Maui is a beautiful paradise and there are a wealth of amazing places to stay. Whether you are looking for a five-star luxury resort, a cozy beachside cottage or a romantic hideaway, there is an accommodation on Maui for everyone.
Known for its stunning beaches, incredible hiking trails and a variety of ocean activities, the island is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Home to a number of luxury resorts and hotels, this guide will make it a breeze to decide where to stay in Maui.
In this article, we’ll go over the best area to stay on Maui, list the pros and cons of each area of Maui and list the best places to stay in Maui with all budgets in mind. At the end of the article, I’ll also list some useful tips to know before you travel to this slice of paradise. I’d like to add, I’ve lived on Maui for 12 years so just know you’re getting the scoop from a local.
But first, are you in a hurry? If you are trying to book a room tonight or don’t have time or the patience to read the whole article, below I listed a quick list of where to stay on Maui for easy booking.
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- Top Pick of Where to Stay in Maui – Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa
- The Most Secluded Place to Stay in Maui – Hana-Maui Resort
- Where to Stay in Maui for your Honeymoon – Hotel Wailea Relais & Châteaux
- Best Place to Stay in Maui for the Solo Adventurist – Westin Resort and Spa
- Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget – Kaanapali Ocean Inn
- Top Pick for Luxury – Four Seasons
- Best Place to Stay in West Maui – Montage
- Where to Stay in South Maui – Andaz
- Best Place to Stay in Maui for Families – Fairmont Kea Lani
- Where to Stay Upcountry Maui – Kula Lodge
- Best Wellness Retreat on Maui – Lumeria
Areas of Maui
Best Part of Maui to Stay on
If you want some real seclusion, head to the remote area of East Maui for luxury in jungle. For a change of pace, stay a night Upcountry on the slopes of Haleakala to be close to Haleakala Summit and dozens of farm tours.
The North Shore is an excellent part of Maui to stay on if you are looking for surf on your Maui vacation. Central Maui is a nice choice if you are short on time as it’s the most central area for exploring all of Maui.
I always recommend staying a few places in different parts of the island. For example stay 5 days in South Maui and then 2 days in Hana. This lets you experience more of Maui and spend less time in the car.
Where to Stay in Maui
Pros: If the main objective of your Maui vacation is to lounge on the beach, snorkel, surf or go on an epic sunset cruise, then West Maui is where you will want to stay.
Lahaina is a charming, historic town full of must eat restaurants, bars and boat excursions. Stay in Lahaina if you don’t plan on renting a car. Lahaina and Kaanapali offer many whale watching, snorkeling trips and sunset cruises so West Maui is a great part of Maui to stay on, if you plan on doing a lot of boat excursions.
Kaanapali has a row of top notch resorts situated on a beautiful long, white sand beach. At the end of Kaanapali Beach is black rock – where you can shimmy up the rocks and dive into the water below.
Continuing up West Maui are Honokowai, Napili, Kahana and Kapalua. From these areas, the neighboring island of Molokai becomes more dramatic and visible. There are several beach front resorts and great snorkeling in Napili and Kapalua Bay. Kapalua is where you can find some of Maui’s top honeymoon resorts.
Cons: Maui in general has expensive accommodation but West Maui has some higher prices with the exception of staying in Olowalu. In the areas of Kahana, Napili and Kapalua expect more rain in the winter months. Lahaina gets very hot in the summer. West Maui is a farther drive when trying to explore others parts of the island.
- Drive the West Maui Loop
- Best Restaurants in Lahaina
- Explore the Olivine Pools
- Hike the Ohai Trail – located just a few miles away from the Olivine Pools.
- Ma’alaea Harbor has lots of boat tours running daily like snorkel tours and whale watches
- The Mahana Ridge Trail
- Top 20 Things to do in Kaanapali
- Must Eat Restaurants in Kaanapali
- Hike the Lahaina Pali Trail.
- Explore the Nakalele Blowhole
- Stroll the Kapalua Coastal Trail
- Relax at Ironwoods one of the best Maui beaches.
