the west side before Id stay in Kihei on the south side. So your choice between the south and west side may come down to exactly what place/area you can afford .
As a general rule, I dislike staying in Kihei unless my budget makes it by far the best option. I just find it to be crowded and not the vibe that Im looking for on vacation, but so many people LOVE it so this really depends on what youre looking for. If I am staying in Kihei, I like the properties on the south side near Keawakapu Beach.
Manage your expectations if youre staying in an older condo on the West Side . Theyre a little older and shabbier than many expect. Also, a lot of complexes in that area on the water dont have a beach.
If you want specific recommendations for my favorite hotels read this post about where to stay on Maui.
Best Place To Stay In Maui For Nightlife:
While not famous for its nightlife compared to Oahu, youll still find plenty to keep you entertained on Maui once the sun has gone down. In West Maui, youll find the best selection of late-night establishments, especially in the historic town of Lahaina. Youll have your choice of pumping bars, beachside patios with live music, and a few dance clubs that can carry your crew into the early hours.
South Maui is tamer with just a few bars along the main road in Kihei. Some resorts, however, will have nightly entertainment but you can expect it to be more low-key.
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Wailuku Best Places To Stay In Maui On A Budget
Wailuku is a charming town situated in Central Maui. It is close to the islands airport and is its commercial centre as well as the seat of government. This bustling and boisterous town is packed with charming local shops and delicious cafes, making it a fantastic place to enjoy a day.
This Hawaii town also gets our vote for where to stay in Maui on a budget because it has a high concentration of hostels and affordable hotels. By staying in Wailuku, you can enjoy all the best activities and attractions the island has to offer while ensuring you dont blow your budget.
Where To Stay On Maui Faqs
The following are answers to the most frequently asked questions when choosing where to stay on Maui. Click the dropdown arrows to the questions below to reveal their answers.
Where is the best place to stay in Maui?
The Kihei and Wailea areas of South Maui are the best places to stay in Maui. This region has the best beaches, shopping, & restaurants, the least rainfall & cloud cover, and the most accommodation options on Maui.
West Maui is also popular, particularly the resorts near Lahaina, Kaâanapali, and Kapalua Bay.
What side of Maui is the best to stay on?
The west coast of Maui, specifically the southwest region known as âSouth Mauiâ, is the best side to stay on for the quintessential Hawaii vacation. This stretch is where you will find the best beaches, climate, and options for accommodation.
Which side of Maui has better beaches?
The South Maui region is known for having the best beaches in Maui, though Kaâanapali in West Maui is the only one to win the award for âAmericaâs Best Beach.â
Which part of Maui is the most beautiful?
Each region of Maui offers a different type of beauty, all equally impressive in their own way:
Which is better: West Maui or South Maui?
Most people agree that South Maui is the best place to stay in Maui. It gets nearly half the annual rainfall, has a more tropical shoreline, and has more shops, restaurants, and hotels and resorts to choose from.
How many days do you need in Maui?
Where should you not stay in Maui?
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Our Recommended Accommodations In Lahaina
Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows
If youâre looking to stay at a place with a doorstep on the Kaanapali beach, this resort is ideal. The Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows is a minuteâs walk away from the beach and roughly 3 miles from the Lahaina Historic Old Town and harbor.
Lahaina Shores â by Hyatt Residence
The charming boutiques, stellar restaurants, and historic attractions are all within proximity. And if youâre a water baby, a quick walk, and youâll find yourself choosing between a sunset cruise, snorkeling, diving, and parasailing.
- Youâll have air-conditioned rooms with sun terraces and BBQ facilities.
- A swimming pool and hot tub are on the property.
- Select rooms have either oceanfront or mountain-front views.
- Rooms have fully-equipped kitchens.
Front Street, various beaches, historical sites, the Banyan tree, and many attractions are within reach of the property.
Napili Kai Beach Resort
The Napili Resort is an excellent choice for your Maui lodging. The full-service resort invites guests to spend a few nights surrounded by excellent amenities and activities. You will find that each oceanfront room or suite has its patio for you to have a glimpse of the tropical paradise.
