If Hawaii is the ultimate in Pacific island destinations, then Maui is the best of the best. Maui is THE place to go if you want to get away from it all, and it’s definitely my happy place. One of the most common questions I receive about this island is where to stay on Maui.
Far from the built-up developments on O’ahu, Maui is home to stunning beaches, hiking opportunities, and chilled out places to stay.
Home to the incredible Haleakala National Park—featuring the island’s highest peak, the volcanic Haleakala—Maui travel is totally unforgettable!
From West to East Maui, you will find more than 30 miles of beaches, the scenic Hana Highway for epic road trips, a free-living lifestyle, and even the chance to spot migrating humpback whales.
That’s without even mentioning the farm-to-table cuisine on offer!!
You can also check out my other Maui guides that cover top beaches to visit, best restaurants, and where to stay here:
The next step? Choosing the best place to stay in Maui for you, of course.
But because that can be hard to do, I’ve rounded up my favorite spots to give you an idea of what to expect on this awesome Hawaiian island.
Where to stay on Maui
Located in West Maui, Kaanapali is easily one of the best places to stay in Maui. There are condos or luxury hotels like the Regency Maui Resort (aka Hyatt Regency Maui) and the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel to choose from.
The Hyatt Regency is where we always used to stay on our family vacations when we were kids, so I have a lot of great memories there. 🙂
Ka’anapali is a place where you can really recline in paradise, with the mile-long Ka’anapali Beach itself providing all you need in terms of sun, sea, and sand. There are also plenty of awesome restaurants there (Hula Grill on the beach is a fav).
This is actually Hawaii’s first planned resort town and has become something of a model for other luxury beach destinations around the world.
As the sun sets, torches along the cliff are lit and there is a cliff diving ceremony that takes place on the northern cliffs.
Ka’anapali is also a great home base for a lot of my favorite diving spots as it’s close to places like Slaughterhouse, Honolua Bay, and not too far from Olawalu.
Lahaina translates to “Relentless Sun” in Hawaiian. It sounds pretty fierce, but it is actually more commonly known in Hawaiian under the much cuter moniker of Lele.
This historic town has a cultural significance: in the 19th century, it was actually the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii!
It is well-loved by droves of tourists each year as well, and it’s easy to see why. As a result, there is a selection of Maui hotels to choose from. Maybe even a condo!
Located in West Maui right next to Ka’anapali, close to Iao Valley, Lahaina is a cultural hotspot with multiple art galleries, stores, and restaurants—everything you need for your Maui vacation.
Nearby is Kanaha Beach Park, a great place for windsurfing or just, you know, laying out on the sand!
Wailea is one of my favorite spots in Maui because it has my favorite beach for laying out at, Big Beach. It’s so pretty and the sand is so, so soft. Not great for snorkeling though because the waves are so big!
Located in South Maui, Wailea is famous for its five crescent-shaped beaches that provide you with no shortage of choice for beautiful spots to chill out.
Alongside some luxurious Airbnbs and charming guesthouses, there are some incredible upscale hotels and resorts to enjoy—like the Four Seasons Resort Maui, The Andaz, and Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa.
These are all pretty opulent choices and come with everything from the perks of free parking to shiny pools and expensive spa treatments.
If the Four Seasons isn’t your thing, you’re bound to find something else to suit you, like a stunning Airbnb.
Wailea is also the location of the Maui Film Festival, as well as the wonder that is Whale Week. Taking place every February, this is a celebration of the massive marine mammals that make their way past the Hawaiian islands on their seasonal migrations.
Kihei is in South Maui right next to Wailea, and it’s another popular spot to stay in. Its accommodations are also more affordable than ritzy Wailea (although not nearly as nice, of course).
Beach bums and island hoppers alike will easily fall in love with this area; think six miles of beach, which is ideal for everything from swimming and snorkeling to surfing and sea kayaking.
One of my favorite things about this area is the Kalama Beach Park and its 36 oceanfront acres, with trees, benches and skate parks making for a pretty cool local vibe.
Staying in Kihei means you’ll be within walking distance of great beaches, where there are plenty of activities to get into. It’s great for nature lovers too: there are trailheads for hikes and birdwatching opportunities nearby.
You don’t have to stay in a resort to enjoy Kihei—it actually has a nice selection of affordable rentals, cottages, and guesthouses.
Paia is located on the north shore of Maui. It’s a hip, chilled area that’s far removed from some of the other beach resort areas on the island.
Once just a stop on the road to Hana, and nothing more than a sugarcane plantation, this cool place to stay in Maui has grown up from a hippie hangout in the 1970s to a breezy, laid-back village today.
Though small, it has a cosmopolitan atmosphere—that would be thanks to its good selection of independent coffee shops, eateries, and boutique stores. Also, Mama’s Fish House is here, which is known for being the best restaurant on the island.
There are still plenty of beaches in the vicinity that are popular with surfers, and a bunch of vacation rentals where you can meet and mingle with other travelers—and totally dream about actually living here!
Choosing a Maui hotel to stay in is totally based on the area that suits you, so if an ex-hippie village with a trendy feel sounds like your sort of place, then start looking for a place to stay in Paia.
Maui is just so beautiful and special.
It’s got a ton of beaches, the Hana Highway, laid-back living, farm-to-table foods, and amazing sunrises and sunsets. How can you NOT want to stay here?!
So, when you do eventually decide to make your way to Maui Maui, tag me in your Insta stories and pics and show me what amazing place you’ve chosen as a base for your Hawaii adventure. I’ll try not to be too jelly!
Traveling to Maui? Be sure to check out my other Maui related content here.
What to do in Maui: The ULTIMATE Maui Travel Guide
Top 15 Best Restaurants in Maui
Best Beaches in Maui
Best Sushi in Maui
Best Restaurants in Lahaina
How to Tie a Sarong
9 Best Hikes in Maui for Epic Views
75 Hawaii Instagram Captions
Spending the Day at Hyatt Regency Maui
Best Breakfast in Maui: 8 Can’t-Miss Restaurants
The best time to visit Maui is April through May or September through November. The Spring and Fall have some of the best weather in Maui and will be less crowded.
If you’re flying from the west coast, I recommend spending at least a week in Maui, but two weeks is the best if you can swing it. There is so much to see around Maui that a few days is not enough time to explore and relax.
Whale season in Maui is mid-December through mid-April, with February being peak season.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.