🌺 Top 10 Most Charming & Best Maui Towns to Visit in 2023

Best Maui Towns blog post cover image. Text overlaying a photo of Lahaina as seen from the water with the harbor nestled against the West Maui mountains and a rainbow arching over.


Much of the island of Maui has been tragically impacted by recent fires, with the region known as West Maui being most affected and Historic Lahaina Town having been all but destroyed.

All fires are contained (or nearly so) at this point. Travel is safe and encouraged, outside of the West Maui region!

The Hawaii Tourism Authority message to tourists is to maintain travel plans to visit the island and to help support the local economy, but to be mindful and respectful of the hardships the locals are enduring, and to avoid the West Maui region.

You can find out more about the Hawaii fires and find the most current updates here: HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY.

Maui is an island rich in history, and nowhere is the modern history better preserved than in the small Maui towns dotted throughout the island.

Visitors looking to visit and photograph these quaint, charming towns will discover a handful of fun little villages all over “The Valley Isle” of Maui.

Read on to discover the top 10 best Maui towns and find more travel guides and FAQs below.

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🌺 Top 10 Best Maui Towns

🌦 1. Hana Town

The Maui town of Hana serves as the end point for most driving the aptly-named and world-famous scenic Road to Hana.

This small, charming town caters to the swarms of traffic that move through as visitors complete the aforementioned famous drive.

Some of the key destinations around Hana are Waianapanapa State Park, home to Hokolani Black Sand Beach, Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, and a handful of waterfalls.

Best Places to Stay in Hana

Top Tours near Hana

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πŸ„ 2. Paia Historic Town

The historic town of Paia is considered the gateway to the Road to Hana drive and is the best town on the Maui North Shore.

This quaint little village offers local shops, tattoo artists, a fish market with the best seafood on the island, and even a stunning beach.

Time permitting, your Road to Hana itinerary should include at least a quick stop to have a short walk around the charming town of Paia.

Best Places to Stay in Paia

Top Tours from Paia

🏝 3. Kihei

The Kihei region is the most popular and probably the best place to stay on Maui. This is because it provides the most accommodation options for all budgets and vacation types and is in walking distance of 15 Kihei Beaches.

In order to service the large tourist crowds that choose Kihei as a home base, the town has opened up the widest range of restaurants, bars, and shops.

While Kihei lacks some of the charm and nuance of the smaller Maui towns like Paia and Lahaina above, it also has more to offer than any other place on the island.

Best Places to Stay in Kihei

Top Tours from Kihei

🍹 4. Ka’anapali

⚠️ Aug 24 Update: The entire West Maui region is closed to tourists. This includes the following areas: Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua, and Napili.

These closures are expected to remain in place through October 2023.

The rest of Maui is open and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are urging travelers to visit to help support the local economy.

The resort town of Ka’anapali is one of the higher-end destinations on Maui. The appeal of spending a holiday in Ka’anapali is that it has everything you need on-site, making it perfect for vacationers who see a visit to Maui as an opportunity to relax, rather than explore.

Beyond its facilities, Ka’anapali’s claim to fame is the 3-mile white sand beach that spans the shoreline. This beach is always in the running for the best beaches of Hawaii and is the only one to win an award for the best beach in the world.

Do not expect the charm, culture, and history that you find in some of Maui’s smaller towns, but rather the type of modern restaurants and activities designed at pleasing tourists.

Best Places to Stay in Ka’anapali

Top Tours from Ka’anapali

πŸ– 5. Wailea

Just south of Kihei is the luxurious town of Wailea, considered the premium place to stay on Maui. It is the top choice of people honeymooning in Maui.

Not only is Wailea home to the majority of designer shops and upper-class restaurants, but it happens to be the driest, sunniest region of Maui.

For visitors looking to stay near the nicest beaches on the island or to be pampered on their Hawaiian holiday, Wailea has the most to offer. Fortunately for budget travelers, all beaches in Hawaii are public and even the thriftiest readers can enjoy the golden sand beaches of Wailea.

Best Places to Stay in Wailea


πŸ–Ό 6. Wailuku

Wailuku is a funky, artsy town nestled into the foothills of the West Maui Mountains. It is also the gateway to the Iao Valley, which is a favorite hiking destination for locals and enthusiasts. One of the most popular hikes here is the Waihee Ridge Trail.

Interestingly, Wailuku was the major tourist destination on Maui through the early 1900s. However, that started to shift as beach resort towns began to pop up in places with better access and dryer weather.

