8 Reasons Why You Should Stay In Maalaea
The oceanfront enclave of Maalaea in South Central Maui is truly an undiscovered gem. This peaceful little village, nestled beside the small-boat harbor, offers the most central location on the island for visitors—great for those who want to explore Maui in all directions. Here are some reasons why you should stay in Maalaea and make this area your home base on Maui. (Maalaea is pronounced mah-ah-LIE-ah. Here’s a map of Maui’s regions to help orient you to its location.)
8 Reasons Why You Should Stay In Maalaea
Maalaea Boasts Maui’s Longest Beach
The island’s longest uninterrupted stretch of beach is right at your doorstep in Maalaea. Maalaea is home to one County beach park and some small beaches that ultimately and seamlessly blend into Sugar Beach, a three-mile stretch of beach that extends around the curve of the massive bay all the way to North Kihei. Sugar Beach is pure heaven for beach walks! It’s NEVER crowded, and off-shore reefs provide good snorkeling with lots of turtle sightings! More details on Maalaea beaches.
Maalaea is Quiet and Relatively “Untouristy”
Maalaea is not located in a large town or busy resort area, and this off-the-beaten-path setting reaps benefits in peace and quiet. The ambiance of Maalaea is slow and easygoing, with none of the hustle bustle experienced in Maui’s busier towns. The Maalaea Harbor Shops are in the heart of Maalaea, offering a small complex with a few restaurants and shops where you can browse and dine.
Maalaea Is One of Maui’s Most Affordable Places to Stay
Maalaea offers a great selection of condominium rentals (there are no hotels here) with some of the lowest prices on the island for oceanfront accommodations. You don’t have to cross a busy road in order to get to the ocean here. All Maalaea condo properties are just steps from the sea. Check out these affordable Maalaea condos. All are book-direct with the property owners or management so you get the best possible price.
Maalaea Offers the Most Central Home Base to Explore Maui
Not being a large town, there are limited things to do in Maalaea itself, but it provides the best central location on the island from which to explore all of Maui. Situated within easy access to three of Maui’s major highways, Maalaea provides the ideal starting point to get just about anywhere. 15 minutes to the Kahului Airport; 10 minutes to the north end of Kihei; 15-20 minutes to Lahaina. Wherever you want to go on Maui, it’s easy to get there from Maalaea!
Maalaea’s Marina Provides Easy Access to Boat Excursions
The Maalaea Small Boat Harbor provides a picturesque scene, as you watch tour boats and fishing vessels navigate in and out the harbor. If you’re interested in a snorkel tour or whale watching excursion, you’ll find it here! Multiple boat tours depart daily from this harbor.
Maalaea Borders the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Sanctuary
Paradise for bird-watchers! A leisurely walk along Sugar Beach (or a 3-minute drive from the Maalaea condos) will bring you to the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Sanctuary, a 700-acre natural wetland. Stroll along the serene coastal boardwalk and you’ll see many different native Hawaiian birds, as well as feathered visitors from Asia and North America. Helpful interpretative signage explains what you are seeing. The beach area alongside the boardwalk is also a nesting area for Hawksbill turtles.
TIP: Be aware that it is illegal to operate drones in this area, as it is a National Wildlife Refuge.
Maalaea Is Home to the Fabulous Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center is a world-class aquarium, nestled in the heart of Maalaea. You’ll learn about whales and other marine life, explore tide pools, enjoy many informative tours and presentations, and walk through a clear acrylic tunnel surrounded by a 750,000-gallon aquarium populated by sharks, stingrays, and all manner of swimming creatures.
TIP: Make sure your admission fee includes entry to the new 3D Sphere theatre for a virtual swim with the whales. It’s breathtaking!
Maalaea Is Big On Whales!
During whale season, you can watch whales spouting in Maalaea harbor or enjoy a whale watching boat tour departing from the marina. In addition, the Pacific Whale Foundation headquarters is located here at the Maalaea Harbor Shops, making Maalaea the natural focal point for a variety of whale-oriented events sponsored by PWF, like the Annual Run & Walk for the Whales and the Maui Whale Festival every February.
Hope you’ve enjoyed these reasons why you should stay in Maalaea! No matter where you stay, have a fabulous time on our beautiful island of Maui.
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Candy Aluli, Publisher
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