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Best Place to Live on Maui?

Base of Haleakala Volcano as seen from the west Maui mountains on a hike. One of my favorite hikes, ever.

As part of the “Best Place to Live in Hawaii” series I’m running through the islands and revealing my own personal preference for the best place to live on each Hawaiian island.

Where is the best place to live on Maui?

Where to live on my favorite island in the Hawaiian chain of islands is a tough question for me. I like so many different areas and on Maui they are spread out quite a bit. Paia has something that no other place has. Ka’anapali and the west side has something that no other Maui location has. Kihei has things that are specific to Kihei and nowhere else.

In deciding where the best place is to live on Maui I’ll have to go with what is the most important to me… a good atmosphere. This limits the entire island down to just two places… Paia and Lahaina areas. The people are great… the restaurants are great… the ocean is amazing in Paia and there are lots of things to do that are close by, but of course not everything is in the same place on Maui.

Paia is a lovely place and the place I go when I want to just spend some slow time… reading a book, eating at a great restaurant, getting natural food to take to a beach for a picnic, drinking Illy coffee… whatever it is that doesn’t involve the beach, I can do it in Paia.

I’d choose to live in Lahaina though. Lahaina is the best place on Maui to live for me. Though the beaches are not nice, there are restaurants built out over-top of it that make it bearable. If you’re thinking about spending a day on the beach and bodysurfing, or surfing – think again. The beaches are intolerable really – the sand is hard and full of sharp shells, the water has underlying coral… it’s just not the right place for a beach holiday. It does have a great view of the Maui Mountains though – if that’s any consolation.

A good place to live in Lahaina is up away from town a little bit, up on the mountain. There are always houses for rent, or houses with rooms for rent by owners. Prices are, of course high – but the view you have of the Lahaina coast and west Maui mountains is breathtaking. One note about living in Lahaina, you’ll want a car or motorbike to get around – on Maui things are very spread out and you’ll be so glad to have wheels.

If you’re coming to vacation and you’re over 60, you’ll probably like Lahaina a lot more than other places on the island except maybe Hana. Things are closer and the atmosphere is quiet.

If you’re younger and have kids – Ka’anapali is the place to go on Maui. Living near Ka’anapali and in the Kahana area of west Maui is a little bit remote and not much to do there. You’ll always be driving somewhere to eat, see a movie, shop, hit the beach, whatever it is you love doing on Maui.

Front Street Shopping in Lahaina – some great restaurants on the oceanside of this road. The first one is “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.

Lahaina has some seafood places on the beach that are quite good. Lahaina Coolers on Front Street is a great lunch place for a fish sandwich or an evening drink. It’s the eating and close proximity to shopping that make it the most ideal place in Maui to live. Running and bicycling are easy in Lahaina, the roads aren’t usually jammed with traffic. For surfing and snorkeling you’ll want to go west past Kahana out near Honolua Bay.

Lahaina is the best place to live on Maui for me and my family. For you – it might be somewhere different. Here are our other posts about Maui, maybe you’ll find something interesting to read!

Here is a map of Lahaina, Maui and some of the places I talk about:

View Best Place to Live on Maui, Hawaii? in a larger map

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About the author: Moving to Hawaii was one of the most amazing moves ever. I strongly encourage you to consider it if you’re in the financial position to make it work. Living in Hawaii has a fair bit of both positive and negative experiences awaiting each of us who give it a try. Read some of the articles here and try to get a feel for whether you might thrive in the islands. I wrote an entire book on the subject and it’s usually less than $5. It’s up there on the right side column. Best of luck and life to you! Aloha! – Vern L.

8 comments… add one
  • Trish

    Hi Vern,
    Will you be kind enough to help me out. I want to retire in Hawaii,Maui is my first preference.Don’t need a job.I am very simple person and can live on minimal simple lifestyle.It is just me, need a place for peace and meditation. Love nature,gardening.By profession I am a registered nurse so I can do some volunteer work to help other people in need. My retirement income is about $60,000 annually. You think I will be able to service In Maui. I am vegetarian and don’t mind to walk. Any help will be greatly appreciated.Thank you so very much
    With kind regards

    • Hi Trish, I think you could definitely live on Maui with that income. Maui is my favorite island, you really should just go make it work. Be open to what life will actually look like, but shoot for exactly what you want and go make it happen. Aloha and best of luck and life Trish!

  • Angie

    Thinking of making the move from dismal frigid PA. Concerned about finding work, housing and how our kiddos would be treared. We have a family of four boys to support, ages 7-16. Would love to raise them in your environment. Want a lifestyle where we can be outside all year round as we are very active. Love beaches, water sports and hiking, Any advice or suggestions?
    Thank you!

  • Evandra

    Hello my name is Evandra I’m 27 and I live in London at the moment and I decided that is time for a change of scenery (tired of the lack of sun). I wanted to know if Maui is a good place for me to start my life in another continent. I love living in small towns but I want to make sure I wont be struggling on paying my bills. I don’t have a drivers license though is that a problem? I can work in any sector I am just tired of big city life
    Kind regards

  • cindy mcfadden


    I am retired an on a fixed income..I am thinking of moving to hawaii but need some advise. I love the water and walking and bike riding.. I want to be around good beaches, farmers markets, art and people my own age (55) I really need SUN..
    I would love any advice!

    • Hi Cindy,

      Retired, on a fixed income of how much?

  • Serena

    Aloha, I am looking at Maui as a possible place to relocate. I have lived on the Big Island for the last 2 years. Love the laid back community feel and culture here. But the weather is mostly gray and there is not much hiking, especially with dogs or beaches I can take them.
    I lived on Oahu for 6 years in the 70’s. Loved it, but I was in my 20s and it was not as huge and overrun with traffic as now. So, no appeal to me now that I have retired and don’t want a “busy city” atmosphere.
    I did not come to BI before moving here. People told me how great it is (as tourists), I read guidebooks, and I was inspired by the enormous size of the island and the cultural aspect of Hilo.
    Although retired, I am a very active and outdoorsy person with 2 large dogs. I envisioned myself hiking mountain trails, and going on beach walks with my dogs. Vog is no longer just a problem in Kona. I had to get an air purifier along the Hamakua Coast and Hilo has become affected.
    Also, I have seasonal affective disorder. This past season starting at the beginning of November – it has been gray, gloomy and monsoon rainy about 99% of the time. Not good and I have not been myself until just a few days ago when the sun shined for a couple of days – YIPPPEE. Who know Hawaii could be like this.
    I was in Maui about 5 years ago. It has grown a lot since the 70’s when I last visited. But, if the conditions are right, I would consider moving there. Do not want to go back to anywhere on the mainland. Please help!! Mahalo

    • Hi Serena,

      Thanks for the comment. Me too – Maui is the best for me. I’m leery of Big Island’s vog… I have asthma slightly – and though it hasn’t bothered me in many years, fumes from cars, weird smells, high air pollution levels – all tend to trigger it. Maui, on the other hand, is simply amazing. There is a lot of rain – but whole days with rain are rather rare. Very rare.

      I’m not sure what you want me to help with – you didn’t ask anything. Can you move from Big Island to Maui? Sure. It’s more expensive – without a doubt. But when you’re retired – and you can afford it – why not move to the best place in the world? That’s my idea anyway. Money is for making you and your loved ones happy. If you’re affected on BI – better to move. Maui has some hikes – nothing like Oahu though. Kauai has great hiking too, I’m sure you know.

      Maui has grown a bit, but there are still vast areas of untouched mountain green that gives one a good feeling driving around. It’s nothing like Oahu!

      Good luck on your Maui move, let me know how it worked out for you!



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