Where will you base for your Maui adventure? It’s hard to go wrong! While it’s true that every area has trade-offs, you can still enjoy lush, tropical adventures and turquoise seas within easy striking difference from just about anywhere on island. Here are my best suggestions for where to stay in Maui:
- Where to Stay in Maui
- Best Places to Stay in Maui
- Where to Stay 0n Maui Option #1: South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
- Where to Stay in Maui Option #2: West Maui (Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kapalua)
- Where to Stay in Maui Option #3: Along the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
- Where to Stay in Maui Option #4: Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)
- Where to Stay in Maui Option #5: Upcountry (Haleakala and Kula)
Where to Stay in Maui
There are five main areas to choose from when deciding where to stay: (1) South Maui, (2) West Maui (3) Along the Road to Hana (or in Hana), (4) Central Maui or (5) Upcountry.
Quick Answer: If you’re in a hurry, here are my top recommendations below so you can check prices and availability now.
* For a detailed description of each area on Maui—and more options for hotels, condos and Airbnbs—keep scrolling.
|Area||Best Place to Stay||Price||Book|
|Montage Kapalua Bay Resort||$$$$||Click here|
|Stunning Kula Vacation Home||$$$||Click here|
|Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort||$$$$||Click here|
|Road to Hana|
(or in Hana)
|Bamboo Temple Airbnb||$$$||Click here|
|Iao Valley Inn||$$$||Click here|
Best Places to Stay in Maui
Here’s a quick summary of the best places to stay in Maui:
1. South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
This is probably the most popular area on Maui to stay for both couples and families. The Maui south shore offers quick access to incredible beaches. You’ll find mostly resorts in Wailea and condos and hotels in Kihei. The downside of this area is more tourists.
2. West Maui: Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua
West Maui is all luxury resorts (even more so than Wailea), golfing and dramatic Maui beaches. The downside is that it’s less central (more driving) to other areas on the island. Best for couples and luxury lovers.
3. Along the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
Fewer tourists choose lodging along this bucket list drive on the east side of the island. The bonus, of course, is that you’ll enjoy the epic views and waterfalls galore here without the crowds when the day-trippers go home. Best for those who love active adventures with fewer crowds.
4. Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)
This is the area of the island everyone crisscrosses between the famous west coast and Hana Highway. Close to the airport with easy access everywhere. Best for budget travelers who want convenience.
5. Upcountry (Haleakala and Kula)
Upcountry is rural Maui, also in the middle of the island, just south of Central Maui. While it’s not a typical tourist choice for a base, you’ll meet more locals than tourists here and enjoy easy access everywhere. Best for those who love to be off-the-beaten-path experiences.
The Top 3 Things You Need to Pack for Maui
•Go Pro—The #1 thing I wished I’d brought on my first Maui visit.
• Turkish beach towel—Welcome to your new favorite towel.
Where to Stay 0n Maui Option #1: South Maui
(Kihei and Wailea)
South Maui is popular for a reason! First of all, it’s the driest and sunniest area of Maui.
It will take you just a half hour or so from the airport to reach Kihei, with miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches for swimming and surfing. Lots of families congregate here due to the easy beach access from the many condos and hotels just opposite Kamaole Beaches I, II, and III.
You’ll also find plenty of food trucks in this area and roadside malls selling bikinis and beach essentials.
A bit further south is Wailea, named after the goddess of canoe builders (Water of Lea). Fancy waterside resorts abound here. Even if you don’t stay, be sure to stop for sunset cocktails or a meal at the Andaz Maui Wailea Resort or Hilton’s Grand Wailea.
Pros and cons: South Maui is sunny, laid back, and there’s great shopping. Plenty of great day tours depart from here.
On the flip side, the consistently sunny days and gorgeous beaches mean plenty of other tourists. It’s also not as lush as the other side of the island if you’re looking for lush jungle hikes.
Here are my picks for South Maui:
1. Hyatt’s Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Looking for world-class luxury in South Maui? Check into the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. Located on 15 acres of beachfront property with four infinity pools, two restaurants, and a full-service spa, you might never want to leave!
