Maui Best Areas to Stay
Finding a Place in Maui
Where to Stay On Maui?
Considering a visit to The Valley Isle, aka Maui? Yet, you wonder where to stay in Maui? Our guide will highlight the best places to stay in Maui and the best parts of Maui. Maui holds several favorable areas for different vacationers. Essentially, you can find it all depending on your desires like:
- Maui hotels on the beach
- Maui resorts on the beach
- Maui luxury resorts
- Cheap places to stay in Maui
Whether you consider yourself the luxury seeker, beach bum, shoestring backpacker, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a family, look no further than Maui for the perfect lodging for your vacation. As you review each location of Maui, pay attention to the pros and cons.
Overview of Staying in Maui
Beginning with the basics - Maui isn’t a vast island. The Island spans about 48 miles long and 26 miles wide. If you decide to visit the whole Island in a day, it will take a solid half day. Maui divides into several significant regions across its 728 square miles: West Maui, South Maui, East Maui (Hana Highway), Central Maui, and Upcountry Maui.
- Awe-inspiring beauty: Maui holds breathtaking views from being nestled between Haleakala to the east and the West Maui mountains to the west. Because of this valley’s isthmus, many refer to Maui as the valley Isle.’ If you’re still debating if Maui will meet your vacation goals, consider:
- Conveniences: It is easy to get around, including the Island’s airport and Kahului Airport (OGG). You can find rental cars from the airport and other points to use. Conveniently, you’ll also find shopping resources like Costo, Walmart, Whole Foods in central Maui, and local grocery stores in other parts of Maui.
- Top Maui resort areas: The best Maui resorts exist in the West and South Maui.
- Budget-friendly lodgings: Seeking a good deal? Consider the assortment of Maui cheap hotels.
On this page, we'll cover each of the major Maui regions you can find accommodations within. Here are this page's highlights...
- Explore the West Maui Region including its pros and cons
- Discover the South Maui Region with its condos & more
- Explore the East Maui Region including some amazing places in Hana town
- Discover places to stay in the Central Maui Region
- Explore accommodation options in the Upcountry Maui region
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Maui Accommodations by Region
Maui is a destination that attracts a unique mix of tourists from all over the world. There are resorts and hotels all over the island, but there are also many free-standing hotels and vacation rentals, which give you the option to choose from a wide range of accommodations. We provide a list of these favorable destinations according to popularity.
Staying in West Maui
Including Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kapalua
Initially developed in the 1960s, West Maui remains one of the most popular destinations to stay and play on the island of Maui. Here you’ll find the old whaling village of Lahaina. In addition, the resort area of Kaanapali stretches along the coastline here. Kaanapali also hosts most accommodations and eateries on the island's west side.
For most visitors who come to Maui, the island's western side hosts the most favorable accommodations, including most top resorts, long-stay condos, and Maui hotels with kitchens. Essentially, the wide selection span from cheap places to stay or luxurious accommodations. Such a selection makes it simple to find your desired lodging. So go ahead splurge on a high-end room in resorts on the beach. Or stick to your budget with a cheap motel. West Maui has it all.
To get around, drive about a 35-40 minute drive (25 miles) from Kahului Airport (OGG) to Lahaina town and a 45-minute drive to Kaanapali (30 miles) from Kahului.
Why Should You Stay in West Maui?
West Maui offers a variety of unique attractions. Check out the following;
Bustling, Lively Streets: Find various stores and shops, especially in the Lahaina area. You can spend hours strolling through the streets of West Maui. Front Street, in particular, in the old whaling village, offers the most - a variety of shops, restaurants, and much more to attract visitors.
Water Adventures: The area, especially the docks in Lahaina, offers a range of water excursions like whale watching, snorkeling tours, paddling, surfing adventures, etc.
Stunning, Lively Beaches: Beautiful beaches stretch across this region. Kaanapali Beach, located just north of Lahaina, is very popular for its beachfront resorts and gorgeous blue waters. At the far northern end of the beach, visit the Black Rock. Besides the sandy beach, visitors will also discover an outdoor mall with abundant dining and shopping options located right on the coast. A three-mile paved walkway stretches along much of the beach here, making it easy to navigate from one spot to another.
Enjoy the Weather: This region embodies the best weather for a getaway. It’s typically dry and sunny, making it ideal for being outdoors.
Outstanding Terrains: West Maui provides stunning views of the West Maui mountains rising behind the people in the background. The scenery will set the mood of your romantic getaway.
Our Recommended Accommodations to Stay in the West Maui
Including Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kapalua
Napili Bay Area: Great for privacy and calmness. You can also find hotels on the beaches like high-end hotels, budget-friendly hotels. Consider the condos and smaller inns near the beach for those planning a more extended stay. These lodgings come with kitchens. Despite showing their age, these lodgings still maintain a charming appeal. Plus, they are in an unbeatable location.
