Forget piña coladas under swaying palms — picture sipping a mango smoothie while ogling rainbow art deco shops under the salty whispers of trade winds. Yes, Paia, Maui is all about the vibes, even if those vibes come with the occasional spray of ocean mist. Sure, they call it “The World Capital of Windsurfing”, and it’s the gateway to the legendary Road to Hana, but trust me, Paia’s magic stretches far beyond the perfect sail or hairpin turns.
Whether you’re a yogi seeking inner peace like me or a beach bum chasing the perfect latte, this vibrant historic town packs a punch, ready to make your Maui dreams a salty, sun-kissed reality. So, grab your sunglasses and let’s explore the coolest things to do in Paia, Maui.
Where is Paia, Maui
Paia, Maui, is a hidden gem on the island’s northern shore. Tucked between lush landscapes and the Pacific’s gentle embrace, this eclectic town is a mere 15-minute, 8.4 mile drive from Kahului and a 44-minute, 30 mile drive from Lahaina.
What’s more, Paia’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from humpback havens and epic surf breaks. Think quaint charm meets bohemian spirit, with a dash of island tranquility thrown in.
How Long to Spend in the Paia Town
Time stands still in Paia, but your visit doesn’t have to. A day in Paia Town Maui is like a sip of the finest cocktail—short, sweet, and leaving you wanting more. Of course, if you want to soak in the laid-back vibes and uncover hidden treasures, then spending two to three days is more than enough.
Things to Do in (and near) Paia
Ready to dive into the heart of Paia’s magic? Beyond the postcard-perfect shores, this little town hums with different experiences waiting for you to discover. From ancient Hawaiian wisdom to sun-kissed beaches and quirky shops galore, Paia’s got something for every kind of traveler.
1. See The Great Paia Lha Bab Peace Stupa
Discovering the serene Paia Peace Stupa right next to the Maui Dharma Center is a tranquil experience. Standing at 27 feet, this Buddhist monument pays homage to Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the inaugural teacher at the center. Since its establishment in 2005, the stupa, with its whitewashed exterior adorned by vibrant prayer flags, exudes a calming aura.
Stepping inside, my eyes are drawn to a prominent prayer wheel surrounded by beautiful murals on the walls. As I turn the wheel, a gentle chime accompanies each revolution, creating a melodious rhythm that enhances the meditative atmosphere.
2. Go Shopping
Shopping at Paia isn’t just about retail therapy; it’s an invitation to soak in the island’s hippy spirit, one unique find at a time. At Nuage Bleu, I discover chic island-inspired fashion and statement accessories. Further down Hana Highway, Soley Aloha unveils bohemian treasures like flowing sundresses and handcrafted jewelry. Maui Hands showcases local artistry, each shelf a testament to the island’s creative soul. By the Bay invites me to embrace seaside bliss with its racks of breezy styles, perfect for soaking in the golden rays.
3. Take a Yoga Class
Paia’s soul vibrates with a deep connection to the earth and ocean, and what better way to tap into that inner aloha than through yoga?
Explore a diverse yoga kaleidoscope, from the distinctive “Free the Pelvis” approach at Breathe & Barefoot Yoga to therapeutic sessions at Maui Therapy & Yoga. For a more epic bucket list experience, dive into the playful realm of SUP yoga on the water at Maui Yoga Shala.
Whichever you choose, each class is a unique expression, inviting you to align with the rhythms of Paia’s vibrant energy.
4. Visit La’akea Village
Founded with a mission to support autistic and IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) adults, La’akea goes beyond sustainable living. It becomes a heartwarming example of inclusivity, where residents embrace a shared journey towards a fulfilling and supportive life.
Shop their charming Country Store, teeming with fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, beverages, and hand-made gifts by its residents. Your purchases directly support the village and its mission to empower individuals with disabilities, making it a win-win for everyone.
5. Relax at The Temple of Peace Maui
Just a short drive, about 6.7 miles east of Paia, you’ll discover The Temple of Peace Maui. This interfaith wellness sanctuary isn’t just a place; it’s a warm embrace for your spirit, a haven where diverse paths to peace converge. Picture lush gardens and a peaceful vibe—perfect for taking a break from the daily hustle.
Here, you can embark on a personalized journey of rejuvenation. Unveil ancient detox secrets, find inner stillness through yoga and meditation, or indulge in spa treatments that pamper your body and soothe your soul. Whether you’re on a soul-searching journey or just want a quiet spot to unwind, this sanctuary near Paia is all about finding your zen amidst Maui’s beauty.
6. Check out one of the Beaches
Paia’s beaches aren’t just stretches of sand – they’re playgrounds for sun seekers, surfers, and adventurers alike. Choose your perfect slice of paradise:
- Baldwin Beach Park: This two-mile stretch of fine white sand is your classic beach day haven. Bask under the Maui sun, build sandcastles with the kids, or catch some waves (when conditions are right). Lifeguards are on duty, and facilities like restrooms, showers, and covered picnic tables make it a family-friendly choice.
- Tavares Beach: Also known as Ku’au Bay or “Blue Tile Beach House,” this small white-sand haven near Paia offers sheltered waters for a tranquil swim or snorkel (note: watch for rocky spots). The undeveloped beach is a pristine coastal escape, occasionally graced by green turtles basking in the sun.
- Ho’okipa Beach Park: This world-renowned surf spot is a magnet for pros and thrill-seekers, with towering waves that churn and boil like giants at play. Watch in awe as surfers dance on the liquid walls, or simply admire the raw beauty of the Pacific Ocean in its most untamed form.
7. Take a Short Trip to Twin Falls
Tucked away at Mile Marker 2 on Maui’s iconic Road to Hana, Twin Falls graces the lush Ho’olawa Valley with its cascading beauty. While nestled on private farmland, these series of waterfalls offer a taste of paradise within reach.
