The Different Regions Of Maui

Maui is one of many islands in the State of Hawaii, but by itself, it’s almost an island country. With five distinct regions and ecosystems, each area has something different to offer.  

The Different Regions Of Maui

West Maui

Located at the most northwest area of the state, West Maui has a diverse number of cultural attractions that blends old Hawaii with the new Hawaii.

Lahaina is the old whaling town turned hotspot that’s also on the National Register of Historic Places, with 55 acres designated as historic districts. You can visit Hale Paahao (Lahaina Prison), the Pioneer Inn, and the US Seamen’s Hospital, along with other historic places, then visit modern art galleries, restaurants and shops. West Maui is also a great place to attend a luau seaside, and experience fresh local cuisine along with traditional Polynesian dancing and culture. 

Surfing is synonymous with Maui, but not everyone is ready to hop on the board. If you’d like to watch the pros, Honolua Bay is just a 20 minute drive north of Lahaina. During the winter months, powerful waves propel the most experienced surfers on extended rides to the shore. The high bluffs allow you to watch from a safe distance. During the summer, the waters are calmer, allowing for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Want to see the whales? Visit during the winter months to see humpback whales making themselves visible.

Central Maui

Most people arrive on Maui through Kahului Airport (OGG), and begin their adventure here. It’s where most of the Island’s population lives, and you’ll pass it on the Hana Highway.

Wailuku is the county seat for Maui government as well as a bustling commercial center. Market Street offers the best of both old and new, featuring local businesses that have been here for generations as well as modern boutiques, coffee shops and small cafes. Visit all of these businesses during Wailuku First Friday, a free monthly event that celebrates local arts and culture.

Just west of Wailuku is the Iao Valley State Park, the home to the 1,200-foot Iao Needle. This 10-mile long park consists of 4,000 acres, and is the home of the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790. You can walk through this park on a paved path up to the Iao Needle, as well as go on a rainforest walk and see interactive exhibits at the Hawaii Nature Center.

Upcountry Maui

Leave the coastline and head inland for a different view of Maui that you may not expect. Surrounding Haleakala, the Island’s highest peak, is where you’ll find the Upcountry and its higher elevations.

Known as “Maui’s Heartland,” this part of Maui is where sweet potatoes, taro root and other crops are grown in the volcanic soil for consumption as well as export. Tours of farms and dairies are available, as well as samplings of wine that’s locally grown and produced in areas such as Makawao and Kula.

South Maui

Maui’s different areas have their own weather patterns, with many areas experiencing forceful flash floods that can take cars off the road.

South Maui is different, with a sunnier, drier climate. Hawaii’s warm, welcoming climate and hospitality makes it ideal for quiet romantic getaways with interesting places to visit. 

Six-mile long Kihei is one of the drier areas of Maui, with beaches that offer unobstructed views of Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai and West Maui. Kalama Beach Park is 36 beachfront acres is home to The Cove—an area with surf areas as well as volleyball and tennis courts, along with other recreational areas, including a playground for young children.

Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach) is an undeveloped white-sand beach that offers great views of Kahoolawe and Molokini as well as shelter from trade winds. Take in some fishing, snorkeling, swimming, and sightseeing while you’re there. A concession stand and other amenities are also available. 

Molokini is just made for those who love diving and snorkeling. Just three miles off the coast, he crescent-shaped little island stands 160 feet above the water, and is 18 acres wide. The water is calm and clear, and is host to more than 250 species of native fish, and the only marine sanctuary here. The water depths are between 20 and 50 feet in the permitted dive spots. The area is also a Marine Life Conservation District and Bird Sanctuary.

East Maui

It’s our favorite part of Maui—because that’s where we are. Call us biased, but we think this side of Maui is the best, and for a number of reasons.

Hana is the area of Maui that has held onto the spirit of Aloha, and is most authentically “Hawaiian.” The city of Hana isn’t developed like other parts of the state, and it truly is a place to get away. Once you get here, you may not want to leave. 

Of course, there are beautiful beaches, as well as The Road To Hana, and The Seven Sacred Pools, along with a range of regional eateries, from fine dining to food trucks and everything in between.

Haleakala National Park is also the place to go to watch a Maui sunrise or sunset. It’s so incredible—and so popular—that the National Park Service requires a reservation in order to attend. (Sunsets may be less crowded.) There are no concession stands within the park, so pack some food and drink in your camera bag for the long journey, whether day or night. There are also hiking trails, self-guided horseback riding tours (you must arrange these in advance) as well as guided tours.

Because Maui has so many devoted fans, you might just find yourself talking with one of Maui’s well-known celebrity residents. But even if you only meet up with locals, we know you’ll enjoy East Maui as much as we do. 

Visit The Beach And More At Hana Kai Maui

Maui offers visitors a wide diversity in activity during a visit alongside natural beauty. When you visit Maui, you’ll know why many people consider it their “spiritual home.”  

When you’re ready to experience Maui, call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaii time to answer all of your questions. Get in touch today to begin reserving your visit to Hana Kai Maui.