Maui Region Guide

Each side of Maui offers completely different beaches, activities, sights, and climates.

 

This guide will cover a basic overview of the different regions of Maui in order to assist you in deciding where you should stay and what to expect while vacationing here. 

Where are the jungles at? Where are the best waves? Where are the hotels at? Where are the waterfalls? Where is the best snorkeling? Where are the most beautiful beaches? 

Full Video Text and Region Description

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North Shore

Paia, Haiku

South Maui

Kihei, Makena, Wailea

Central Maui

Kahului, Wailuku

West Maui

Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua

Upcountry

Makawao, Haleakala, Kula

East Maui

Hana, Kipahulu

North Shore

The north shore of Maui does not have the big fancy resorts, but offers many private bed and breakfast type options for those of you looking to escape the craziness of the resort areas. 

 

This region is primarily jungle, with 3 beaches. Weather can be very windy and rainy especially during the winter months.

 

The snorkeling and diving is not very good over here, but if you are an advanced kitesurfer, windsurfer, or surfer, this is the region for you. 

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South Maui

A good array of budget to high end resorts are on this side. The south shore of Maui is in a more desert climate and littered with tons of beaches to choose from.

 

If you’re a beach lounging person, this is the side of the island for you. Stand up paddling and snorkeling can be very good on this side in the morning before the wind kicks up. 

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South Maui Beach

Central Maui

Central Maui is can best be summed up as a strictly local community and area.

 

You can find inexpensive hotels and condo rentals here but it is not primarily known as a “tourist” region.

 

Central Maui is half desert climate, half tropical rainforest.

 

Tourist attractions here include Iao Valley State Park, Kanaha Beach Park for windsurfers and kite-boarders, the Pineapple plantation, and Ma’alea harbor where you may go to get on a snorkeling or whale watching charter boat. 

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Iao Valley Needle

West Maui

This West side also has a lot of big resorts like the south side and most of them are lined up right next to each other along the Kaanapali Coast.

 

This side has a great variety of beaches and water activities like the south side but also has better scenery and usually calmer waters throughout the day.

 

The west side is also a desert climate so you can expect less rain here. 

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UpCountry

Much like North Shore, there are no big resorts here, however there are many beautiful bed and breakfast available for those of you looking to be up in a cooler crisp mountain climate with a great view of the whole island.

 

Expect to be at least 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the island up here, with the occasional shower.

 

The activities Upcountry include hiking and mountain biking in Poli Poli State Park, Makawao Forest Reserve and Haleakala Crater, and also enjoying the peaceful atmosphere at the Lavender Farm, Winery, and Historic Makawao Town. 

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UpCountry Maui

East Maui

The East side of the island is excellent for those really wanting to find peace away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the island.

 

The sole resort out here and the bed and breakfasts are located in the jungle region of the island and a good 2-3 hour 40 mile drive from the Kahului airport. 

 

The views in this region are unsurpassed and the beaches are much less crowded. You can snorkel and surf here but don’t expect to if you are a beginner.

 

The most unique part about staying on this side of the island is being by the red and black sand beaches. Being in the tropical jungle climate, expect a lot of rain on and off here.  

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Waimoku Waterfall