Pristine beaches and swaying palm trees, stunning landscapes and an epic surf scene, Maui is an island that is nothing short of paradise.

But the one downside to Maui is that it can be a super expensive place to stay. Which is exactly why we put together this in-depth guide for where to stay in Maui!

This Maui neighbourhood guide was written by travellers for travellers. It highlights the must-see, can’t miss attractions in the five best areas in Maui and organizes them by interest so you’ll know exactly where to stay based on what you want to do.

So whether you’re looking to lounge on the beach, party all night long, or get lost in the beauty of the island, this guide has everything you need to know – and more!

Let’s get right to it – here are our top picks for where to stay in Maui, Hawaii, USA.

Quick Tips – The Best Areas to Stay in Maui

  • Where to stay in Maui for your first time – Lahaina
  • Where to stay in Maui on a budget – Wailuku
  • The best area to stay in Maui for nightlife – Kihei
  • The coolest place to stay in Maui – Paia
  • Best area to stay in Maui with a family – Kaanapali

In a hurry? Here’s my top area for first-timers:

FIRST TIME IN MAUI

Lahaina

Lahaina is our top recommendation for where to stay in Maui for your first time. It is a lively town with a rich history. It is believed to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th-century and today boasts a great variety of historic landmarks and popular tourist attractions.

Places to visit:
  • Visit Lahaina Banyan Court Park and see the oldest Banyan tree on the island.
  • Explore the historic US Seamen’s Hospital.
  • Step back in time at the Hale Pa’ahao Old Lahaina Prison.

Top 3 Recommendations for Where to Stay in Maui

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Maui.

Best Hostel in Maui: Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel

The Banana Bungalow wins our vote for the best hostel in Maui. Conveniently located in Wailuku, this hostel regularly hosts free tours, pancake breakfast, and happy hour parties. Guests can enjoy comfortable and clean accommodations, as well as wifi, a jacuzzi, and a garden.

Best Airbnb in Maui: Private condo in a great location

With white sands, crashing waves, and beautiful sunsets right outside the front door, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal for the price. Split bedrooms and beach access make this ideal for a group looking to make the most of the waves.

For more ideas, check out our roundup our guide to the best Airbnbs in Maui.

Best Hotel in Maui: Ka’anapali Beach Club By Diamond Resorts

The Kaanapali Beach Club is the best hotel in Maui. It offers comfortable and spacious rooms that are great for families of all sizes. Guests can enjoy a rooftop terrace, an outdoor swimming pool, and a kids club.

Maui Area Guide

FIRST TIME IN MAUI
Lahaina, Maui
FIRST TIME IN MAUI

Lahaina

Lahaina is our top recommendation for where to stay in Maui for your first time. It is a lively town with a rich history. It is believed to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th-century and today boasts a great variety of historic landmarks and popular tourist attractions.

ON A BUDGET
Wailuku Kapalua Coastal Maui
ON A BUDGET

Wailuku

Wailuku is a charming town situated in the centre of Maui. It is close to the island’s airport and is its commercial centre as well as the seat of government.

NIGHTLIFE
Kihei, Maui
NIGHTLIFE

Kihei

Kihei is a stunning town set on a nearly 10-kilometre stretch of coastline on Maui’s southwestern coast. It is famous for being one of the sunniest and hottest places on the island, making it one of the best places in Maui to stay for travellers looking to relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Paia Beach, Maui
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Paia

The small and historic town of Paia is our top choice for the coolest place to stay in Maui. It is situated on Maui’s north shore and is well-positioned for exploring the island’s most popular attractions, including Hana, Haleakala, and Kahului.

FOR FAMILIES
Kaanapali, Maui
FOR FAMILIES

Kaanapali

Kaanapali is one of the most famous destinations in Hawaii. It boasts almost five kilometres of pristine white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters and was once considered the best beach in the United States.

Set nearly 3,000 kilometres from the west coast of North America, Maui is an island paradise best known for its towering palm trees, golden sand beaches, and shimmering turquoise waters.

Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It covers an area of 1,883 square kilometres and is divided into six districts which are further subdivided into a handful of charming small villages.

This guide will explore the five best areas to stay in Maui based on your travel interests and needs.

A sunset and beach in Maui
It also just so happens to be super beautiful!

Set on the western shores of the island is Kaanapali. The best are to stay in Maui with a family, Kaanapali is packed with fun and adventure plus great food and postcard-perfect beaches.

Travel south along the coast and you’ll arrive in Lahaina. A lively and vibrant town, Lahaina is the best area in Maui to stay in for sightseeing, dining, shopping and exploring.

Continue heading south along the coast to Kihei. This bustling and energetic town is known for its eclectic nightlife scene. Here you can enjoy a few drinks on the beach or dance the night away at a seaside club.