- Napili Bay
- Kapalua Bay
- 27 Things to do in Lahaina
- Snorkel at Honolua Bay
- SlaughterHouse Beach
- Go on a Whale Watch
- Day Trip to Lanai
Where to Stay in West Maui
- Location: Lahaina
- Highlights: Location, Pool & Walking Distance to the Harbor
Aina Nalu is a beautiful oasis tucked away on a side street in Lahaina. The resort itself is lovely and staying here you have access to 2 beautiful pools and a jacuzzi. Aina Nalu has some of the best amenities for vacation rental’s in Lahaina, Maui.
This resort is walking distance to all activities, must eat restaurants, nightlife and shops. The rooms are modern and a great place to hang your hat at the end of the night after a day of exploring Maui.
- Location: Lahaina
- Highlights: Breakwall Surf Break, Location to the Harbor
Lahaina Shores is located on the South end of Front Street on the beach. This property offers great views of the West Maui Mountains and the island of Lana’i. This condo is mountain facing and within a 10 minute walk you’re in the center of Lahaina town.
Located on a beautiful long stretch of beach and by a beginners surf spot called Breakwall. Most rooms are equipped with a small kitchenette which helps cut down costs if you want to make lunch and breakfast at ‘home’.
This is where to stay in Lahaina if you don’t rent a car as you are walkable to all Lahaina has to offer but still have a beach-ey resort vibe.
THE WESTIN MAUI RESORT & SPA
- Location: Kaanapali Beach
- Highlights: Family Friendly Maui Resort, Kaanapali Beach
Located on the beautiful Kaanapali Beach the Westin Resort and Spa have excellent snorkeling and lots of sea turtles. Not in the mood for the beach? No problem lounge at 1 of the 3 pools on property.
Plus there’s a hot tub, sauna, fitness center, massages and much more. For added luxury check out the villas. This is where to stay in Ka’anapali for a world class resort feel and the best area to stay on Maui when you’re traveling with your family.
HYATT REGENCY MAUI
- Location: Kaanapali Beach
- Highlights: Great Sushi Restaurant, Beach
On the southern end of Kaanapali Beach, there is a family-friendly West Maui hotel called the Hyatt Regency Maui. Over 40 acres of lovely gardens, the resort is situated on the west coast of Maui.
This Ka’anapali resort has 5 on-site dining options, a full-service spa, and a water park that both children and adults can enjoy. A lava tube waterslide and pools with a rope bridge are part of the outdoor water park.
Enjoy an infinity-edge relaxation pool while sipping a pina colada, or spend the day at the family pool. The Hyatt will not let you down however you decide to spend your Maui vacation.
- Location: Kapalua
- Highlights: Beautiful Grounds, Cliff House for Cliff Jumping
Perched above Ironwoods beach you’ll find this picture perfect resort, the Montage. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. Between the luxurious rooms, relaxing pool area and lush grounds you’ll never want to leave. Here you can find romance and adventure all wrapped into one.
Stroll along the Kapalua Coastal trail hand in hand with your loved one or if you’re looking for a Maui adventure, 5 minutes away is Cliff House (another excellent place to go cliff diving). World class golfing is also 5 minutes away. Paradise is waiting.
Best Western Pioneer Inn
- Location: Lahaina
- Highlights: Location to the Harbor, Papaaina Brunch
The Best Western Pioneer Inn is located in the heart of Lahaina Town and one of the oldest hotels in Lahaina. This hotel is a stones throw away from the harbor and several surf breaks.
The Papa’aina restaurant below the Best Western Hotel serves awesome breakfast so be sure to grab a bite before you start your days adventure.
Sheraton Maui Resort
- Location: Kaanapali Beach
- Highlights: Cliff Diving Ceremony
At the base of the iconic Black Rock, with a view of Ka’anapali Beach and the Pacific Ocean, is where you’ll find the Sheraton Maui Resort. Black Rock is one of the top cliff jumping locations on Maui and is enjoyable for the whole family.
There are several benefits to staying here on Maui, such as an outdoor pool, 3 tennis courts, a gym, and shuttle service. Besides, there are 5 restaurants and bars on-site where you can eat.
