South Maui Without A Car
Kihei and Wailea are ideal if you want a classic tourist experience with beach days and luaus. Kihei has more touristy things to do and Wailea is more upscale, but both offer a variety of accommodations.
Kihei is more walkable than Wailea, but both are pretty easy if you plan on skipping a rental car.
Just keep in mind that theres a limit to what you can do in these areas. If you want more variety, youll have to travel out more. One benefit is that South Maui is closer to Kahului Airport.
So Whats The Best Way To Get Around Maui Without A Car
Thinking about how to get around Maui without a car, the best way is to stay in a tourist-friendly area. From there, you have several options that are great for short distances.
You can always plan on spending a few days near your hotel or resort, and then a few more taking group shuttles or tours. Enjoy being a tourist in Maui!
Upcountry Paia Kihei Kahului
Why its great: Mauis neighborhoods are as diverse as its terrain. Where you should stay will depend on what kind of locals experience you are wanting. Paia feels like a small hippie beach town Upcountry feels like a secluded rainforest retreat. Kihei is a bit of local and tourist mash-up but the beaches are calm and there are many casual restaurants nearby. And Kahului is straight locals with slightly urban budget hotels that are a short drive from decent beaches.
Keep in mind: Make sure to pick your local vibe neighborhood based on what you are looking for in your vacation. Dont go for Upcountry or Paia if you want to be super close to beaches without big waves pick Kihei in that instance. If you are a surfer and want to be near the north shore or dont mind a 30 min drive to Wailea then Upcountry and Paia are awesome choices. On the other hand, Wailea and Lahaina have a pretty strong tourist vibe so its not ideal for a locals experience.
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Do You Need A Car To Get Around Maui
I dont think you do but its certainly more convenient. Having the freedom to just hop in the car and go can be a game changer especially if you have a short stay on Maui. If your trip to Maui is 2 weeks or more, thats when I would start thinking about relying on public transportation, tours, rideshares or bicycling. A longer stay allows you to travel from town to town, then explore the local area with other means of transportation.
Who Needs This Guide
This is a guide for those who want to know how to get around Maui without a car. So if youre on a budget, staying in certain areas, or prefer public transportation, this guide is for you. Let it be said having a car on Maui is what most people opt for. Mauis two biggest attractions are the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park. Unless you decide to book a tour to these spots, not having a car means potentially crossing these off your itinerary.
Need a complete guide to getting around Maui? If you want to know more about car rental options, rules and regulations, rideshares, carshares, and other transportation options on Maui in detail, check out my comprehensive guide below.
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Best Places To Stay In Hana
Why its great: Hana is a must-see. There is a long winding road on the edge of the island that takes you there, or you can fly directly into their tiny airport. The drive to Hana is itself an awesome experience. Youll pass waterfalls, rainforests, and epic hikes that are not to be missed. For everyone traveling to Maui, Asher and I suggest checking out THIS BOOK. It gives the best insider tips, tricks, and locations to visit on the island.
If you want to spend more than just a day trip around Hana, check out the below hotel. Its on the pricey side but it will give you time to enjoy a part of the island that is unique and less traveled.
Keep in mind: Hana is FAR from everything. And the only road to get there is Hana Hwy, which though beautiful, is extremely winding and not something you can do multiple times a day unless you want to spend your entire day driving! Hana is perfect if you want a retreat experience. But its not perfect if you want to enjoy the different areas of the island and sample different restaurants or do a lot of day trips.
What To Know Before You Go
- If you dont plan to rent a car, staying in the Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kihei, or Wailea areas will make your travels much more manageable. These are the busy tourist areas and are a rideshare drivers goldmine. There are usually plenty of rideshares available during the day. Check out Maui Accommodations for inexpensive, excellent vacation rentals.
- If you have to be somewhere at a particular time, consider scheduling a ride in advance or having your hotel or resort book a taxi for you.
- If youre on a budget, the Maui Bus is a good option for getting around the south and west sides.
- For the latest updates on Maui, traveling to the islands, and the car rental situation, check out the Aloha 360 podcast. Aloha 360 is run by two south Maui residents with their thumb on the pulse of island travel.
BEFORE YOU CONTINUE
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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.
