Paia is a rustic, colorful town with unique shops, top-notch art galleries and great places to eat. The town's two main blocks are lined with turn-of-the-century storefronts now housing various welcoming merchants with lots of aloha and friendly Hawaiian hospitality. Paia has retained its small town atmosphere though now with an international touch.
Things To Do
Browse the downtown shops, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the character of this eclectic beach town. Paia has a buzzing art scene and among the shops and restaurants are some well-respected, high-end art galleries like The Paia Contemporary Gallery which specializes in sculptures and abstract paintings. From Paia you can also explore all of the charming small towns of Maui's Upcountry region including Makawao, Pukalani, Kula, Keokea and Ulupalakua, and then visit the summit of Haleakala Volcano where you can hike into the crater or hike through forested areas that are home to rare native birds. Along the Upcountry route are numerous flower farms and botanical gardens as well as vegetable and fruit farms amidst the rolling green ranch lands that provide stunning vistas of Maui and the blue Pacific. Wine lovers should stop in at Ulupalakua Ranch and visit the Tedeschi Vineyards tasting room which is located in a historic the 1874 Kalakaua Cottage. The ranch also offers Sport Clay Shooting as well as horseback riding adventures which are a great way to see this beautiful countryside. Some great hiking can be found at Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area located at an elevation of about 6,200 feet above sea level in the Kula Forest Reserve where you can trek through confer forests on an extensive trail system. This area provides stunning vistas of West and Central Maui as well as the blue Pacific beyond with Molokai , Lanai and Kahoolawe in the distance.
For ocean adventures head down to Hookipa where the world's best windsurfers and kitesurfers display their skills. Waves get big here in the winter when large swells arrive from the north and you can see lots of wave jumping and aerial maneuvers by the experts. Swimming is not recommended during times of high surf. Check with the lifeguards about ocean conditions on the day you visit. One of Hawaii's prettiest white sand beaches is found at nearby Baldwin Beach Park with full facilities including lifeguards and showers. This is a nice swimming beach and a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. Also near Paia is the famous Jaws surfing break at the spot known by the Hawaiian name Peahi. Jaws is world famous for its giant waves and the surfers who use jet-skis to tow each other into some of the biggest waves ever ridden. If you like waterfalls then take a drive on the road to "Heavenly Hana" which offers an abundance of places to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery. In Hana town you will find more great beaches including the picturesque Hamoa Bay as well as Kaihalulu Beach, commonly known as Red Sand Beach because of the sand's red-black color due to near by volcanic cinder cone.
When it comes to dining you can find hearty causal fare as well as exceptional fine cuisine in Paia. At the local favorite Mama's Fishhouse try the wasabi-crusted calamari, crispy mahimahi rolls or seared ahi sashimi with pineapple-tamarind sauce. The grilled octopus (he'e in Hawaiian) at Mama's is caught by a local free diver. The Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao serves up supreme salads and sandwiches. They emphasize fresh, local ingredients with an open kitchen and alfresco layout.
Shopping is enjoyable in Paia as the town's historic character is reflected in its wooden buildings constructed in the old plantation style. The buildings now house quaint shops that sell everything from antiques and art to bakery and surfing gear. In all there are about 40 different shops in Paia providing plenty of places to browse. You will find lots of local arts and craftwork and many unusual items you will find nowhere else. More interesting shops can be found in Makawao and other Upcountry Maui towns including Ulupalakua, Keokea, Kula and Pukalani.
A rental car is recommended when staying in Paia vacation rentals so you can explore all of the nearby beaches as well as the Maui Upcountry and Haleakala Volcano as well as the scenic road to Hana. The drive to Paia from Kahului Airport takes about fifteen minutes. Paia is the last town along the Hana Highway as you head toward Hana town. Maui's public bus system operates 7 days a week and provides service between most major communities including West, South and Central Maui including the Maui Upcountry.
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Temperatures in Paia are relatively mild all year around with summer temperatures averaging around 80 F and sometimes rising into the low 90s with tropical trade winds providing a comfortable, cooling effect. Winter temperatures average in the 70s. Casual and beach attire is appropriate for most activities in the Paia region though if you are visiting higher elevation areas bring something warmer as the temperatures may be significantly cooler. The winter months typically bring more rain on the northern and eastern shores than on the west and south shores, which keeps everything lush and green. It's often best to enjoy beaches during the morning hours as the trade winds may blow a bit stronger in the afternoon. However most afternoons are nice as well for water as well as land activities. Inexperienced swimmers are advised to always swim and enjoy ocean activities only at lifeguarded beaches. Winter months can bring big surf on exposed northern shorelines while summer conditions are often very calm. Like all Hawaii beaches, conditions can change at any time of year and you should always use caution before entering the ocean. Check with lifeguards before going in the water to learn about the safest areas to swim and enjoy the water activities you choose.
Our Paia vacation rentals offer the finest of relaxation and luxury on Maui's northern shore. Enjoy close access to great beaches as well as the scenic Upcountry region, Haleakala Volcano's spectacular summit crater, and the unforgettable road to Hana. Browse through our Paia vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Paia accommodation for your dream Hawaii vacation. We have Paia area accommodations to suit your needs, providing the optimal way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation with all the luxuries of resort living and comforts of home. We take pride not just in having the largest selection of high-quality vacation rentals in Paia, but also in the fact that we stand behind our product and make sure only the best of the best Paia properties are listed on our site. If you have questions about our Paia rentals or which destination is best for your vacation needs, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
Paia was once a bustling sugarcane plantation town and you can still see remnants of an old mill a short ways up Baldwin Avenue. Today Paia is an eclectic mix of artists, farmers, merchants and many surfers and windsurfers who came for the great waves at Hookipa Beach and Peahi (Jaws).
by Jeff Berzolla