Home » Hawaii Travel Tips » Where to Stay » Where to Stay in Maui: Lahaina or Wailea?

Where to Stay in Maui: Lahaina or Wailea?

Alert for Visitors: Maui has experienced significant wildfires in August 2023, causing major disruption for both locals and tourists. For your safety and up-to-date information, please visit the Maui County website before planning any activities or travels. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated. Stay safe!

Are you thinking about booking a trip to Maui but don’t know where to stay? Keep scrolling to find out whether to stay in Lahaina or Wailea plus our top picks for hotels and resorts in both locations.
This post about where to stay on Maui: Lahaina or Wailea was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Wondering where to stay in Maui?

You’re in luck! We are here to help you figure out the best place for your needs. Maui is a popular island with many amazing places to stay, each with its own unique adventures.

Maui is a popular island for honeymooners, couples, families, and adventurers, but it can be hard to figure out where to stay. What you are looking for will depend on what side of the island you should stay on.

If you are wondering where to stay in Maui, Lahaina and Wailea are the two most popular destinations. Let’s take a look at each so you can determine the best part of Maui to stay in for your vacation. 

Both destinations are amazing, but depending on what you’re looking for, one may be a better fit for you than the other. We want to help you find the perfect spot on Maui so you can make the most of your time here.

Keep reading to find out more about Lahaina vs Wailea!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Maui.

Popular Maui Tours/Activities

Favorite Maui Resorts/Hotels

  • Hyatt Regency Maui (this has a swim-up bar and tons of amazing amenities)
  • Andaz Maui (this is a luxury resort with the best luau on Maui)
  • Honua Kai Resort & Spa (this is one of our personal favorites because there are tons of pools and there are condo options)

Want to Rent a Car in Hawaii?
One of the best places to rent a car in Hawaii is Discount Hawaii Car Rental because they get the best rates from top national companies like Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, and Payless.

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Maui Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

Get this ultimate Maui travel guide for families by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids!

Wailea or Lahaina FAQs 

Is it better to stay in Wailea or Lahaina? 

Both Wailea and Lahaina are great cities to stay in Maui during your vacation. Wailea is a more luxurious option which means it is usually more expensive. Lahaina is a historic city that has cheaper options.

What side of Maui should I stay on? 

This all depends on what you want to do during your stay. Lahaina is on the west side and is a great place to visit. Wailea is more on the south side and also is a very popular city to vacation in.

What is the distance from Wailea to Lahaina?

The distance from Lahaina to Wailea is around 28 miles and will take between 45 minutes to an hour by car.

Overview of Lahaina

On the west side of Maui, you will find Lahaina, a simply beautiful city. It is known for being a historic town filled with plenty of fun and interesting adventures.

This is one of the best sides of Maui to stay on because it has great resorts, beaches, and historical places you will definitely want to visit. 

How to Get There From the Airport

It will take around 40 minutes to get to Lahaina from the airport, whether you rent a car, take a shuttle, or get a taxi. The fastest route is through Kuihelani Highway and then Honoapiilani Highway. 

Image of a surfer girl wearing a flower crown walking on the beach at sunset in Lahaina Maui.

Things To Do in Lahaina

There are so many fun things to do in Lahaina. Here are just a few of my favorites! 

1. Beach 

Of course, you will want to spend as much time as possible on the beach. My favorite beaches in Lahaina are Baby Beach and Ka’anapali Beach. 

2. Atlantis Submarine

Hop aboard the Atlantis Submarine and enjoy seeing the wonderful sea life under the ocean. This is a pretty unique adventure that you might not find anywhere else! 

3. Whale Watching Tour

If you’re visiting Lahaina, Maui, make sure you go on at least one Whale Watching Tour in the winter! 

4. Lahaina Banyan Court Park

You’ll find the oldest living Banyan tree on the island at Lahaina Banyan Court Park. This tree is over 150 years old and is one you’ll want to capture a family picture around!  Check out more fun things to do in Lahaina

Best Places to Stay in Lahaina

Here are a few great places to stay in Lahaina. While it is a more expensive town, there are some budget-friendly places to stay.

As Lahaina is one of the best areas to stay on Maui, there are also plenty of luxury options as well! 

Best Western Pioneer Inn

At Best Western Pioneer Inn, you will find a cute, nautical place to stay. It is equipped with everything you’ll need at an affordable rate. Check the latest rates and more information.

This is one of the cheapest options you’ll find in Lahaina, but it looks and feels relaxing and perfect and is one of the best places to stay in Maui for families. 

Old Lahaina House 

The Old Lahaina House is not a hotel but a vacation rental spot right in the heart of Lahaina. The beach, shopping, and everything else you’ll want to see are all close by. Check the latest rates and more information.

You’ll enjoy Old Lahaina and feel comfortably at home during your trip to Maui.

Book a Family Photo Shoot

Whenever we travel to Hawaii, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND it guarantees that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.

Maui Beach House B & B

Another great vacation rental in Lahaina is the Maui Beach House B&B. Here you will find a luxury rental spot that will fit all your needs, including your budget. Check the latest rates and more information.

