Neighborhoods and Districts of Maui: An Overview

With an area of 727.2 square miles, Maui is considered the second largest Hawaiian island. The island is divided into East Maui, West Maui, Central Maui, South Maui, and North Shore or Upcountry Maui. These four districts will bring you to different places of wonders. Maui boasts of its lush greenery, sandy beaches, world-renowned beach resorts, restaurants, and shopping destinations. Many places in Maui also give a glimpse of its rich history and culture. You want an adventure-filled vacation? You will find that in Maui. How about a place for relaxation and rest? Maui's definitely the place to visit.

The beautiful neighborhoods and districts of Maui

Hana, East Maui

Getting to Hana requires a 2- to 4-hour drive from Kahului. Driving through the 52-mile Hana Highway, you will definitely be awed by the picturesque sandy beaches and lush greenery. Some of the beautiful places worth visiting along the way are the Twin Falls, Lower and Upper Puohokamoa Falls, Punalau Valley Falls, Three Bears Falls, Garden of Eden Botanical Arboretum, Kaumahina State Wayside Park, Nahiku Road and Landing, Waikamoi Ridge Trail, and Ke'anae Peninsula & Village.

Hana is best characterized by its untouched beauty. Once there, you will definitely have a marvelous time swimming at Hana Beach Park. Another tourist destination is the Wai'anapanapa State Park where tourists find freshwater caves, cemeteries, and religious sites. You can also hike going to Kaihalulu Beach which is also known as Red Sand Beach because of its red cinder sand. Although the Red Sand Beach is not ideal for swimming, the majestic view is well worth the hike.

If you are interested in knowing more about the culture, history, and people of Hana, visit the Hana Cultural Center which houses photographs, documents, and artifacts.

On your way out of Hana, be sure to visit the Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu. Here, you will find the Seven Sacred Pools or Oheo Gulch. You can also hike through the Pipiwai Trail which will take you to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.

West Maui


This town is known for its hotels, golf courses, beaches, and the shopping destination at the center of it all. Kaanapali beach is a best-known venue for various water activities that you will surely enjoy – swimming, snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, and many more. After the water adventure, are you looking for a spectacular place to shop in Kaanapali? Then you must visit the Whaler's Village which is known for its shops and restaurants.


Snorkeling at Kapalua Beach is another memorable experience. Here you will find Hawaii's state fish, which is the reef triggerfish or humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Kapalua Bay has garnered different awards such as Best Beach in the World, America's #1 Beach, and Best Beach in America. These awards definitely speak for the beauty that awaits you in Kapalua Bay.


What was once a whaling port, Lahaina is now known for its scenic views and historical sites. In Lahaina, you can go whale watching, or visit art galleries, the Baldwin House, the old courthouse, and the old prison. You must also see the giant banyan tree and experience the Lahaina historic trail. Lahaina is also a great place for dining and entertainment.

Central Maui


Maui's main airport, Kahului Airport, is found here. Therefore, this is the place where most tourists begin their experience of Maui. At Kahului, you will find the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, the Paper Airplane Museum, the Kanaha Beach Country Park, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary. Tourists bound for Hana start their 2- to 4-hour journey here at Kahului.


This town has a small boat harbor. Here you will find the Maui Ocean Center, which is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the West.


This town is found at the foot of the majestic West Maui Mountains. Here, you can visit the Iao Valley State Park which is great for sightseeing and trekking. Historic sites worth visiting are the Ka'ahumanu Church, Bailey House, and two ancient temples named Haleki'i Heiau and Pihanakalani Heiau.

If you want to go on a picnic or a relaxing stroll, visit the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens. The beautiful surroundings will surely leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. A visit to the Maui Tropical Plantation shows tourists the wide range of crops grown in Wailuku. Looking for the perfect souvenir from Maui? You will definitely find it here in Wailuku which is home to many homegrown products like manju, manapua, jams, and jellies.

