Where to stay on Maui in 2022: West vs South Maui and beyond

Looking for advice on the best place to stay on Maui? Finding the pros and cons of each area in Maui actually proved to be quite difficult. So, in order for you to actually keep your cool, I’ll save you the trouble of figuring out where to stay in Maui. Your travel sanity is my priority, after all. West Maui vs South Maui? Wailea vs Kaanapali? Kaanapli vs Kihei? Kapalua vs Wailea? And what about Maui’s North Shore, Upcountry and Central Maui? To find our where to stay on Maui we compared every part of the island.

At the time of planning our 3-week trip Hawaii island hopping trip, we decided to start our family vacation on Maui. It appeared to be the best Hawaiian island for families with kids in search of relaxation. After all, this compact island is home to some world class resorts, vacation rentals and Airbnbs in Hawaii. But it took us some time to figure out the best area in Maui to stay to recover from jetlag and be close to some of the best activities in Maui. We ended up having a great time. And now we can’t wait to share our findings with you.

So, are you ready to discover the best place to stay on Maui for you and your travel companions? Let’s dive in!


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Beach, palms, plumeria and ocean in Maui Hawaii
Mountains or ocean, where to stay in Maui

Here are our top picks for the best place to stay on Maui.
Keep scrolling for a comprehensive overview of all areas of Maui with pros and cons as well as a selection of Maui vacation rentals, world class resorts and the best hotels in Maui.

West Maui (Kapalua and Napili Bay, Lahaina and Ka’anapali)

Ritz Carlton Maui resort pool on the west side of the island

Upcountry Maui (Makawao and Kula)

Estate in the Kula mountains

Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)

Lanai with swing chair in Wailuku

And if you happen to be visiting more than one Hawaiian island, then might want to check out our article on the best areas to stay on the Big Island too.

Maui places to stay on the map

Have a look at our custom map of Maui to see where to find the island’s tourist resorts.

Maui where to stay map with the best Maui resorts

Maui is Hawaii second largest island. With a surface of 727.2 mi² (or 1 883 km²), it’s pretty compact. So much so, that you might be inclined to think that your location is not too important and driving times from any Maui area are pretty reasonable. Well, that’s not always the case.

The Hawaiian Islands are volcanic islands and Maui is home to two of those: The dormant Haleakala in Central Maui and the eroded Mauna Kahalawai in West Maui. (Check out these interesting facts about Hawaii and its volcanoes.) The volcanoes take up most of the Valley Isle’s surface and most roads lead around them.

As a result, getting to your destination might take you quite a bit longer than you might think. So, yes, where to stay is a pretty important decision to make when planning your trip to Hawaii.

On all Hawaiian islands you need a rental car to get around the island

Where to stay on Maui by region: West Maui vs South Maui and beyond

The main airport in Maui, Kahului Airport, is located in Central Maui. From there, you’ll head to one of these resort areas in Maui:

  • In West Maui: Kaanapali or Kapalua.
  • In South Maui: Wailea or Kihei.
  • On the North shore: Paia or Haiku. This is also where to start your Road to Hana adventure.
  • In East Maui: Hana.
  • In Upcountry Maui: Makawao or Kula.
  • In Central Maui: Kahului or Wailuku.

Let me break down each of these locations by character.

Where to stay in West Maui

Whip out your beach vacation packing list because West Maui is home to some of the best beaches in Maui. In this part of the island, you can choose to stay in either Kaanapali or Kapalua.