Just a stone’s throw—a 10-minute walk, actually—from all the beautiful Shops at Wailea, too.
Best for: luxury lovers. Check prices and availability at the Andaz Maui here.
2. Luxury condo in Kihei
This is where we stayed with our two adult kids on our first Maui visit and it couldn’t have been more perfect! It’s a two-bedroom, three-bath condo just steps from the beach.
Listen to the ocean from the king bed in the master suite or watch the sunset over a glass of wine from the lovely lanai!
Best for: Families or three couples. Check prices and availability at the Kihei luxury condo here.
3. Apartment near the Beach
If you’re on a budget but still hoping for a central location in Kihei, check out the Maui Vista apartments. But book ahead! This place fills up quickly.
This one-bedroom apartment (sleeps two) is in central Kihei, offers onsite parking and is just a short walk to the beach. It books up quickly since it’s a steal.
Best for: Budget travelers. Check prices and availability at the Maui Vist apartment here.
Things to Do in Kihei and Wailea
• Snorkel Kamaole Beach Park 1,2, or 3. Then stop for a beer at Maui Brewing Company.
• Check out the boutiques at Shops at Wailea.
Where to Stay in Maui Option #2: West Maui
(Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kapalua)
West Maui is home to some stunning resorts, making it one of the best places to stay in Maui for couples. Don’t miss Lahaina! While it can be brimming with tourists in the shops on Front Street, it’s also a historic whaling village that was once the capital of the Hawaiin kingdom!
Past Lahaina is Ka’anapali and its master-planned Kaanapali Beach Resort. Take time to hit the beach here and walk the boardwalk to admire the dramatic coastline as waves crash onto the volcanic rock here. (Plus, there’s a bird refuge!)
Keep heading up Maui’s north shore and arrive at exclusive Kapalua for more beautiful luxury resorts, including The Ritz-Carlton and Kapalua Resorts. The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival happens here.
Pros and cons: In West Maui, you’re inevitably close to great restaurants, the most beautiful beaches, great shopping, groceries, and things to do after dark. Plus, plenty of day tours leave out of Lahaina.
The only real downside to staying in West Maui are the potential traffic jams due to the only north-south highway here. It’s just a two lane artery.
Be aware that it’s an hour’s drive between Kapalua at the northern tip of the island down to Kihei near the northern part of South Maui. (And that’s with no traffic.) And it’s going to be a bit of a schlep to the Road to Hana from here.
Here are my picks for West Maui:
1. Luxury Resort in Kapalua
Montage Kapalua Bay is your Hawaiian fantasy come to life! Settle into a spacious suite in this 24-acre resort nestled into picturesque Kapalua Bay. (If you’re looking for places to stay in Maui on the beach, go here.) It’s just a seven-minute walk to Kapalua Golf Club.
Explore the property by bicycle, hit the tennis courts or relax at the spa. Go windsurfing. This property has every amenity.
Best for: Couples and families looking for a bucket list accommodation in West Maui. Check prices and availability at Montage Kapalua Bay here.
2. Beachfront Condo Hotel in Lahaina
If you’re looking for a beachfront condo that won’t break the bank, then head to the Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort in Lahaina. As advertised, it’s situated on a gorgeous beach! Visitors love the ocean views, friendly staff and tropical garden here.
Best for: Two to four travelers looking for a beachfront stay without luxury resort prices. Check prices and availability at the Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort here.
3. Budget Hostel in Lahaina
If you’re a budget traveler, you can’t do better than the Tiki Beach Hostel in the heart of Lahaina. It even comes with free hiking, snorkeling equipment, and beach tours! Sip a coffee in the full kitchen and then go for a kayak paddle (also free!).
While Tiki Beach Hostel is located at the beach, it’s just a 15-minute walk into the center of town. Check prices and availability at Tiki Beach Hostel in Lahaina here.
