The 7 Best Towns in Maui County for Diving 

We often get asked for recommendations on the best places to stay when visiting Maui, and giving a good answer is more difficult than you might think. This is because, when visiting an island like Maui, one is always looking to strike a balance between a mixture of factors that can include price, lifestyle, ambiance, and amenities. With each one being more or less important to each individual.


For this reason, we are going to be looking at some of the best townships in Maui, what sets each one apart, and what specifically divers should know about each location.

Lahaina

From whaling boomtown to one of Maui’s original capitals, Lahaina holds a varied history that makes its ideal location just that much more special. One of the livelier areas you’ll find on the islands, Lahaina is a great place to make your home base during any visit to Maui.

Some of the best restaurants in Maui are located here. And Lahaina is also home to many quality outfitters. No matter if you wish to bike, swim, or scuba, you’ll find a shop here for you. 

And though we probably are a little biased, we here at Dive Maui think we have the best dive shop in town, be sure to check us out if you have even a passing interest in some of Maui’s best activities, such as whale watching or diving with turtles.

So, remember to enjoy Lahaina’s many wonderful establishments (such as Kohola Brewery) responsibly, as there are early morning dives to be had and the fish don’t care if you’re hungover, or just seasick!

Weather:

Typically, Lahaina has a drier climate, less rain, and warmer temperatures than the rest of the island, which is often the case for locations found in South Maui and West Maui. 

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

Besides quality shopping and nightlife, Lahaina also has plenty of historic sites that help capture Maui’s varied and rich history. Some of the island’s earliest structures can be found within the Lahaina Historic District, which combines nine of them. A day spent exploring them all is well worth the time. In addition, the Wo Hing Society Hall is a Lahaina gem that preserves traces of some of the island’s first Chinese immigrants.

What Divers Should Know:

Lahaina also has some diving highlights of its own, including Mala Wharf, a sunken concrete pier that is steps away from our shop and is one of the best shore dives on the entire island.

Hana

If you don’t mind giving up on some of the nightlife and vibrancy that Maui’s more densely populated locals can offer, Hana is a great choice of place to stay. Located off of one of the most famous scenic highways in the world, Hana offers easy access to much of Maui’s natural splendor.

Best yet, you don’t have to break the bank at some fancy resort, there are more economical options available in the area. If you are comfortable with a more rustic experience, for example, a stay at one of Waiʻānapanapa State Park’s Cabins will be one unique experience from your trip to Maui that you’ll always remember.

Weather:

Due to the effect of the prevailing trade winds on the local microclimate, Hana will have heavier and more frequent rainfall during the year, which will increase in intensity and effect as the altitude does.

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

On days when you have to “off-gas” before travel, staying near Hana has its clear advantages. Primarily its location allows visitors the ability to explore many of the island’s most famous natural sites in the morning well before crowds of tourists from the rest of the island descend upon them each day.

What Divers Should Know:

Inversely, due to its remote location, it can be a trek to get to early morning dives from Hana. Shore dives from Hana’s more popular shores during high-surf months such as November will likewise be impossible.

Kihei

Located on the South Side of Maui, Kihei is an interesting mix of everyday Maui and varied 

ocean escape. That is if some of your favorite pastimes include karaoke, beachcombing, and snorkeling.

From the shores of Kihei’s beaches, you can enjoy views of many surrounding islands such as Lanai and Molokini and great dive spots in their own rights.

What makes Kihei an economical choice is that it can be more affordable to stay in the area if condo-style accommodations are available and agreeable.

Weather:

One of the warmer and drier locations you can choose to stay on Maui, with daytime highs reaching up to 92° in the summer.

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

Kihei’s central location makes it an ideal basecamp for your Maui vacation. There is plenty to do nearby, and no part of the larger island is too far away to be explored.

What Divers Should Know:

If you’re going to be schlepping dive gear, make sure to note the bus service, otherwise, a car will almost be a necessity.  

Kaanapali

Like nearby Lahaina, Kaanapali is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Maui. And it is easy to see why, beautiful beaches abound and there are sophisticated resorts that will cater to a variety of price points. 

Natural beauty includes nearby beaches such as Kaanapali Beach, Napili Bay, and the famous Black Rock Beach. Black Rock in particular has some of the best snorkeling you can find anywhere in Maui.