Kaanapali

For families with kids, Ka'anapali is the best area to stay in Maui for families and also where to stay in Maui first time
Check out the Maui offers for photography

What Kaanapli is about:

  • The soft, golden sand of famous Kaanapali beach stretches over three miles. It’s one of the best places in Maui for snorkeling thanks to its crystal-clear waters. This is especially the case near spiritual Black Rock (Puʻu Kekaʻa), considered by ancient Hawaiians to be the place where spirits would leap from this world to the next.
  • Kaanapali is the most touristy area in West Maui, lined with several Maui luxury resorts all within easy walking distance from one another. The Kaanapali Beachwalk leads visitors along this gorgeous beach and to lively Whalers Village where they’ll find shops (selling from apparel to made-in-Hawaii gifts and souvenirs), bars, restaurants and entertainment.
  • Lahaina, the old whaling village just south of Kaanapali, adds a cultural touch to this West Maui. Enchanting Lahaina town is home to the most beautiful banyan tree in Hawaii and lively Front street with its many art galleries. Lahaina harbor is the starting point for most ocean excursions.

Where to stay in Kaanapali:

  • The Westin Maui Resort And Spa is Kaanapali’s most popular resort. Families in particular love the pool slides and the flamingo’s that reside in this Maui hotel lagoon.
  • The iconic Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, one of the oldest beach hotels in Maui, has been upping its game too with the recent renovation of the Papakū & Kauhale Wings. An added bonus is that is one of the few (or only) West Maui beach hotels that doesn’t charge resort fees!
  • Alternatively, you could stay in a villa or condo. Find your Kaanapali home away from home on VRBO.
Oceanfront terrace in this west side of Maui vacation rental
Image courtesy of VRBO – Maui Resort Rentals
Hyatt Residence Club – 2 bedrooms – sleeps 7
Terrace and lawn of a holiday home in the whaling village of Lahaina on the west side of Maui at sunset
Image courtesy of VRBO – Whalers Investment Gr.
No Ka Oi Hale – 3 bedrooms – sleeps 6
Maui Kaanapali beach villa rental
Image courtesy of VRBO – HILuxuryLiving
Hawaiiana Hale estate – 4 bedrooms – sleeps 8
Well-appointed Maui rental condo on the west side
Image courtesy of VRBO – Stay Now Maui
Maui Kaanapali Villas – studio – sleeps 4
West Maui condo with ocean views
Image courtesy of VRBO – Maui Resort Rentals
Kaanapali Alii – 2 bedrooms – sleeps 6
Jacuzzi, pool and ocean views at this luxury beach house on the west side of the Valley Isle
Image courtesy of VRBO – Sherry Barbier
Upscale Beach Home – 6 bedrooms – sleeps 15

Kapalua

Little girl on Kapalua beach which is one of the best places to stay in Maui Hawaii

What Kapalua is about:

  • The Kapalua resort area is located just a 15-minute drive north from Kaanapali. Kapalua is the Hawaiian word for arms embracing the sea and that’s an accurate description for this sheltered bay. The area close to the rocks is an excellent snorkeling site. If you’re more into boogie boarding, you’ll certainly appreciate the swells at D.T. Fleming beach, especially during the winter season.
  • It feels less touristy here, making it the best place on Maui for understated luxury. You’ll find some boutiques, restaurants and shops but not as many as in Kaanapali.
  • Just south of Kapalua Bay you’ll find the gorgeous Napili Bay which is a bit less upscale and more laid back.

Where to stay in Kapalua:

  • The upscale Ritz Carlton Kapalua is Kapalua’s main luxury resort. It counts as one of the best hotels in Maui if you’re looking to be pampered. Every room features a private lanai (balcony) to enjoy the gorgeous ocean views. Prefer a smaller West Maui hotel? Then the Montage Kapalua Bay might be just what you’re looking for.
  • Families traveling to the Valley Isle might prefer staying in a condo or villa. You’ll find some gorgeous West Maui condos on VRBO. Here are some suggestions along Kapalua Bay and Napili Bay:
Terrace with ocean views in Kapalua, one of the best places to stay in Maui for adults on the west side
Image courtesy of VRBO – Platinum Maui Vacations
1 bedroom – sleeps 4
This upscale home overlooking Napili Bay on the west side is one of the best vacation rentals for a family stay in Maui
Image courtesy of VRBO – Andrew M.
7 bedrooms – sleeps 28
Terrace of a corner condo in West Maui
Image courtesy of VRBO – Jeremy Stice
2 bedrooms – sleeps 5

Where to stay in South Maui

Kihei and Wailea are the two resort areas that can be found on the south side of Maui. They’re worlds apart in terms of accommodation options but both are home to some beautiful white sand beaches and postcard-perfect scenery.

