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Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

Minneapolis...
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Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

Just returned from the Big Island, have been to Oahu, and Kauai. After such a wonderful time on this last trip can't wait to plan our trip to Maui - probably Spring Break 2014. May combine with a 1-2 day trip to Lanai or Molokai.

Anyway, after reading about the general areas I'm struggling with where to focus my search, and hoping someone can help after seeing what we like to do and what we liked/did not like about the other islands (although we just love Hawaii in general!).

It will be myself, husband, and 10 year-old son.

We love to snorkel and hike, and drive around to different sites. We usually will do a couple of tours of some kind but typically do quite a bit of exploring on our own, so a central location is good.

We loved the beauty and hiking opportunities of Kauai the best so far. We did not like Oahu as much (stayed on Waikiki Beach and was a bit too touristy for us). On the Big Island we enjoyed the Volcano for 2 days and then a week on the west side in Kailua-Kona for snorkelling, beaches, exploring, etc. We loved the location we stayed on Alli Drive in Kona/Big Island. It did not feel crowded yet was easy to walk to restuarants, shops, etc. in the afternoons and evenings. Liked going down to the pier, etc. We drove to the beaches in the North Kohala coast area and loved the beaches there (didn't mind driving to them) but knew the resort areas there were not the kind of place we would have liked to stay - they were nice but seemed more for the type that like to just "sit on the beach" all day and not do much exploring. We tend to hit one beach for an hour or two and then go on and explore other areas. That said we do like staying somewhere that is on the ocean but not a requirement (we weren't directly on the ocean in Kauai on the North Shore but still loved it).

We liked the "small towns" on Kauai as well - didn't seem like there was as much of that kind of thing to drive around and see on the Big Island.

From what I've read the only thing I've really been able to rule out is Wailea, as it appears this is more upscale resort areas and not our style.

Kihei area seems like a place we would like to stay but I'm not sure how centrally located it is if we want to explore other areas of the island?

Lahaina or Kaanapali appear to be possibilities as well and maybe more centrally located but not sure if these would have too much of an upscale resort feel or Waikiki beach feel to them for us? Also I'm a bit confused as the difference (I see where they are located on the map but on TripAdvisor reviews it seems that Kaanapali Beach hotels and condos are considered to be in Lahaina?).

The only real requirement we have is a condo/place with a kitchen and washer dryer as we rely on the convenience of that kinds of setup. In terms of price range we are still pretty open - we have a timeshare we could exchange although exchanging onto Maui in the past has been tough so we are open to renting something directly also. I guess if I had to name a price we would like to stay under $250-$300/night.

Help please and thank you!

Kapaa, Hawaii
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1. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

The places that are actually in Kaanapali but have a Lahaina listing is just because of the zip code address. Lahaina is an old whaling town full of shops, restaurants and art galleries. There are a few places to stay in Lahaina proper. Kaanapali is a planned resort community. Just a few minutes up the road from Lahaina.

South Maui is more centrally located (to the rest of the island)than anywhere else. Kihei is a beach town with condo's a few hotels, restaurants, shops and great beaches.

It sounds from your post that the place you should be is either in Kihei or up on the more northerly places on the west side. Anything north of Black Rock in Kaanapali. Places like Kahana, Napili or Kapalua. But........that will put you further away from a central location. It is only about a 10-15 minute drive into Kaanapali though. This area also can be a bit cooler and gets more rain in the winter and spring months.

Minneapolis...
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2. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

Thanks that is helpful. After I looked at a map again I realized that Kihei is in fact more centrally located (but one article I read said otherwise but that doesn't make sense now that I look at it more).

It looks like Kihei is where I will at least focus the start of our search. Suggestions on North or South Kihei? Does it really matter? (not sure how big it is).

I may also look at Napili.

S W Arkansas
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3. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

Kihei Road from the north end to Wailea is about 4 miles. mauicondohomes.com/maps_maui/kiheicondos.htm

I like to break up Kihei in 3 parts. The nort part is the Sugar Beach area. The condos sit on a 4 mile hard packed sand beach, no facilities to speak of on this beach. Great for long morning walks. See condos on map #1-7

The center area (where I stay) will be condos # 12-29. The beach in this are is shallow and has a lot of coral rubble due to the ancient fish ponds (walls that were build in the ocean to hold fish of the kings).

The next set of condos I'd skip 30-35. these are across the street from the ocean and in more of a retail area.

Next 36-58 is called South Kihei. There just a few condos on the beach most are across a slow two lane (20mph with many crosswalks) road. You will find many restaurants, and shops in this area and great beaches for swimming, SUP, and snorkeling. Three of the beaches have life guards and facilities. A small boat ramp is at the south end of the road, a few snorkel and whale watch boats leave from here.

You will only be minutes away from the great snorkel beaches in Wailea.

You will see lots of whale action along Kihei Rd.

Ma'alaea Harbor area has 4 or 5 condos. There are a few places to eat and some shops These condos anchor Sugar beach on the opposite end from the Sugar Beach condos I listed first.

washington
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4. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

We love, love, love Kailua-Kona and visit a lot so I rec the condos just north of Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach, but you should be fine with condos as far north as Kahana during spring break.