Here you will find private suites with access to the beach, golfing, and more. You can also go whale watching for free during the winter! 

Honua Kai Resort & Spa

Honua Kai Resort & Spa is a resort that works well with your budget. You get all the luxurious things, including the spa, swimming pool with a slide, and gorgeous suites, making this one of the more affordable resorts you will love staying in. 

You can read my full Honua Kai Resort review or check rates and more information.

Royal Lahaina Resort

If you want a luxury place to stay, check out Royal Lahaina Resort. Enjoy a day on the beach or in the pool, then head over to the spa for a relaxing afternoon. Finish off your day at the Myths of Maui Luau right at the resort!

This is a more expensive resort in Lahaina but is worth it. Check the latest rates and more information.

Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club – Lahaina & Napili Towers

Another luxurious place to stay in Lahaina is the Marriott’s Lahaina Tower. The Villas here are unlike anything else you’ll see on the island. Check the latest rates and more information.

If you want luxury mixed with comfort and amazing amenities, this is one of the best places to stay in Maui. Read our full Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club review.

Overview of Wailea

Wailea is a luxurious town on the south side of Maui. Staying in Wailea will feel like you are truly escaping the world.

There are countless luxury resorts to stay at, stunning beaches, and great hiking near Wailea. This is one of the most relaxing and fun places to visit in Maui. 

How to Get There From the Airport

You can easily get from the Maui airport to Wailea. It is about 30 minutes away by car, taxi, or shuttle. You can rent a car in Wailea, or at the airport. By car, you will want to take Maui’s Veteran Highway to travel from the airport to Wailea. 

Wailea Beach Walkway, Wailea, Maui

Things To Do in Wailea

There are so many fun things to do in Wailea, especially since it is one of the best parts of Maui! Here are just a few of our favorite adventures if you choose to stay in Wailea during your vacation. 

1. Hiking 

My favorite hike around Wailea is The King’s Trail (Hoapili Trail). This hike is full of lava rock and is completely different from what you’ll normally see on a hike in Hawaii! 

2. Luau

A great luau in Wailea, Maui is the Grand Luau at Honua’ula. This luau is at the Grand Wailea Hotel. Read my full review HERE.

Another great luau is the Feast at Mokapu Farm-to-Table Luau. This one is a very luxurious luau to enjoy during your stay. Read my full review HERE.

3. Beach

There are so many sunny, gorgeous beaches in Wailea. The Makena Beach State Park isn’t developed and is a natural beauty. Wailea Beach is also a great one to visit if you stay at a nearby resort. 

Check out all the other fun adventures you can have during your stay in Wailea.

Best Places to Stay in Wailea

There are so many nice options if you plan on staying in Wailea, Maui as it is one of the best locations to stay in Maui. Here are some budget-friendly, medium, and luxury options to choose from. 

Days Inn by Wyndham Maui Oceanfront 

The Days Inn is a very affordable option for couples and families to stay at during your trip to Maui. Here you will find a simple yet great hotel right on the beach. Check the latest rates and more information.

Each room is filled with amenities that make it a great option to save money. 

Maui Coast Hotel 

At Maui Coast Hotel, you will find deluxe rooms at affordable rates. Here you can enjoy restaurants on-site, a free shuttle for activities around Wailea, and so much more. Check the latest rates and more information.

This is one of the best places to stay in Maui for families!

Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea 

For a little bit more, you can enjoy an upgraded experience at the Residence Inn.

From a gorgeous room, pool with firepits, and more, you will be able to completely relax and enjoy your peaceful vacation here. Check the latest rates and more information.

Mana Kai Maui Resort 

Get the perfect resort experience in Wailea at Mana Kai Maui Resort without breaking the bank. This resort is known for being “Heaven on Earth.” Check the latest rates and more information.

From condos to rooms and suites, this resort has it all at very affordable rates you’ll love. 

Fairmont Kea Lani

A great luxury resort in Wailea is the Fairmont Kea Lani. Couples can enjoy a relaxing getaway on their honeymoon here at this resort. Check the latest rates and more information.

From gorgeous villas to fun adventures and delicious food, there is something for everyone to love at the Fairmont Kea Lani. 

Grand Wailea 

Have the ultimate luxurious experience at the Grand Wailea. This is the best place to stay in Maui for couples, as it is romantic, luxurious, and pricey. Check the latest rates and more information.

They also have a lot of kids programming so you can either bring your kids or leave them at home. No matter what package you choose, you will know it is the best of the best. 

So, Is the Best Place to Stay in Maui Lahaina or Wailea?

If you are wondering where the best place to stay in Maui is, Lahaina or Wailea are both great options. Lahaina has many affordable options while Wailea will give you a luxurious vacation. You will love whichever city you end up choosing!

Looking for more Maui Travel Resources? Find out the best areas to stay on Maui, how to get to Lahaina from Kahului Airport, where to eat in Maui, how many days to stay in Maui, where to stay in Hana, Kaanapali vs Wailea, which Maui cottages are worth renting, where to stay on Maui with kids, the best Maui honeymoon resorts, and the best Maui boutique hotels.