The island of Maui is lush, tropical, and breathtaking. It has some of the most luxurious and stunning resorts you can stay at. Two main areas to search for hotels are South Maui, Wailea, and West Maui, Lahaina. While the resorts are beautiful with plenty of options for relaxation, driving around Maui is the best way to fully experience the island. Rent a car, create a vacation playlist, and start exploring the island. Wailea is about 20 minutes from the Maui airport (OGG), and Lahaina is about 40 minutes. Keep this in mind when researching rental cars. While driving around Maui, take the time and stop by a few of these incredible sites and unique towns.
Towns To Explore While Driving Around Maui
Cities and Towns
One of the most charming qualities of Maui is how ‘rural’ the island is. The biggest shopping center you’ll find is Lahaina Town – a quaint, walkable downtown with local shops, art galleries, and a gorgeous Banyan tree. There is also a small outlet shopping center featuring premium labels on one end of the town. While in Lahaina, spend time strolling the streets and stocking up on souvenirs. You can also do some people watching while enjoying a refreshing treat from the famous Ululani’s Shave Ice. If hunger strikes, grab some pies at Prison Street Pizza, a laid-back pizzeria offering New Jersey-style pizza with an island ambiance.
The charms of Paia lies in its quaint, yet hippie town ambiance that’s also off the beaten path. Check out Mana Foods, a health foods grocery store with local produce, prepared foods, and other healthy snacks. Pick up several jars of the local guava butter to take home with you. It’s delicious on toast, and makes for a great souvenir. Paia is also one of two starting points for Road to Hana.
One of the perks of driving around Maui in your rental car is the freedom to seek out the beaches, most of which are free to access! Make sure to pack a pair of water shoes, a beach towel, some natural sunscreen and snacks. The Lahaina side of the island features Kaanapali Beach, Black Rock Beach, and Honolua Bay Beach. Getting to Honolua includes a trek that will lead you to the bay.
Bonus: bring snorkel gear to peek at the beautiful sea life.
On the Wailea side of the island, visit Keawakapu Beach and Wailea Beach. These are both family friendly beaches and easy to access. Head to Makena beach if you are an experienced swimmer. There is a lifeguard on staff, but take caution of the wild waters.
Driving around Maui, you’ll see the pure magic of the island. Open roads and lack of high rise developments allow you to take in the sites without interruptions. With your own rental car, you have freedom to stop at any local farm stand, shop, town, or beach that peaks your interest. After you enjoy your morning coffee, pack up your car, fire up the GPS and start exploring.
This article was written by Ava Ataee and edited by Iris A.