One of the best things to watch in Kaanapali is the nightly cliff diving ceremony, which is offered at the Cliff Dove Restaurant. This is where to stay in Maui for location, history and relaxation.
- Location: Napili
- Highlights: Napili Bay, Seahouse Restaurant Happy Hour
The Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger is an excellent family friendly resort located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Napili Bay. The mid range resort caters to families and the beach and ocean are footsteps away. Amenities include a swimming pool, hot tub and BBQ facilities.
Right next door to Napili Shores is the Napili Kai Resort. Located on the beautiful Napili Bay which has world class snorkeling and the beach is easy to get in and out of. The Sea House Restaurant has one of the best happy hours on the island and is apart of the Napili Kai Beach Resort.
- Location: Kaanapali
- Highlights: Airport Beach, Myths of Maui Luau
This is where to stay in Kaanapali if you’re ballin on a budget. I love the stretch of beach that this resort sits on. The Roayal Lahaina has a small pool and bar on sight but you come here to lounge on the beach which is never busy.
This is one of the oldest resorts on Maui and family friendly. The Royal Lahaina luau – Myths of Maui is connected to the hotel.
- Location: Lahaina
- Highlights: Boutique Hotel in Maui
The Plantation Inn is tucked away on a side street in the center of town. Staying here you’ll be walking distance to everything including surf spots, a swimming beach, historic sights, the harbor, bars and restaurants. Gerard’s is an excellent French restaurant apart of the Plantation Inn and has been around for over 30 years.
- Location: Kapalua
- Highlights: Romance, Luxury, Dragon’s Teeth
On 54 breathtaking acres, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua offers easy access to D.T. Fleming Beach. A 3-level outdoor pool, 2 tennis courts, a world-class spa, 2 golf courses, and a 5-star hotel all come with ocean views.
The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua has the best grounds, service, and location, so live it up in luxury. The Mahana Ridge Trail is also reachable on foot from here. This is one of the best honeymoon resorts in Maui.
Pros: South Maui has some my favorite beaches including Kamaole Beach Park III, Big Beach, and Secrets Beach. In Wailea you’ll find a string of high end resorts and if you stay at you’ll never want to leave.
Kihei is full of restaurants and bars that will sooth your taste buds. From South Maui you get views of the inhibited island Kahoolawe and the submerged volcanic crater Molokini. ← This is one of the best places to snorkel on Maui.
Kihei is a popular part of Maui where you can always count on it being sunny. There are lots of things to do in Kihei and Wailea including whale watches, surfing and golf.
Stay in Ma’alaea for a central location to West and Central Maui. The Maui Ocean Center is located here but it tends to get windy. Stay in Kihei for a bigger selection of cheaper vacation rentals. Close to great swimming beaches, restaurants and activities.
Stay in Wailea for luxury resorts, award winning beaches and high end shopping close by. Finally, stay in Makena for seclusion, lava fileds to explore and dolphins.
Cons: Less of a small Hawaii town feel. Kihei gets really hot in the summer and is also very dry.
- Snorkel Trip Molokini
- Climb the South end of Big Beach for panoramic views
- For the adventurous – Find Little Beach
- Hike the Hoapili Coastal Trail
- Feast at Mokapu Luau at the Andaz
- Sample Beer at Maui Brew Co.
- Find Secrets Beach
- Visit the Humpback Whale Sanctuary
- Visit the Maui Ocean Center
- Eat Sushi at Miso Phat
- 22 Things to do in Kihei
- Golfing at 1 of the 3 golf courses
- Go Surfing
- Best Things to do in Wailea
Where to Stay in South Maui
- Location: Wailea
- Highlights: Infinity Pools, Villas
If you want a beach front resort that you’ll never want to leave. The Andaz has 4 outdoor infinity pools, a couple on-site bars and restaurants, and top notch service.
Spend your days relaxing pool side with a lava flow (a Pina colada with strawberry). Close to the best beaches on Maui and high end shopping. This is where to stay in Wailea for the infinity pools and luxurious villas.
