Are you planning a vacation to Maui in 2022? When traveling to Maui for the first time, it can be overwhelming choosing a location for that long awaited vacation in paradise. The valley isle is well known for its climate diversity, incredible scenery and huge variety of vacation activities on, off and in the ocean. Where you choose to stay can determine the ease at which you accomplished your vacation goals. Here are some important considerations to help decide where to stay on Maui.
Are you traveling as a family with young children?
Certain areas of the island cater more toward the needs of families. Flamingos and penguins live at the Hyatt in Kaanapali, as does one of the best resort water parks on the island. Many hotels include pools, but some of the larger resorts have designed ultimate water play and pool areas specifically for the littles. For the budding water babies, Baby Beach in Lahaina is the perfect place to learn to snorkel. The Kolepolepo fish pond in Kihei is also a great beach for kids just learning to swim as it is protected from waves and offers a shallow, gradual shoreline perfect for splashing, crawling, digging and building sandcastles.
What type of accommodation best suits your vacation style?
While the abundance of amenities offered by larger resorts make a lot of sense for some, a quaint cottage with privacy may appeal to others. Condos typically include kitchens for meal prep and barbecue areas with picnic tables for dining ‘al fresco’. This can be a great way to save money on dining during a Maui vacation. Accommodation ranges from glamping tents at Olowalu, to historic hotels at Lahaina Harbor, oceanfront resorts, private villas, condominiums with pools and authentic Hawaiian style plantation cottages. In general, the areas of Wailea and Kaanapali are where to stay on Maui at larger resorts. Lower cost condos are mainly found in Kihei in the South and Honokawai/Kahana on the West side.
What are your top vacation goals?
Some come for the vitamin D and a solid bronze tan, some aim to see every sight on the island within a week, and others have specific activities on their vacation bucket list. Your vacation style and goals will determine where to stay on Maui. Water activities such as paddle boarding and snorkeling are best done early in the morning when the ocean is most calm. Staying close to the beach in Wailea or Kihei in South Maui or anywhere on the West side of the island will provide easy access to mornings in or on the ocean. Rent snorkel gear and beach toys for the duration of your trip so you can decide to get back out there for a sunset swim on a whim.
For those who prefer to stay off the beaten track, get in touch with nature and align the chakras, the area of Haiku may just be your jam. While the weather is a bit wetter over here, the greens are vibrant and the vibe is mellow. The North shore of Maui is a great location to access hiking trails, visit waterfalls and practice wind sports.
If you simply want to get some R&R through complete lack of stress, hanging out poolside and visiting the resort spa may be exactly what you need. Again, Wailea or Kaanapali would be appropriate lounge areas for you.
Is there anything new you’d like to learn and practice during your vacation?
Want to learn to surf? Kihei and Lahaina are going to be the best bet for small waves and surf schools. How about kite surfing or wind surfing? The North shore town of Paia and nearby Kanaha beach in Kahului are the best locations for wind sports. Want to practice yoga and meditation? A retreat in Haiku or Makawao would be where to stay on Maui for the ultimate zen experience.
Do you need guaranteed sunshine every day?
Many dream of Hawaii during the seemingly endless dreary of a cold and dark winter. If your vacation would be ruined by rain, stay in Kihei or Lahaina where year round summer prevail. If you don’t mind sleeping to the sound of rain or driving a short distance for sunshine, Napili is where to stay on Maui for a surprisingly cooler temperature than Lahaina regardless of its close geographic proximity.
Distance from the airport
- Wailea: 30 minutes
- Kihei: 20 minutes
- Paia: 15 minutes
- Haiku: 30 minutes
- Hana: 2 hours
- Wailuku: 15 minutes
- Ma’alaea: 20 minutes
- Lahaina: 45 minutes
- Kaanapali: 50 minutes
- Honokawai/Kahana: 55 minutes
- Napili/Kapalua: 1 hour
There are other considerations such as budget, time of year and drive time that play a role in determining where to stay on Maui. Generally, a condo will cost less than a resort, it will also help to save money on dining if you can cook ‘at home’. Lahaina and Kihei towns cater to tourism, with plenty of dining options to suit any budget.
West Maui requires more time in the car if visiting sights like the world’s largest dormant volcano (Haleakala) or surviving the road to Hana are on the itinerary. Accessing the crater island on a Molokini snorkeling tour is possible from Lahaina or Ma’alaea Harbor. Whale season runs from November until May, with guaranteed whale sightings simply by glancing towards the horizon during February or March. Parasailing and jet skiing are not permitted during whale season.
Wherever you choose to stay, you will not be disappointed. You may just find that your adventures become determined by the unexpected activities and sights within walking distance of your accommodation. Oh, and if want to make sure to book an accommodation close to a place to rent surfboards, body boards, stand-up paddle boards, bicycles, beach gear and more, click here for all the Boss Frog’s locations.