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. Lahaina Town
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!
Best Places to Stay in Lahaina
- Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Residence – 9.2/10 ⭐
- The Plantation Inn – 9.1/10 ⭐
- Hotel Lahaina – 9.1/10 ⭐
Top Tours from Lahaina
- Small Group Road to Hana Adventure Tour – 5/5 ⭐
- Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Encounter – 4.5/5 ⭐
- Maui Scuba Diving Introductory Lesson from Lahaina – 5/5 ⭐
2. 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, local town caters to the swarms of daily traffic from visitors completing the drive.
Best Places to Stay in Hana
Top Tours near Hana
- Small Group Road to Hana Adventure Tour – 5/5 ⭐
- Road to Hana and Ka’eleku Cavern Small-Group Luxury Day Trip – 5/5 ⭐
- Private Road to Hana Tour – 5/5 ⭐
3. 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
- 8 Lines Jungle Zipline Tour – 5/5 ⭐
- Maui Pineapple Tour – 5/5 ⭐
- Haleakala Downhill Self-Guided Bike Tour – 5/5 ⭐
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
- Maui What a Wonderful World Bed & Breakfast – 9.4/10 ⭐
- Aston Maui Hill – 8.8/10 ⭐
- Oceanview Kihei Vacation Rental – 9.8/10 ⭐
Top Tours from Kihei
- Hāna and Beyond – Full Circle Rainforest Tour – 5/5 ⭐
- Group Surf Lesson: Two Hours of Beginners Instruction in Kihei – 5/5 ⭐
- Clear Kayak and Snorkel Adventure from Kihei – 5/5 ⭐
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
- Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – 8.7/10 ⭐
- Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach – 8.8/10 ⭐
- The Westin Maui Resort & Spa – 8.3/10 ⭐
Top Tours from Ka’anapali
- West Maui Half Day Snorkel from Ka’anapali Beach – 5/5 ⭐
- Whale Watching Cruise with Open Bar from Ka’anapali Beach – 5/5 ⭐
- Maui Nui Luau at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa – 4/5 ⭐
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
- Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – 9.3/10 ⭐
- Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux – Adults Only – 9.4/10 ⭐
- Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa – 8.3/10 ⭐
WAILEA IS HOME TO THE BEST SECRET BEACH ON MAUI:
MAKENA COVE SECRET BEACH
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
- Lahaina Town
- Hana Town
- Paia Historic Town
What is the coolest town in Maui?
Lahaina is the coolest town in Maui, providing a vibrant mix of history, arts, culture, and even a bit of nightlife, not to mention an incredible 150-year-old banyan tree in the center of town that words cannot describe the impressiveness of.
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.
More Maui Travel Guides
Are you planning a trip to Maui? Find out everything you could possibly need to know from where to stay, what to do, finding flights, and more with our comprehensive Maui travel guides below:
- HAWAII PACKING LIST: A printable essential packing list + 25 useful items to consider
- 5-7 DAY MAUI ITINERARY: How to see the entire island in one week or less
- WHERE TO STAY ON MAUI: The best places and areas to stay on the island
- PLANNING A TRIP TO MAUI: Step by step guide for planning your first visit to Maui
- ROAD TO HANA STOPS: The Top 25 places to visit on the Road to Hana
- ROAD TO HANA ITINERARY: How to plan for a 1-2 day self drive.
- BEST MAUI PHOTO SPOTS: 15 best places for photographing Maui
- SECRET BEACHES OF MAUI: The 10 most incredible hidden beaches on the island
- MAUI SUNSETS: The Top 10 places & activities for watching sunset in Maui
- KIHEI BEACHES GUIDE: Photos, locations, and descriptions for all 15 beaches in Kihei
- BEST SNORKELING IN MAUI: Best snorkel spots, tips, tours and more.