There’s no doubt that Maui has some of the best resorts in the world, but what’s often missed by visitors are the great small towns found throughout the island. From history to art, Maui and its communities have more to offer visitors than beautiful beaches and brilliant blue waters. Here are three such places:
Pa’ia is known as “The Heart of Maui’s North Shore” and was recently named the eighth happiest seaside town in America by the readers of Costal Living. Known to be a great place to grab supplies for drivers
along the famous road to Hana, Pa’ia offers shades of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and Austin with its eclectic, hippie vibe.
The best way to see Pa’ia is to find a place to park and explore on foot. The two main intersecting roads in Pa’ia are filled with boutiques, seaside souvenir shops, art galleries, surf shops and cafes. While in Pa’ia, make sure to stop by the nearby Ho’okipa Beach Park Overlook. Not only is Ho’okipa a beautiful beach, but it’s also considered the windsurfing capital of the world.
Located in west Maui, historical Lahaina was not only the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early 19th century, but also an important whaling village. Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places and a self-guided walking tour takes visitors through 62 historical sites.
Probably the coolest place in Maui is under the giant banyan tree located in front of the courthouse. It’s hard to miss considering it covers almost an acre and is 60 feet tall.
Grab a Hawaiian shave ice, sit on one of the many benches under the tree, and enjoy the view of the Lahaina Harbor.
Take a stroll along Front Street where a variety of boutiques, restaurants, souvenir shops, and artisans selling their wares can be found. In the evening, enjoy an authentic Hawaiian luau at the Feast of LeLe. There are no buffet lines at this luau. Instead, the five courses are delivered to the tables. Also, alcoholic drinks are included.
Step away from sea level and head into Maui’s Upcountry to Makawao. This rustic town located along the mid-slopes of the Haleakala volcano is historically known for their fertile ranch land and Hawaiian cowboys called paniolo. More recently, Makawao has gained fame for its outstanding arts community. Visit Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center for a free, self-guided tour that includes art and historical exhibitions, a sugar mill, grounds and artist studios.
Before leaving Makawao, make sure to stop by the unique shops and art galleries. A trip to this town would not be complete without swinging by Komoda Store and Bakery for a sweet treat. It’s been a Maui tradition since 1916.