What Region Do You Want To Stay In
There are six primary regions on Maui where visitor accommodations are readily available: West Maui, South Maui, Central Maui, North Shore, Upcountry, and East Maui. The two largest and most popular visitor destinations, offering the most accommodation options, are West Maui and South Maui and within those two regions there are numerous other choices of towns, neighborhoods, and resort communities. Some visitors, however, enjoy the more off the beaten path areas of Central Maui , North Shore, Upcountry, or East Maui. For maps and an overview description of these regions to help you decide where to stay on Maui, see my guide to Mauis Regions and Towns.
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Kaanapali Where To Stay In Maui For The First Time
Located in West Maui this town is a top choice for everyone who is visiting for the first time. Ka Anapali beach is known for its three-mile-long stretch of pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, it was considered at one point the best beach in the United States of America, a place frequently visited by the royalties. I would highly recommend booking in advance as this place is a top travel choice for every person who wants to stay in Maui.
This west side town is a perfect place if you want to mix both city and beach vibes, Kaanapali has tons of restaurants and a shopping center. Royal Ka Anapali and the Kaanapali Kai are two great places if youre a fan of golf, you can even see a whale from the playing field. Golfing is a popular sport here, and who wouldnt love it since you have the perfect weather and most beautiful views.
Make sure you visit the famous Black Rock, a favorite cliff jumping site, on the Ka Anapali beach, for both locals and visitors. During wintertime many humpback whales flock to the waters of Kaanapali so whale watching can get pretty exciting during this time.
Things To See And Do In Wailuku
- See the spectacular Iao Valley State Monument and explore the lush national park.
- Dine on delicious American fare at The Mill House.
- Celebrate local art, culture, fashion and food by attending a Wailuku First Friday event.
- Explore old Wailuku by joining a Rediscover Wailuku Tour.
- Hike the Kapalua Coastal Trail, an incredible 3-kilometre hike along the coast.
- Step back in time at Hale Hoikeuke at the Baile House.
- Sample a variety of drinks at the Steel Horse Saloon.
- Kick start your day with an incredible and satisfying breakfast at Tasty Crust Restaurant.
- Head further into Central Maui and explore the incredible jungle lined volcanos of the island.
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Best Budget Hotel In Maui: Penthouse In Kihei
True budget hotels are hard to find in Maui. Condos are your best bet for finding quality accommodation at a cheap price, especially if you want to stay in the popular spot, South Maui.
Right across from Kamaole Beach II, in the cute town of Kihei, enjoy impressive views from your top-floor condo out into the turquoise Pacific Ocean. Open the windows and let the breeze sweep through your home away from home.
Aside from the views, the best part of this experience is that youre in a resort. Have built-in amenities at your disposal while easily being able to escape from it all and cook up your own feast in your full kitchen. Your condo also has an activity closet with beach chairs, coolers, and towels, so youll be ready for that first beach day.
More Budget Hotels in Maui:
Hana Highway Where To Stay In Maui For An Adventure
The road to Hana is a bucket list item in Maui that you have to check. Hawaiis most famous drive traverses over 600 curves and 54 bridges around the east coast. Youll wake up saying wow every 5 minutes and in a constant state of awe. Its a two-hour drive to Hana from the airport.
You havent seen all that Maui can offer if you havent driven the road to Hana. You can rent a car from the Kahului airport and from there it will take just over 2 hours. If you dont feel like driving in a foreign country or dont have a license, Ive got you covered, you can take a tour to Hana and still enjoy this adventure.
The road to Hana was rated a drive of a lifetime by National Geographic. There are many amazing spots where you can stop along the way, the Twin Falls is one of them, you can do some hiking here or even go for a swim. If you ever wondered what being in heaven feels like, then the Maui Garden of Eden is the place for you. Get up early so you dont find the roads too crowded, grab the camera, and drive through waterfalls, seascapes, and pools on the road to Hana.
