There are several things to do in Paia depending on what you’re into. If you’re looking for an adrenalin rush then head to Kite Beach for some kite surfing – one of the best Maui water activities. If you’re looking for more rest and relaxation, opt for a yoga class at Baldwin Beach, one of the best beaches in Paia.
Paia town has something for everyone, filled with boutique shops, restaurants and art galleries, Paia may soon become your favorite small Maui town. A day or two on your Maui itinerary should be spent exploring Maui’s pristine North Shore.
Paia Town Maui
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Paia, Maui is a small hippie town located on the North shore of Maui. If you are coming to 📍 Paia from the Kahului OGG airport it is about a 15 minute drive without traffic. The drive is straight forward and you’ll be driving on 1 road (the Hana Highway) to get to Paia town. I always recommend renting a car when exploring Maui as many of the top things to do in Maui require your own transportation, like driving the road to Hana, exploring Haleakala Summit, driving the West Maui loop or the back road to Hana.
History of Paia
Paia is an unique town that has reinvented itself several times in its relatively brief history. Paia was first settled in the 1880’s when workers in the sugarcane mill starting to set up camps. The sugar mill camps housed workers of all cultures including Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, Korean and Native Hawaiian.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s when the sugar cane industry was in full swing, Paia was full schools, churches, shops, restaurants, movie theaters, a hospital and a movie theater. It was also during this time that the town suffered through two catastrophes including a fire and a tsunami.
It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the “hippies” from the mainland starting coming to Paia and settling down, many of them still remain in Paia today. By the early 80’s Ho’okipa Beach was discovered for great for windsurfing. Paia is sometimes referred to as “the world-capitol of windsurfing”.
Mixed with cultural descendants of hippies and windsurfers, modern day Paia is known for being the last place to stop for gas and to grab a hot plate of food before you begin the infamous road to Hana.
TRAVEL TIP: Get the Shaka Guide App before you start the road to Hana! The Shaka guide tours are great for independent explorers who want the freedom to explore on their own terms, but like to learn about the spots they’re visiting.
The tours use GPS to offer turn-by-turn directions and audio narration with stories and music. This will leave you with a deeper understanding and connection to Hawaii.
For being a small town, there are tons of places to eat in Paia. There are restaurants for every type of budget and desire depending on what you are craving. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Delicious mederatranian menu with crepes and curries
- Must try the crepes, the lentil crepe is my favorite
- Excellent lilikoi margaritas
- Outdoor seating
- Family friendly
- Great place to dine for large groups
- Budget friendly
- Excellent pizza
- MUST try the Mopsy’s Kalua Pork pizza
- Small intimate dining setting
- Excellent, upscale, tasty cuisine
- Wines to match
- Owned and operated by a personal friend! 🙌
- A staple restaurant not only in Paia but in Maui.
- Beautiful views
- Fresh fish
- Fine dining
- Must try the Pai Hana – my favorite gin based cocktail on the island
- Great bartenders!
- Coffee shop with a collection of craft coffee drinks
- Best breakfast in Paia
- Live music
- Excellent fish tacos
- Quick and easy
- Located in the center of Paia town
- Vegan and vegetarian friendly menu
- Located directly on Baldwin Avenue, great for people watching
- Must try to crispy duck burger
- Dog friendly
- Sushi on the North shore
- Fresh fish
- Great cocktail pairings
- Health food grocery store
- Hot foods and salad bar togo
- Excellent fresh juices with ginger
There are dozens of Paia shops that will have you spending money for an entire morning. Paia is a great place to find the perfect local swimsuit or handmade piece of jewelry.
Or if you are looking for the perfect Christmas or local souvinier to take home to your friends and family that couldn’t travel to Maui, you’ll be able to find it at one of the many boutique shops that fill Paia town.
Plus this is a great way to pass the time if you are looking for things to do on Maui when it’s raining. These are a few of my favorite Paia stores.
- The Bleu Room by Nuage Bleu
- By the Bay
- San Lorenzo bikinis
- Alice in Hula Land
- Pakaloha bikinis
Things to do in Paia
If you are wondering what to do in Paia beside eating and shopping, there are several sights and activities that are unique to Maui’s North shore. Of course it wouldn’t be the North shore without pristine beaches. Spend a day relaxing at one of the many beaches in Paia, like Baldwin Beach Park, Spreckelsville, Paia Bay, Ho’ okipa Beach Park, Pāʻia Secret Beach or Baby Beach. These are some other things to do in Paia, Maui.
- Swim at Baldwin Beach
- Take a yoga class
- Take a ride on the North Shore Ziplines
- Surfing at Hookipa, only for the experienced surfers tho
- Windsurfing at kite beach
- Best starting point to drive the road to Hana
- Bike down to Paia town from the summit of Haleakala
- Take a Maui helicopter tour
Things to See in Paia
- Sea turtles on the beach around sunset at Hookipa Beach Park
- The surfboard wall…a popular INSTAGRAM photo spot
- Baldwin Beach
- Ho’okipa Beach Park to watch the surfers and wind surfers
Where to Stay in Paia
Most people stay in West Maui or South Maui and only visit Paia in a day trip or on the way to Hana. If you want to experience all that Paia has to offer for a few days and/or get a jump start before you traverse the road to Hana these are a Paia hotels that I recommend to stay in Paia.
Top pick of where to stay near Paia. Located about 10 minutes from Paia town up Baldwin Avenue is the Lumeria. The Lumeria is a healthy oasis tucked away in the heart of Paniolo country.
There are yoga and meditation classes held daily. The breakfast is out of this world and there is a beautiful pool and hot tub to relax at, perfect to watch the sun set. The rooms and grounds are elegant. If you stay here you must utilize the spa. This Paia hotel is worth the splurge.
Paia Beach Home
The Paia Beach Home is a luxurious place to stay perfect if you are traveling with friends, several couples or as a large family. The beachfront villa has 3 rooms all equipped with king size beds.
Located within a few steps of Paia Bay Beach in Paia town the villa offers gorgeous ocean views, a beautiful sun terrace and a hammock where you could easily spend the day relaxing. This is one of the best oceanfront condos Maui has to offer. The home is bright, open and airy.
1 Bedroom Vacation Home
If you are looking for a cheap place to stay in Paia this 1 bedroom, 1 bath vacation home is a great choice on the North shore of Maui. This stay is located next to Mama’s Fish House and down the road from world famous Hookipa Beach Park. Equipped with a full kitchen and washer and dryer, downtown Paia is a 5 minute drive away.
Pineapple Cottage Bed and Breakfast
The Pineapple Cottage bed and breakfast is a sanctuary tucked away in the jungle. The bedrooms and bathrooms are private. The property is filled with tropical flowers, palms and fruit trees.
Located 10 minutes to world famous Hookipa Beach, known for its surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding and Paia town only 15 minutes away.
The place is a great base for exploring the road to Hana as there are many road side waterfalls that are located close by.
Kuau Surf 2.0
The Kuau Surf 2.0 one bedroom apartment is a great stay on the North shore of Maui. It is 2 minutes walking distance to Mama’s beach and Mama’s Fish House Restaurant. Hookipa Beach Park is a 2 minute drive from the apartment. Paia town, restaurants and shops is 5 minutes drive. This is a perfect stay for couples, solo travelers or a small family.
Paia Travel Tips
- Don’t leave valuables in your car. That makes break-ins very tempting, especially when you can tell its a rental car. That being sad, break-ins DO happen.
- Traffic gets heavy in the afternoons when people are done with work.