Maui Coast Hotel
- Location: Kihei
- Highlights: Price, Family Friendly Location
The Maui Coast Hotel has been renovated and is in a great location in the middle of Kihei. Directly across from Kam Beach Park, the property has an outdoor pool and hot tubs. This is a great part of Maui to stay on for families, as it’s walkable to the beach and is a great value. This is a budget friendly, resort style place to stay in Maui.
Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux
- Location: Wailea
- Highlights: Best place to stay in Maui for your Honeymoon
Going on your honeymoon to Hawaii? This is the ideal location for where to stay in Maui for couples. An adults-only resort with the best views, amenities, and elegance is the Hotel Wailea Relais & Châteaux.
The Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux – Adults Only is perched on a cliff overlooking Maui’s southern coastline on 15 acres of beautiful grounds. It offers opulent amenities and roomy apartments. At the Hotel Wailea, every suite has a private deck that is furnished and has a view of the garden or the ocean.
The Restaurants at Hotel Wailea offer more secluded and romantic placse to spend your evening. The Garden and The Lanai offer romantic outdoor dining within landscaped gardens, respectively, while The Lanai gives views of the ocean at dusk. The Treehouse offers a one-of-a-kind private dining experience where guests are serviced by a personal chef in an outdoor setting with an ocean view under a canopy of mango and avocado trees.
- Location: Wailea
- Highlights: Spago Restaurant, Grounds
The Four Seasons is one of the best Maui resorts for couples due to its location, service and ambiance. Located on a beautiful Wailea Beach with access to 3 separate pools, hot tubs, lounges, restaurants and bars, you’ll never want to leave this paradise.
Enjoy Hawaiian and California culinary fusion with views of the ocean at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Spago, or try Italian food at Ferraro’s Bar e Restaurant. Come here to relax, rekindle your relationship with a loved one, and let your tension fade.
Fairmont Kea Lani
- Location: Wailea
- Highlights: Family Friendly Resort in South Maui
The Fairmont Kea Lani is one of the best family resorts in Maui. The Fairmont, which is situated on Polo Beach, offers on-site dining, bars, hot tubs, and three pools (one for adults and one for children). At the adult pool, Koa’s boasts a fantastic happy hour.
Each opulent apartment is designed in the form of a cabana and is very roomy with a separate living room. Both the beach and the shops at Wailea are accessible by foot from this resort. This is where to stay in Maui if you are traveling with your family.
- Location: Wailea
- Highlights: Facilites, Amenties and Lobby Bar
On the South Maui coastline, there is a sizable resort called the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. You won’t need to leave the resort, making it one of the best resorts in Maui to spend your honeymoon.
It offers everything you could possibly want, including a top-notch spa, yoga on the sand, scuba instruction, boat tours, golf, and more.
Yoga on the beach can help you start your day off right. Spend some time at the spa, then relax by one of the Grand Wailea’s many pools while your problems melt away.
With 7 different dining establishments, you can spend your days discovering everything that Maui has to offer, knowing that there will be plenty of options for dinner when you get back.
Upcountry consists of the small towns of Pukalani, Makawao, and Kula which are nestled on the slopes of Haleakala. This area of Maui is considered the agricultural area as it is full of unique farms and ranches. If spending as much time at the beach isn’t your main priority then Upcountry Maui would be a great option.
Cons: You must drive to spend the day at the beach. Temperatures get cool especially in the winter, it snows on Haleakala several days each winter.
- Watch Sunrise above the Crowds atop Haleakala
- 13 Ways to Explore Upcountry
- Most Unusual Things to do on Maui – Like goat yoga!
- Hike Sliding Sands Trail
- Hike through the Crater on the Halemauu Trail
- Visit Maui’s only Winery
- Summit District of Haleakala NP
- Ocean Distillery Farm
- Poa Vodka Farm
- Horseback Riding
- Poli Poli State Park
- Makawao Forest
- Camp inside the World’s Largest Dormant Volcano
Where to Stay in Maui – Upcountry
- Location: Makawao
- Highlights: Pool, Yoga area, Breakfast
The Lumeria is a healthy oasis tucked in the heart of Paniolo country. Yoga and meditation classes held daily. The Lumeria (pictured above) offers a tranquil and peaceful environment perfect if you are traveling to Maui looking to destress and compress.