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Wailea Beach Resort Marriott Maui:
The 4-star Wailea Beach Resort offers 547 upgraded guest rooms, stocked with flat-screen TVs and Nespresso machines.
Four outdoor pools and a water park attract couples, families and friends vacationing together.
Other amenities include a small movie theater, a family game room, spa and gym.
Note that while the Wailea Beach Resort is an oceanfront property, it doesnt have a beach. To get your toes in the sand, you need to walk five minutes to Wailea Beach in front of the neighboring Grand Wailea.
Lodging In Hana Maui Faqs
Are there a lot of Hana Maui hotels?
Not really. Its definitely not as popular as Wailea, Kaanapali, Lahaina, or Kapalua. Many people usually only spend 1-2 nights in Hana as part of their Maui vacation. The main hotel is the Hana-Maui Resort which is a Hyatt property.
Is driving to Hana at night difficult?
Absolutely. Its actually unsafe for visitors to drive the Road to Hana at night because of the limited streetlights. Thats why its a smart idea to spend the night in Hana if you think youll need more time.
What are the top things to do in Hana Maui?
There are actually a surprising number of things to do in Hana and nearby. A few top picks include hiking the Pipiwai Trail, visiting a black sand beach, checking out the food trucks, visiting the Hana farmers market, exploring a Maui cave, and exploring Kahanu Garden.
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The Best Places To Stay For
These are the places we recommend to stay for families, beach bums, luxury seekers, backpackers, surfers, and active adventurers:
Both Wailea and Kaanapali will make luxury seekers very happy.
Summary Map Of All Places Recommended In Our Guide
We list all hotels mentioned in this guide on the map below , as well as some of the highest-rated vacation rentals , on the map below. Fill in your trip date on the map to find which places are available during your stay and at what cost.
Affiliate disclosure: This overview contains affiliate links to accommodation aggregator websites such as Booking.com and VRBO. Clicking on those links may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only include affiliate links when they offer good value to our readers, read more about the use of those links on the Love Big Island website.
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Four Seasons Resort Maui At Wailea
For many, Maui is an idyllic paradise of relaxation and beauty. The palatial Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea captures that essence with its sublime oceanfront views, three saltwater pools, a spa, tennis courts, and more. When luxury is top of mind and an ample budget is available, this is the hotel that my Maui-born friends promise is worth the splurge.
And if the manicured grounds look familiar, that’s because this resort is where the HBO series “White Lotus“ was filmed. The rooms are posh and modern with tropical touches, glam bathrooms, and come with lanais to soak in views of the ocean, mountains, or gardens.
Plan Your Maui Vacation With These Resources
Travel Planning Resources
Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.
Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner
Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Don’t leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:
- World Nomads – Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
- Allianz – Occasional Travelers.
- Medjet – Global air medical transport and travel security.
Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.
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Napili Kai Beach Resort:
Napili Kai Beach Resort is a mellow resort situated on pristine Napili Bay. Its comprised entirely of ocean-view, two-story condos.
It exudes an authentic Hawaiian holiday vibe that you wont get at any of Mauis luxury mega-resorts. And you wont be nickle-and-dimed with any extra resort fees.
The décor and furnishings are a bit dated though. And you might find a friendly gecko wandering into your unit.
Mind you, the repeat guests who are loyal to Napili Kai dont mind. Many couples and families have been coming here for years and years, so theres a strong Ohana feel.
The amenities arent grandiose, but theyre just fine for a casual beachside vacation. There are four small pools, two hot tubs, two putting greens and two shuffleboard courts.
For us, the real star is Napili Bay Beach simply one of the absolute best beaches in Maui. The sand is incredibly soft, and the water is often glassy calm and ideal for swimming. Sea turtles are often seen when snorkeling.
Another plus is the resorts Sea House restaurant, which is really close to the water.
Just be sure youre seated in the open-air, front dining area with the ocean view the back area is not that inviting.
Napili Kai also offers several family-friendly perks like a Keiki Eat Free program for kids under 10, a seasonal kids club and a weekly golf putting party.
Napili Kai Beach Resort:Check rates and availability