When most of us think of South Maui we think of Kihei and Wailea. But a lot of local folks divide the area further into Maalaea, North Kihei, Central Kihei, South Kihei, Wailea and Makena.
Maalaea is directly west of Kahului (where the airport is), on the other side of the isthmus or valley that sits between Maui's two volcanoes, Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. It has a large harbor and is home to the Maui Ocean Center, our aquarium!
North Kihei is a great place to work and live. It’s one of the most centrally located spots on Maui that is also close to good beaches. It starts with Sugar Beach, which runs roughly 4 miles from Maalaea well into the north Kihei area. It is one of the longest, nicest walking beaches on Maui. It is particularly nice in the morning hours before the winds pickup through Maalaea, which is known as the world’s second windiest harbor.
The nice sandy beaches in North Kihei have beautiful sunsets and are also home to 2 canoe clubs, including the Kihei Canoe Club, which offers a visitor paddling program.
North Kihei has a nice mixture of affordable homes, residential condos and resort condos. The Mokuolele Highway runs from north Kihei to Kahului. That allows you to make the short commute from Kihei to the shopping areas and entertainment in Kahului in as little as 10 minutes.
Central Kihei is quickly becoming the “downtown” area of Kihei. It’s there that the The Piilani Highway, a virtual superhighway for Maui, is connected by Piikea Avenue to South Kihei Road, which runs along the beaches and resort condos by Piikea Avenue. The Maui Nui Golf Club (formerly known as The Elleair Golf Club) is at one end, the mauka side, and ends just before you get to the beach.
Central Kihei is also an area where there are walking trails, bike trails, shopping restaurants and is the gathering place for Kihei’s Fourth Fridays, a neighborhood town party. It is also the location of Maui’s Research and Technology Center, where you can visit the Maui Brewing Company.
The homes in the Central Kihei area are among the nicest and most affordable of the resort areas, and the area also has a real neighborhood feel to it.
Heading into South Kihei, you come to some of the more popular condominium resorts in Kihei. These include Kamaole Sands, The Royal Mauian and dozens of others. It’s also the home of several famous beaches, including Charley Young Beach, Cove Beach and the Kamaole Beaches – Kam I, Kam II and Kam III.
Passing through Kihei, you will roll into one of the more exclusive areas of Maui, Wailea, and further south, Makena. If you come in from Piilani Highway, the entrance to Wailea is marked by the Wailea Gateway Center, the home of the Monkeypod Kitchen, one of our favorite restaurants. They have a great happy hour with discount prices, and the sunsets aren’t too bad from up there either.
If you pass into Wailea from South Kihei Road, one of the first things you’ll notice is the Shops at Wailea, which features high end name brand shopping as well boutiques and more Hawaiiana oriented brands.
Past the Shops at Wailea, you can follow Wailea Alanui Drive to the resorts and golf courses, all designed for relaxation and recreation. The beaches in Wailea are door to door with exclusive resorts like the Grand Wailea and the Fairmont Kea Lani, which are all required to provide public beach access. But if you prefer to own oceanfront property in Wailea instead of renting, you might be interested in resorts like Wailea Ekahi and Wailea Elua, or follow the link to learn more about Wailea/Makena Real Estate.
The mauka side of Wailea is lined with the three courses of the famous Wailea Golf Club, the Emerald, the Blue and the Gold.
Makena is a very exclusive and beautiful area south of Wailea. There are multi-million dollar homes and condos lining Makena Road and Makena Alanui Road. There is also the private Makena Golf & Beach Club, where an old hotel is being redeveloped with exclusive housing options. The beaches in Wailea and Makena are beautiful, and you can see weddings taking place there, especially in Makena, virtually all the time.