Kapalua Bay Area: If you seek silence along with luxury, look no further than the resort area of Kapalua, a favorite spot for golfers. Here you’ll find the Ritz Carlton Kapalua–one of the best vacation accommodations in Maui.
Scenery-wise, West Maui provides stunning views of the West Maui mountains rising behind you in the background.
The Drawbacks of Staying in West Maui
Like any other place, West Maui has some drawbacks.
With so many visitors choosing this more developed region, crowds pack this area more than other island parts. Prepare yourself for longer drives to reach popular destinations. For instance, the distance between West Maui and some other major attractions on the island, like the Hana Highway (Road to Hana) and the Haleakala summit, requires a vehicle.
The Pros and Cons of Staying in West Maui
- Great weather throughout the year
- Great selection of beaches available
- Great variety of stores and shops
- Can be quite touristy in most locations
- Can be very crowded, especially during the holidays
- Can be rather far from the Hana Highway and Haleakala
Staying in South Maui
Including Kihei and Wailea
The South Region of Maui, which includes the towns of Kihei and Wailea, holds a certain appeal for visitors. Though not the most popular region, the Westside offers excellent options for visitors. Kihei is about a 20-30 minute drive (10 miles) from Kahului Airport (OGG), and Wailea is another 10 minutes beyond Kihei (17 miles from Kahului).
Why Should You Stay in South Maui?
Beaches: The less crowded beaches sprawl along the long coastline. Lush tropical forests surround the sandy beaches of Kihei and Wailea, where you can enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing.
Weather: Think clear skies and sunny days. The weather here is even drier than in West Maui, which means more sun and less rain during your stay.
Water Adventures: Kihei is unique among Hawaii's surf schools. It offers a fantastic experience, emphasizing learning how to paddle and learn the basics of surfing. The waves are lovely here.
Landscapes and Attractions: This area, particularly Wailea Beach, offers crystal clear waters and a sandy shoreline. The island also provides opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, hiking, adventure biking trails, and more.
Our Recommended Lodgings for Staying in South Maui
Including Kihei and Wailea
Kihei: The area offers a wide variety of condos. You can find a good deal for your budget. Many of their newer condo rentals rest a few blocks from the beach. Still, enjoy your short stroll to the beach. So go to hotels in Maui, Hawaii.
Wailea: For high-end lodgings, look no further than Wailea. This area includes several incredible beachfront resorts, condo complexes, a lovely outdoor mall, and several quality restaurants. Our favorite luxury resorts include the Four Seasons Maui, Hotel Wailea, the Wailea Beach Marriott, and the Grand Wailea.
The Drawbacks of Staying in South Maui
Like West Maui, South Maui holds some drawbacks as a destination spot. Despite the number of eateries, some fall short in taste or ambiance. You can find too many shops that possess tackier items. Kamaole Beaches I, II, and III can often fill up during the day and feel pretty busy. Thus, research your options to find a fine-dining experience.
Wailea is a fantastic place to stay; it’s incredibly upscale - but there’s not much else to do there. Plus, many south Maui calls for a long drive to reach the island’s popular destinations like the Road to Hana or Haleakala. Despite some maps, there is NO road connecting South Maui to Upcountry Maui. Subsequently, the only way to reach Upcountry Maui and Haleakala is to drive back towards Kahului and then continue from there.
The Pros and Cons of Staying in South Maui
- Great weather year round
- A lot of cheaper accommodation rentals
- Decent selection of beaches over much of the coastline
- Not as much shopping available, just small stores
- Not as many upscale restaurant options available
- Can be rather far from the Hana Highway and Haleakala
Staying along the Hana Highway (East Maui)
Including Paia & Hana
Many view the Eastside of Maui as a beautiful and clean stretch of road, with few people and lots of nature. The Eastside of Maui stretches through the famous Hana Highway (Road to Hana). Despite the scenic views, the few accommodations here lie rather far from each other. You can find primarily small B&Bs and inns along the highway with limited options.
Why Should You Stay in East Maui?
It’s about 53 miles from Hana town to Kahului Airport (OGG). The drive takes about 2-2.5 hours. This route takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery on the island. As you drive, you will pass a beautiful valley and see spectacular views of the ocean and mountains.
Our Recommended Lodgings to Stay in East Maui
The Drawbacks of Staying in East Maui
The main downside to staying in East Maui is that beyond exploring the Hana Highway, there’s almost literally nothing to do here. It is also wetter and rainier along this stretch of the island, so be prepared for rain if you do stay here.
The Pros and Cons of Staying in East Maui
- Great proximity to the sights of the Hana Highway and Oheo Gulch
- Small, but beautiful, variety of beaches
- Can be very wet, especially during the winter
- Is geographically very isolated, a great distance from all other attractions
- Paia can experience a decent amount of rain
Staying in Central Maui
Including Kahului and Wailuku
Seeking the ‘real’ Hawaii feel? Want to live like the locals of Hawaii? Look no further at Central Maui. Central Maui offers a cultural experience without a remote ambiance, similar to Hana or East Maui. Near the Kahului Airport (OGG), there are various places as options.
