For most of us, West Maui starts and stops at the tunnel about 3 miles north of Maalaea on the Pali. The Pali, actually the Honoapiilani Highway (Highway 30), is the name the west siders use for the road to the other side. The trip is also known as a Costco run.
The areas that make up West Maui have different names but they ALL have Lahaina mailing addresses.
There are three fairly distinct areas between the tunnel and Lahaina. If you are on your way into Lahaina the first one you pass through is Ukumehame. Just after you pass through the tunnel you’ll see a shady pull out spot on the right. That is the trailhead for the Pali Trail. It goes up to the famous windmills that provide over 10% of the electricity on Maui, and down the other side to a pullout near Maalaea.
On the left side of the road is Ukumehame Beach Park. That is a popular spot for surfers and paddle boarders (SUP) during the day. It’s also a popular camping beach and usually busy with lots of local folks on weekends and holidays.
The next spot you come to is Olowalu. Olowalu has an amazing and important history in Maui. Today, it is a quiet little area with some private residences, a newer agricultural subdivision and some spectacular oceanfront homes.
Olowalu is home to one of the most popular snorkeling spots on Maui, known locally as Mile Marker 14. There is lots of coral, brightly colored fish and beware of shark signs posted in the parking areas. The signs don’t seem to slow anyone down. In fact, the signs seem to get stolen by pranksters and collectors quite often. Even when the weather is iffy in Kaanapali and Kapalua, you’ll find folks enjoying the sun and water here.
Just before you enter Lahaina proper, you pass by Launiupoko and a residential area known as Puunoa. The agricultural subdivisions that comprise Launiupoko, dominate the hillside above Launiupoko Park, a very popular spot for families on the weekends. It’s a well-known spot for surfers and paddle boarders. It’s usually busy, but there is extra parking across the highway.
Also, across the street from the park, on Saturday mornings there is a farmer’s market. The residential areas that comprise Launiupoko are zoned agricultural. While many are not much more than “gentleman” farms, many are quite productive and, at the Saturday market, you can buy local coffee, honey, eggs, jams, avocados, papayas and much more.
For more about the real estate market in Launiupoko specifically the homes, cottages and land market click to read about Launiupoko real estate and search Launiupoko listings.
Lahaina Town is rich in culture and history that is well documented elsewhere. But briefly, you might want to know that Lahaina was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the 1800’s it was known for the whaling industry. Today, the only whale hunting is done by researchers, tourists with cameras and us locals who never tire of seeing those magnificent animals.
Lahaina’s Front Street and downtown area are extremely popular for the shopping and restaurants of all types. It is also the center for many of the island’s big celebrations like 4th of July, Halloween and the lighting of the banyan tree during the Christmas holiday season.
Lahaina has several housing developments and condominiums.
Continuing north from Lahaina you come to world famous Kaanapali. Kaanapali is a combination of world class resorts, beaches, golf courses, residential areas and even a coffee plantation where you can live.
The long Kaanapali Beach is one of the most famous in the world. The south end is dominated by the Whaler’s Village shopping center. Black Rock divides the south and north end of the beach which continues on to Kaanapali Shores.
The golf course has been home to professional events including the Senior Skins game. It is also the host to corporate events and special culinary events like the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.
On the mauka (away from the ocean) side of the highway there are some upscale condo complexes and the following housing developments:
Kaanapali Hillside is the first development you come to off of Puukolii Road. Kaanapali Hillside is an ungated community consisting of over 150 home sites of about ¼ acre each. Most of the homes are 2,000 square feet or larger custom homes, some over 5,000 square feet.
The homes are staggered up the terraced hillside of the West Maui Mountains affording beautiful views from many of them.
So-called Airport Beach on the north end of Kaanapali Beach is a straight shot down from Kaanapali Hillside. It’s not uncommon to see someone in a golf cart headed down the hill to the beach.
The Golf Estates is a unique gated community situated above Kaanapali Beach and the Whaler’s Village shopping center. The main area of the Golf Estates wraps around the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course, one of the two Kaanapali Golf Courses. The lower gate drops out just above the Fairway Shops at Kaanapali and affords quick access to the shops, restaurants, golf courses and beach.
The homes are mostly two stories and use a reverse floor plan. A reverse floor plan has the main living and dining areas, as well as the master suite upstairs. That allows the homes to take advantage of the elevation to get that ocean view that is so coveted here on Maui.
Inside the gated Golf Estates is another gated community called the Summit. The Summit, as the name implies, is at the very top of Kaanapali. Perched above the rest of the community gives the Summit homes some of the broadest views on the hillside.
The Summit is divided into 2 sections. One side is actually condominiumized. Unlike a traditional condo project this is actually a collection of 17 free standing, individual residences. However, exactly like a traditional condo complex the grounds, the maintenance – including maintenance to the exterior of the homes, is all taken care of by the association. That makes it easy living for owners if they are there full time and especially nice for those using it as a second home.
The other section of the summit is composed of private homes on approximately ¼ acre lots. Most of these are very high end custom homes and many are reverse floor plans to take advantage of the views.
The Pinnacle in the Golf Estates is another gated community inside a gated community. There are only 33 lots in the development. The lots average ½, about double the size of most of the lots on Kaanapali Hillside and the Golf Estates. Most of the homes are over 3,500 square feet, have pools and wonderful views of the ocean and the sunsets.
Homes in the Pinnacle start at just under $3,000,000, but the average listing price for a home is about $4,400,000.
There are still several building lots in the Pinnacle. The lots for sale start in the high $700,000’s.
Lanikeha is the newest development in Kaanapali. It too is a gated community. It consists of 136 building lots ranging in size from ¼ acre to full one acre parcels. There is a private club house for Lanikeha owners and guests.
The existing homes average over 3,000 square feet. At the top of the development there are mostly 2 story reverse floor plan homes. As you move down the slope of the hill closer to the ocean there are more single floor plans.
There are numerous building lots still available for sale including one acre lots.
Past Kaanapali you’ll find Honokowai and Kahana. Here the Honoapiilani Highway splits. The main highway stays inland a bit and continues north to Kapalua. The old highway, now called Lower Honoapiilani Road, runs along the ocean up through Napili and ends in Kapalua.
Honokowai has shops and dining, but is mostly residential homes, condos and resorts. Along the ocean, known as the "makai" side, you find several smaller low rise resort condos. There are also some pretty amazing oceanfront homes down that stretch of road.
The other side of the road, known as "mauka", you find a number of residential condos. Most of them do not allow short term “vacation” rentals. There are also several housing developments that are popular.
Kahana is another distinct west side area. There is a major development above the main highway. There are some very nice resorts and a beach down on the lower road.
Whether you are on the lower road or the main road, if you continue past Kahana you come to Napili next. Napili is much loved for its cooler, compared to Lahaina, climate and one of the best bays on Maui.
At the far north end of Maui’s west side is the area known as Kapalua and the Kapalua Resort. Kapalua is one of the most exclusive areas in Maui. Kapalua Golf is made up of two separate courses. There are some spectacular homes along the ocean front and above the resort on and near the Plantation Course. There are several condo complexes both ocean front and on and around the Bay Course.
The resort is dominated by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences. There is also the luxurious Montage Kapalua Bay hotel. In addition to the hotels, golf courses and beaches there are great hiking trails, the Kapalua Zipline, the Kapalua Tennis Garden and other activities.