Kihei

Kihei has a very central location, an important consideration when deciding where to stay in Maui in Hawaii

What Kihei is about:

  • Kihei is home to some gorgeous white sand beaches: There’s a soft sandy beach named Sugar beach in the north of Kihei and three popular stretches of beach that form Kama’ole Beach Park in the South of Kihei.
  • Kalepolepo Beach is small but charming and features the Ko’ie’ie, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond which is now a shallow pool ideal for kids. The pond is fed by natural spring water and has a historical, cultural significance since it was once a Hawaiian village.
  • Kihei is the most central resort location in South Maui yet probably the least crowded. That’s because you won’t find many hotels here. Because of that, many tourists don’t even consider Kihei in their search for the best area to stay on Maui.
  • Kihei makes for a wonderful budget friendly option when it comes to vacation rentals.

Where to stay in Kihei:

This terrace with ocean views is a wonderful place to stay in South Maui
Image courtesy of VRBO – Villa Moana Maui
8 bedrooms – sleeps 18
White and bright interior of a beach house vacation rental at the south side
Image courtesy of VRBO – Maui Beachside 2
2 bedrooms – sleeps 5
This garden cottage vacation rental is one of the best places to stay in Kihei Maui
Image courtesy of VRBO – Kihei Garden Cottage
2 bedrooms – sleeps 5

Wailea

Rocky beach at sunset in Wailea which is one of the best areas in Maui for couples

What Wailea is about:

  • If you’re more into peaceful and posh surroundings, then Wailea might be for you. This South Maui area features wonderful Maui beaches such as Big Beach (Makena Beach) and Polo Beach and is close to the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, a renowned Maui snorkeling spot.
  • Plus you’ll get to enjoy the exquisite service of some of the luxury resorts at the south side of the island. Sensational ocean views guaranteed. The Wailea Beach Path interconnects the Wailea beach resorts, although these are more spread out than the ones along the Kaanapali Beachwalk.
  • You’ll also find fine dining restaurants in this South Maui resort area as well as boutiques and entertainment at Shops at Wailea, all within walking distance of the world class resorts.

Where to stay in Wailea:

Interior of a house with wooden accents on the island's south side
Image courtesy of VRBO – Wailea Ekolu 1606
2 bedrooms – sleeps 6
This vacation home with pool and ocean views is one of the top Maui vacation rentals
Image courtesy of VRBO – Coral Gardens Estate
4 bedrooms – sleeps 8
Backyard with a small pool in Maui Wailea
Image courtesy of VRBO – Island Property Mt
3 bedrooms – sleeps 8

Where to stay in North Shore Maui

Beach park with yellow rescue post under a palm tree

What the North Shore is about:

  • If the luxury resorts of the west and south side of Maui have no effect on you, then you’ll find a more genuine side of the island in Paia and Haiku.
  • This Maui region offers the best of both worlds: You’ll be close to beautiful beaches (Baldwin Beach near Paia and Ho’okipa Beach near Haiku) yet nearby waterfalls and lush rainforest. The Road to Hana starts right here in the North Shore, so you’ll have a head start on all the vacationers that are coming from South or West Maui.