Rooms are elegantly decorated and come with all the modern amenities you need for a comfortable stay. The spacious grounds provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like swimming in the pool, relaxing in the hot tub or strolling around the gardens.
- Location: Kula
- Highlights: Location, Rustic Feel
A quaint place to stay in Maui upcountry is the Kula Lodge. Close to the entrance to the summit district of Haleakala, this hotel is rustic and lush. The on-site restaurant is excellent and has beautiful views. If you are visiting in the winter it gets koola…😉
Pros: Kahului is the town that you fly into when you are arriving on island – Kahului Airport (OGG) . This is also where the inner island Norwegian Cruise Line docks.
I’ao Valley is in your back yard and there’s some great hiking trails nearby if you stay on this part of Maui. Central Maui would be perfect if you won’t be on island for very long or if you are traveling Maui on a budget.
Cons: Industrial region filled with factories and warehouses. You have to drive if you want to get to a nice beach. Traffic.
- ao Valley State Monument
- Hike the Waihee Ridge
- See a concert at the MACC
- Maui Tropical Plantation
- Horseback Riding at Mendes Ranch
- Wailuku First Friday
- The Bailey House
- Helicopter Ride
Where to Stay in Central Maui
Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono
- Location: Wailuku
- Highlights: Quaint Bed & Breakfast
Maui Seaside Hotel
- Location: Kahului
- Highlights: Central Location, Convenience
The Maui Seaside Hotel is where to stay in Maui on a budget if you only have a few days to explore Maui and want to be close to the Kahului Airport. This hotel is beachfront and close to all Kahului has to offer – grocery stores, shopping mall, cruise port and restaurants.
If you have a red eye flight, they have a designated “hospitality room” which you can use post-checkout to change, freshen up, or even grab a quick shower before you head to the airport.
As you head east on the road to Hana the area will become more green and lush. This is also a great jumping off point for day trips to Hana. Stay on this part of Maui if disconnecting and taking life in the slow lane is what you are after.
Cons: There’s less variety of beaches on the north shore compared to its counterparts on the west and south Maui. Since the north shore is smaller there are less restaurants to choose from.
- Go Zip-Lining
- Explore Paia Town
- Watch Surfers at Hookipa
- Mana Foods
- Must Try Haiku and Paia Restaurant
- Best Things to See in Haiku
- Unofficial Start to the Road to Hana
- Eat a Crepe at Cafe Des Ami
- Flatbread Pizza
- Wander the Rainbow Forest
- Twin Falls
Where to Stay in Maui – North Shore
- Location: Paia
- Highlights: On the Beach, Walkable to Paia Town
The Paia Inn is relaxation without the hustle and bustle. Nestled right on the beach, this charming boutique hotel is located in the heart of Paia which contains a lot of shops, coffee spots and restaurants.
Each room is beautifully decorated and features comfortable beds and all the amenities you would need for a relaxing stay. Staying here puts you at the start of the road to Hana and it close proximity to world class, big waves surf spot Jaws.
Pros: The Eastern part of the island is filled with roaring waterfalls, exotic flora and plants tucked deep in the lush, wet rainforest. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian vacation based on the film ‘Moana’ then carve out a few days to spend here.
Cons: Far away from the rest of the island. The road to Hana is the only road that connects the eastern part of the island with the rest. Restaurants are limited and there’s only a couple stores that sell basics. Stock up and don’t forget anything as you won’t have many options once you’re there.
- Drive the infamous Road to Hana
- 8 Epic Adventures to Have in Hana
- Cliff Jump at Venus Pools
- Drive the Back Road to Hana
- Where to Eat in Hana
- Hike the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls
- The Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Stay at the Waianapanapa Cabins
- Hike the Costal Trail to Hana
- Wailua Falls
- Location: Hana
- Highlights: Romance, Luxury, Jungle Vibes, Seclusion
- Location: Hana
- Highlights: Oceanfront, Peaceful
Only 100 feet separate the Hana Kai Maui from the water. The Hana Kai Maui apartment has a king-size bed and two twin daybeds in the living room that are divided by a wall at night for privacy. This would be the ideal place for you to stay if you are traveling with a small family.