South Maui


Famous for its 6-mile sandy beaches, Kihei has become a popular destination for families who love basking in the sun and swimming in beaches. The known beaches in Kihei are Kalama, Kalepolepo, Waipu'ilani, and Kama'ole. Accommodation here is not a problem because of the many hotels and condominiums that tourists can choose from.

Aside from swimming and water sports, you can also visit the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, and Kihei Aquatic Center. There is also a public golf course at Kihei. When it comes to shopping and dining, visit Azeka's Shopping Center which is known for its Maui potato chips and barbecued ribs.


This town is known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Oneloa, or Big Beach, is separated by a volcanic cinder cone from the smaller Pu'uolai or Little Beach. Big Beach is around 2/3 of a mile long and 100 yards wide, which is considered the largest beach in south Maui. During winter, another tourist attraction is the gathering of humpback whales closer to shore.


This is Maui's resort capital where you can find expensive and beautiful hotels with golf courses and other attractions. Wailea has become a favorite tourist spot because of the majestic ocean views. Here you will also see the red island of Kaho'olawe and tiny Molokini islet. Molokini is a marine sanctuary best for snorkeling and diving.

Golf also made Wailea a prime tourist destination. Here you will find the 54 Erin-Green Fairways with courses named Wailea Blue, Wailea Gold, and Wailea Emerald. These courses are considered one of the best golf courses in Hawaii. Indeed, this is a haven for golf enthusiasts.

Tennis also draws tourists to Wailea. Here, you will find the 1,000-seat tennis stadium where Hawaii's largest tournaments are held. Wailea Tennis Academy is also well-known for its world-class tennis classes.

When it comes to world-class shopping and dining experiences, the shops at Wailea are the places to go to.
North Shore or Upcountry Maui


Famous for its cool, refreshing air and lush greeneries, must-see places here are the Tedeschi Vineyards and Ulupalakua Ranch. Another tourist destination is the Enchanting Floral Gardens which is eight acres along the slopes of Haleakala Volcano. Here, you will find 1,500 species of tropical and semi-tropical plants and flowers from around the world.

Another place frequented by tourists in Kula is the Sunrise Protea Farm. Proteas are some of the world's most unusual flowers which thrive in South Africa. However, these have been found to grow very well in Kula.

The Church of the Holy Ghost is also found in Kula. The Portuguese influence can be seen in this historical site.


The word Makawao actually means "beginning forest" or "the edge of the forest" in the native language. Sitting at the side of Haleakala Volcano, this town is surrounded by eucalyptus trees.

Makawao is the center of the art scene in Upcountry Maui. If you are an art-lover, you will find yourself visiting these galleries in Makawao: Viewpoints Gallery and Arthur Dennis Williams Gallery.

If you want to be an art student or to meet visiting artists, head off to the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center. You can take classes in printmaking, pottery, sculpture, and jewelry making. You can also watch glassblowing at the Hot Island Glass.

Another famous place in Makawao is the Haleakala National Park which covers more than 27,000 acres of lush greenery. Here, you can enjoy hiking, camping, biking, and horseback riding.


Historic Paia used to be a sugar plantation. But today, it is known for Ho'okipa Beach and Kuau Cove. Ho'okipa Beach is known as the "windsurfing capital of the world," wherein two world-class competitions are held. Because of the strong surf, only experts are allowed to windsurf here.


The town's name stands for "Heavenly Gates" in Hawaiian language. Three of the favorite attractions in Pukalani are the Skyline Eco-Adventures, Maui Hiking Safari, and the Pukalani Country Club.

Skyline Eco-Adventures offers the Haleakala Skyline Tour which includes a short hiking trip, 5 majestic zipline courses, crossing a swinging bridge, and an introduction to Hawaii's beautiful landscape.

Immerse yourself in the majestic greeneries, scenic views, and wildlife by going hiking through the Maui Hiking Safari. And if playing golf is what you love most, visit the Pukalani Country Club which has picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean.

These are the different towns in Maui island which will surely make your visit an unforgettable one. Choose the best places for your vacation. Or better yet, spend more days so that you can tour the entire island and immerse yourself in the beautiful landscapes wherein you can find places both for adventure and relaxation.