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 more 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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