Welcome to South Maui
Discover life on Maui’s southwestern shore
Maui’s southwestern shores are home to a variety of pristine, white-sand beaches, idyllic towns, and exclusive resorts. Starting in North Kihei, South Maui extends as far south as La Perouse Bay. The climate on this side of Maui, which is sheltered on the leeward side of the Haleakala volcano, is drier and sunnier than the rest of the island. Today, South Maui comprises the coastal communities Ma’alaea and Kihei, as well as the growing resort communities of Wailea and Makena.
What to Love
- Perfect climate and world-class beaches
- Exclusive resorts, golf, and shopping
- Close access to nature and outdoor exploration
With so much to offer, it’s no surprise that residents and tourists alike appreciate all the appealing qualities South Maui has to offer. Makena has a population of 142 residents, making it the smallest town in South Maui. Meanwhile, Kihea is the largest town and home to over 22,000 residents. The population in Kihei doubles every year during the tourist season, which attracts visitors from around the world.
In addition to the varying sizes of these South Maui communities, Maalaea, Kihei, Wailea, and Makena have slightly different personalities. Makena and Maalaea have smaller populations, giving these places a tight-knit sense of community and small-town charm that is hard to find elsewhere. Meanwhile, Kihea and Wailea have larger populations, which means there are more amenities and attractions. Despite their differences, these four communities are all known for their laid-back lifestyle and friendly residents. Residents from all walks of life reside in South Maui, ranging from retirees to families to outdoor enthusiasts.
Dining, Shopping, and Entertainment
Get ready to shop until you drop at The Shops at Wailea. This premier shopping center has a plethora of top-notch restaurants and shops, ranging from high-end designer stores to independent boutiques. Whether you are looking to revamp your wardrobe or grab a gift for a friend, The Shops at Wailea have everything you need.
After you’re finished shopping, head over to Nalu’s South Shore Grill to refuel with some delicious Hawaiian food. This casual joint specializes in locally sourced recipes, as well as nightly specials and live music. Grab a drink or pub fare at The Pint & Cork, which is located in Kihei.
If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion with an upscale culinary experience, the Four Seasons Duo Steak and Seafood offers premium steaks and local seafood in a casual, open-air environment. Ruth’s Chris Steak House offers another excellent, elevated dining experience. Located in Wailea, this restaurant serves expertly prepared steaks and an elegant, white-cloth setting.
Things to Do
South Maui offers plenty to see and do - regardless of your interests or hobbies!
Spend some time connecting with nature at Makena Beach State Park. The park is spread over 165 acres and features two beaches, as well as Pu’u Olai at the center of the park. Reaching 360-feet tall, this dormant volcanic cinder cone is a sight you don’t want to miss. If you’re looking to try your hand at snorkeling, Molokini Crater offers the perfect spot to do so.
South Maui also hosts a variety of exciting festivals and events throughout the year, starting with the Maui Film Festival. Founded in 2000, this highly-anticipated event occurs annually over the course of five days and five nights.
South Maui is served by the Hawaii Department of Education. It is home to a number of excellent institutions, including:
- Kihei Elementary School, PK-5
- Kihei Charter School, K-12
- Kihei High School (being built)
- Kamalii Elementary School, PK-5
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