Where to stay at Maui’s North Shore:

  • The North Shore is one of the most unique places to stay on Maui. You won’t find any beach resorts at this side of the island, since this area is more about one-of-a-kind stays with a touch of boho or beach shacks with full amenities. Here are some North Shore suggestions:
Wooden deck of a petrol-colored house on the North Shore
Image courtesy of VRBO – Ku’au Ko
2 bedrooms – sleeps 6
This North Shore surf shack is located one of the most authentic parts of Maui for families
Image courtesy of VRBO – Haiku Surf House
2 bedrooms – sleeps 6
Backyard with pool and ocean views on the North Shore
Image courtesy of VRBO – Pinnacle
3 bedrooms – sleeps 4

Where to stay in East Maui and along the Road to Hana

Black sand beach of Waiʻānapanapa State Park along the Road to Hana in East Maui

The North Shore town of Paia is the start of the legendary Road to Hana in East Maui. Discover the lush natural beauty of this side of Maui at Twin Falls, marvel at the rainbow eucalyptus trees, visit the Garden of Eden and Ke’anae arboretum, sink your teeth in a slice of heavenly banana bread, explore Wailua Valley State Wayside Park, admire Waikani Falls, visit the Hana lava tubes and relax at the black sand beach in Wai’anapanapa State Park.

The Hana highway actually continues beyond Hana and is dotted with even more worth-while Maui attractions such as the Seven Sacred Pools and the Pipiwai hiking trail.

If you’re looking to make the most of your Road to Hana adventure, you could spend the night in Hana. This remote little town along the Road to Hana is very rural so one night, maybe two, is plenty to explore the surroundings.

Where to stay in Hana (and along the Hana highway):

  • Or you could to stay at one of these amazing vacation rental along the Road to Hana in East Maui:
Wooden deck amidst a tropical setting in Hana East Maui
Image courtesy of VRBO – Hamoa Bay Bungalow
1 bedrooms – sleeps 2
Accommodation East Maui with an interior of tropical woord with beige couch
Image courtesy of VRBO – Hamoa Beach House
3 bedrooms – sleeps 8

Where to stay in Upcountry Maui

Upcountry Maui is one of the Maui best places to stay

What Upcountry Maui is all about:

  • Although the geographical borders are a bit vague, Upcountry Maui is the area just south of North Shore and east of Central Maui. It’s Haleakala territory and located inland, away from the coast. You’ll find yourself amidst the local residents, near a cute town called Makawao.

Where to stay at Maui’s rural countryside:

  • Again, no resorts in this part of Maui. What you’ll find here are chic mountain retreats and cozy cabins. Here are some suggestions for intimate lodging on Maui:
Backyard of a house in Kula Maui Upcountry
Image courtesy of VRBO – Kula Villa by Debra
1 bedroom – sleeps 2
One of the vacation rentals in the Kula mountains
Image courtesy of VRBO – Haleakala Princess Estate
3 bedrooms – sleeps 6
Tropical outdoor patio of a house in the Kula mountains in Maui Upcountry
Image courtesy of VRBO – North Shore Lookout
1 bedroom – sleeps 2

Where to stay in Central Maui

Kaanapali is one of the most popular places to stay in Maui Hawaii and is close to these emerald green West Maui mountains

What Central Maui’s all about:

  • Accessibility, really, since this is the Maui area located around the airport. If you’re looking to see as much as you can on the island within a short amount of time, then staying central is key.
  • Wailuku is a charming little town with a selection of small shops and restaurants and even the occasional bed and breakfast.
  • It’s also very affordable compared to the other parts of Maui which is, in part, due to the fact that you’ll be further away from the coastline.

Where to stay in Central Maui:

  • Convenience and affordability translate in a rather limited accommodation offer. There are, however, some hidden gems such as this gorgeous plantation home in Wailuku. It’s centrally located in the historic town with easy access to ‘Iao Valley and some of the island’s most scenic hiking trails.

It’s safe to say that both West Maui and South Maui are the most popular resort areas to stay in Maui but both Upcountry and the Paia region are on the rise. Your happy place on Maui depends entirely on what you’re looking to experience on the Valley Isle. So, let’s compare these resort areas of Maui by travel type, by interest and by weather.

Best places to stay in Maui by travel type

Two little girls in hammocks at Kaanapali beach, a very family-friendly place to stay in Maui's west side

When it comes to choosing the best Maui area for you, your travel goal is one of the deciding factors. Are you vacationing on the Valley Isle to relax at the beach? Or are you an active traveler looking to explore the outdoors? Are you planning a romantic trip with your loved one? Or will you be traveling with kids?

