On all the Hawaiian islands, the North Shore is always a little bit more wild — in ocean, scenery, and surroundings. Maui is no different. The North Shore is where the big waves are in the winter, where the wind blows for the windsurfers, where you can find waterfalls and sugar cane fields, and its a world removed from golf courses and resort living.
Where to Stay
There are no resorts on the North Shore of Maui but there are plenty of places to stay.
1. Paia Inn. This is hip boutique hotel right in the middle of Paia town and right on the beach. It is the only hotel on the North Shore and fills up fast, so make your reservation early. You can walk to yoga and dinner and the beach.
2. Airbnb or VBRO. Check out the vacation rentals online for a wide selection of places to stay on the North Shore. Anything from a room on the beach, to houses in the jungle, or condos with windsurfing right outside your front door.
Where to Eat
1. Mamas Fish House — If you are feeling fancy or want some pampering, Mamas serves a 5 star meal by the beach. Great fish and seafood and always a favorite.
2. Mambo Cafe is a fun little place for breakfast or lunch in Paia and a great place to get a boxed lunch to take to Hana.
3. Mana Foods is my favorite place. Its a small well stocked organic health food store with big prepared food sections, great produce and my favorite — the pies! Everything from locally grown fruit to prepared organic hamburgers with a salad bar, hot and cold prepared food bars and anything you could want from a grocery store.
4. Flat Bread Pizza – Flat Bread is a fun place to eat with fantastic and healthy food. It serves organic pizza and yummy salads and is very popular. Expect a wait in the evenings and its a fun place to hang out too.
What to Do
1. Hookipa Beach— Hookipa Beach is right past Paia up the coast a little bit. People go there to surf, stand up paddle, windsurf, or just hang out on the beach. Its a beautiful beach and a great place to hang out and watch the surf.
2. Twin Falls hike – This is a short easy hike into big waterfall. Its gets crowded so best to go early or later in the day. There is a fruit stand that serves smoothies at the beginning of the trail. Just past Paia on the road to Hana — you won’t be able to miss the lot and sign.
4. Hana – Driving the road to Hana is a day trip so get prepared. Its a winding road along the coastline that ends up in the town of Hana on the east side of Maui. Along the way, you pass and can stop at fruitstands, waterfalls, Venus Pools, a black sand beach and Hana Ranch.
3. Sunrise or Sunset on Haleakala – Paia is a shorter drive to the top of Haleakala (the volcano on Maui) than staying in other resort areas. Get up early to catch sunrise at Haleakala. Be prepared for very cold temperatures (like ski jacket worthy) but but be stunned by beauty. Or you can experience this with one of the many bike tours that start at the top of Haleakala and ride down the mountain.
4. Jaws. In the winter months when a big swell hits the North Shore, big wave surfers can be seen surfing at Jaws (a famous surf spot). Tow in surfers will surf 30 feet and up waves there. Its down a cane road through some field in Haiku off the Hana Highway.
Where to Shop
Paia Town is a fun little (I am talking just a few blocks) town right along the Hana Highway on the North Shore. Its a beachy, hippie sort of town reminiscent of Santa Cruz or Berkeley. Surf shops, organic food, smoothies, shave ice, as well as higher priced boutique shops line up and down the few blocks of Paia. Personally, its my favorite town on Maui and I love shopping and eating there. Some of my favorite spots in Paia to shop are:
1. Biasa Rose — a small boutique filled with the latest designer tees, jeans, sweatshirts. Think James Perse, Splendid, type clothing alongside some Maui designers. Great jewelry and a hidden treasure is the fun little used clothes boutique in the back with gently used designer clothes.
2. Le Tarte Swimwear – A favorite Maui swimwear designer, Lisa Le Tart’s suits appear in Sports Illustrated swimwear issue every year. The store has the cutest swimwear and coverups.
3. Hi Tech Surf – a small surf store with surf clothing like Billabong and Roxy and a great selection of new and used surfboards.
4. Sophie Grace Designs— My hands down favorite place to buy jewelry. You can pick from already designed necklaces, bracelets and earrings or design your own picking from a selection of gorgeous and colorful stones and chains. My favorite is a necklace with circular tags you can have engraved with your names or places you like to surf or just about anything.