Set on the north shore of Maui is Paia. This small and rustic village is one of the coolest places to stay in Maui because it offers a break from the throngs of tourists as well as great surfing, beautiful beaches, and some of the best seafood restaurants on the island.

And finally, situated just west of Paia is Wailuku. This charming village is home to a great selection of local shops and restaurants as well as a good selection of hostels which is why it’s our top choice for the best place to stay in Maui on a budget.

Still not sure where to stay in Maui? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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Maui’s 5 Best Areas to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best areas to stay in Maui. Each offers different attractions, activities, and natural wonders, so make sure you read each section carefully and pick the area that’s right for you! keep in mind that Maui is one of Hawaii’s most expensive islands, so make sure you plan ahead and set up the right travel budget.

#1 Lahaina – Where to Stay in Maui for Your First Time

Lahaina is our top recommendation for where to stay in Maui for your first time.

It is a lively town with a rich history. It is believed to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th-century and today boasts a great variety of historic landmarks and popular tourist attractions.

Lahaina is the best area in Maui to stay in for sightseeing because it’s so easy to explore on foot. No matter where you choose to stay in Lahaina, you’re never far from the beach, restaurants, bars, and landmarks.

Sunset at Lahaina - Where to Stay in Maui for Your First Time

Best Hostel in Lahaina: The Lahaina Beach House

This newly renovated hostel is one of the best places to stay in Maui thanks to its excellent location. It is close to the beach and offers an affordable getaway for surfing, relaxing, and exploring. This beach house has a range of rooms and a variety of great amenities.

Best Airbnb in Lahaina: Private condo in a great location

With white sands, crashing waves, and beautiful sunsets right outside the front door, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal for the price. Split bedrooms and beach access make this ideal for a group looking to make the most of the waves.

Best Hotel in Lahaina: The Lahaina Inn

The Lahaina Inn is one of the best places to stay in Maui for sightseeing because of its close proximity to excellent attractions like Brick Palace and the Atlantis Submarines. This three-star hotel has comfy rooms with private balconies and a variety of great amenities.

Best Bed & Breakfast in Lahaina: Maui Garden Oasis

If you’re looking to rest, relax and enjoy Lahaina, then this hotel is the place for you! Not only does this elegant bed and breakfast have comfortable rooms, but it also has a golf course, a terrace, and a BBQ area. This property is close to the airport and Maui’s most famous attractions.

Things to See and Do in Lahaina

Things to See and Do in Lahaina Maui
Source: Joe West (Shutterstock)

– Visit Lahaina Banyan Court Park and see the oldest Banyan tree in Maui.

– Unleash your inner adventurer by canoeing, hiking, or kayaking.

– Explore the historic US Seamen’s Hospital.

– Step back in time at the Hale Pa’ahao Old Lahaina Prison.

– Delve deep into history on the Lahaina Historic Trail.

– Enjoy a night of traditional food, drinks and dancing at Old Lahaina Luau.

– See giant sea creatures up-close on a whale-watching cruise.

– Feast on local delicacies at Lahaina Grill voted Lahaina’s best restaurant more than 20 years in a row.

– Sip a cold one at Fleetwood’s On Front Street.

#2 Wailuku – Best Places to Stay in Maui on a Budget

Wailuku is a charming town situated in the centre of Maui. It is close to the island’s airport and is its commercial centre as well as the seat of government. This bustling and boisterous town is packed with charming local shops and delicious cafes, making it a fantastic place to enjoy a day.

This Hawaii town also gets our vote for where to stay in Maui on a budget because it has a high concentration of hostels and affordable hotels. By staying in Wailuku, you can enjoy all the best activities and attractions the island has to offers while ensuring you don’t blow your budget.

Wailuku Kapalua Coastal Maui
Kapalua Coastal | Source: dirkr (Shutterstock)

Best Hostel in Wailuku: Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel

The Banana Bungalow wins our vote for the best hostel in Maui. Conveniently located in Wailuku, this hostel regularly hosts free tours, pancake breakfast and happy hour parties. Guests can enjoy comfortable and clean accommodations, as well as wifi, a jacuzzi, and a garden.

Best Hostel in Wailuku: The Northshore Hostel Maui

This hostel is ideally located in Wailuku, the best area in Maui to stay in if you’re on a budget. Nearby you’ll find a great variety of affordable attractions and activities as well as delicious cheap eats. This hostel has 30 rooms and features free wifi, a concierge, and a sun deck.

Best Airbnb in Wailuku: Renovated Plantation Home

Yeah, so it’s not exactly cheap but it is cheap for Maui… plus you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck! A small cottage housing up to three peeps, it still holds on to its historic fel but the amenities have been updated – there’s even A/C! The owners also run a business right next door so anything you need help with they’re right there.

