Published February 10, 2020 2/10/2020

Where to Stay in Maui – Neighborhood Guide

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The Hawaiian island of Maui is a dream destination for many people because of its incredible beaches, nature, and opportunities for fun in the sun. But what some travelers don’t realize is that there are various places to stay on the island to give you a different experience and vibe for your trip. Here is a neighborhood guide to Maui to help you find the best place to stay for your travel style.

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South Maui Little Beach, Makena State Park, South Maui
Little Beach, Makena State Park, South Maui

South Maui

Why Stay Here: Nice weather and resort amenities.
Top Hotels: Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort | Grand Wailea

One of the most popular areas of Maui to stay in is the southern part of the island, which is busy and a great place for tours. This makes South Maui a top choice for both honeymoons and for families with kids. The weather here is more consistently warm and dry compared to other parts of the island, so stay here for the best weather odds for your beach and outdoor recreation time. This is one of the two main resort areas on Maui and a commonplace to stay for first-time travelers.

North Maui Big waves at the north coast of Maui
Big waves at the north coast of Maui

North Maui

Why Stay Here: A nature experience and local vibe for accommodations.
Top Hotels: Northshore Hostel Maui | Maui Beach Hotel

You can also stay on the north shore of Maui to make your Hawaiian vacation memorable and get a true back-to-nature experience. This is a place to stay for nature lovers who want to be surrounded by amazing scenery and fewer tourists. The accommodations here are largely B&Bs and cottage rentals, rather than big brand-name hotels. The north shore is known for its big waves and strong winds, which makes it ideal for surfing and windsurfing but not necessarily for families looking to go swimming.

West Maui Honolua bay on the west coast of Maui
Honolua bay on the west coast of Maui

West Maui

Why Stay Here: Popular resort area with tours, beaches, dining, and nightlife.
Top Hotels: Aston Kaanapali Shores | Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

West Maui is a very popular area of the island to stay in because it has everything you need and want for beaches, shopping, dining, and nightlife. Aside from South Maui, this is the other main resort area on the island. Tours often depart from this area for day trip adventures, and crowds of tourists line the streets. Expect restaurants to be busy and accommodations to be higher priced compared to some other less-touristy parts of the island. However, the resorts here are excellent and offer a luxury experience to pamper you during your trip.

East Maui Rough and rocky shore at east coast of Maui
Rough and rocky shore at east coast of Maui

East Maui

Why Stay Here: Off the beaten path with peaceful scenery and few tourists.
Top Hotels: Ala’aina Ocean Vista | The Guest Houses at Malanai in Hana

To get off the beaten path in Maui, consider staying in East Maui where far fewer tourists venture out to. This is an area known for beautiful scenery and peaceful nature, with a few camping options, cabins, and B&B options available for overnight guests. Services are more limited here, so pack ample supplies and enjoy budget-friendly accommodations that won’t empty your wallet.

Central Maui View looking down at Central, Maui
View looking down at Central, Maui

Central Maui

Why Stay Here: Equidistant from different parts of the island and budget-friendly accommodations.
Top Hotels: The Kula Lodge | Hale Ho’omana

Another option is to stay in Central Maui and call this middle part of the island your home base. This is a good place to be if you have an extended amount of time to spend on the island and want to make convenient day trips to the north, south, east, and west. When you’re here, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere with charming cafes and local shops. There are cheap accommodations to stay in so you can save money on your Hawaiian travels too. It’s convenient to access the Hana Highway from here and do some shopping, but the scenery isn’t as dramatic as other parts of the island.

Upcountry Maui Upcounty Maui on the way to Haleakala National Park
Upcounty Maui on the way to Haleakala National Park

Upcountry Maui

Why Stay Here: A quiet country vibe that’s quaint and great for relaxation.
Top Hotels: North Shore Lookout | Hale Ho’okipa Inn Makawao

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, then Upcountry Maui is a great pick. This part of the island is less touristy and a great way to get off the beaten path for couples on a honeymoon. You’ll find more local B&Bs here than chain resorts and a vibe that’s artsy, country, and quaint. Families also like staying here because Upcountry Maui does not have a party atmosphere and most things close early to allow for restful nights of sleep. Makawao is the town to know in the Upcountry region for accommodations, and you can find horseback riding and ziplining nearby for your local entertainment.

Along Hana Highway Scenic Road to Hana
Scenic Road to Hana

Along Hana Highway

Why Stay Here: Easy access to the popular scenic drive route.
Top Hotels: The Mauian Hotel on Napili Beach | Montage Kapalua Bay

The Road to Hana is one of the biggest tourist draws to Maui because this scenic drive is lined with cliffs, waterfalls, and amazing scenery with every mile. If you want to experience it for yourself, you might choose to stay in hotels along the Hana highway so that you can easily hop on and off the road while seeing the sights along the way. It’s best to take multiple days to complete the drive to get the most out of it, while staying overnight for at least a night or two. Families with kids often stay at accommodations along Hana highway for the convenience and to enjoy a slower pace of travel. The Road to Hana starts on the north shore of Maui, so many people stay at a north shore hotel as part of this epic drive. There are small beaches along the highway and also easy access to the Oheo Gulch.

Paia Area Paia Beach, Maui
Paia Beach, Maui

Paia Area

Why Stay Here: Hippie vibe and great access to windsurfing.
Top Hotels: Paia Inn | Maui Seaside Hotel

Paia is a historic town that is a favorite place to stay among windsurfers and hippies. It is a former sugar town that has been revived and has its own unique personality. Here you’ll find local art galleries, unique shops, and colorful shops. Ho’okipa Beach is a popular windsurfing spot, and kite surfers from around the world come here too. This is because the area sees the largest waves on the north shore. Stay in the Paia area if you are a watersport enthusiast or just want to immerse yourself in the local watersport culture for a few days. Paia is also pretty close to the local airport.

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