To this day, anyone interested in exploring the best Maui towns will want to include a stop at Wailuku to check out some of the historic sites and modern shops. If you enjoy horseback riding, Wailuku is also a starting point for the 5-star-rated West Maui Mountain Waterfall and Ocean Tour via Horseback tour.

Best Places to Stay in Wailuku

πŸŒ„ 7. Kula

View of upcountry Maui

Located high up in the Maui upcountry (a region named for its elevation), Kula is a fun town with incredible views from the western slope of Haleakala volcano.

The town is primarily locals and residents as the colder weather and clouds formed by Haleakala create unideal conditions for beach vacations.

Recently, however, people have begun to discover this sleepy Hawaiian mountain town. More and more, tourists are making day trips to the botanical gardens, restaurants, or just going on a drive through Kula to admire the sweeping vistas.

For those who like to get off the beaten path, Kula also offers some accommodation options, including a unique stay sleeping under the stars in a clear, rooftop igloo tent (aka a star dome!).

Best Places to Stay in Kula

β›ͺ️ 8. Kaupo

The scenic and historic Huialoha Church in the Maui town of Kaupo.
The scenic and historic Huialoha Church in the Maui town of Kaupo.

For those who venture along the Road to Hana past the namesake town, Kaupo is the final village before the pavement ends.

It is hard to even consider Kaupo a Maui town, so perhaps “village” would be the more appropriate term.

Whatever you call it, it is undeniably a charming and beautiful place to visit and home to one of the most photogenic churches you will find in the US.

✈️ 9. Kahului

A kitesurfer enjoys a day in paradise at VOR Beach on the Maui North Shore.
VOR Beach near Kahului and the OGG Airport

The only thing to love about the Maui town of Kahului is its proximity to the airport and major services.

There is no charm or elegance, nor is there meant to be. Kahului is where you go to get groceries, grab a Starbucks, catch a flight, or grab a quick bite at your favorite fast food chain.

With that said, there are some beautiful beaches nearby including Kanaha Beach Park, which is a great place to take a kiteboarding lesson.

Additionally, if you plan to take a scenic flight, you will find that these leave from Kahului Airport. There are a number of 5-star-rated scenic flights available:

🌈 10. Lahaina Town

⚠️ Aug 24 Update: The entire West Maui region is closed to tourists. This includes the following areas: Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua, and Napili.

These closures are expected to remain in place through October 2023.

The rest of Maui is open and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are urging travelers to visit to help support the local economy.

On August 8, 2023, a wildfire destroyed nearly the entire town of Lahaina while claiming the lives of over 100+ people.

We will keep a close eye on what happens next, but have chosen to preserve the original description below for this guide for the time being.

Original Description of Lahaina

The historic port town of Lahaina is the one town in Maui that everyone needs to visit on a trip to the island. It has that perfect mix of history, arts, culture, entertainment, and even a bit of nightlife.

Lahaina is tucked away beside the West Maui Mountains in the northwest region of Maui. These mountains create a spectacular backdrop to the town, though they also create their own weather.

While in town, be sure to check out the 150-year-old Lahaina Banyan Tree. You don’t have to be an arborist to appreciate this incredible display of nature with branches growing into branches and forming entirely new trees, almost like the roots and tree are upside down!

🐒 Bonus: Turtle Town

Turtle Town is not a town at all, but rather a colloquial name for a region along the Wailea-Makena coastline famous for its turtle population.

There are no restaurants, hotels, or amenities in Turtle Town, but there is unbeatable snorkeling and a thriving underwater world to enjoy.

πŸ€” FAQs About the Best Maui Towns

Use the dropdown boxes to reveal answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the best Maui towns.

What are the best Maui towns to visit?

The ten best towns in Maui to visit are:

  1. Hana Town
  2. Paia Historic Town
  3. Kihei
  4. Kaanapali
  5. Wailea
  6. Wailuku
  7. Kula
  8. Kuapo
  9. Kahului
  10. Lahaina Town (lost to fire in Aug 2023)
What is the coolest town in Maui?

Prior to a fire in August 2023 that destroyed it, Lahaina was considered the coolest town in Maui. Now, Hana and Paia are often mentioned as the most fun and charming towns in Maui.

Kula is the most fun answer to this question though, both for the play on words and for the “cool” climate it has high up in the Maui upcountry.

Is Hana worth visiting?

The town of Hana is certainly worth visiting if you are already planning on driving the scenic Road to Hana, but not if you will not have time to stop and enjoy the sights along the way.

Can you visit Lahaina Historic Town?

The historic town of Lahaina was destroyed by wildfire on August 8, 2023. Tourist travel is not permitted anywhere in the West Maui region at this time and is not scheduled to reopen until October, 2023.

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