🌺 Top 10 Most Charming & Best Maui Towns to Visit in 2024

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.

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

Sophie and I travel to Hawaii at least once yearly, with three visits to Maui tallied so far. Upon discovering the unique charm of some of the quaint, remote towns, we prioritized exploring these hidden gems on each of our trips.

We have created this guide to share our photos and insights on what we believe are the 10 best, most charming towns in Maui.

In addition to the town names and locations, we have also added recommendations on the best places to stay or tours to consider when visiting them.

At no cost to you, we receive a small amount for any bookings made using the links below.

🌺 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 Road to Hana.

It was Hana that originally inspired us to seek out the small towns hidden away in Maui. The culture and history being preserved in such an isolated location was something we were fascinated by!

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


πŸ„ 2. Paia Historic Town

The historic town of Paia is considered the gateway to the Road to Hana 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. Its boutique shops offer a variety of unique products that make ideal gifts or souvenirs from Hawaii.

We stayed in the nearby town of Haiku and found ourselves frequenting the small cafes, restaurants, and shops of Paia on a daily basis.

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 place to stay in Maui. This is because it provides the widest variety of accommodation, is reliably sunny, and is within walking distance of 15 beaches.

In order to service the large tourist crowds that choose Kihei as a home base, the town has opened up an expansive 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

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 trip to Maui as an opportunity to relax rather than explore.

Beyond its ample 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 in Hawaii and is the only one to be recognized as the best beach in the world at one point.

Personally, I tend to avoid Ka’anapali for the most part, as I prefer quiet, secluded beaches and smaller towns. However, it is one of Sophie’s favorite places to visit on Maui!

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 to please 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 for people honeymooning in Maui.

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

Wailea has the most to offer for visitors looking to stay near the nicest beaches on the island or to be pampered on their Hawaiian holiday.

Fortunately for budget travelers, all beaches in Hawaii are public, and even thrifty travelers like ourselves are free to enjoy the golden sand beaches of Wailea.


Best Places to Stay in Wailea


🏝️ WAILEA IS HOME TO THE BEST SECRET BEACH ON MAUI:
MAKENA COVE SECRET BEACH

πŸ–Ό 6. Wailuku

A photo of the colorful town of Wailuku from our 2022 trip to Maui.

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. One of the most popular hikes nearby 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 ocean access and drier 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

A cloudy, moody photo of the Maui Upcountry.

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.

However, people have recently begun to discover this sleepy Hawaiian mountain town. Tourists are increasingly making day trips to the botanical gardens and restaurants or just going on a drive through Kula to admire the sweeping vistas.

If you are like us and enjoy getting off the beaten path, Kula also has some places you can stay. Our favorite is the star dome, which is a clear-rooftop igloo-style tent that allows you to sleep under the stars.


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, some beautiful beaches are nearby. Kanaha Beach Park is our favorite and is a great place to take a kiteboarding lesson.

If you plan to take a scenic flight during your vacation in Maui, you will find that these leave from Kahului Airport. There are a number of 5-star-rated scenic flights available:


🌈 10. Lahaina Town

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

Unfortunately, what was once the best small town in Maui has been reduced to rubble. The description below shares our thoughts on this wonderful place prior to being destroyed.

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.

This obviously isn’t really a town, but we thought you would still want to know about it! After all, who doesn’t want to swim with the local honu?!

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 (destroyed by 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, for the play on words and 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.

🌴 More Maui Travel Guides

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Written by
Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's β€œChief Exploration Officer” in 2021.

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