Maui with kids

Kaanapali and Wailea are the best places to stay on Maui for families.

Families traveling to the Valley Isle usually spend most of their time in their luxury resort right on the beach. Some sightseeing is included in most family itineraries, say a day or two of exploring Maui with kids, but it’s usually not the key-focus. They look for a family-friendly luxury resort, a beautiful beach with some water sports and a lively environment with a bit of entertainment. West Maui vs South Maui? That’s up to you, both offer plenty of family-friendly accommodation options and gorgeous sand beaches within walking distance.

If you’re looking to stay in West Maui, we’d recommend staying in Kaanapali. We spent our vacation recommend the Westin Maui Resort & Spa but also this spacious Hyatt Residence condo caught our eye.

In South Maui, The Grand Wailea Resort & Spa by Waldorf Astoria in Wailea would be our pick. The kids will love its beachfront location and amazing pool complete with waterslides, a lazy river and a swinging rope. Or how about this gorgeous and affordable family-friendly vacation rental with private heated pool, waterfall and slide? Kids will love it here! Thanks to its central location, white sand beaches and restaurants are within easy reach.

One of the Maui resorts in Kaanapali
WESTIN RESORT KAANAPALI
Pool and ocean views from this Hyatt residence in Kaanapali, one of the best places to stay on Maui for families
Image courtesy of VRBO Maui Resort Rentals
HYATT RESIDENCE CONDO KAANAPALI
Pool and mountain views in one of the Maui hotels in Wailea
GRAND WAILEA RESORT
The pool with waterfall and slide in a tropical setting makes this one of the best vacation rentals on the south side of Maui
Image courtesy of VRBO Elaine Cuaresma
KIHEI

Maui on a budget

Kihei and Wailuku are the most affordable places to stay on Maui.

If you want a beach vacation that won’t break the bank, head to South Maui or Central Maui. Never mind the high end resorts with their ridiculously high resort fees, that’s not what you’re looking for. You want to be close to the action and explore the best that the Valley Isle has to offer.

In that case, it’s best to rent one of the many Maui accommodations nearby the gorgeous Kihei beaches yet close to the main roads. This oceanfront condo overlooking Sugar beach, for example, is very reasonably priced and gets glowing reviews.

If you don’t necessarily need to stay near the beach, then you can make it even more budget friendly by staying in Wailuku in Central Maui. Check out this modern one-bedroom condo.

Then again, you might find an affordable gem in some of the more expensive parts of the island too. Have a look at this remodelled condo in Kahana about halfway between Kaanapali and Kapalua.

White interior and hardwood floors of a condo
Image courtesy of VRBO Tara Kasbergen
KIHEI
This Airbnb Maui, with a front porch with rocking chairs and a blue front door, is one of this best places to stay in maui on a budget
Image courtesy of VRBO Blue Door Church Street
WAILUKU
Cozy lanai of a Maui condo
Image courtesy of VRBO Hale Mala Hina
KAHANA
Sunset from the pool during a Maui honeymoon

Maui on a honeymoon

Wailea, Kapalua, Kula and Haiku are the best places to stay Maui for couples.

Long walks on some of the best beaches in the state, exclusive dinners and some cocooning at the luxury spa. You might go and explore some of Maui’s highlights but that’s secondary. This makes Wailea in South Maui and Kapalua in West Maui perfect for a dreamy Maui honeymoon. The Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea and the Montage Kapalua Bay are wonderful options for an unforgettable Maui honeymoon.

Just you, your loved one and a whole lot of pampering in a romantic setting, that’s what your honeymoon should be all about. You don’t feel the need to be in a central location but instead, you want your own slice of paradise far away from anything else. If that’s the kind of honeymoon you envision, then the Upcountry Kula mountains are where you’ll want to be. Check out this romantic mountain retreat.