Best Guesthouse in Wailuku: Wailuku Guesthouse

Thanks to its stunning swimming pool and excellent location, this is one of the best places in Maui to stay. Comprised of five rooms, this guesthouse offers all the necessities a traveller could need. Guests can also enjoy the sundeck, free wifi, and a modern fitness centre.

Things to See and Do in Wailuku

Kapalua Beach at sunset
Kapalua Beach looking’ mighty fine! | source: Sang T. Tran (Shutterstock)

– See the spectacular Iao Valley State Monument and explore the lush national park.

– Dine on delicious American fare at The Mill House.

– Celebrate local art, culture, fashion and food by attending a Wailuku First Friday event.

– Explore old Wailuku by joining a Rediscover Wailuku Tour.

– Hike the Kapalua Coastal Trail, an incredible 3-kilometre hike along the coast.

– Marvel at the architecture and design of the Iao Theatre.

– Step back in time at Hale Ho’ike’uke at the Baile House.

– Sample variety of drinks at the Steel Horse Saloon.

– Kick start your day with an incredible and satisfying breakfast at Tasty Crust Restaurant.

#3 Kihei – Where to Stay in Maui for Nightlife

Kihei is a stunning town set on a nearly 10-kilometre stretch of coastline on Maui’s southwestern coast. It is famous for being one of the sunniest and hottest places on the island, making it one of the best towns to stay in Maui for travellers looking to relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

Kihei is also our top pick for where to stay in Maui for nightlife. This stunning seaside town is home to the “Barmuda Triangle,” a boisterous and buzzing area of town that is packed with bars, restaurants, shops, and clubs. So whether you want to sit back and relax or party until dawn, Kihei is the place for you!

Beach at Kihei - Kihei - Where to Stay in Maui for Nightlife

Best Hostel in Kihei: Maui Sugar Beach Inn

This vibrant hostel is situated in the best town to stay in Maui for nightlife because you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. The property offers comfortable rooms and guests have access to a kitchenette, a garden, and a business centre. There’s also tennis courts and an outdoor pool.

Best Airbnb in Kihei: Charming studio with an awesome vibe

Your own private slice of paradise is what’s on offer here. These rooms are bright and cosy and the decking has an awesome vibe to it with all the local flora and fauna walling you in. The islands main strip of bars is a stones throw away.

Best Hotel in Kihei: Days Inn by Wyndham Maui

The Days Inn is set close to lively Kiehi. It has a gym and barbecue area, as well as an award-winning restaurant on site. Boasting 86 rooms, this hotel offers clean, comfortable, and spacious rooms.

Best Hotel in Kihei: Maui Coast Hotel

This fantastic three-star hotel is an excellent option for Maui accommodation. It has outdoor tennis courts, a jacuzzi, and a swimming pool plus guests can enjoy stunning mountain views as well! This three-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with modern amenities and convenient features. Breakfast is also available each morning.

Things to See and Do in Kihei

Beers at a bar enjoying the nightlife while stayin in Maui
Sip the delights.

– Sip cocktails in the open-air lounge at the South Shore Tiki Lounge.

– Indulge in delicious tacos, drinks and more at Haui’s Life’s a Beach.

– Listen to live music at Kahale’s Maui’s Local Dive Bar, Maui’s oldest dive bar.

– Excite your senses at Monkeypod Kitchen.

– Grab a pint at the Dog & Duck Irish Pub.

– Indulge in saucy, savoury and succulent dishes at Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse BBQ.

– Drink fruity cocktails at Three’s Bar and Grill.

– Rest, relax and enjoy the views from Kalama Beach.

– Eat fresh and delicious seafood at Coconut’s Fish Café.

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#4 Paia – Coolest Place to Stay in Maui

The small and historic town of Paia is our top choice for the coolest place to stay in Maui. It is situated on Maui’s north shore and is well-positioned for exploring the island’s most popular attractions, including Hana, Haleakala, and Kahului.

Once a booming sugar plantation town, Paia is a laid-back village known for its vibrant storefronts and unique boutiques, as well as it’s independent art galleries and incredible local restaurants. If you’re keen to escape the crowds and experience the “real” Maui, Paia is the place to be!

Beach at Paia - Coolest Place to Stay in Maui
More beautiful beaches to get your toes a tingling!

Best Hostel in Paia: Aloha Surf Hostel

The Aloha Surf Hostel is one of the coolest places to stay in Maui. They offer a range of clean and comfortable rooms with excellent storage facilities and luxury linens. This hostel also regularly hosts social events, like free pancake breakfasts and daily tours of Maui.

Best Airbnb in Paia: Cute condo in a quiet local

A cute, classic little condo just moments away from the beach. This laid back apartment in a laid back community is ideal for those of you looking to get away from it all and unwind for awhile

Best Guest House in Paia: Kaiholo Hale

This property is a fantastic Maui accommodation option. It is situated in trendy Paia and makes for a great base for exploring the island. This property has a kitchenette, wireless internet, a DVD player, and a coffee/tea makes. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops nearby.

