Hawaii is looking like a popular choice for a lot of travelers, and among the Hawaiian islands, Maui is a top pick. From stunning helicopter tours in Maui to the amazing beaches, the following are some things to know if it’s on your travel radar.
If you’d like to plan a trip to Hawaii, you face the big question of which island. Maui is around 65 miles from Oahu, which is the other popular island to visit for tourists.
Maui features beautiful beaches and volcanoes, and there aren’t any big cities in Maui, so you get a more remote, tropical vacation. Maui is very laid-back, despite the many attractions to keep you occupied.
The beaches are probably what Maui is best-known for, along with whale watching and volcanoes. The beaches are all very unique from one another in Maui, so you can explore and feel like you’re in a very different place each time.
There are small farms, distilleries, and a number of small and medium-sized beach towns on the island.
Maui is known for having a good year-round climate, but sometimes it can get chilly in the winter.
Maui vs. Oahu
If you’re trying to decide between Maui and Oahu, there are some pretty big differences to consider.
For example, Oahu is home to urban Honolulu, with nightlife, a thriving restaurant scene, and a big city feel. If you like more action and excitement you might prefer that.
In Maui, the closest you get to a downtown area is called Lahaina, which does have nightlife and some great restaurants and entertainment. Several of the restaurants are celebrity-owned.
Maui is the right option for you if you don’t like crowds and you want a truly laid-back vacation where nature is the primary focus. The beauty of Maui is really unparalleled.
Many of the beaches in Maui are also calmer and, therefore, more relaxing because Oahu is a surfer’s haven with some huge swells, particularly on the North Shore.
Where to Stay?
Maui is only about 48 miles long and 26 miles wide, and it’s divided into a few main regions. These are:
- West Maui
- South Maui
- East Maui
- Central Maui
- Upcountry Maui
You’ll fly into Kahului Airport in Central Maui.
From there, you’ll probably drive the area of the island where you’re staying. It’s likely that you’re going to be in West Maui because it’s the most popular part of the island for visitors. This is where most condos and resorts are located.
There’s everything from more budget-friendly condos to high-end resort rooms on Maui’s west side.
West Maui is more developed than some parts of the island, and there are shops and conveniences. You can go to the Lahaina docks for water activities, like whale watching.
West Maui is also home to Kaanapali Beach, which is one of Maui’s most popular.
Several of the big-name resorts are on this beach.
Then, at the northern end of the beach is Black Rock.
West Maui tends to have the driest and sunniest weather on the island, which is one more selling point about staying here. However, since the western side of Maui is more developed, this can be a drawback for some people.
South Maui is an alternative that’s around 10 miles from the airport, and there are condo rentals.
South Maui does mean that you’ll have to drive farther to reach some destinations, and there isn’t a road that connects it to Upcountry.
If you stay along the Hana Highway, this is East Maui, which is the most remote part of the island and, according to some people, the most beautiful. There aren’t as many places to stay, and what is available is mostly small inns and B&Bs.
East Maui is a long drive from the airport. It’s wetter and rains more, and there’s much less to do in this area.
Central Maui also has limited activities and accommodations, but since you are in a central location, it’s easier to get to all the parts of the island.
Finally, if you opt to stay in Upcountry, you’re away from the busy parts of Maui, but there’s not much shopping or dining, or of course any beach access.
If you are choosing a place to stay in Maui, you’re not short on options, so you can find what works for your vacation, and no matter where you choose, you know it will be beautiful.