We like to actually be oceanfront! Watching whales from your lanai in Feb is simply amazing!

ON, Canada
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5. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

We just arrived on Maui after 13 days on the BI and I had a little laugh over your comment about the resort areas on the BI being more for the type who like to sit on the beach and not do much exploring. We stayed at the Mauna Lani (loved it)... but wore ourselves out being active. You could walk till you dropped along the coastal trails and it was really convenient for exploring most of the places that we wanted to visit.

But back to the topic ... I think you would really enjoy Kihei. We prefer Kaanapali (north of Black Rock), but if you liked the vibe of Kailua-Kona, then I think Kihei is a good choice. It's a favourite of many here on the forum, and it's a great location for exploring from.

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

So two of you have recommended the area north of Blackrock? Is that similar to Kailua-Kona atmosphere? Curious how that is different from the rest of Kaanapali Beach area? I guess what I'm trying to stay away from is the Mega Resorts that might make it feel like we lose some of the Hawaii feel...

SusanM - Your comments about Mauna Lani made me laugh too :)

We visited both Mauna Kea Beach (got one of the 35-40 or so early morning passes) and also visited the beach at Mauna Lani - I think it was last Thursday (maybe we saw you there!). Mauna Kea although absolutely gorgeous seemed more like I described above. Mauna Lani did look like a beautiful property and more "Hawaii-like" with a lot of nice trails and other things to do and if I were to stay anywhere on the Kohala Coast that would probably be the place because it is a bit further south then some of the other resorts - but honestly the beach atmosphere at Mauna Lani especially made me feel like it might get a bit old if you were staying there an entire week. Maybe because the bay was so calm and private and it seemed like you could only do so much paddleboarding and the snorkelling was not great unless you went far out (waves were a bit much for that last week) so it seemed to us not where we would want to be for an entire week. This was the tail end of our 10 days too so we were a bit tired by then. I'm sure it was a terrific place to stay!

ON, Canada
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7. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

Our beach stops are usually quite short ... time for snorkelling an/or a swim, but then we usually head off to do something else. At the Mauna Lani, we liked Honokaope Beach, & thought the Beach Club beach was a good place for families with young children. However, we did snorkel there once and it was good, and another time we went later in the afternoon for a swim, then a nice long walk along the coastal trail. I don't think we met more than 4 people on that walk ... we loved the peacefulness and spectacular scenery, whereas when we did an evening stroll along Ali'i drive to the pier, the level of noise and the number of people had us wanting to make a quick departure. At the ML, being within a 10 minute drive of other beautiful beaches was nice too.

For Maui, if you're thinking of a lower key resort, I would look at Maui Kaanapali Villas. It's on a gorgeous beach, and is just north of Black Rock. It's nothing like Kailua-Kona though.

Perhaps do a google drive by in Kihei to see if that area appeals to you ... it has more of a beach town atmosphere, something you don't get in Kaanapali, either north or south of Black Rock.

British Columbia
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8. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

Hi,

We just back from the BI and Maui. We love the BI, and on Maui have stayed in Kihei and Kahana area. We loved the Kihei area, and it is important to know to stay more mid way not at the begging of Kihei Road, as the beaches there are not nice. We stayed at Kamaole Sands, across from Kam 3 Beach. It was great! From there you can drive and check out other snorkelling areas. You can also walk along the beach for a long way too! Lots to do in Kihei for shopping if you want. Also some nice roadside areas for fresh fruit and veggies, but not quite as nice as the market on Alii Dr on the BI.

Maui, Hawaii
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9. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

I think you would enjoy staying in downtown Lahaina. A wee bit like Kona. Probably the best preserved historical town in Hawaii (probably because it was almost a ghost town in the 1960's).

From the condo Lahaina Shores you can walk to the banyan tree , the small boat harbor, and to lots of

restaurants, shops and museums. Lahaina Shores is oceanfront and has surfing and water sports next door.

Public tennis and basketball courts are across the street. It is the south end of Lahaina so it is less driving time to Kihei, the airport, Haleakala etc than Kaanapali , or the Napili districts of Lahaina would be.

Kelowna, Canada
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10. Re: Round trip - last stop Maui - General location guidance plz!

I've stayed at Lahaina Shores....we loved it....in fact when we went to the Big Island Ali'i drive reminded me a bit of it. On the other hand you mention wanting to be centrally located. Maalaea might be worth looking into. We're staying there in January. Yes it doesn't have all the conveniences and choices of downtown Lahaina but there are still a couple of restaurants, the harbour and the Maui Ocean centre to walk to. A couple of the complexes at the south end have a small sandy beach in front and the rest have a sea wall. It's a few minutes walk to 3 miles of undeveloped beach...one of the nicest walking beaches on Maui. You can't beat the prices either. We're staying at a 2 bedroom privately owned ground floor unit at Lauloa for 240 a night in January. Plug Maalaea into VRBO and see what pops up. You can also see aerial views of all the complexes at wizardpub.com. I only mention Maalaea because you talk about being centrally located and driving to different places each day and not a sit on the beach in front of your unit type of vacation. Another plus is that whale watching from your Lanai here will be pretty incredible. Just another thought and my two cents for you to consider. :)