Sun-Drenched, Vibrant Kihei
Located on Maui’s sunny southwest shore less than 20 minutes from the airport, Kihei enjoys great popularity with visitors from all over the world. Miles of gorgeous beaches with stunning views of the Molokini crater, the neighbor islands of Kahoolawe and Lanai, and the West Maui Mountains characterize this thriving town with ideal weather and endless opportunities for fun.
Two of the longest beaches on Maui, Sugar Beach (also known as Kealia) and Keawakapu, are situated at Kihei’s north and south ends, providing perfect locations for long walks on golden sands. In between, the three Kamaole beaches also boast not only incredible scenery, but amenities like parking, lifeguard stations, restrooms, and volleyball courts. Charley Young Beach, popular with locals, creates a scenic setting for sunbathing, swimming, and fishing.
Just north of Charley Young at “The Cove,” visitors of all skill levels may enjoy surfing or stand-up paddling lessons, or simply renting boards, from Maui Waveriders. Seafire Charters and Kai Kanani Charters also offer a variety of snorkeling, whale-watching, and other sailing excursions that leave from Kihei Boat Ramp and nearby Maluaka Beach, respectively. Even more daring visitors may wish to try a snorkeling or whale-watching trip through Maui Kayak Adventures. For those interested in remaining on land, the Wailea Golf Club (just south of Kihei) showcases three renowned courses, and the Wailea resorts are home to several exceptional spas (including Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea, The Spa at Four Seasons, and Awili Spa at Andaz Maui).
At both Sarento’s on the Beach and 5 Palms Restaurant, visitors can take in beautiful ocean views during a tasty brunch, or watch the sun set into the Pacific during a delicious dinner. Sansei and Café O’Lei have excellent seafood and sushi options, while Shearwater Tavern has locally-sourced food and craft beers, and Threes Bar and Grill has a unique fusion of Hawaiian, Southwestern, and Pacific Rim cuisine. Nalu’s South Shore Grill features salads, burgers, and local favorites like poke bowls and loco moco (as well as live music every night), while Coconut’s Fish Cafe and Paia Fish Market feature fantastic fish tacos, sandwiches, and salads.
Every fourth Friday of the month, Kihei hosts a town party featuring live music, food trucks, and local arts and crafts vendors. The Maui Whale Festival also takes place in Kihei or nearby Maalaea each February. In the neighboring town of Wailea, The Shops at Wailea has a packed calendar of hula shows, live music, ukulele lessons, and classes in other traditional arts such as lei making and wood carving. Wailea also hosts the Maui Film Festival each June, along with Restaurant Week each May and November.