Nestled along the southwest shores of Maui is Kihei, a picturesque tourist town boasting several miles of golden sandy beaches. Kihei is also home to fantastic accommodations and popular restaurants, making it an ideal base for your holiday in Maui.
As one of the top tourist destinations in Maui, Kihei offers everything you seek for a relaxed and fun-filled getaway. While you could be tempted to spend most of your time at its gorgeous beaches, take the time to explore the town and engage in fun activities.
Below, check out our list of 15 fun activities and things to do in Kihei, Maui.
- Spend a Day at the Beach
- Go Snorkeling
- Book a Whale Watching Tour
- Visit the Humpback Whale Sanctuary
- Take a Sunset Cruise
- Eat at a Local Restaurant
- Enjoy a Cup of Coffee
- Take the Maui Brewing Company Tour
- Check Out a Farmer’s Market
- Shop at Kihei Kalama Village
- Learn to Surf
- Kayak With an Experienced Guide
- Play a Round of Golf
- Experience Kihei’s Nightlife
- Attend Kihei’s 4th Friday Town Party
Spend a Day at the Beach
No holiday to Maui is complete without spending time at the beach. After all, it’s home to some of the world’s most incredible beaches. And if you’re staying in Kihei, you’ll have numerous options, whether you want to swim, play in the sand, or work on your tan.
In the south of Kihei, you’ll find a string of white sand beaches perfect for relaxing and swimming. Check out the Kamaole Beach Park III, which boasts gentle waves and is a popular spot for families with kids. Those who prefer a more secluded beach can venture into Keawakapu Beach, which sits on the border of Kihei with Wailea.
Head north of the town, and you’ll find Ma'alaea Beach, typically uncrowded and a great place to relax. You’ll love its laidback atmosphere and gorgeous sunsets.
Snorkeling on your own or by booking a snorkel tour is one of the best things to do in Kihei. You’ll feel relaxed as you swim through the colorful reef and discover fascinating marine life species, including green sea turtles! Whether you are snorkeling for the first time or are already a professional, you will find plenty of incredible snorkeling spots in Maui.
Some of the best places to snorkel in Kihei are the Kamaole beaches and Keawakapu beach. Kamaole encompasses three beaches, offering a perfect place for locals and tourists to chill out in Kihei. The best spots to snorkel are around the reefs where the three beaches separate.
Keawakapu Beach is another popular snorkeling spot. It’s a long stretch of white sandy beaches running to the tip of Kihei. You’ll find the best snorkeling spots along the north and southern end of the beach. The only downside is that this beach can get crowded, as it’s one of the most popular beaches in Maui. So, come here early, especially on weekends.
While you can snorkel by yourself, taking a tour is more convenient. Many tour companies can organize snorkeling adventures to some of Maui’s best snorkeling spots, with the Molokini being the most popular for people staying in Kihei.
Book a Whale Watching Tour
Booking a whale-watching tour is one of the best things to do in Kihei, especially for families with kids. Your little ones will be in awe of these fascinating creatures as they jump and play in the water. The activity will take you to the warm waters of Maui with an expert naturalist guide who will provide commentary about the different whale species that dwell in the waters of Maui.
Kihei’s location along the west coast in the Auʻau Channel makes it a perfect spot for witnessing whale activities in Maui. You will have a higher chance of spotting whales when you visit between November and April. During this time, you could spot them playing close to the shore.
For a closer look, book a Maui Whale-Watching Tour from Kihei. It also offers an opportunity to learn about Maui’s marine creatures through an on-board marine naturalist.
Visit the Humpback Whale Sanctuary
Those looking for cultural and educational Kihei things to do should consider visiting the Humpback Whale Cultural Center. Designated by the U.S. Congress in 1992, it aims to protect the more than 10,000 humpback whales that migrate to Hawaii every winter.
There’s plenty to see and do in the center. You can watch interactive exhibits to discover the spectacular marine environment surrounding the humpback whales, visit a fish pond, and browse a marine science library with resources for adults and kids.
Take a Sunset Cruise
Couples visiting Kihei for a honeymoon or a romantic getaway should consider a sunset cruise. It’s a romantic way to discover Maui’s natural beauty as your boat cruises along the scenic coast of Kihei. The sunsets of Maui are remarkably spectacular. Marvel in awe as the sky turns into hues of purples, pinks, and oranges.
If you’re looking for a sunset cruise guaranteed to leave you and your loved one in awe, check out our list of the Best Sunset Dinner Cruises in Maui. Some cruises offer a full menu of delicious meals and drinks, while others only include cocktail drinks. Whatever your preferences, you’ll find a cruise perfect for you.
Eat at a Local Restaurant
Kihei is home to some of the best restaurants in Maui, which makes it an excellent place to stay for foodies. With so many fantastic places for dining, one of the best things to do in Kihei is to eat at a local restaurant.
