Discover the captivating diversity of Maui’s towns and regions, where each area offers unique charm, culture, and natural beauty.
Kihei is one of the most popular destinations on island, and it’s situated on Maui’s Sunny South Shore — hence our company name!
In Kihei, you can enjoy 6 miles of stunning beaches and year-round dry and sunny weather. You also get access to fantastic dining options ranging from casual restaurants to grocery stores and farmers markets.
If you’re seeking adventure and entertainment, Kihei does not disappoint. Activities include ocean expeditions, charter fishing, and snorkel trips from Maalaea and Kihei Boat Harbors, as well as a visit to the Maui Ocean Center.
Additionally, Kihei offers breathtaking views of Kaho’olawe, Molokini, Lana’i, and West Maui, making it a perfect spot for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.
Read more about Kihei on the Sunny Maui Vacations blog.
Wailea is Maui’s upscale resort community, and it’s a haven for luxury and relaxation with gorgeous beaches, world-class dining, and shopping experiences — particularly at The Shops at Wailea.
This elite destination is also a golfer’s paradise, featuring several championship golf courses and tennis courts for sports enthusiasts. Wailea also offers a great setting for an early morning walk or jog along the scenic 2-mile beach path that hugs the South Maui coastline, weaving through the resorts.
This combination of luxury amenities and natural beauty makes Wailea a spectacular retreat for those seeking a blend of leisure and activity.
Read more about Wailea on the Sunny Maui Vacations blog.
Maalaea is the hidden gem on Maui’s south shore, a serene harbor town that with a laid-back, peaceful ambiance. Known for its picturesque marina, Maalaea is a gateway to all things ocean — from whale watching tours to snorkeling adventures at nearby Molokini Crater.
Maalaea is a quiet, breezy spot, ideal for leisurely strolls along the harbor, or on the super long stretch of Maalaea Beach and Sugar Beach.
From any vantage point, Maalaea offer panoramic ocean views and frequent sightings of humpback whales during the winter months.
Read more about Maalaea on the Sunny Maui Vacations blog.
Kapalua, whose name loosely translates to “arms embracing the sea,” is the premier resort area nestled at the foot of the West Maui Mountains.
This picturesque locale is home to 5 bays and 3 white-sand beaches, with 1 beach recognized as “The Best Beach in America” by the University of Maryland’s Laboratory of Coastal Research.
In addition to its natural beauty, Kapalua is renowned for its championship golf courses, offering a world-class golfing experience. The area also boasts an array of boutiques and award-winning restaurants, which enhanced its appeal as a luxurious and scenic destination.
Ka’anapali, once a retreat for the ancient royalty of Maui, offers a unique blend of cultural history and modern amenities. At its heart is the Whaler’s Village Shopping Center, which provides a great selection of shops, restaurants, and a whaling museum, catering to a variety.
The area is also famed for the magnificent Ka’anapali Beach, a 3-mile-long stretch fronting numerous hotels and resorts, and 2 championship golf courses.
One highlight of Ka’napali is sunset at Black Rock, where you can catch a free cliff-diving ceremony each evening at sunset. A cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff and dives off of Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili.
Hana is a small, unspoiled town at the end of the highway on Maui’s rugged northeast coastline.
Not many journeys are as beautiful as the Road to Hana. The drive is 52 miles from Kahului or 60 miles from Kihei and takes between 2–4 hours thanks to 59 famous one-lane bridges and 620 turns (several hairpins!).
The Road to Hana is known for breathtaking, magical photo stops with lush rainforests, waterfalls, and a rugged coastline. And if you want to go all out, there are several hikes along the way.
To make the most of this experience, we recommend getting an early start, around 6–7 am. Bring a cooler full of drinks and food, too!
Upcountry and Haleakala
Makawao is an upcountry town nestled on the slopes of Haleakala where paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) meets artists and artisans. It’s a great spot to slow down and cool down from the crowds and heat of South Maui.
The cute and funky buildings you see in Makawao date back to the 1920s, and have since been converted into the galleries, boutiques, and eateries that make Makawao so charming. Here you can get a closer look at painters, sculptors, and glassblowers immersed in their element.
If rodeos are your thing, try the annual Makawao Rodeo around the 4th of July. If art classes are your thing, try a class or gallery exhibit at Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center.
