Chances are that your first experience on Maui will be when you land at the Kahului Airport. Kahului is the hub of activity located in the valley between the West Maui mountains and the slopes of Haleakala on the South side of Maui. The closest towns are Wailuku to the west and Paia to the east. Looking at Kahului from high altitude you'll note that it looks like an actual city where most of the other towns on the island become just small neighborhoods by comparison. It is the most "urban" town on Maui, and you might overhear locals saying, "I'm going into town" referring to Kahului. Kahului is where most of Maui's residents live and work due in large part to the airport, heliport, sea port, malls, warehouses and schools. Most of the island's car rental facilities and large box stores such as Costco, Kmart and Walmart are located in town which makes Kahului very busy almost every day. See Map
Kahului is also home to our official sea port, Kahului Harbor. The large cruise ships often stop here overnight and the harbor is a buzz of container ships and surfers. Located near the harbor and airport you'll find several small malls; Maui Marketplace, Maui Mall and Ka'ahumanu Mall. The biggest of which is Ka'ahumanu which is named after Queen Elizabeth Ka?ahumanu who was born in Hana, Maui in 1768.
Before sugar cane the valley where Kahului had it's beginnings was largely uninhabited. Later, Kahului was home to Maui's first railroad in the 1880s which hauled sugar cane from the sugar mill to the harbor. A town sprouted up around the sugar cane industry and in the year1900 a bubonic plague wiped out the entire town. They decided to burn down the town to snuff out the plague. What is now modern day Kahului was the result of a planned community development by the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Company in 1948.
Today's bustling Kahului is the hub of business on Maui. Sprawling homes, apartments, warehouses and communities dot the landscape and make Kahului the best place to find affordable housing, office space and a place to start up a business because almost everything is nearby.
Once a week a cruise ship docks and visitors embark into Kahului for shopping and renting cars to explore the rest of Maui. Hidden down a few back roads between the Kahului airport and the harbor are a few interesting beaches. Airport Beach and Kanaha Beach Park entertain windsurfers, paddle boarders and kite boarders to this often windswept area. In the early morning you might see a line of 10-15 fishermen standing in the shallows fishing for small bait. A lot of people might be surprised to know that during a brief period in May and June you can watch the sunset from these Kahului Beaches.
Rest assured that Kahului has all the trappings of a city in the making. This town has a great mix of neighborhoods, business, tourism and commerce. Recently a new hotel was built near the airport and Costco is expanding. A new mall and a Target Department store is planned in the near future and they're excavating an area for a bus depot near the sugar millóall signs of expansion and growth.
You might miss most of Kahului if you're vacationing here but it's almost certain that you'll leave Kahului wondering if you might have missed something as you drive through towards the airport. From a local's perspective you may just have missed an opportunity to really get to know the heart of Maui.
Education, Arts & Culture
University of Hawaii, Maui College
Aloha Friday Farmers Market (Maui College)
Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
Inter Island Terminal (small planes)
Rental Car Companies
Cargo and Shipping Port
Cruise Ship Docking
Gardens, Beaches & Natural features
Kanaha Beach Park
Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary (Birds)
Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
Queen Ka'ahumanu Mall
Swap Meet (Saturday, behind Maui College)
Get the best price and vehicle for your Maui car rental.
Get out of town, but still be close when staying at this beautiful, private estate.
See Maui from above on a Plane or Helicopter Tour.
Find the best Luaus, Shows, or Nightlife Activities.
Learn why you should visit the lush valley of Iao where historic Hawaiian battles were fought.