Traveling to Hawaii is a dream come true for many people! Each of the 9 inhabited islands has something unique and breathtaking to offer, and Maui is absolutely no exception.
The second-largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, Maui is usually described as the perfect mix between modern tourism conveniences and pristine old Hawaii nature. Maui’s southern coast includes Maalaea harbor, sunny Kihei, and the luxury resort areas of Wailea and Makena.
Kihei (pronounced Kee-Hay) is at the center and is the ideal destination for beach lovers who want to avoid the pricier tourist area on the west side of the island. Kihei is dry, hot, and sunny most of the year and boasts an almost continuous golden sand coastline and crystal blue waters. There is almost always a brightly colored rainbow over the mountainous backdrop. And any of the beaches are perfect for viewing the play of the majestic humpback whales in the winter months.
While Wailea is home to numerous luxurious resorts, Kihei is a much more residential part of Southen Maui. You’ll have quick access to quiet beaches, nearby shopping, and lots of delicious restaurants and food trucks. But finding the best Airbnb in Kihei can be time-consuming – especially if you don’t know the area well.
Here are 10 carefully selected Kihei vacation rentals to make planning your Maui holiday a snap!
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Why Stay in Kihei
Kihei has a good mix of tourism and local residential areas, which means there is easy access to daily necessities as well as some fun tourism activities. You can chill out on one of several picturesque beaches during the day then party the night away in the central nightlife location.
Get in a unique work out by standup paddleboarding or find a one-of-a-kind souvenir at one of the many local swap meets. Whether you want to enjoy lazy days at the resort or explore the surrounding area, Kihei has something for you.
Kihei is also home to a wide range of international, Hawaiian, and fusion cuisine suited to any palate or budget. Because of the commitment to tourism, one can expect high-quality service and creative cuisine. There is a booming food truck industry that rivals that of any big city. Some favorites are Horhito’s Mobile Taqueria for authentic Mexican tacos and Vidad’s Local Kine Grinds for Filipino nom noms.
And don’t miss out on the booming craft beer scene either. Locally made brews are available at stores or at trendy tap houses, like Maui Brewing Company, throughout the area.
Need some more suggestions of what to do during your Maui Vacation? Here are 10 things to do in Kihei:
- Learn about humpback whales at the Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center
- Take an eco-friendly whale watching cruise from nearby Ma’alaea Harbor
- Learn to surf with Maui Wave Riders
- Spot Green Sea Turtles on a kayak and snorkel tour
- Stroll along the boardwalk at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
- Sample local food faves like Loco Moco at Da Kitchen Express
- Eat your way through the Kihei Station Food Trucks Court behind Azeka Mall
- Sip craft beer with live music at What Ales You?
- Play a round of golf with expansive ocean views at Maui Nui Golf Club
- Check out the nightlife at “The Triangle” at Kihei Kalama Village
Where to Stay in Kihei
Kihei is generally categorized into 4 areas: North Kihei, Central Kihei, South Kihei, and Maui Meadows.
North Kihei starts at Kealia Pond Wildlife Reserve on Sugar Beach and runs just past the Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center on South Kihei Road. The beach in this area can be quite windy in the middle of the day, but when it is calm, the powdery light sand and shallow water make it the ideal place for families with small children. It is best to visit in the early morning or just before sunset to enjoy ideal conditions.
Central Kihei is the area between the Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center and Kalama Park. It is mostly residential and home to many local day-to-day necessities. However, there is also a small swap meet in this area as well as two food truck centers.
Adjacent to the Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center, there is a small family-friendly cove called Kalepolepo with shallow water and a rock wall to protect from large waves. On the far end of Central Kihei, Kalama Park is a great place for active families with a large playground, skate park, and expansive grassy areas for play.
South Kihei starts around Kalama Park and stops just before the luxury resort area of Wailea. It is the most touristy area with loads of shops, restaurants, and beach activities. This is also the only area you can find nightlife on the southside of the island. Locally known as “The Triangle”, the daytime souvenir market and restaurant mall turn into a thumping pub crawl when the sun goes down.
The coastline of the South Kihei area is broken up into 6 distinct beach parks, each offering a different recreational feature. “The Cove” is a great place for beginner surfers to take their first ride on the baby waves. Next, Charlie Young Beach has low key waves, small tide pools, and is a favorite for local family gatherings.