Our Favorite Budget Hotels On Maui
Budget 1: Maui Seaside Hotel
With budget-friendly perks like free wifi and a free airport shuttle, this centrally located hotel is a 14-minute walk to the beach and steps away from Kahului Shopping Center. The airy and bright modern rooms stay comfortably cool with A/C and are equipped with a mini-fridge. If you feel like a refreshing dip, the hotel pool offers relaxing views of the ocean and has plenty of chairs and umbrellas for lounging. Perfect for couples or families, Maui Seaside Hotel offers rooms with one, two, or three beds.
Budget 2: Kaanapali Ocean Inn
Kaanapali Ocean Inn has the amenities youd expect from a resort at a more budget-friendly price. Enjoy live Polynesian shows, beachfront views, and 27 acres of lush tropical gardens. Kids will love playing in the pool and the close proximity to the beach. Adults will apprecate the large selection of restaurants without even having to leave the property. There is no air conditioning in the rooms so leave your balcony door open and let the ocean breeze keep you cool.
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Most Transportation In Maui Is Accessible
All vehicles used on Maui Bus routes are ADA accessible. Buses have ramps available and a sitting area in front. One-way fare for passengers with disabilities is $1. Some major rental car agencies rent hand-controlled vehicles and vans with wheelchair lifts. Another option is renting a wheelchair-accessible van through Wheelers of Hawaii or through Wheelchair Getaways.
Bring your disability parking placard from home. Hang it from your vehicle’s rearview mirror when using designated disabled parking spaces.
Several tour companies run guided trips to Haleakal National Park in ADA vans. Make a reservation at least four days in advance to secure a spot. Try Roberts Hawaii or Valley Isle Excursions. It is harder to find ADA-compliant guided tours to Hana because the stops on the Road to Hana are not easily accessible and some ADA vans cannot manage the narrow and twisty road itself.
You can also download accessible travel guides from Lonely Planet for more information.
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Is Maui Public Transportation Good
If you didnt bring your car , the best way to get around Maui other than a car rental is by public transport.
Rental cars in Maui can be hard to come by. Fortunately, the islands public transport is pretty reliable, and you can get the most out of your trip even if you dont have your vehicle.
What else is good? Taking public transit is inexpensive, so you wont have to worry about your finances either.
Below are a few public transport options for you in Maui:
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Guided Tours Go To Various Destinations And Cut Down On Congestion
If you want to experience the Road to Hana or the sunrise at Haleakala and you dont have a car to explore Maui, consider a guided trip. Roberts Hawaii, which also operates the county-run Maui Bus, offers trips to Haleakal National Park, the Road to Hana and the Upcountry. Valley Isle Excursions leads Haleakal and the Road to Hana trips. Polynesian Adventure Tours hit Haleakal, the Road to Hana, the Iao Valley and small towns in the Upcountry. Tours also have the added benefits of reducing traffic congestion and providing local insight from knowledgeable guides.
Car Is The Best Option If You Want To Explore The Island
The island of Maui is divided into five regions, each anchored by a town or small city. If you plan to travel beyond your region, you will want to rent a car. And unless you take a guided tour, you will need a car to visit Haleakal National Park and to explore the Road to Hana .
There are nine international rental car companies at Kahului International Airport. A handful have offices in Kaanapali or inside different resorts. For a hybrid, electric, or biodiesel vehicle, consider Bio-Beetle in Kahului. Discount cars and motorcycle rental offices are scattered across the island. For an older car at a lower price, Kihei Rent a Car is a great choice. It offers complimentary rides to and from the airport.
The car rental market has always been tight and expensive on Maui, but the problem has been exacerbated after rental car companies sold off much of their inventory during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices have dropped, but book your car a month or two in advance to ensure youll have one on arrival. A newer option is carsharing, which is available on Maui through Turo. The company has a wide variety of cars available. Mileage, pick-up instructions, and other details vary by host.
Two-lane highways link most towns. Some may be narrow and subject to congestion at unexpected times. The main roads through downtown Lahaina and sprawling Kihei can also get very congested. Use the bypass outside of Lahaina or the Piialani Hwy in Kihei if you want to travel more quickly in either city.
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Getting To Your Hotel By Bus
The county of Maui also provides a limited bus service that you can take from the airport to your hotel for about $4.00. The hours of operation are from 5:30 am 10:11 pm.