Hana Kai Resort is another one of Hana’s exclusive hotels, so you can use all of the facilities there. The Hana Kai offers several fantastic amenities, including as a beachside barbecue, fully functional kitchens, private lanais, and complimentary wireless internet access.
Maui Travel Tips
📍Plan your Trip:
- The Ultimate guide to Maui
- 10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui
- 21 Mistakes to Avoid on your First Trip to Hawaii
🗺 How long to travel Maui? 1-2 Week Maui Itinerary
☔️ Best Time to Visit: Best Time to Visit Maui
💰 Average Daily Budget:
- How to Travel Maui on a Budget
- 28 Things to do on Maui on a Budget
- 10 Budget Friendly Maui Adventures
⛺️ Maui accommodation Guides
- West Maui vs. South Maui – Where to Stay
- Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget
- Best Airbnbs in Maui
- Top Honeymoon Resorts in Maui
- 10 Best Honeymoon Resorts in Hawaii
- The Coolest & Most Unique Airbnbs to Stay in Hawaii
- Driving the Road to Hana
- Sunrise over Haleakala
- Exploring Exotic Beaches
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Haleakala National Park
- Whale Watch
- Hike the Pipiwai Trail
- Snorkel Molokini
- Drive the West Maui Loop
- Lahaina Town
- Learn to Surf
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Maui
🎥 Watch our Maui Series on YouTube
📧 Get on my Email list to see what I’m up to and all the best travel content!
Maui looks absolutely beautiful and these all look like great spots to stay! I’m visiting Hawaii for the first time this month but I’m going to Oahu. Maui is the next island on my list though!
Awesome, you’ll have an amazing time. Make sure you spend some time on the Northshore on Oahu, its like Maui! I also have lots of Maui information for when you come back. I have lived here for 10 years and fall more in more in love with Mother Maui everyday!
This guide is so helpful! It’s so interesting how a single city or island can have subtle, but important differences in different neighborhoods. It’s always great to know what the specific area is like where you want to stay. If I ever visit Maui, I would probably prefer West Maui or South Maui.
Yes even though you can drive around Maui in a day its still rather large and each area is different. I live in Lahaina on West Maui so if you ever visit I can show you around! XX
Hello! Thanks so much for such an informative read on Maui. I’m currently researching for our upcoming visit in May and I am having trouble deciding between staying in South Kihei vs Kahana. It’ll be my husband and I with our 3 kids ages, 9,9, & 5. We have boy /girl twins. Which is the best family friendly area? I love the look of west Maui because of the lush greenery. I cannot wait to visit the road to Hana as my favorite is waterfalls and jungle vibes. We plan on renting a Jeep to get around in and we don’t mind driving and exploring, my husband would rather that than walking any day. I thought Kahana would be nice because we could drive in to Kaanapali and Lahaina for day trips and explore and eat and return to Kahana for evenings by the pool and beautiful views. My kids are somewhat loud so I don’t want to be sshing them all the time either though. I’m looking at staying in Kahana Villas if we choose Kahana or Maui Banyan if we choose South Kihei. The only negative I have to Kihei is looking at it from google earth it doesn’t appear as beautiful as the west end of Maui. Not as lush, more flat and more buildings. I love the rolling green hills on the west side. So I don’t want to feel disappointed if I don’t feel as if I’m in as tropical of a location, however it is Maui and I’m not sure that is such a thing with the amazing beaches in South Maui. Again that’s why I’m so torn. In your opinion, which do you think we’d enjoy more? We will more than likely spend our days exploring the island with dinner in the evenings and relaxing at condo afterwards with the kids possibly at the pool. We are pretty high energy and we’ll enjoy the beach but we are no all day beach loungers. A couple of hours and we’re on to another activity. I was also considering Ekohu Village in Wailea. They are a mile from the beach but I did love the little backyard area and more seclusion for my kids to play. Just don’t know if I want to be that far from the beach where we’ll have to drive to it which I hear is pretty aggravating with trying to find parking. So here I am mentally exhausted and in definite need of a locals help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!