If you’re looking for that perfect sweet-spot between adventure and romance, then look no further than Haiku. You’ll have a gorgeous white sand beach and a lush rainforest at your fingertips. Take a dip in a waterfall when the coastal visitors are back in their resort and watch the whales breach from the comfort of your romantic retreat. This gorgeous vacation villa is what newly-wed dreams are made of.

Cabin with stone and wooden elements hidden behind a tree
Image courtesy of VRBO Upcountry Hideaway
KULA
Beachfront resort with pool and ocean views
Image courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay
KAPALUA
One of the best vacation rentals with wide lawn, pool and lanai is one of the best places to stay in maui for couples
Image courtesy of VRBO Cathy & Melody
HAIKU
No matter where you stay in Maui, make sure to capture every moment

Best places to stay on Maui by activity

Do you plan on exploring some of the island’s many delights? Then it’s important to factor in driving times when deciding which Maui area to stay at. You don’t want to spend too much of that valuable vacation time in the car, now do you?

Sightseeing

Driving in Maui is easy, as long as you stay on the main roads and there are only a few of these on the island. Expect scenic winding roads, really winding at times. After all, getting from point A to point B often involves making a big loop around a part of the island.

To help you make your decision on the Maui that’s right for you, we’ve researched the driving times from the main tourist resorts to the most popular points of interest: Lahaina Town, ‘Iao Valley State Park and the West Maui mountains, Haleakala National Park, the Road to Hana and the Seven Sacred Pools.

Driving times from the best areas to stay in Maui to the island's main tourist attractions

Some things to do in Maui take up a full day: Driving the legendary Road to Hana in East Maui on the hunt for waterfalls and the Waiʻānapanapa State Park black sand beach on Maui, for example. Or discovering the many epic things to do in Haleakala, Maui’s volcanic heart.

Others can be easily combined. You could, for example, see the sunrise in Haleakala National Park and spend the afternoon enjoying the Maui vacation vibe in your chosen beach resort. More into hiking? Then these spectacular Maui hiking trails are exactly what you’re looking for.

You absolutely need a car if you want to make the most of your trip to Maui. We strongly recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental for their carefree booking process and excellent service. If you’re looking to rent a specific make and model – you can’t go wrong with a Jeep Wrangler on Maui – then booking ahead is essential.

On all Hawaiian islands you need a rental car to get around the island

Snorkeling

Kaanapali, Kapalua and Wailea are the best places in Maui to stay for snorkeling.

We’ve snorkeled at Black Rock (Kaanapali Beach) and Kapalua Beach in West Maui. These sites ideal for less experienced and first time snorkelers, like our kids. Just enter the water where you see some lava rocks and before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by colorful fish. We didn’t encounter turtles on the west side but that’s probably because we stayed quite close to the beach. Advanced snorkelers can head to Honolua Bay up north.

We didn’t get to snorkel in the Wailea area, unfortunately, so we can’t share our personal experiences. From what we’ve heard, the Ahihi Kinau Reserve is a top notch snorkeling spot in South Maui. It’s also a recommended snorkeling site for families with children.

Popular off-shore snorkeling sites are the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town. They’re located close to the Wailea shore but charter boats leave from marinas closer to West Maui too. So, for these excursions it doesn’t really matter that much where you choose to be staying. The best time of day to go snorkeling is in the morning, when the winds haven’t picked up yet. This is the Molokini Crater snorkeling tour we’d go for.

Make sure to wear a rash guard and a reef-friendly sunscreen.

Golf

Kaanapali, Kapalua, Kihei and Wailea are all great places in Maui for golfers.

Maui, and Hawaii in general, is a golf lovers’ paradise. In West Maui, Kapalua is home to the iconic Plantation Course, where the PGA tour is held every January, and the Bay Course. In Kaanapali you’ll find the Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai Golf Courses.

In South Maui, the Wailea Golf Club features the Blue, Emerald Course and Gold Courses as well as the Makena Golf Courses. Kihei is home to the Nui Golf Club.

