In a recent report released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), more than two million tourists flew to Maui in 2021, spending billions and billions of dollars. The HTA provides comprehensive management of tourism for the State of Hawaii, responsible for being the official source for information on tourism market research, partnership opportunities, and industry news.
Despite the pandemic, Maui tourism performed strongly in 2021 after a dismal 2020. According to the statistics released by the HTA, here is a list of Maui’s most popular spots among visitors.
The HTA did not clarify how the data was collected, but did indicate the stats are reflective of an 87,000 visitor sample size.
#1 Front Street Lahaina
Before the Hawaii state capital was moved to Honolulu, Lahaina was the state’s first capital and Front Street was considered to be the first “down-town”. Fully walkable and paved, there is a deeper and rich history that lies behind the surface facade of bars, shops, and restaurants. If you want to be in the hear of the action in West Maui, look no further.
#2 Upcountry Maui
The Upcountry region covers about 102 square miles and includes the areas of Kula, Makawao, Haliimaile, and Pukalani. Each of these communities has its own distinct identity, making Upcountry Maui a diverse place to live. With its eucalyptus-scented breezes, high elevation, thriving art scene and gorgeous botanical gardens, Maui’s Upcountry is an enchanting section of the island that is beloved by residents and visitors alike.
#3 Whalers Village Shopping Center
Whaler’s Village offers beachfront shopping with many dining options, similar to a very small Waikiki. This includes access to a 3 mile beachfront boardwalk.
#4 Kaanapali Kai Golf Course
Once the vacation destination for Native Hawaiian Maui royalty, the Kaanapali Kai Golf Course now enjoys its gently sloping foothills from mauka (mountain) to makai (ocean).
#5 Hana or Road to Hana
Photo courtesy of Dominick Marino
Maui’s most famous road, Hana Highway, is a winding stretch of a road that runs along Maui’s northeastern coast. The road is technically a two-lane highway that is a 52 mile trek from Kahului to Hana. Due to the traveling time and the narrow roads, Hana remains not easily accessible. In other words, Hana is one of the very few places on the island that remain untouched by the rapid development on Maui.
#6 Lahaina Cannery Mall
As the island’s only fully enclosed and air-conditioned mall, it encompasses 120,000 square feet and has more than 50 boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops. Opened in 1987, the mall boasts a variety of boutique retail stores combined with casual restaurants and an exceptional international food court. The mall is also anchored by a 24-hour Safeway grocery store and a Longs Drugs store.
#7 Paia Town
Paia Town, known affectionately as the hippie town of Maui, is a beloved home base for all kinds, including advanced surfers, country music legend Willie Nelson and even the occasional world-renowned visual artist. It seems this tiny town, which consists of only one main street, is where a large portion of Maui’s economy and cultural melting pot got its start.
#8 Shops at Wailea
For great shopping, head to the Shops at Wailea where you’ll find an assortment of over 70 art galleries, boutiques, shops and restaurants for the whole family. Sitting at the heart of the Wailea Resort, it’s the ideal gathering spot for all.
#9 The Bay Course at Kapalua
Known for its 17th hole, the only hole to play over the ocean on Maui. The Bay Course opened in 1975 and in that time has hosted over 20 major professional tournaments – the most of any neighbor island course in the state of Hawaii.
#10 Baldwin Beach Park
Baldwin Beach is the most popular North Shore beach. It’s wonderful, long, wide, sandy beach park just outside of Paia. Fully equipped with lifeguards, port-a-potties, showers, barbecues, picnic tables and a covered pavilion.Both ends of the beach have calm swimming areas (west end is known as Baby Beach and the east as Baldwin Cove).
The cove end offers a well-worn trail along a sea-wall and the baby end offers a 50 or 60 yard sand hill with a steep climb and a set of pull up and dip bars.
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