West side or south side? That’s the great debate regarding where to stay on Maui. While it’s a hard decision, there really is no wrong answer, just a few preference choices.
The West side of Maui is where you will find the former whaling capital, Lahaina. Filled with a delightful harbor area, Lahaina is a walkable town filled with shops, museums, cultural landmarks and great places to eat. Further north are the resort areas of Kaanapali, Kahana, Napili and Kaupalua. There are a myriad of great beach parks, with the crowds thinning out the farther north you go. West Maui is the sunniest area of the island, so if you are looking for endless sunny days for lounging or outdoor activities, West Maui May be for you.
Our recommendation of where to say in West Maui is Kuleana Resort. Tucked in a popular West Maui resort area, oceanfront Kuleana is a quieter oasis, providing the perfect combination resort amenities, recreation and relaxation opportunities for your Maui vacation. Shopping, dining, golf and activities are just minutes away.
This part of the island is a vibrant mix of residential homes and vacation rentals in Kihei, anchored by the resort areas of Wailea and Makena to the South. Here you will find the longest stretches of golden sand beach on the island, and plenty of sunshine.
On the far end, Makena State Park is a huge swath of sand, and surf that can be amazingly large. A bit further are coves ideal for entering the ocean for snorkeling and diving, or traversing lava fields to a secluded pool. The northern end of Kihei is an easy jumping off point to any other part of the island you want to explore. Here you’ll find some outstanding oceanfront condo resorts.
We love North Kihei’s Sugar beach, and it shows! Here you will find Kealia Resort, Kihei Beach Resort and Nani Kai Hale, all on this 6-mile stretch of golden beach. Imagine a morning ocean side stroll, or relaxing in the evening overlooking the beach, ocean and distant islands.
Koa Resort features our only 2-story 3 bedroom 2 bath condominium, great for larger groups. The resort is one block off the beach, tucked among 5 lush acres.
A short distance down the road, the Shores of Maui overlooks Cove Beach Park, a favorite hangout of beginning surfers, and a good place to launch a rental kayak.
Wildcard: Central Coast
The central coast is often overlooked when people are deciding on accommodations. The people that love to stay in less crowded Ma’alaea overlooking the harbor think that is just fine! Especially with condo prices being a little more affordable, while still being right on the water. While not tied to one of the larger towns, Ma’alaea does have a quaint village, with everything you need, from shops and restaurants to a world-class aquarium. Plus you can walk to a morning snorkel or dive charter. And that 6-mile stretch of South Maui beach mentioned earlier? The other end is in Ma’alaea.
So, where to stay? South Maui is a bit more convenient if you will be exploring other parts of the island. When the trade winds come up in the afternoon, weather and water conditions in Lahaina can be a little calmer. Ma’alaea may provide the best value for those on a budget. As you explore the resorts of Destination Maui Vacations, don’t forget to hit the favorite (heart) button to help with your comparison shopping. And once you make your choice, relax and enjoy all Maui has to offer.