Watching whales from ashore in the west side or the south side of Maui or from the whaling village of Lahaina

Whale-watching

Kaanapali, Wailea and Maalaea in between are the places in Maui for whale-watching.

Maui’s whale watching season runs from November to May and peaks in February. It’s the time of year where North Pacific Humpback Whales enjoy the safe and warm ocean waters to breed, birth and raise their calves. The absolute best Maui whale watching site is the McGregor Point Lookout in Maalaea, located right in between West and South Maui.

In West Maui, the most popular viewing point is Kaanapali’s Black Rock. In South Wailea, you have a good chance of spotting humpbacks from Point Maui’s Wailea Coastal Walk.

If you’re looking to see these friendly giants up close, then you can join a whale-watching cruise from Lahaina harbor.

Maui luau performance

Watching a luau

Kaanapali is closest to the luau performances.

A luau is a feast with dance performances, often featuring styles from different Polynesian islands, and local food, mostly buffet-style. The best Maui luau shows take place in the Kaanapali – Lahaina area.
We attended the Westin Maui luau. Here’s a list of other luau options. Note that advance bookings are recommended.

Where to stay in Maui by climate

Wailea is the hottest place in Maui, Kula the coolest and Wailuku, Paia and Hana the wettest.

Little girl during a rainy moment at Kapalua beach

East Maui is the land of rainforests and waterfalls and therefore the rainiest part of Maui. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself exploring the Road to Hana on a clear sunny day. If you’re not – and we weren’t… at all – the pouring rain makes a road trip impossible. We drove about halfway to Hana before we had to return to the west side of Maui because of the terrible weather.

Both the west and south Maui coast are the sunniest parts of the island because they are located on the island’s leeward side. Still, there’s a bit of difference, especially during the winter months. That’s because the West Maui mountains lift and cool the moist ocean air coming from the northern coast (windward side), making it condense into rain.

The more north, the higher your chance of rain while the weather in the south tends to be drier. We even noticed how it was raining in Kapalua when we just arrived from sunny Kaanapali, in the beginning of April. South Maui has the lowest chance of rain, Kapalua the highest. So, South Maui vs West Maui is an important consideration to make in terms of weather.

It you prefer a cooler and drier climate, then you’ll love the Kula mountains. No aircon needed in this part of Maui, the gentle breeze will do the trick.

On all Hawaiian islands you need a rental car to get around the island

Our preferred place to stay in Maui

We stayed at the Westin Maui Resort And Spa in Kaanapali. Since this was the most relaxing part of our three-week Hawaii island hopping adventure, we chose this beach resort with the kids in mind. The Westin Maui Resort and Spa has the most spectacular pool, is located right on Kaanapali Beach and hosts one of the best Maui luau shows. The west side of the island turned out to be a great choice for a first trip to Maui.

Girl sliding down the pool slide in the Westin Resort, one of the best Maui hotels on the west side

There’s something special about Maui (and Hawaii in general), something that keeps us longing for more. For a second visit, though, we’d probably book the Ritz Carlton Kapalua because we loved the beach and the Kapalua Coastal Trail. Or we might check out the Wailea area, just to have a change of scenery and check out the renowned Ahihi Kinau Reserve snorkeling spot. The Grand Wailea Resort & Spa and Four Seasons at Wailea there do look heavenly, don’t they?

Where will you stay on Maui?

When you’ve come this far in the article, then A: Kudos to you, you’ve earned yourself a treat and B: You’ll probably have a good idea where is the best place in Maui to stay according to your personal travel style and interests. If so, then we’d love to hear all about it. Will you go for the classic Maui beach vacation in one of the South and West Maui resorts? Or are you planning a more adventurous trip and considering staying in Upcountry, North Shore, Central or East Maui? Or maybe you have some more pros and cons for either of these areas in Maui? Either way, the comment box is all yours.

Pinning this post would be much appreciated!

Guide to Maui resorts and condos per area
Beach, ocean and plumeria in Maui
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