Things to Do in Lahaina, Ka’anapali and Kapalua
This is the area of luxury resorts (even more high end than Wailea), golf and other beautiful beaches. The downside is that it’s less central (more driving) to other areas on the island.
Where to Stay in Maui Option #3: Along the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
Driving the Hana Highway—either on your own or with a day tour—is must-do Maui! This is a bucket list drive with incredibly scenic ocean views and plenty of worthwhile stops.
Most visitors underestimate how much there is to do and see on the Road to Hana and wind up missing some wonderful opportunities in their quest to squeeze it in as a day trip. (Me included!)
So consider basing here for a few days on a first trip. Or, if you’re wondering what part of Maui to stay in on a return visit to the island, consider the Hana Highway or Hana itself.
This is 64 miles of two-lane highway that connect Kahalui and Paia with Hana in the southeast corner of the island. Think black sand beaches, food trucks, hiking in bamboo forests, and beautiful botanical gardens just for starters.
If you leave early and make your stops brief, you can make it about halfway to Hana, turn around and be back on the west side of the nightfall after dark. If this is your first visit to Maui, do the Road to Hana as a day trip at a minimum!
Pros and cons: Again, the great thing is that you’ll have this piece of paradise all to yourself after the day-trippers head home. Likewise, if you’re going to go to all the trouble to stay here, stay a few days and really see this area.
Hana itself is remote from the rest of the island so you won’t be toddling over to the west side of the island. If you’re a return visitor—or have enough time to break your visit into two stays on the west and east side of Maui—consider basing here for a unique experience.
Here are my picks for where to stay on the Road to Hana:
1. Romantic Airbnb Bamboo Temple
If you’re an eco-friendly nature lover seeking tranquility far from the tourist hustle and bustle in a pristine wilderness area, stay here. Watch the sun rise in the morning and the moonshine over the ocean from floor to ceiling windows and the skylight in the master bedroom. Spend your days hiking to waterfalls.
Located on the northern section of the Hana Highway, this unique haven feels remote but still offers easy access to restaurants.
Best for: Adventure and solitude lovers and couples seeking a bucket list experience. Check prices and availability at the Bamboo Temple here. (If you’re new to Airbnb, you can save up to $30 if you use this link to reserve!)
2. Travaasa Luxury Resort in Hana
Looking for a top-notch base for exploring the area near Hana? Stay at a cottage in the Travaasa Resort! Suites come with fully equipped kitchen, terraces with ocean views and 70 acres of lush tropical gardens to explore.
Between the wellness classes, lei making, and mixology classes onsite, you may never leave!
Best for: Luxury lovers who want to spend one or more days exploring Hana at the end of the Road to Hana (instead of day-tripping). Check prices and availability at Travaasa here.
3. Studio in a Tropical Paradise
This lovely hideaway studio is tucked into a garden of fresh ginger and gardenia with pineapple, papaya and avocado trees surrounding the plush private terrace. Thoughtful touches like luxury linens and a fabulous shower abound here.
While it feels remote, the studio is just minutes to Seven Sacred Pools and Hana town center.
Best for: Couples seeking a good value near the best Hana attractions. Check prices and availability at the Hana studio here.
Things to Do on the Road to Hana or in Hana:
• See the black sand beach at Wai’Anapanapa State Park
• Stop at the Maui Garden of Eden.
• See the Pools of ‘Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools) in Hana.
Where to Stay in Maui Option #4: Central Maui
(Kahului and Wailuku)
You’ll likely crisscross Central Maui on your way to the airport and back from beaches in West and South Maui at a minimum.
But be sure to visit lush Iao Valley State Park here as well. The state park, just at the base of the West Maui Mountains, offers 400 acres of lush valley for hiking and the opportunity to ogle the famous Iao Needle, a particularly striking and thin mountain peak rising out of the valley here.
Cute little Wailuku is where Maui’s county government is based. You’ll fall in love with the adorable boutiques and mom and pop establishments that have been here for generations. Kahului is, of course, home to Maui’s main airport, but also hosts a swap meet, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and the Maui Sunday market.