Why Should You Stay in Central Maui?
Since this location is central, popular attractions like Iao Valley, driving the Hana Highway, or exploring the summit of Haleakala are equally distant from you.
The Drawbacks of Staying Central Maui
As with East Maui, you’ll find limited options for activities. Most activities will require some long drives.
Our Recommended Lodgings to Stay in Central Maui
For the best options in this area, look for the retreats and small inns (closer to Paia, in East Maui).
The Pros and Cons of Staying in Central Maui
- Decent variety of shops available
- Great proximity to most of the island, including the Hana Highway
- Limited accommodations are present in these areas
- Wailuku can experience a good bit of rain
- Not very scenic in most of central Maui
- Limited selection of beaches
Staying Upcountry on Maui
Including Haleakala and Kula
Like Central and West Maui, Upcountry offers a way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busier parts of Maui.
Why Should You Stay In Upcountry?
It offers excellent proximity to Haleakala National Park. You can see breathtaking views of the area.
Why Should You Not Stay in Upcountry?
The area doesn’t offer much in the way of shopping or dining. Expect to drive a bit (likely back to Kahului) to access many places to eat and shop. There’s also no beach access in this part of Maui.
The Pros and Cons of Staying in Upcountry
- Great scenery and proximity to Haleakala
- Lack of accommodation options
- Very limited variety of stores or restaurants
- No beaches
Other Factors to Consider
Weather is a factor to consider when deciding where to stay, though, for the most part, the primary accommodation areas of Maui are relatively dry since they exist on the leeward side of the island. Around Lahaina and Ka'anapali, West Maui is slightly more lush than South Maui, near Kihei. During the onset of the winter months (late November - early March), Maui experiences more clouds and rain across the island. For more information about Maui's weather, check out our Maui Weather article.
Suppose you plan to drive the majestic Road to Hana and visit Haleakala National Park, both of these attractions can be seen by travelers staying in West and South Maui on a single (but long) day. When it comes to the Hana Highway ('Road to Hana'), we recommend spending at least one night in Hana town or a B&B near the start of the drive.
Best Places to Stay on Maui: The Ultimate Guide for Every Type of Traveler
Best place to stay for families:
For great, dry weather and lush greens, head to West Maui, around Lahaina and Ka'anapali. Check out our Maui Weather article for more information about Maui's weather.
Stick to the western and southern coastlines if you want to stay close to other visitors, vacation activities, and social happenings.
Best place to stay for Beach Bums:
For the best beaches, head to Pāʻia, Wailea, Ka‘anapali, or Kīhei.
Best place to stay for luxury seekers:
Best place to stay for backpackers:
Backpackers enjoy staying in Wailuku, Pāʻia, Lahainā, or Kīhei. These areas offer a variety of outdoor activities, including surfing, snorkeling, and trekking.
Best place to stay for those seeking campgrounds:
Upcountry Maui is for those that love to explore and live with the outdoors. You can certainly spend a couple of nights camping at Wai'anapanapa State Park and Kīpahulu. Yet, the more remote Camp Olowalu is a better option. It's located south of Lahainā.
Best place to stay for surfers:
Go to Pāʻia, Kīhei, or Lahainā for the best waves.
Best place to stay for couples on a romantic getaway:
South Maui, Kihei boasts a wide assortment of private inns, B&Bs, condominiums, and resorts. You're bound to find beautiful beaches and pleasant weather here.
Best place to stay for adventurer seekers:
In Summary: Selecting Where to Stay on Maui
Choosing a fabulous accommodation option on Maui is easy. You have an incredible selection available - perhaps the best in Hawaii. Stick to the western and southern coastlines if you want to stay where most other visitors are. Or explore the different regions of Maui to find a small B&B or inn that suites your tastes - it's up to you. Whether you stay on the drier leeward side (south and west) or prefer the lusher windward side (north and east) - it's hard to go wrong picking a location to stay on Maui.
Ultimately, Maui offers an extensive range of accommodations, from budget hotels and condominiums to 5-star hotels and bed & breakfasts. As we noted above, many of the Maui Luxury Hotels and resorts are located along the West Coast near Kaanapali. A few significant resorts also exist in South Maui, especially in Wailea. Also, in South Maui, Kihei is a popular place to stay, boasting many condominiums and resorts in the area. Rest assured that you're bound to find beautiful beaches and good weather in either of these locations, no matter where you look.
Inns and B&Bs also offer privacy and seclusion and can be found in many main accommodation areas.
Be sure to check out our When to Visit Maui article for additional information on what time of year is best to visit the island.