This post may contain some affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little money on anything you choose to purchase. But of course, I only recommend my absolute favorites to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Hulaland possible.
Home to big wave, surfers, hippy towns, and so many sea turtles, Maui’s north shore is a region that you definitely don’t want to miss. Even if you’re staying in the resort areas in south and west Maui, it’s worth at least a day trip to see the sites.
There are three main towns/areas that make up the north shore: 1) Paia: right on the beach, this surf town is packed with shops and restaurants 2) Haiku: located further up in the jungle, Haiku is more off the beaten path for tourists, but there’s still quite a bit to see and do 3) Haliimaile: not really a town, but an old pineapple plantation, if you blink you’ll miss it!
So here’s a rundown on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay (if you decide you’re interested in more than a quick day visit):
Things to Do
Hang out in Paia town: This “hippy” town on the North Shore has some of the best shopping and dining on Maui. It’s laid back vibe makes it feel more local than other parts of Maui but it has all of the amenities that make it a fun place to spend the day. Great local boutiques and plenty of diverse restaurants all a stone’s through from beautiful Baldwin beach are a great reason to make the trip up to Paia from your resort. Make sure to stroll up Baldwin Avenue to see the colorful surfboard wall in from on the Maui Aloha Hostel.
Maui Pineapple Tour: Book a tour of the small plantation that produces the Maui Gold pineapples. It’s WAY more authentic than the Dole Plantation on Oahu and you can also combine it with lunch at the Haliimaile General Store across the street and a tour of the Haliimaile Distillery. I recommend booking the morning tour for the coolest weather.
RELATED: Not very familiar with Maui? Read up on the lay of the is(land) and where to stay plus my favorite beach resorts, budget hotels, condos, honeymoon resorts, family friendly resorts, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels plus my area specific guides (including where to stay, eat, and things to do) for Wailea, Ka’anapali, the north shore, and upcountry plus my review of staying at the Four Seasons Maui.
Bike the Volcano: One of the most popular tourist attractions on Maui is Haleakala, a large dormant volcano, and while tons of people ascend to the summit each morning to watch the sunrise, the lucky ones get to follow it up with a downhill bike ride from summit to sea. It’s a bucket list adventure and most companies (my favorite is Maui Sunriders) have their headquarters (where you’ll end your tour) in Paia or Haiku. Read all about biking the volcano here.
Baldwin/Baby Beach: Right in Paia town, this gorgeous white sand beach is usually too rough for swimming, but it’s fun to watch the wind and kite surfers. But the far west end of Baldwin beach has a protective shelf that makes for good swimming conditions plus a strong current if you get further out that makes for a good resistance pool. It’s called “Baby Beach” and on a good day (sunny, no wind) it’s packed with local families.
Ho’okipa Beach: Ho’okipa beach is a resting area for the Hawaiian green sea turtles. Every afternoon they will swim up onto the beach (the far East end) to sun themselves while they nap. A volunteer group has taken it upon itself to protect the turtles by enforcing a perimeter around them, but this is the perfect spot to see a whole herd of turtles (usually around 20) both in and out of the water. Ho’okipa is also a popular surfing beach and on good days you’re guaranteed a show from the outlook where there are usually at least a couple of food trucks parked.