A large yellow lifeguard stand marks the beginning of Kamaole I, which also has beach volleyball nets. Kamaole II is the smallest with nice grassy areas, perfect for being near the beach without getting all sandy. Kamaole III is the largest with a gigantic expanse of grass which is often crowded on the weekends with jumping castles and family cookouts.
Finally, Keawekapu is a bit quieter but a good place to snorkel and maybe see some sea turtles (please do not touch!).
Maui Meadows is on the mountain side of Kihei, flanking Pi’ilani Highway. This area boasts some of the most picturesque sea views on the island within a 5-10 min drive to the beach. The slightly higher elevation also allows you to be close to the action in Kihei while enjoying cooler temperatures.
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10 Best Airbnbs in Kihei for all Occasions
The first Kihei Airbnb up on our list has the distinction of being named #1 Maui vacation rental for 2019!
Tracy’s Tropical Treasures is one of four properties owned by this Superhost. This studio apartment includes luxury resort-caliber amenities like high-quality linens and down pillows on the king-sized bed, fluffy oversized towels, and two flat-screen TVs.
And they haven’t skimped on all the little details to make sure your Airbnb stay is as comfortable as possible. You’ll find abundant homey touches like outdoor sporting gear, a fully stocked gourmet kitchen, and a hefty PS2 and Blu-Ray collection.
Tracy’s Tropical Treasures goes the extra mile in ensuring you have that tropical feel all over the property with a large pool and jacuzzi as well as a lush courtyard full of fruit trees, free for guests to enjoy. If that doesn’t impress you, then their commitment to concierge-type service and the unbeatable budget price surely will.
The apartment is situated in the northern part of Kihei, across the street from the Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center. Here you can learn about the beloved migrating sea creature and other inhabitants of the precious ocean environment. There are several exhibits about animals, conservation efforts, and the history of the area. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
If you’re going to Maui, why not stay on the beach? This ground floor 1-bedroom oceanfront Airbnb may be just the space for you! Open the doors to the patio and relax to the sound of the ocean waves on the colorful rattan living room furniture. Or prepare a scrumptious meal in the beautifully appointed gourmet kitchen.
The sea-themed artwork and linens in the bedroom and bathroom bring the relaxing nature of Hawaii throughout every space in this cute Kihei vacation rental.
Ever breezy Sugar Beach, the longest continuous coastline in the state, is just steps outside the door. The Kealia Pond Nature Preserve is also nearby, where you can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the boardwalk while taking in endemic species of birds, lizards, and fauna. This location on the northernmost part of Kihei makes exploring the rest of the island a breeze as well!
Privacy and comfort are paramount in this quaint Kihei Airbnb. This luxury cottage seems to be the perfect place for lovers desiring a getaway!
Enter the private gate to a lush garden with patio and personal saline hot tub. Inside, the bright and airy home drives away any stress. It even boasts an extra-large 2-person shower with double shower heads for steamy romantic moments. Complete with a plush queen bed and fancy high-end kitchen, this cottage is a couple’s dream.
This Maui vacation rental is located in a residential area, which means it won’t be crowded with many tourists or noise. However, it is still a short 10-minute walk to the beach near Cove Beach Park. With shops, grocery stores, and activities nearby, this location makes the perfect base for a wonderful Hawaiian holiday.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to stay in an interior design magazine, look no further – Hale Kai O’ Kihei was featured on HGTV and is absolutely flawless! This 1-bedroom Kihei Airbnb is bright, open, modern, and comfortable. Spend a restful night wrapped in the comfy queen bed or relax on your personal patio with unobstructed ocean views.
Hale Kai O’ Kihei is located in central Kihei on a quiet street. There aren’t many beachside properties in this area so the sand will be blissfully free of crowds.
This part of Kihei is also very accessible to a host of shopping and dining options. Be sure to check out Maui’s favorite fish shop, Coconut’s Fish Cafe. They use the freshest healthy ingredients and house-made sauces and marinades. The fish tacos are the most popular menu item, but I prefer the grilled mahi-mahi with wasabi Asian flair sauce. Yum!
Honu’ea Cottage is named for the Hawksbill turtles that come to rest on the beach fronting the property. That means that this location is quiet and uncrowded, making it the perfect place for a romantic getaway.