According to Mauicounty.gov, they do have a luggage policy one Medium-sized suitcase, duffle bag, or carry-on bag allowed, no larger than 22 H x 14 W x 9 L and must fit and be placed under the passengers seat or on the passengers lap.
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.
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A Free Shuttle Operates Between Resorts In Ka’anapali
The Kaanapali Trolley is a free shuttle that loops between Whalers Village, the Kaanapali Golf Course, the Fairway Shops and several resorts every 20 to 30 minutes in Kaanapali. It is open to the public and operates between 10am and 10pm, with a lunch and dinner break for the driver. Larger resorts may provide shuttle service to guests around the resort area and to nearby towns.
Is Traveling By Bus Agood Optionwhich Route Does The Bus Go
The Maui bus system offers transportation services to many areas in Maui. It consists of 14 bus routes and operates seven days a week.
The bus ticket costs $2.00 per person one way. Transfers are not included.
There is also a daily pass option that costs $4.00 per day.
You can either buy the tickets onboard the bus or at one of the offices located around Maui.
The bus stops at all resort hotels are a great way to get around the island if your hotel doesnt offer shuttle services. The bus route depends on what area you are going to, and they run from 6 am until 11 pm daily. You can find out more information about the Maui bus system here.
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The Best Part Of Maui To Stay On
Deciding where to stay in Maui and the best part of Maui to stay on is an important factor when planning your Hawaiian vacation. Ive lived on Maui for 10 years now and typical Jess, have lived all over the island.
I wanted to write a post that gave you the pros and cons of each area making it easy so you can decide the best area of Maui to stay based on your personal preferences.
For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling and coffee . I thank you in advance.
Hana Where To Stay In Maui In The Most Scenic Part Of The Island
Hana Highway is often referred to as the Road to Hana, but its a trip thats typically more about the journey than the destination.
The winding miles that cut directly across the seaside offer some of the most stunning views in the Hawaiian Islands, but the actual town of Hana can seem a bit anticlimactic when you actually arrive.
But if youre willing to temper your expectations and throw yourself into the right frame of mind, it can be a town worth sticking around in for a while.
But if theres one big mark in Hanas favor, its the fact that the same rugged cliff sides and beautiful ocean views that typify the Hana Highway are also present in the town itself.
Vacationers looking to be treated well will find a decent array of options like the Hana-Maui Resort, but its not as popular a long term destination as the resorts that occupy the west coast of the island.
Hana isnt a resort town but instead a sleepy residential community, and that means that there are plenty of other options if youre not trying to stay in an expensive and high class establishment.
As the most noteworthy settlement on the southeast coast of Maui, it can be worth your time to explore the surrounding areas while youre there.
The town itself has some charming landmarks like the Hana Cultural Center and Museum and St. Sophias Church, and the farmers market here presents a great opportunity to taste some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and meats available in the islands.
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Getting Around West Maui Without A Car
Most guests stay in Lahaina, Kaanapali, or the luxury resort community of Kapalua. These areas are great because theyre really geared to make guests feel comfortable.
Consider staying in West Maui if youre interested in how to get around Maui without a car. Its the most walkable part of Maui and the best place to stay without a vehicle.
Its easy to walk from resort to resort and beach to beach. You could easily hail a taxi or ask your concierge to call a car service for you. And the shopping centers in Lahaina offer a few different public shuttles for a small fee!
You could spend your entire vacation on the West Shore and never feel like youre missing out by not having a car.
Things To See And Do In Kihei
- Sip cocktails in the open-air lounge at the South Shore Tiki Lounge.
- Indulge in delicious tacos, drinks and more at Hauis Lifes a Beach.
- Listen to live music at Kahales Mauis Local Dive Bar, Mauis oldest dive bar.
- Excite your senses at Monkeypod Kitchen.
- Grab a pint at the Dog & Duck Irish Pub.
- Indulge in saucy, savoury and succulent dishes at Fat Daddys Smokehouse BBQ.
- Drink fruity cocktails at Threes Bar and Grill.
- Rest, relax and enjoy the views from Kalama Beach.
- Eat fresh and delicious seafood at Coconuts Fish Café.
- Take the opportunity to explore the mountainous region of Central Maui.
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