Weather:

Daytime temperatures will be some of the highest here and humidity will be lower. There will be less rain here than on other parts of the island.

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

Even if you don’t have a room booked, if you’re looking for a taste of resort life, Kaanapali offers it in spades. Almost every major brand has a resort represented and they often feature world-class amenities. Spending an afternoon enjoying lunch at the beachfront grill can be an excellent way to sample a resort without committing to getting a room.

What Divers Should Know:

Maui traffic can be a bear, especially near Kaanapali’s shores, so be sure to plan ahead when it comes to transportation to and from your dives.

Wailuku

Better known as one of Maui’s commercial centers, Wailuku is also a good place to rest after a day out trekking. That is, as long as you don’t mind staying at smaller establishments or boutique hotels.

Wailuku is centrally located, close to Maui highlights such as the Hana Highway and almost anything you could want to do is an easy day trip away.

The best part about staying in Wailuku is the easy access to smaller independent stores, cafes, and restaurants it provides. Many of these are located off of Main St. where one can find something to suit just about any taste or budget.

Weather:

The temperatures of Wailuku will remain higher throughout the year and humidity will likewise be higher than what is found elsewhere on the island.

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

Shopping and café culture are two of Wailuku’s main advantages. Appealing beaches are a weakness, as is a general lack of natural wonder in this area. If the former pair is more important than the latter, you’ll find Wailuku a more than suitable choice. 

What Divers Should Know:

As with any location on this end of the island, local chances for diving will be limited. This is due to generally rough conditions that restricts the area to advanced divers only. 

Maalaea

Maalaea is smaller than almost any other place on this list, but this small town’s vibrant fishing harbor and central location help earn it a place on this list. 

Maalaea is stuck nearly perfectly on the coast of Maui’s main central isthmus. This location makes it easy to get to almost anywhere else on the island. And having the harbor so close by means that you won’t have to waste extra time commuting for offshore activities.

There are many quality accommodations available in the area, we recommend the economical Maalaea Banyans for its value and the property’s oceanfront proximity.

Weather:

The daily temperature is remarkably consistent, only 7.6° separates Maalaea’s average peak high temperature in August and low high temperature in January. Humidity likewise is normally very comfortable, and the chance of rain is low throughout the year.

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

Those entertaining young ones should know that the Maui Ocean Center is Hawaii’s largest aquarium. Besides being a fun activity on a rare Hawaiian rainy day, a trip to the aquarium is also recommended to help improve your fish identification skills.

What Divers Should Know:

If you’re trying to maximize your time on the island, the proximity of this area to Maalaea’s harbor is huge. The popular port is known for its frequent snorkeling and diving tours that visit such hotspots as Molokini Crater or South Maui’s Turtle Town.

Kahului

Convenience to the Kahului Airport is a given advantage for this area, but there is more on offer for those that can swing a night or two at one of the area’s pricey beachfront resorts.

History buffs will find many hidden gems within Kahului’s interior. One recommendation is a trip out to Puunene to see the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum and to better understand the history of the island’s sugar plantation production.

Weather:

Due to its central location between two mountain ridges, Kahului’s microclimate can be muggy with higher temperatures throughout the year. However, the weather can also be drier and breezy at times.

Why Staying Here Stands Out:

Be prepared for much more of a local vibe when staying in Kahului, as it isn’t as geared towards tourists as other parts can be. This means that its restaurants may be less pretentious, like Jack’s Inn, and its shopping can be more down-to-earth, but these can be useful features to have if a more genuine Maui experience is something you are looking for.

What Divers Should Know:

If you are looking for natural splendor when you aren’t diving, consider other options. While they each have their own benefits, Kahului and Wailuku in particular, aren’t known to be the most picturesque parts of the island.

We’re always here to help!

So, there you have it, seven of the best towns to consider staying in on your next visit to Maui. Each offers something a little unique and there is no going wrong with any of them.

As always, we hope you learned something new and enjoyed yourself along the way, if you have any more questions about arranging a Maui diving experience of your own, please don’t hesitate to reach out today! Our helpful staff of certified professionals have the answers to all of your questions and can get you out on the water in no time!