Kihei offers a range of dining options, from beachside cafes to fancy restaurants specializing in local and international flavors. Try dishes like poke, kalua pig, and loco moco, or sample fusion cuisine that combines local ingredients with international cooking techniques.
Most restaurants source their ingredients locally, ensuring each dish is fresh, flavorful, and unique to the island. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxed meal with ocean views or an elegant dinner with fine wines, Kihei’s restaurants have something for you.
Enjoy a Cup of Coffee
With a thriving cafe culture, Kihei has an overwhelming number of cafes – each with unique offerings and charm. Thus, one of the best things to do in Kihei is to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Make your way to one of the beachside cafes and treat yourself to a luscious latte made with locally roasted beans while taking in the ocean views. You can also grab a refreshing iced coffee or smoothie to cool off on a hot day.
Some cafes offer breakfast pastries and light bites to enjoy alongside your coffee. Whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or a leisurely morning spent savoring a delicious cup of coffee, Kihei has plenty of cafes to enjoy a delicious coffee.
Take the Maui Brewing Company Tour
A tour of the Maui Brewing Company is one of the best things to do in Kihei. Considered the largest craft brewery in Hawaii, the company produces handcrafted ales and lagers.
Participants of the Maui Brewing Company Tour will get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery’s state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. You will also learn about the brewing process, from selecting locally sourced ingredients to the bottling and canning process. Joining the tour is the best way to understand and learn more about Maui’s craft beer scene.
At the end of the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to sample award-winning beers, where you can savor unique flavors like coconut porter and pineapple wheat ale.
Check Out a Farmer’s Market
One of the best ways to immerse in the local culture of the island is to visit local farmers markets, where you’ll find a long line of stalls selling local produce, from green leafy veggies to freshly harvested fruits bursting with flavor.
Visiting Kihei’s farmers’ markets is also a chance to support the local farmers and artisans while learning more about the local food scene. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet local farmers and learn more about their growing practices.
Aside from fresh produce, these markets sell handmade crafts you can bring home for souvenirs. In some markets, you can witness live music and entertainment. Others have food trucks and street food vendors selling local specialties, from fish tacos to poke bowls.
Here are some of the local farmer’s markets in Kihei to check out:
Shop at Kihei Kalama Village
No trip to Maui is complete without shopping, and the best place for this is the Kihei Kalama Village. Nestled across South Kihei Road from the ocean and Kalama Park, the open-air shopping area offers a unique and enjoyable shopping experience. Aside from the dozens of shops, it has restaurants and a few entertainment options.
Browse through a selection of jewelry, clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and local handicrafts. It also has a farmer’s market where you can pick up fresh produce. If you’ve built up an appetite after shopping, check out the range of dining options, from casual to fine dining restaurants.
Throughout the week, Kihei Kalama Village hosts live music and performances, so check that out. With its vibrant and bustling atmosphere, Kihei Kalama Village is a fun place to visit for locals and tourists in Kihei.
Learn to Surf
Kihei is home to some of the best surfing spots in Maui. If you’re a beginner, consider signing up for a surfing lesson in one of the top surfing schools in Kihei. These schools have professional instructors who will teach you the basics of riding the waves, allowing for a safe and enjoyable surfing experience.
If you prefer to practice yourself, the best surfing spot for beginners is the Cove in South Kihei. You will also find plenty of surfing schools in this area that cater to surfers of all levels. Since it’s one of the most popular surfing spots in Maui, the Cove attracts a crowd of surfers. However, newcomers will surely enjoy its fun atmosphere and forgiving waves.
Kayak With an Experienced Guide
Kayaking is a fantastic way to explore Maui’s reef and open waters. You will find plenty of excellent spots to kayak in Maui, but the best ones are in Kihei. For a more enjoyable experience, consider a guided kayaking tour that will take you to the area’s gorgeous beaches, secluded coves, and offshore islands. If you’re lucky, you can spot marine life on your kayaking adventure.
Those interested in seeing humpback whales while paddling along Maui’s incredible ocean waters may want to book a Kayak Whale Watch & Snorkel Tour. It’s a guided kayaking tour taking you out into the sea to observe the whales from a safe distance and learn some facts about these majestic creatures from your knowledgeable guide.
Play a Round of Golf
One of the reasons many visitors love staying in Kihei is the easy access to world-class golf courses. Designed by world-famous golf course architects, these golf courses feature panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the island’s lush greenery. Aside from the breathtaking scenery, the golf courses of Kihei offer unique challenges, luring avid golfers.
Check out Maui Nui Golf Club along Piilani Highway near Kihei. Suitable for any golfer, it features an inviting opening hole and sublime views of the Pacific Ocean and the West Maui Mountains. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, Maui Nui offers an incredible golfing experience.