This 1-bedroom Kihei Airbnb has a country feel with all of the natural wood treatments throughout. Yet, it is still bright and open with plenty of spaces inside and out to lounge and enjoy the Pacific Ocean views. At sunset, stroll along the sand and enjoy watching the majestic Hawksbill. But, remember, don’t touch the turtles!
Amp up the romance with a 5-star dinner date at an award-winning restaurant. Just a short 10-minute drive away, HumuHumu Restaurant at the Grand Wailea Resort delivers mouth-watering Hawaiian fusion delicacies and handcrafted cocktails with top-notch service. As the sun slips beneath the waves, tuck into the freshest seafood and farm-to-table veggie dishes with the sounds of soothing Hawaiian classics serenading you and your loved one.
There are vacation rentals and then there are artistic showcases. This eclectic oceanfront penthouse in Punahou Beach Condominiums is one of a kind. All of the decor in the house is curated from local artists and carefully integrated into the modern and comfortable space, combining visual interest with practical comfortability.
But this is still Maui! So you will never miss an ocean view and a sea breeze. This property is located on “Champagne Beach”, adjacent to The Cove. This secluded area is home to a few private properties and surrounded by rocky alcoves, so it is as private as the public Hawaiian beaches can be. The unobstructed sunset views with Molokini and Koho’olawe in the distance will nearly bring a tear to your eye.
Bring your family on a Maui vacation they’ll never forget to this modern corner unit. Everyone will have plenty of space to relax in this 2-bedroom, 2-bath Kihei Airbnb complete with gourmet eat-in kitchen and spacious modern living area.
The complex is the perfect place for families to enjoy with pool and barbeque areas, and it’s just a short walk to the placid Charley Young Beach. Of course, all of your beach necessities are available for use as well.
While in the area, be sure to try a favorite Hawaiian treat, shave ice. Start with a scoop of ice cream in the bottom of your cup, filled with flaky ice shavings, topped with your choice of several sweet flavors. The frozen treat is oh so refreshing in the tropical heat. You can find them all over the island, but there are two great places in the swap meet across from Kalama Park.
This is your large family home away from home! With sleeping space for up to 8, no one will feel cooped up in this well-appointed resort room. Enjoy all the benefits of staying at the Worldmark Kihei Resort, like concierge service, several pools, and fitness center. There are also daily activities to keep everyone busy at the resort, including hula lessons and kukui necklace making. At the same time, enjoy the amenities of typical AirBnbs, like a fully equipped kitchen.
If your family is feeling adventurous, check in with Boss Frogs just down the street for snorkel and boogie board rentals at very affordable prices. The equipment is sanitary and safe, and can be rented by the day or for the entire duration of your stay. Your kids can experience sea life at the beach across the street from your condo first hand, creating memories they will surely never forget.
Have you heard of Maui fever? It’s the phenomenon when people visit Maui on vacation and never leave. If you’re not careful, this home may just give you the fever.
Cajudoy’s Hale isn’t your average Airbnb, it’s a full size, fully equipped, 3-bedroom home away from home that sleeps up to 6. With comfortable beds, spacious living areas, and all the amenities of home, you may never want to leave this vacation rental.
It’s easy to get comfortable in this neighborhood as it’s just a short walk to Kalama Beach Park and grocery stores. Public transit is nearby that connects you to the whole island. It’s also near the highway, so you can quickly travel to the airport, golf courses, and other parts of the island. If you’re thinking about making Maui your permanent vacation, this Kihei Airbnb is a great place to start.
Planning an extended wedding or corporate event? Look no further than Villas by the Cove. Available in several configurations of nine 1 to 3 bedroom villas, this total property can be rented to sleep up to 30 people!
Each villa has a king-sized bed, flat-screen TV, and a full kitchen so each unit has privacy, but they all open out to a shared outdoor area fronting the beach adjacent to Kihei Cove. This space is ideal for wedding parties, retreats, or family reunions, complete with banquet seating upon request. The owners also offer full concierge services to ensure your holiday is unforgettable.
If you are planning a wedding or special event, make it even more memorable with custom bars and impeccable service from Aloha Bars Maui. Each event can be personalized with hand-crafted custom cocktails according to your taste by warm, friendly staff who serve from a range of bespoke bar styles. They even have a glamorous selfie-mirror photo booth to capture all the fun! Aloha Bars Maui will pull out all the stops for an event like no other.
That’s it – 12 of the best Airbnbs in Kihei! Do you have a favorite Kihei vacation rental? Let us know about it in the comments.
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