A Quick Guide to What’s Cool and Fun in Paia and Haiku, Maui (updated 2021)
What’s fun on the windward and north shore of Maui? Check out Paia Maui and Haiku – it’s where you want to explore an experience that pure and authentic Maui local style with an artsy flare to the town.
The windward side of Maui, where Paia and Haiku are located add a colorful and hip town vibe that all the locals and tourist love to hang out in the many restaurants, coffee shops and other fun spots around town.
This is a fantastic time to explore, enjoy the small town bohemian feel, the artsy galleries, grab a bite of a delicious fish sandwich or check out the fun shops and daily buzz around town.
If you’re looking for more recreation and activity, check out all the cool adventure and outdoor fun just outside of town at the beaches, road trips upcountry or some wave action at the local beaches. Or if you just passing on the way to Hana, Paia is the last stop for gas and provisions before you head out on the road to Hana.
A little History on Paia, Maui
Paia translated means”Noisy” and it still is a noisy town today as a gateway to central Maui and the Hana Highway to Hana town. Noisy actually referred to the loud waves that are often prevalent at all the north shore beaches of Maui which always has windy conditions but event more so in the winter months where swells bring up the big waves to the north shore beaches.
Paia was bustling center of activity as a sugar cane operation and mill from the late 1870s until the late 1900s. Eventually when the sugar cane industry was going into decline around on the islands, the town eventually started to fall asleep. The 1970s changed the towns landscape when the Hippie culture arrived and started a counterculture vibe with cheap rents and nice beaches to hang out in and hippies from the mainland and other islands flocked to little Paia town. Just a bit later, fantastic surfing and wind surfing conditions lured adventure seekers to Paia, turning the town into a hip and funky town with surf shops, art galleries and boutique stores, coffee and bakery spots along with some delicious cafes that were a totally different scene to pricy Wailea and Ka’anapali areas of Maui.
Eventually Paia became a popular stop for provisions on the way to Hana and more specialty foods, surf shops and then nice restaurants popped up and making Paia and Haiku a destination on its own along with attractions to visit in the surrounding area of Paia.
Here’s what to do and see around Paia and Haiku now
Check out some of the local attractions and activities you can do around town and a short drive from Paia and Haiku town below.
Explore Paia, Maui
A little funky and bohemian, Paia is now cool and artsy, fun to explore and shop or spend more time in the coffee shops, bars, restaurants and other popular hangout spots around town. Originally started as a hippy getaway spot in Maui, Paia has become gentrified with hip coffee shops and cafes, surfing shops and art galleries, yoga studios and health food stores – it’s all here in Paia town to explore.
Paia Farmers Market, farm stands and nearby farmers markets
One of the fun things to do in Paia is to check out the cool farmers markets and farm stands in the area.
There are a few farmers markets located close to Paia and a farm stand located in the area. Also in the works is a new farmers market that is opening soon in town.
Paia Fruit and farm stand open 7:30 to 5pm daily
Following are the other farmers markets that are close to Paia area
La’akea Village market open Tues to Saturday 10-5pm
Rowena’s produce along the Hana Highway 8am -6pm daily
Up Country Farmers Market – located at Pukalani/Kula town center on Saturdays from 7am to 11am
One of the best farmers markets is located Up Country at Pukalani, check this tour of the highlights below.
Visit Haiku, Maui and up country
There are plenty of fun things to do in Haiku and the surrounding areas up country to explore on a road trip through the area.
Visit the Haiku Marketplace
The central hub of Haiku activity and buzz, the Haiku marketplace are convenience and grocery stores, health, Pilates and fitness center, restaurants and food truck vendors, bike and various gift shops, post office. You can enjoy local take out at Fukushima’s store, grab a coffee at Colleen’s or have some fresh sushi from Maui’s popular sushi spot at Nuka.
Shop at the Pauwela Cannery in Haiku
Originally a working pineapple cannery and now turned into a variety of local surfboard shapers, art studios, carpentry shops, an Ace Hardware and Baked on Maui Café, an outlet store at Dakine outlet and fun plate lunch counter spot for locals.
Historic Haiku Mill
Upcountry (towards the mountain) in Haiku is the Haiku Sugar Mill with its beautiful garden setting and used mostly for events, photo shoots, extravagant dinners and a popular wedding venue. If you are looking for something historic and fun to take some IG selfies or get images professionally done is a gorgeous setting., check out the Haiku Sugar Mill here for more details to visiting this cool and interesting venue.
A visit to La’akea Farm
Just outside Paia town on Baldwin road, La’akea offers a community farmers market and crafts studios for the public to visit. This non-profit is operating with community spirit in mind and offering education and farming programs, arts and community lead programs to the local community, Maui locals and visitors to experience. One of the more popular things offered is their weekly farmers markets that supports local foods, vendors and prepared foods from the area.
Experience the Paia Peace Stupa
Located at the Maui Dharma Center, the Paia peace stupa is dedicated to the Lama Terzin a spiritual leader of the center and dedicated in 2005 and consecrated with the visit of the Dalai Lama in 2007. The stupa is 27 feet in height and nicely decorated inside and outside with a decorative Mani prayer wheel and is a symbol of peace and love throughout Maui. The Dharma center is a place to practise Tibetan Buddhism and offers daily to weekly prayer, classes and programs in Tibetan art and culture and visitors are welcomed to visit the center.
The Sacred Garden of Maliko
This wonderful spot located in Haiku is an off the beaten path treasure on Maui that offers sanctuary for all faiths and invites the public to explore the gardens, an outdoor labyrinth, nursery, a medication garden with a “Mother Shrine”, boutique store, classes like essential oils and energy medicine and spiritual retreats and massage services for the public to enjoy. Check out more details to visiting the Sacred garden here for more information.
The Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center
This fantastic visual non-profit arts center located in the North Shore of Maui and is a beautiful historic estate and surrounding grounds that promotes creativity in the visual arts with artist studios and art gallery on site, classrooms and classes, outdoor art installations and a beautiful garden for all to explore and enjoy. Check out the details to visiting the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, a calendar of events or classes at their website here for more details. Even with no events happening currently, you are welcomed to visit the center and galleries or any open studio and the gardens and views from the center to the landscape below is beautiful and nice to take some photographs.
Check out the Twin Falls
One of the cool and fun things to do in Paia is to explore the Twin Falls. Located about a twenty minute drive outside of Paia, Twin Falls has a variety of different hikes that end up at the waterfall with an accessible swimming hole. The dirt path leads you to twin falls and a swimming hole that is fun to enjoy. Further down is another set of falls that is stunning with ferns and wild plants that drape down through a lava rock cascade. Wear good sturdy shoes, bring mosquito repellent and your swimsuit or not.
Here’s a heads up video on getting to the falls and exploring around the area with some inside tips.
Check out the beach parks around Paia
The beach parks at Paia are the main draw to visiting this part of Maui with gorgeous beaches and sport/recreation activity. During the summer months, the beaches are calmer and a good place to swim and snorkel in some areas and you can even find lots of turtles sunbathing in one of the popular beaches. Winter season brings in adventure seekers that love to watch or participate on the big wave action for surfers, windsurfers and even kite surfing fun here.
Beach fun at Baldwin Beach park
With 17 acres of parkland and beach activity, Baldwin Beach park is located at the 6 mile marker of the Hana Highway. Just a few minutes drive from downtown Paia, Baldwin is the local favorite spot for some swimming and boogey boarding fun on the north shore.
Check out this fun drone footage of Baldwin Beach and the surrounding landscape in Central Maui
Surfing and wind surfing action at Ho’oikipa Beach park
A fantastic viewing place to watch all the surfing and wind-surfing action on the big wave action at Ho’okipa. Although the waves are huge in the winter months, during summer to fall time you can actually swim and snorkel at Ho’okipa on the far right side of the beach area. This is also a fantastic place to enjoy a gorgeous Maui sunset on the island. Ho’okipa has full amenities on site to include picnic tables, barbeque grills, public restrooms and showers, covered pavilions and life guard stations watching for safety and activities around the beach areas.
Watching the windsurfers on the surf at Ho’okipa beach is stunning to watch in this video experience below
Ho’okipa is also known for all the amazing honu or green sea turtles that love to hang out and sun on the warm beaches in this video below.
A beautiful crescent shaped beach next to Paia in kuau. Uncrowded on week days with good parking spots, you can surf, boogey board, snorkel and windsurf. Not on the radar for tourists so it is quiet and local
Where to eat in Paia town and Haiku, Maui
Eating is big in Paia and Haiku with a variety of fast take away food shops to fine dining venues to enjoy in town.
If you are looking or delicious and wholesome dining venues from local food style to fine dining experiences in Paia and Haiku area, check out all these fabulous dining venues below.
Paia area eateries
There’s plenty of Paia town eateries to choose from that are family friendly and fits all different foodie types including:
Paia Fish market – A destination on its own with this classic fish shop, good portions and reasonably priced seafood specialty dishes
Flatbread Company – pizza done well with locally sourced ingredients, Paia flatbread is a local favorite and must visit to enjoy their delicious flat breads.
Mamas Fish House – a legendary seafood and fish establishment with fine dining services and amazing food and setting
Charley’s – a favorite hang out with locals with great breakfast, American style bistro food and hearty
Mana Foods – Quality food store with an excellent cafe and bakery on site.
Thai Spice – Delicious Thai food popular with locals around the island
Ulalani’s Shave Ice – the most delicious shave ice store with outlets throughout Maui
Haiku area eateries
Nuka – Japanese inspired and fantastic sushi
Colleen’s at the Cannery – wholesome bistro fare, organic and contemporary
Baked on Maui Café – a breakfast favorite in Paia, breads, pastries and cakes
Island Taco – fresh and good sized portions for tacos
Aunty Sally’s Banana Bread – a popular favorite for local style banana bread
Mediterranean Grill – truck food serving grilled Mediterranean food specialties
Any other inside places we missed on Paia? Please share in the comments below
Where to stay in Paia town and Haiku area
There are no hotels in this area but mostly small inns, rental homes and Bnbs to choose something that is family run or individual owners. Check out the best options for staying in the Paia and Haiku areas below.
Paia Inn – A boutique hotel located in the center of Paia combining modern aesthetics with European and Hawaii style, sophisticated and comfortable rooms, dining and friendly service
kohea Kai Maui – An ocean front property located in Kihei with comfortable surroundings, gardens and rooms. Good breakfast service and front desk services
Courtyard by Marriott Kahului Airport – Located next to the airport is the perfect spot to be in town and access to Paia, Hana, Up country and rest of Maui, with service, room style and comfort of the Courtyard Marriott brand.
Check out these highly rated hotels reviewed from Trip Advisor here for images and details.
Check out these other posts exploring Maui
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Conclusion on Visiting Paia town and Haiku in Central Maui
If you are exploring the east side of Maui or heading out to Hana, Paia is a fun place to explore and hang out for a bit with it’s cool shops, eateries and other fun places to enjoy in town. Hope these one of kind places and mom and pop shops are at the top of your places to visit in Paia and Haiku along with some of the outdoor landscapes and beaches to explore here.
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