Hike the 1.8-mile trail, featuring its two main waterfalls. The first, near the parking area, invites a refreshing dip in its natural pool. The second, featured in Twin Falls photos, awaits at the trail’s end, rewarding your effort with a breathtaking panorama. Just remember to be prepared for the moderately challenging and sometimes muddy terrain.
8. Take the Maui Pineapple Tour
Taking the Maui Pineapple Tour was like stepping into a tropical paradise where the spirit of the island unfolded in every juicy bite. We were surrounded by endless rows of pineapple fields as we witnessed the meticulous process of cultivating these golden gems – from planting to harvest.
The best part was learning the art of picking the perfect pineapple and then tasting it directly from the shrub.
9. Visit the Sacred Garden of Maliko
Step into The Sacred Garden of Maliko in Upcountry Maui, surrounded by nature’s beauty in historic Maliko Gulch. It’s a big nursery filled with pretty tropical plants and greenery. Discover their Buddha Garden, where a 500-600 pound wooden Buddha statue sits serenely on a table.
Plus, explore two cool “labyrinths” (which you can walk any day for free,) one outside and one inside a greenhouse. And if you’re around during a full moon, don’t miss the special Full Moon Labyrinth Walk they offer each month.
10. Hop on a BikeTour with Maui Sunriders
Forget cars, Maui’s begging to be explored on two wheels! Maui Sunriders offer epic adventures for all: downhill thrills on Haleakala, challenging road tours, or beachy cruises. Rent top-notch bikes—whether it’s a mountain bike for rugged trails, a road bike for challenging tours, an e-bike for an extra boost, a cruiser bike for coastal strolls, or even kids’ bikes for family fun. Tap into their local expertise, and pedal through paradise – sunshine, wind in your hair, and breathtaking scenery guaranteed.
Their Haleakala adventure throws you headfirst into paradise. From a staggering 6,500 feet atop the volcano, embark on a 99.9% downhill rush through volcanic landscapes, lush rainforests, and charming towns. Choose your pace, savor the scenery, and feel the wind whip through your hair as you descend – it’s pure Maui freedom at its most exhilarating.
11. Get a Smoothie at Huelo Lookout
Take a breezy 15-mile drive east from Paia to Huelo Lookout—a charming little roadside stand. Surrounded by nature, this small takeout place is not just about smoothies; it’s a nature retreat with a side of deliciousness.
Sip on a tropical smoothie (I tried out their Banana Bliss) and let the views enhance the experience. While their menu focuses on smoothies and snacks like banana bread and muffins, fresh fruit and delectable crepes add a delightful touch to satisfy your cravings.
Paia’s food scene is like a tasty adventure waiting to happen. From fresh seafood to delicious blends of flavors, the town’s restaurants are all about celebrating good food and Maui’s diverse tastes.
- Mama’s Fish House: Savor meticulously crafted dishes showcasing the Pacific’s freshest catches, changing daily to reflect the day’s bounty. Quite pricey, but the panoramic oceanfront views and delicious food more than make up for it.
- Paia Fish Market Restaurant: For a casual seafood feast, Paia Fish Market Restaurant is a local favorite. Unwind in a laid-back atmosphere as you relish plates of juicy fish tacos or their legendary fish and chips.
- Vana Paia: Japanese-inspired dishes meet Hawaiian flair, crafted with local bounty. Sushi, rolls, and a curated wine list complete the East-meets-West feast.
- Milagros Food Co.: Fiesta flavors erupt in every bite of their Mexican-inspired dishes, infused with a touch of island magic. Vibrant sunsets meet lively happy hours, where sizzling margaritas and sizzling tacos create a tastebud fiesta you won’t forget.
- Flatbread Co.: Artisan pizzas crafted with organic, local ingredients take center stage, offering a delicious slice of Maui’s sustainable bounty. I highly recommend Mopsy’s Kalua Pork made with Kiawe smoked free-range pork shoulder. Delish!
Paia is more than just a beach town; it’s a laidback state of mind. It’s a place where adventure awaits around every corner, where the sun paints the sky in vibrant hues, and where the spirit of aloha washes over you like a warm wave. So, pack your sense of wonder, grab your swimsuit, and get ready to fall in love with Paia Town Maui. The magic is waiting, just a plane ticket and a flip-flop step away.
Best Tips for Visiting Paia Maui
How to Get to Paia Maui: Kahului Airport (TPA) is a major hub and most airlines will fly into it. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. From the airport to the city center, you can take the line 35 bus.
Getting Around: Driving in a new destination can be a bit of a challenge, but if you choose to rent a car, RentalCars.com has great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of other options. Taxis, Lyft and Uber are available all over the city.
Best Time to Visit Paia Maui: Maui welcomes you with its delightful year-round climate, ensuring a fantastic vacation experience. For the ultimate surfing adventure, aim for a visit between late October and mid-March. Don’t forget to check out the friendly vibes and exciting surfing contests happening in Paia throughout the year!
Where to Stay in Paia Maui: It’s best to stay near the city center, public transportation or the area that you will be spending the most time in. Paia Inn is a great choice in Paia. For something on the less expensive side, try Maui Beach Hotel located in Kahului. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to VRBO that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.
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More Things to Do in Maui
- Maui Luaus: 9 Best Hawaiian Luaus on the Island
- Maui Bucket List: 40 Best Things To Do on the Top Hawaiian Island
- A Guide to Nakalele Blowhole in Maui, Hawaii
- Walk a Black Sand Beach on the Road to Hana
- Facing Pineapple Gluttony in Hali’imaile
- Swim with Sea Turtles in Olowalu
- 35 of Maui’s Best Road to Hana Stops for a Fun Driving Tour