Experience Kihei’s Nightlife
Kihei’s nightlife scene offers something for everyone. It’s home to numerous bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues that cater to every budget and taste. Spend the night listening to live music performances while enjoying refreshing drinks or hit the dance floor of a club.
The best area to enjoy Kihei’s nightlife scene is in the Kalama Village in what locals call the “Bermuda Triangle.” Here is where most of the nightlife takes place. Many establishments here offer happy hour specials, so take advantage of these.
Attend Kihei’s 4th Friday Town Party
If you happen to be in Kihei on the fourth Friday of the month, you should not miss the chance to attend the 4th Friday Town Party. It takes place at Kihei’s Azeka Shopping Center from 6 to 9 P.M., transforming the area into a vibrant street fair with fun entertainment, live music, food trucks, crafts vendors, and more.
The event’s lively atmosphere represents the island’s values, culture, and tradition. It’s the perfect opportunity to dig into local foods, shop for souvenirs to take home, and interact with local artists and musicians. Attending the party is a fantastic opportunity to immerse in the local community and something to look forward to on your visit to Kihei.
Places to Stay in Kihei
Make the most of your visit to Kihei by staying in a place that offers a comfortable and enjoyable experience. As one of the top destinations in Maui, Kihei offers numerous accommodation options to suit any budget and preferences. If you want to splurge, you can stay at glitzy resorts with world-class amenities. Those on a budget will find lovely guesthouses and budget-friendly hotels with cozy rooms.
To help you plan your trip, we’ve provided a list of the best places to stay in Kihei.
- Maui Coast Hotel – an excellent choice if you are looking for a reasonably-priced hotel close to Kamaole Beach Park, one of the best beaches in Kihei. The laidback hotel offers comfy rooms with basic amenities. It has a fitness center, tennis court, outdoor pool, bar, and restaurant.
- Maui Kamaole – if you prefer to stay at a vacation rental in Kihei, Maui Kamaole is an ideal choice. It’s across Kamaole III beach park and offers one-bedroom and two-bedroom condominium units surrounded by beautiful tropical grounds.
- Sugar Beach Resort – Sugar Beach Resort is another excellent choice if you want to be close to the beach. It lies along Ma'alaea Bay, one of Maui’s most gorgeous beaches. The resort is well-located, giving you easy access to Kihei’s top restaurants, golf courses, and the famous Kihei Farmers Market.
- Maui Banyan – Maui Banyan is another excellent option for a vacation rental in Maui. Located just across the beaches of South Kihei, the lavish resort offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos. Its beachfront location means you can spend your days swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying water sports the entire time you’re at the property.
- Kihei Akahi – if you’re looking for an affordable condo complex close to Kamaole II Beach Park, stay in Kihei Akahi. You can choose from a one-bedroom and two-bedroom condos. Aside from swimming pools, the complex has a tennis court, barbecue grills, and other resort amenities..
- Mana Kai Maui – This beachfront condo complex has spacious units, perfect for families and groups of friends. The complex has a swimming pool and offers access to Keawakapu Beach, one of Maui’s most beautiful beaches.
Is Kihei Worth Visiting?
Yes, Kihei is worth visiting. This vibrant town in South Maui is home to the island’s most beautiful beaches and has a wide range of restaurants and accommodations to cater to different travelers. Kihei also offers easy access to popular attractions like the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park. Overall, Kihei is a great base for exploring Maui’s many offerings and provides a laid-back atmosphere perfect for a relaxing Hawaiian vacation.
Where is Kihei Located?
Kihei lies on the southwest coast of Maui, which is part of the state of Hawaii in the United States. It sits between Wailea and Ma'alaea and is approximately 25 minutes from Kahului Airport. Kihei is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and laid-back atmosphere, making it a popular tourist area.
What is the Weather Like in Kihei?
Like most areas in Maui, Kihei has a warm and sunny tropical climate throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. Occasionally, Kihei experiences rain showers in the winter months. Summer tends to be warmer and drier, while winter months are colder with the occasional strong winds. Regardless of the season, you can expect comfortable weather in Kihei.
What is the History of Kihei?
Kihei has a rich history dating back to ancient Hawaii. The area was once known for its fertile land used for agriculture, including growing taro and sweet potatoes. Later, during the 1800s, the area became known for its sugar plantations. In the mid-1900s, Kihei started to develop as a tourist destination, which resulted in the construction of numerous hotels and resorts.
Nowadays, Kihei remains a popular vacation destination, thanks to its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and laid-back atmosphere. Visitors can learn more about the history of Kihei at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the Sugar Museum.
Meet the Authors
Aloha! We’re Justin and Katie, the owners of Maui Hideaway. We’ve been visiting Hawaii together with our family for 20 years and would love to share the experience of the islands with you. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or just some vacation advice, we’re here to help!
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