Maui’s Small Towns

With all that our island has to offer, most residents will concur that Maui well deserves its no ka ‘oi moniker. Ask us about our favorite town here, and things get a bit more complicated. So we did just that: Asked local experts what’s so good about their towns. We’re not taking sides—we love them all.

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Wailuku | Makawao | Kīhei | Lāhainā | Paʻia | Hāna

Kihei Cove Beach Park
Kīhei Cove Beach Park

KIHEI

With six miles of sandy shoreline, a host of ocean activities and reliably sunny days, there’s no wonder Kihei is synonymous with beaches. Add to that a bounty of dining options and entertainment for all ages, and you’ve got a place where rest and relaxation is practically sport.

Our resident advisors:

  • Kirk Surry, cofounder of the school-garden program Grow Some Good
  • Liza Pierce, blogger at AMauiBlog.com

What makes Kihei distinctive?

KS: The beach is an extension of the town. You have easy access to surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, snorkeling or scuba diving.

Do you have a favorite beach?

KS: I love Keawakapu Beach. There’s a long stretch of sand that you can walk along, and since that area is lined with homes rather than resorts, it’s less crowded. It’s also a pet-friendly beach with nice showers and easy parking.

Any dining recommendations?

LP: There are so many ethnic places to eat within Kihei — from Indian and Filipino to Mexican and Asian. One of my favorites is Chez Meme [Bistro & Bakery], which is located in an industrial area. I know it’s an unusual spot, but they’ve created an atmosphere that feels like you’re in a little cafe in Paris. Everything is homemade and they have a really yummy trio of French toast.

KS: My answer is partly selfish because it benefits Grow Some Good. Every Friday night, Duo at Four Seasons [Resort] does Market Night, where they feature a salad bar of all local produce. For every salad sold that night, a dollar goes to Grow Some Good. I can order the salad and split an entree, making it a fancy yet affordable evening out.

LP: I never liked shave ice because I figured it’s just flavored water, but when I tasted Ululani’s [Hawaiian Shave Ice], I was hooked. Their flavors are filled with natural ingredients, so if I order a liliko‘i [passionfruit], I can taste the actual fruit. With add-ons like mochi and coconut, it becomes truly gourmet.

Where’s a good place to grab a drink?

Maui-Towns-Kihei-Maui-Brewing-CompanyKS: The [Maui Research & Technology Park] is becoming a trendy happy-hour area. I love taking people to Maui Brewing Company, then heading across the street to Cow Pig Bun, where you can get a good burger and whiskey or bourbon. They have an after-hours, so if you’re coming off the plane late, it’s one of the few places [with] quality food that’s open late.

What’s your perfect Saturday?

LP: I love going to farmers markets in town, especially the one on Lipoa Street on Saturdays. You can find some produce that you cannot find elsewhere, it’s usually fresher and cheaper, and you’re supporting local.

They also recommended:

Grabbing a hearty breakfast at Kihei Caffe . . . then strolling to nearby Cove Park for surf or stand-up paddle lessons . . . or Kamaole I, II or III for sun worshiping close to amenities . . . enjoying live entertainment, vendors and food trucks at the monthly Fourth Friday Kihei . . . shopping for a tasteful aloha shirt at Tori Richard in The Shops at Wailea . . . catching pub fare and live music at Mulligans on the Blue . . . or dancing the night away at Ambrosia Martini Lounge.LA

1 COMMENT

  1. I used to live out near the East end of Pi’ihana Road for 8 years. Many times on Sunday mornings I would drive up to Iao Valley at 6:45am, just when the ranger was opening the gate to the Needle. When I would arrive at the top, I was the only one there and I would go hike up to the high observation point at the top of the steps. The air was so fresh and clean with a little moisture from the mist. I always felt a spiritual presence that would give me chicken skin. The silence from the lack of people made it all the more special, almost like I was transported into another dimension of space and time. One time I took my brother up to the bridge right in front of the gate at midnight on a full moon. We were silently looking down at the water below when all of a sudden a shadow came across the lone street light that’s there. As we looked up and looked back at the water, an apparition appeared on the rock below. I swear he looked like an ancient Hawaiian dressed in feathers and he was glowing white. We looked at him for maybe 4 or 5 seconds and ran like lightning to my jeep and tore off out of there. We couldn’t talk for at least 5 minutes, finally looking at one another and yelling out, “What the f*** was that…?!!!” I’ll never forget Maui, I love her with all my heart and soul. With aloha…

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