More helpful information:
Southshore of Maui vs. the Westside of Maui
|Maui's Southshore - Why is it a better choice vs. the westside?
We've been asked this question for many years and it will continue to be a good one, especially given the amount of "false info" out on the internet these days, with all sorts of "reviews" being written and taken as "truth".
Both of these sides of Maui have been developed for "tourism" by virtue of their geographical location, though the westside was developed first, mostly in the 70's and 80's because of the prior existence of Lahaina town, with the southshore being a little later to develop in the 80's and 90's.
Here's our opinion, along with some facts, about the southshore of Maui vs. the westside, based again on 15+ years of not only living here but guest feedback during all that time:
1) The southshore typically has warmer and drier weather thru the critical "winter/spring" months of December thru April. While both are "leeward" shores, the westside gets about the same rainfall and wind conditions as the northshore. The southshore tends to be much less rainy and even less windy the further south you go.
2) The beaches, all of which are open to the public, including the ones
in Wailea where the hotels are located, are superior not only in number but they could be called more "user-friendly" in that they are less prone to get surf most of the year and provide better swimming, walking, and snorkeling given their geographical location on the island.
3) It's more centrally located so that you can use it as a good "home base" from which to enjoy the whole island, which is really what a vacation on Maui is all about, without being somewhat "isolated" as you would be staying on the westside. It's just a 15- 30 minute drive to the northshore and 30 - 45 minutes to the westside, depending on where you're staying on the southshore.
4) There's less "density" of development on the southshore in terms of
condos, hotels, and commercialized areas. Of course, no one is attracted to the "suburban sprawl" of the southshore, that's not what you come to Maui for, but it is nice to have modern conveniences of shops and restaurants close by without having to "look" at them or be surrounded by them during your stay, which is why we only recommend properties in the northern end or southern ends of the southshore, not in mid-town Kihei, so that the busiest parts are "out of sight/out of mind".
5) The sunsets are better. (OK, that's not true, sunsets here are
wonderful just about everywhere.)
Maui's Northshore Info
Rumor vs. Reality
For those who’ve
made the northshore their “home
base” for past vacations, the experience
of being in an uncrowded lush tropical environment
any negative issues that they have presupposed.
For those who haven’t stayed on the northshore,
some misconceptions can preclude them from even
of staying here, and thereby perhaps have them
miss an opportunity to have a unique vacation.
These negative “rumors” and
the “reality” include the following:
Rumor: the northshore is too
Reality: it’s no more windy
and often less windy than other popular tourist locations on the
island, with the exception of Wailea and Makena
on the southshore. Both Kihei and
Ka'anapali routinely get higher wind speeds on most “tradewind” days.
But this is good news since the trades cool off the hot island
air to make it very pleasant during all times of year.
northshore is too wavy.
Reality: it’s flat like a lake
at the beaches most of the year, with the exception of the “winter” months
of December - March. Waves usually break on an offshore reef located
100 - 300 yards offshore anyway though there can be some shorebreak
beaches like Baldwin on the northshore, but even there it’s
usually fun for boogie-boarding. During the “summer” months,
however, shorebreak is common at southshore beaches. At all beaches
on Maui, it’s
usually not dangerous at any time, though there are days of rare
exception so caution should always be exercised.
Rumor: the northshore
is too rainy.
Reality: it does rain more on the
northshore than the south or west sides, hence the more “lush/tropical” northshore
appearance, but rain is usually in the form of “passing
come in on the tradewinds and usually effect areas to the east
like Haiku much more. Infrequent storms do effect all the islands
just as much likelihood of them effecting all shores equally.
Statistically, though every year is different and weather is
northshore still only has about a 10 - 25% chance of rain in
the areas close to the
beaches, near Paia town, which still means a 75% chance of sun
during the “winter” months,
more like a 90% chance of sun during the other months.
Rumor: staying on the northshore
would take you "out of
the loop" of "where
the action is" on Maui.
Reality: if you're looking to
be close to some great outdoor activities like windsurfing,
hiking, and biking, the
opposite would be true. But if you still want to have the
flexibility to enjoy the other shores, the really nice
feature about Maui,
as opposed to the other Hawaiian Islands, is that it's
very easy and convenient
get from one side of the island to the other. It's just
a 30-minute drive from Paia town to the best beaches on
and just a 45-minute
to Lahaina town on the westside. There's certainly more
nightlife available on the southshore and westside but
in short supply here
on Maui (but don't miss Willie K on Monday's at Hapa's
in Kihei, call first
to be sure he's playing).
Rumor: there's too much jet noise
from the airport on the northshore.
Reality: jet noise
is NOT an issue at most
offer on the northshore (the exception being those with
There are several good oceanfront properties that offer
beach access with no jet noise whatsoever.
In other words, none of these issues is worth considering
when making a decision whether to stay on the northshore.
what type of vacation experience you want to have and
in what type of accommodation you wish to stay, cottage
vs. resort, and
what do you want to spend, since northshore accommodations
are approximately half the cost of what you can get comparably
Maui, making it the most affordable location on the island.
Paia is at the center of the northshore, about
10 minutes from the airport in Kahului. It's an old
sugar cane plantation
into a "funky meets trendy" little gathering
place, real little, as in one stoplight. But the tiny-town
of Paia boasts many
boutiques, quaint coffee shops, and various restaurants
of all kinds in all price
ranges, including some of the best on the island nearby.
Just up the road from Paia, world-famous Ho'okipa Beach
surfers and windsurfers
alike from around the world. Makawao, a few miles up
the mountain from Paia, is another small town that
time forgot which contains
and restaurants. There are several uncrowded sandy
beaches on the northshore, with mile-long Baldwin Beach
near Paia being
the main one, a perfect
for strolling, sunning, swimming, or boogie-boarding.
The northshore is ideal as a base for jumping off to
explore more remote parts
of the island
like the tropical rain forest past Haiku which extends
to Hana, the upcountry area of Kula and Haleakala Crater,
and the West
Maui Mountains. Kahului
is conveniently close by as well with supermarkets,
the island's largest mall, which includes a multiplex
movie theater. The northshore has developed slowly
over the years
offers the best
of both worlds: a laid-back casual culturally-diverse
atmosphere with modern amenities and conveniences.
Maui Vacation Advisors