Find the Perfect Region of Maui for You
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Maui is the 'Honeymoon Isle' because it is a trendy honeymoon spot (obviously). It is both city and rural. Its diversity makes Maui an excellent choice for first-time visitors to Hawaii. But it can be challenging deciding which part of Maui is right for you. The six distinct regions of Maui are North Shore, East, West, South, Central, and Upcountry. Read on to Find the Perfect Region of Maui for You.
The heart of the west is the old whaling village, Lahaina. You will find tons of hotels and long stretches of white-sandy beaches in Kaanapali. Other towns in West Maui include Honokawai, Kapalua, Napili, and Kahana. West Maui can get crowded, especially during the high season, which is from November to March.
Do you worship the sun? If yes, South Maui is where you should head. Southern Maui is known as 'Sunshine Town' because it is the hottest and driest region of Maui. Cities in South Maui include Maalaea, Kihei, Wailea, and Makena. While South Maui is not as commercial as the westside, it is still quite developed. Fans of luxury resorts should head to Wailea.
Central Maui is the most commercial part of Maui with towns like Kahului, Waikapu and Wailuku. The largest airport is in Kahului. Stock up on supplies in Kahului because you will have trouble finding grocery stores once you leave town. There are hotels in and around the airport, but most people prefer to leave Central Maui for the beaches. On your way to greener pastures, don't miss the Ioa Valley. It is iconic for a reason!
North Shore Maui
'Hippie Town' as the North Shore is known includes Paia, Huelo, and Haiku. North shore is not touristy or gentrified. You will find a diverse mix of colorful and eccentric people…anyone with a Bohemian vibe will gravitate to this eclectic paradise. The historic sugar mill makes an amazing backdrop for a Destination Wedding...just saying.
Do you desire a lush garden paradise? Then head to the Upcountry. Choose from Pukalani, Haliimaile, Makawao, and Kula. All of these are away from the beach, though. But it perfect for couples seeking cooler temperatures and verdant fields. Upcountry is the part of Maui on the valley side of Haleakala.
The eastern part of the island is my favorite part of Maui. My husband and I always choose to stay in Hana. (If we are traveling with our boys, we go to West or South Maui). Arguably the most beautiful part of Maui, but you will find few fans of everlasting seclusion. It is super remote, but you get to enjoy the Road to Hana. This iconic thorofare makes the drive worth the effort. If you dislike hiking, hidden waterfalls, and snuggling, East Maui is not for you!
Jessie Maui Tips:
1. Be aware: resorts in Maui charge a resort fee. Charged at check-in fees can range from $25-50 per night.
2. For exploring outside your resort, rent a car. Maui is vast, and taxis and ubers are quite pricey.
3. Wailea has the most beautiful beaches as well as some of the best resorts in Maui. I highly recommend the Four Seasons, Andaz, or the Grand Wailea.
4. For Ka'anapali Beach, the best choices are the Westin or the Sheraton.
5. Condos on the West Side (especially around Napili Bay) are older and shabbier than you might think.
6. Don't stay in Kaanapali unless you're right on the beach. Parking is limited and expensive. You will end up paying to go to the beach.
7. "North Kaanapali Beach" and "Kaanapali Beach" are not the same. While North Kaanapali is lovely, it's narrow and not quite as beautiful as Kaanapali. And the beaches are not connected. If you are up for a trek, you can get from one to the other by walking through the Sheraton.
8. Hana is perfect for couples who want alone time. Travassa Hana is genuinely an exceptional resort.
Maui is stunning. Don't pick a region that doesn't suit your desires, or you will be miserable. So, you need to understand each area to make sure you are thrilled with your final destination.