Pros and cons: If you can stay near the Iao Valley, this is an idyllic location for a base on Maui. You can conveniently access just about anywhere on island. Wailuku feels cozy. And budget travelers will enjoy the hostel scene here.
While Kahului is not a popular base for most visitors to Maui, it does make a great spot if you’re looking to minimize drive time to spend more time on the Road to Hana or Mount Haleakala or need to be close to the airport for a flight.
On the other hand, this is not near any swimming beaches. It’s more of an industrial area.
Here are my picks for Central Maui:
1. Iao Valley Inn in Wailuku
Wake up to a rainbow over the West Maui mountains every morning here! Just two miles from Iao Valley State Park, the Inn feels far removed from the tourist fray with absolutely no compromise in quality.
Visitors rate it a 9.7 for location—It’s quiet and rural but central to everything you want to do. The Iao Valley Inn oozes aloha.
Best for: Small families and couples. Check prices and availability on the Iao Valley Inn here. (Book early! This place fills up fast.)
2. Courtyard Marriott near the Airport
If you like the idea of a 5-minute drive to Kahului Airport, Courtyard Marriott is the place for you! An on-site fitness center and hot tub make this a no brainer for families looking for convenience.
Plus, it’s just a 26-minute drive to Haleakala and five minutes to Hoaloha Park beaches. Check prices and availability on Courtyard Marriott by the airport here.
3. Airbnb Plantation Home in Wailuku
Walk into Wailuku Town from this clean and lovingly rennovated cottage in an Old Hawaii style duplex. You’ll have the whole place to yourself! (If you’re new to Airbnb, you can save up to $30 if you use this link to reserve!)
Things to Do in Kahului and Wailuku
• See the views and get off the beaten track by driving the West Maui Circle Drive.
This is the middle of the island between the famous west coast and Hana Highway. Close to the airport with easy access everywhere.
Where to Stay in Maui Option #5: Upcountry
(Haleakala and Kula)
Upcountry Maui is local’s Maui away from the beaches. In fact, Hawaiians have been farming taro and sweet potatoes in this fertile heartland of green rolling hills and drifting fog for generations. (Look for cowboys! Seriously.)
You’ll inevitably pass through here on your way to Haleakala even if you don’t stay here as you pass rural outposts and goat farms. Upcountry is more than just a place; it’s a way of life.
Pros and cons: Stay in upcountry if you’re looking for a peaceful, authentic Maui experience. Skip it if you’re interested in nightlife. The weather can also be cooler here (which is great in summer when temps can soar on other parts of the island).
Here are my picks for Upcountry:
1. Stunning Vacation Home in Kula
Just 11 miles from Haleakala National park, this beautiful and spacious one-bedroom home makes a convenient base for exploring the park with a taste of Old Maui. The views here are killer!
Best for: Couples who want to spend some time near the park. Check prices and availability for the Kula vacation home here.
2. Airbnb Artist’s Mountain Studio
Live like a local on five acres in an artist’s guest suite here. Follow a garden path to a hidden shelter for lunch. Then sip a glass of wine by the fire pit on your private waterfall deck at sunset. This is living!
Best for: A couple’s getaway near the park. Check prices and availability on the artist’s mountain studio here.(If you’re new to Airbnb, you can save up to $30 if you use this link to reserve!)
3. Kula Airbnb Apartment
If you’ve got four guests and are on a budget, reserve this clean and spacious Kula apartment. This two-bedroom comes with a hot tub that offers million dollar views!
Best for: Four guests. Check prices and availability on the Kula apartment here.
Things to Do in Haleakala and Kula
2. See Haleakala Crater and take a hike.
3. Visit the Ocean Vodka organic farm and distillery.
4. Try the goat cheese at Surfing Goat Dairy.
5. Visit the Kula Botanical Garden.
This is rural Maui, also in the middle of the island, just south of Central Maui. While it’s not a typical tourist choice for a base, you’ll meet more locals than tourists with easy access everywhere.
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