Best Hotel in Paia: The Spyglass House Rentals

The Spyglass House is located in one of Maui’s best neighbourhoods and is close to dining, shopping and sightseeing options. This property has three excellent apartments that are well equipped with modern amenities. There’s also a restaurant on-site that serves delicious BBQ dishes.

Things to See and Do in Paia

Things to See and Do in Paia Maui
Do a barrel roll! Actually, on second thoughts, maybe not…

– Lounge on the beach or hit the waves at Ho’okipa Beach, the windsurfing capital of the world.

– Feast on a variety of American-style dishes at Charley’s Restaurant.

– Watch the windsurfers zip across the horizon at H.A. Baldwin Beach Park.

– Chill out on the golden sands at pristine Lower Paia Park.

– Explore the calm and relaxing grounds of the Paia Peace Stupa.

– Indulge in incredible seafood dishes from local landmark Mama’s Fish House.

– Hop in the car and explore nearby natural attractions like Hana and Haleakala.

– Enjoy a delicious meal at Café Mambo Cinema.

– Hunt for treasures and souvenirs at the Swap Meet at Paia Bay.

#5 Kaanapali – Best Area to Stay in Maui with a Family

Kaanapali is one of the most famous places in Hawaii. It boasts almost five kilometres of pristine white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters and was once considered the best beach in the United States.

Today, Kaanapali is home to a number of world-class resorts and luxurious condos. It offers a variety of activities and attractions, perfect for visitors looking for an idyllic vacation in paradise. Here you can swim and splash in the waves or build sandcastles on the beach which is why Kaanapali is our top choice for where to stay in Maui for families.

Sunset and beach at Kaanapali - Best Area to Stay in Maui with a Family

Best Airbnb in Kaanapali: Spacious condo that’s great for a group

This open plan condo with generous bedrooms would be great for a family getaway. The beach is right outside the front door, as well as some of the islands best snorkelling spots. You’ll find a range of restaurants and supermarkets a short walk away to give hungry mouths sated.

Best Hotel in Kaanapali: Ka’anapali Beach Hotel

Kaanapali Beach Hotel is a modern three-star hotel and a great option for where to stay in Maui with kids. It has spacious rooms which offer comfortable accommodations for families. There’s also a kids club, an outdoor pool, a rooftop terrace and a beauty centre. Guests can enjoy a meal or drink at the on-site restaurant and bar.

Best Hotel in Kaanapali: Ka’anapali Beach Club By Diamond Resorts

This modern three-star hotel is ideally located in Kaanapali. It offers comfortable and spacious rooms that are ideal for families of all sizes. Guests can enjoy a rooftop terrace, an outdoor swimming pool, and a kids club.

Best Hotel in Kaanapali: Aston Kaanapali Shores

With its excellent location, range of amenities, and a myriad of activities for kids, it’s no wonder this is one of the best places to stay in Maui. Rooms at this stunning four-star hotel come complete with air conditioning and private bathrooms. There’s also an outdoor pool, a gym, and an in-house restaurant.

Things to See and Do in Kaanapali

Surfing lesson in Paia Maui
See! Look at how much fun he’s having! The kid ain’t half bad either.

– Enjoy an afternoon of shopping at Whalers Village.

– Get your adrenaline pumping by cliff-diving at Black Rock or Puu Kekaa

– Explore the outstanding Hanakao’o Beach Park where you might even see a sea turtle!

– Splash in the tide pools at Napili Bay.

– Build sandcastles and soak up some rays at Kaanapali Beach.

– Rent snorkels and explore a vibrant and colourful world beneath the waves.

– Satisfy your sweet tooth with a cool and refreshing cone of Hawaiian Shave Ice.

– Dine on tasty American dishes at Hula Grill Kaanapali.

– Start your day with a filling and flavourful breakfast at CJ’s Deli & Diner.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Maui

Maui is nothing short of paradise. It has everything from swaying palm trees and perfect beaches to lush jungles and world-class surfing. No matter which town, area, city, or abandoned beach shack you choose to stay in on Maui, you’ll find something for that perfect holiday. No matter your interests, there’s something for travellers of all ages, style, and budgets in idyllic and beautiful Maui.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the best areas to stay in Maui. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here is a quick recap:

Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel is our favourite hostel because it is conveniently located, has great amenities, and hosts regular social activities like tours, pancake breakfast, and happy hour parties.

Ka’anapali Beach Club By Diamond Resorts is the best hotel because it has rooms that are large enough for families, and it boasts a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and stunning views.

That’s it! With this area guide for Maui, you should be able to find the perfect place to stay. And, even if you completely disregard this guide (which would be totally silly), you’ll probably the best location to stay in Maui… because it’s all the best. It’s Maui!

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