Paia is a town on Maui's north shore. With much less concrete, no resorts and a number of beaches known for their huge waves, it has a different look and feel than the resort towns to the west and south.
The main road in and out of town is the Hana Highway (Highway 36). If coming from the airport in Kahului, head east on the Hana Highway and follow it for about 7-8 miles (11-13 km).
The center of town is the one stop light at the intersection of the Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue. Most of the shops and restaurants are within walking distance from here.
If you're not up for the swimming and surfing, just hanging out at the nearby beaches and watching the locals is good entertainment.
- HA Baldwin Beach Park, Hana Hwy (on the left just before Paia if coming from Kahului). Big park with lifeguards on duty.
- Ho'okipa Beach Park, Hana Hwy (2 mi/3 km E of Paia). One of Maui's prime windsurfing and surfing spots.
Many of the activities around Paia involve water and gear so if you need lessons or equipment, there are a number of shops in town that will do either or both. Waves tend to be biggest in the winter when the storm track is to the north of Maui.
- Swim at one of the nearby beaches. In winter, Baldwin Beach Park is usually the best spot to find some quieter waves.
- Go surfing. Ho'okipa has strong currents, coral and big waves in winter, so it should be considered expert only.
- Go windsurfing.
- Charley's Restaurant, 142 Hana Hwy, ☎ . Charley's is a classic Paia restaurant, the service isn't spectacular but don't let that turn you off. The food and atmosphere are well worth it.
- Flatbread Company, 89 Hana Hwy, ☎ . Pizza made in a primitive oven in the middle of the restaurant. Most of the ingredients are local or organic.
- Hali'maile General Store, ☎ . This is a long way from the tourist areas, a few miles inland from Paia, but it's worth it the drive - the food is outstanding.
- Jacques Bistro, 120 Hana Hwy, ☎ . Jacques is a nice outdoor restaurant in Paia that serves great cuisine at good prices for Maui. The chicken curry is excellent, as well as their fresh fish.
- Mama's Fish House, 799 Poho Pl (just E of town on the Hana Hwy), ☎ . On the expensive side, but one of the best seafood restaurants on the island. The food is excellent, and there are usually nearby windsurfers to watch.
- Paia Fish Market, 2A Baldwin Ave (cnr of Hana Hwy and Baldwin Ave), ☎ . This is somewhat of a fast food fish restaurant, but some of the best food on the island. Two people could get the entire meal (potatoes and coleslaw) for one and only the entree for the other. The entire meal will cost less than 20 bucks. The fish quesadilla is amazing! $7-21.
Accommodation in Paia is mostly cottages, B&B's and guesthouses. In order to book, you will need to work through a local rental agent or contact the owners directly. Rates tend to be a bit cheaper than the more built-up resort areas (although not always).
Paia is well positioned if you want to go anywhere in Maui. Options include:
- Head east along the scenic Hana Highway to Hana. The distance is just over 40 miles, but allow yourself at least two hours each way.
- Head west along the Hana Highway to Kahului and Wailuku, and further afield to Lahaina where you can see the old whaling town or catch a snorkeling / whale watching / sunset cruise.
- Head south along the Haleakala Highway (Highway 37) to take in the hiking and views of Haleakala Crater at Haleakala National Park or enjoy the relaxed and slower pace of Maui's upcountry.