Kula, perched on the gentle slopes of Haleakala, is a upcountry oasis known for panoramic vistas and lush, rolling hills. Its name in Hawaiian means “open meadows.”
As Maui’s primary farming and agriculture community, Kula supplies many of Hawaii’s restaurants with farm fresh produce, including tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, herbs, potatoes, and Kula onions.
Kula’s mild climate and tranquil vibes make it a great spot for rest, relaxation, and nature-inspired activities, such as O’o Farms (coffee tours and farm-to-table dining), Kula Botanical Garden, Surfing Goat Dairy, and Kula Country Farms.
Pukalani translates to “heavenly gate” in Hawaiian, and this small residential town lives up to its name. From Pukalani’s high elevation, you can enjoy the most majestic views of both the North and South Maui shores, framed by the gentle rolling slopes of Haleakala.
If golf is your thing, head over to the Pukalani Country Club. There’s also an excellent farmers market on Saturdays from 7–11.
Pukalani is a quick drive to both Haleakala National Park and the North Shore beaches, making it a great location for anyone looking to experience the diverse beauty of Maui.
Haleakala is a massive, 10,023 ft. shield volcano whose name translates to “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian.
According to a Hawaiian legend, Maui, a demigod, lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.
- Haleakala is a US National park and home to several rare and endangered species, with many restoration and preservation efforts underway.
- Park weather: is unpredictable, with temperatures in 40s and 60s, but also very chilly during high winds. Always bring layers of clothes with you!
- Park activities: star gazing, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding and camping.
- Sunrise at Haleakala: You can drive atop the highest peaks of Haleakala to the Haleakala Visitor Center and watch the sunrise. The drive to the summit can take 2-3 hours and be prepared that it will likely be 30-40 degrees cooler than Kihei. You can also ride down from the summit on a bike – several organized tours are being offered – these must be booked ahead of time.
Paia is to Maui as Haleiwa is to Oahu’s North Shore — a vibrant, eclectic town where Hawaiian charm meets laid-back surf culture. This quaint village, with its colorful storefronts and local art, is full of fanciful boutiques, galleries, eateries…and surfers, of course.
Surfwise, Paia is renowned for world-class windsurfing at Ho’okipa Beach Park — think large waves, consistent winds, and a large reef system. Some say it’s one of the best locations in Hawaii for windsurfing. There are also several regular surf breaks near Ho’okipa.
If you’re into world-class dining, head over to famous Mama’s Fish House — it will not disappoint.
Haiku is located in the lush, upcountry region of north Maui, and offers a zen-like escape into Hawaii’s natural splendor.
Here you can find the tranquility you’re looking for among rolling hills and panoramic ocean views. Known for its rural charm and community of artists, Haiku features cozy cafes and intriguing art galleries that sprinkle its landscape.
For a little bit of scenic adventure, head over to Twin Falls and the invigorating hikes along the Pipiwai Trail. If you want some unique Instagram shot, try the Haiku Mill.
Haiku’s peaceful ambiance and breathtaking scenery make it an idyllic destination for anyone who wants to connect with Maui’s quieter, more introspective side.
If you’re a fan of Maui, you will no doubt recognize Kahului as the name of the destination airport. Kahului is the commercial hub and largest city in Maui known for its local lifestyle, traditional charm, and cultural richness.
It’s home to a lively food truck scene, the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center — where you can catch a concert, hula show, ot theater production.
From Kahului, you can access the Iao Valley State Monument, which offers hiking and exploring in a stunning natural landscape. You can also enjoy birdwatching at the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, or kite boarding / kite foil boarding at beautiful Kanaha Beach.
Wailuku is a charming town nestled at the foothills of the West Maui Mountains. As the seat of Maui County, Wailuku is rich with Hawaiian culture and history, evident in its historic buildings and vibrant community events.
The Bailey House Museum in Wailuku offers a deep dive into Hawaii’s history with an extensive collection of artifacts and art. Wailuku is also home to the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, where you can learn all about native Hawaiian plant conservation.
If you love nature, the Waihee Ridge Trail promises breathtaking views of Maui’s coastline and volcanoes. And like Kahului, Wailuku is the gateway to the Iao Valley State Monument, known for the iconic Iao Needle and picturesque hiking trails.