Kihei is beach-combing territory on Maui’s southwest shore, the sunniest, driest end of the island. Once a regular destination for Hawaiian royalty, Kihei features six miles of beaches and clear views of Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai and West Maui. Along with swimming and surfing, you can also find great snorkeling and kayaking — and you may even spot a giant humpback whale spouting or breaching the ocean’s surface.
Kalepolepo, Waipuilani and the three beaches of Kamaole and Kalama Beach Park are acres and acres of oceanfront dotted with shady lawns and palm trees, picnic tables, playgrounds and beach volleyball courts.
Birdwatchers and nature lovers will find what they’re looking for at Kealia Pond on the north end of Kihei. This National Wildlife Conservation District features endangered Hawaiian stilts and coots.
Also north of Kihei is Maalaea Bay, where pleasure boats launch whale watching expeditions, charter fishing and snorkel trips.
Browse small shopping malls, a bustling farmers market and a spate of restaurants, all of which cater to residents and visitors alike. Nightlife here includes karaoke spots, dance clubs and sports bars.