Aloha Samantha, Thanks so much for your comment. If you want more tropical vibes, then I recommend the best area to stay in Maui is Kahana. There are beautiful beaches on West Maui as well as South Maui. I don’t know how much exploring you want to do but the only downside of staying in West Maui is that attractions are farther of a drive. For example if you wanted to watch sunrise or sunset atop Haleakala it would take a couple hours drive from Kahana versus an hour or so from South Kihei. And the road to Hana will be a longer day of driving versus if you stayed in South Maui.
Kahana puts you in great location of beaches such as Napili Bay, Kapalua (great for snorkeling) Flemings and Ironwoods…Unfortunatley parking is always a hassle no matter where you are on Maui but there’s a beautiful beach (less crowded too) y’all can walk to from Kahana Villas. Plus Lahaina is a 20 minute drive South where most of the restaurants will be. I actually live in Kahana 😎 and always prefer the West side. Also West Maui has a lot more boat trips leaving from Kaanapali Beach or Lahaina Harbor versus Maalaea which is the main Harbor you’d depart from if you where to stay in South Maui.
Hope this was helpful. Let me know if you need anything else! Happy planning!
Hey Jess – thanks for the recommendations. What would be recommended for an adventurous family (w/3 kids under 10) – we want to see the true beauty of the island (east?) but enjoy the wonderful beaches, sunrises/sunsets (south?) and enjoy high end taste (west?) while there and hit the road to Hana. Would you recommend splitting the trip (6 nights) into a few at each (south and east)? Some fun playgrounds, walking distant beaches and good local food for the Maui experience is what we’re looking to out of our vacation.
Note we are staying in Kauai for 5 nights prior where we’ll be enjoying the nice beaches and doing some adventuring too but if we get more of the opposite in Maui – all for it. Thanks for any recommendations!!
Aloha! Thanks for your comment. If you are adventurous I would split up your time and stay 2 nights in East and 4 nights on South Maui or West Maui. You can easily take a day trip to West Maui or vice versa depending on what side your staying on to explore that side.
East Maui is very low key but on that side you can spend a whole day driving the road to Hana to get there and the second day exploring waterfalls and bamboo forests. Make sure to get a reservation to see Waianapanapa in advance!
4 Nights in Kihei or Wailea would give you quick access to all the wonderful beaches and boat activities like snorkeling Molokini plus theres a handful of playgrounds in Kihei that would be fun to play at.
4 Nights in West Maui would also give you quick access to beautiful beaches and all there is to do on that side. Day tripping from West Maui is a bit longer than the South so if you wanted to see Haleakala Crater and North shore, I’d suggest staying in the South to make the drive a bit shorter.
Hope this was helpful on deciding the best area to stay in Maui and let me know if you have any other questions.
I would love to go to Maui one day, it looks so dreamy! Haleakala Crater looks like a fun hike too!
It’s so fun, tiring but always worth it. I mean its not everyday that you get to hike through a dormant volcano!
I want to visit Hawaii so bad! Love this post – so informative and love the photos!
You won’t be disappointed when you visit!
I love how in depth this guide is, and it’s great to hear advice from a local!
Thank you! Yes it’s always nice to get the inside scoop from a local.
Hello, Thank you I built the website myself. I used the Divi Theme. It’s very user friendly and I highly recommend it!
Awesome thanks so much. I’ve spent many many hours trying to make the blog come to life!
I love this post. We are looking at staying in an AIRBNB in Maui. After reading your post, we’re thinking of staying in the west/south. Are there any AirBnbs you would recommend which includes breakfast too? Will be visiting with my husband in the first week of June so would love some tips. We are thinking of also hiring a car as we are there for 4 nights.
Aloha! Thanks so much for reading and dropping a comment. Yes the West and South sides are popular and full of yummy restaurants, surf shops and amazing beaches. I’m not totally sure on Airbnbs that provide breakfast. And I would definitely hire a car as most the things to do outdoors requires transportation and exploring Maui on your own is all part of the adventure. I have tons of articles on everything I’ve mentioned above so let me know if you’d like more information. Excited for your trip…Maui sure is magical. ✨
Hi!! We are considering staying maalaea for a majority of our trip and then maybe doing a few nights in either kihei or lahaina. Do you think since there’s not much that’s walkable in maalaea the budget friendly views aren’t worth it?
How long are you planning on staying in Maui? Maalaea is a great place to stay in Maui if you are short on time as it’s pretty central between West and South Maui. If staying in Maalaea, you are walkable to the harbor so its very convenient for boat trips. You would have to drive to get to the beach. So I’d say if spending ample beach time is important, stay in Kihei. You’ll be close to beautiful beaches, lots of food options and you can find cheaper places to stay. Hope this was helpful. Feel free to message me anytime 🙂.
Hi Jess. Thanks for providing such a detailed post. I’m going to be in Maui for five nights in October and am into the idea of staying at a couple different places throughout the island so that it minimizes driving time. This is a Google Map of spots I started that I’m interested in: https://goo.gl/maps/kzsxzfHqjxSba4L4A. Based off of this, what areas would you recommend staying in? Somewhere in West Maui for a couple nights and then North Shore or South Maui for the rest? Looking forward to your reply. Thanks so much in advance, Jess.
Aloha thanks for your comment on the best area to stay in Maui. Based on your maps I’d def stay in West Maui for a few nights, you’ll be close to those beaches and all the good food you pinned (make sure to add Fleetwoods Happy Hour to your list). You could stay anywhere in Lahaina up to Napili depending on your budget. I don’t know if you’re interested in staying in a hotel in Maui or vacation rental?
Staying in Lahaina will give you walking access to all the boat tours (perfect since you’ll be traveling during whale season) and close to restaurants but you’ll have to drive 15-30 minutes for the beaches.
Staying North of Lahaina in Kaanapali will put you smack dab on beautiful Kaanapali beach and good if your looking for a resort plus you’ll be close to all the tasty restaurants in there.
North or Kaanapali in Kapalua, Kahana or Napili will be nice and cool (may even rain a few hours each afternoon). I live up in Napili when I’m on island so needless to say I love this area.
As for the other nights, if you want to be close to more beaches and nightlife, stay in South Maui as day trips from there are pretty accessible. If you don’t mind a slower pace, the North shore would be more low key and easy access to exploring road to Hana, Hana itself or Haleakala.
Hope this was helpful in deciding the where to stay in Maui. Let me know if you have any other questions. You’re going to love Maui.
My husband and I are coming to Maui this September 4-11 to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary! We were in Maui in 1998 so looking forward to coming back. We would like to be close to the beach, stay in a vrbo of some sort and will rent a car. We like to explore but also have down time to relax. I love the ocean and the thought of waking up and drinking my tea and looking over the water and hearing the waves. We also like to embrace some fine restaurants and bars on the beach. Please help me decide where to go! It’s my mission to lock down a place today if possible! Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
Aloha GG, I apologize that I’m responding to you a few days late, I’ve been trekking through the Colombian jungle 🥾! With regards on where to stay in Maui, I would opt for West Maui you can find a nice vacation rental on the beach in Kahana, Napali or Kapalua with gives you access to stunning beaches and close to lots of tasty restaurants and beach bars.
South Maui is also a great option – closer to Wailea offers lots of vacation rentals, close to beautiful beaches, restaurants and a bit closer to explore other parts of Maui like Haleakala Crater, North Shore and Hana.
Hope this was helpful in deciding the best area to stay in Maui. Feel free to message me again with any questions.
We plan to visit in late December – early January for a week. While we enjoy the beach for a day or two, we also enjoy hiking and nature tours. We also heard about staying in Coffee Plantations. Can you recommend any good place to stay in the middle of a coffee plantation – a bed and breakfast for a family of four?
Aloha! Thanks for the comment. I have not heard of being able to stay in coffee plantations in Maui, my only guess would be the ones in Kaanapali and that may be a newer thing so I can’t vouch for that. Staying on the West side would put you in close proximity to some amazing beaches and all the west side has to offer though – hiking, natural tide pools and surf.