Where to Stay on Maui, Hawaii: Wailea vs Kaanapali | How to Pick the Place Right for You

This debate gets heated in the forums, where to stay on Maui – Wailea or Kaanapali? You are in the right place because we’re breaking down the pros and cons of where to stay on Maui!

Do you want a luxury Maui vacation? Do you want more nightlife? Are you looking for the best snorkeling on Maui? Do you want to stay in a vacation rental or resort? These are the types of questions we answer when it comes to where to stay on Maui.

There is no right answer because it depends on what type of Hawaii vacation you are looking to have with your friend(s), partner, or family.

Wailea and Kaanapali are the main resort areas on Maui, Hawaii. And for good reason. They have the best beaches, snorkeling coves, and weather on the island.

Now that you know where to stay, finish your planning with our Maui itinerary! With one download, your dream Hawaii vacation is planned:

Need a hotel now? Here are our favorite Hawaii hotels (note, these are affiliate links which means we earn a few dollars at no cost to you when you click) Thanks for watching!
Westin Maui Kaanapali
Sheraton Kaanapali
Hotel Wailea

Where to Stay on Maui: Kaanapali or Wailea
00:00 Intro
00:50 Where is Kaanapali and Wailea located on Maui?
01:48 The best weather
02:38 The best beaches
03:56 The best sunsets
04:13 The best snorkeling spots
04:58 The best nightlife and happy hours
05:44 The best resorts and vacation rentals (prices)
07:33 Jordan and Erica’s favorite place to stay

Hawaii will open someday, so be prepared!

Sign-up for thehawaiivacationguide.com/openupdates. Want to know what is opening and when? This newsletter gives you Hawaii opening updates so you can start planning your family’s Hawaii vacation.

Stay informed so you know what to expect on your Hawaii vacation.

Mahalo for watching our Hawaii family #travelvlog.

Click Subscribe to get notified on Hawaii Opens Updates and our adventures and tips on traveling to Hawaii (plus subscribing helps us out!).


Follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes content: @thehawaiivacationguide


Sign up for our Hawaii Opens Update email here –

Here’s Erica’s FREE One Week Maui Itinerary with Kids –

We also love to share our FREE 5-Day Oahu Itinerary –
OUR CAMERA GEAR (keep it simple for your vacation!):
Underwater camera: GoPro HERO 8
Use your smartphone for video but keep it smooth with a gimbal: OSMO DJI
Don’t lose your GoPro, invest in a floaty
Floaty stick:
Floaty cover:
Vlogging camera (but use your phone for a family holiday):


The Best Hawaiian Island for First-Timers video –

Lahaina, Maui Ghost Town Bike Ride (April 3rd, 2020) –

Where to Stay in Hawaii: Hotels vs Vacation Rentals –


  1. What about the area of Kihei? We’re traveling with 2 teenagers and we’re wanting spend our money more on experience vs lodging. Is a vacation rental on the best in Kihei a good option or should we head to the west shore?

  2. Ka anapali alii is where I always stayed. Not sure if it’s still open. I haven’t been there in 20 years. I have been there 10 times though.

  3. Great content, thank you! We like Kana…lots to do! I especially like the adventures and tips on rental car companies.

  4. I stayed in Kaanapali and it was right next to a Round Table Pizza. I was in Heaven. Never stopped eating pizza while I was there along with good Hawaiian BBQ.

  5. As the difference in prices, you'll spend almost $200 to $300 more in Wailea than Ka'anapali nightly for a room. Food is also more expensive in Wailea. If money is not an object, these comments are moot. The other difference not pointed out is more Hawaiians live in the Ka'anapali side than Wailea. There's is more cultural history on the west side than south. Lahaina was the capitol of Hawai'i during the kings reign.

  6. failure because they didn't say which they prefer.

    in other words, if they were to book a room at either location where money was no object which would they pick?

  7. Ka'anapali is wonderful but feels a bit too kitschy. Went to Whaler's Village and even the shopping center which felt like an outlet mall. The saving grace was an ABC store. Looks like Wailea is more like a good escape if you want the resort getaway but the price tag comes with it. However the aquarium and Kihei are much closer so you don't have to get sucked in and herded around like the Ka'anapali tour busses. haha.

  8. When we went to Maui we stayed in the Grand Wailea which is a nice and private resort that offered a beach with great snorkeling and reefs to visit, also an activity pool with bars and slides for people to enjoy. This is the more kid friendly hotel in Wailea and offers rooms and condos. Staying in the condos offered us a beautiful sunset along the resort.

  9. We are planning a vacation with our 12 year old son & 14 year old daughter and wanted to know which area would have more to for them, or the better/more fun resorts? Also, do you think Maui would be the best island for them, or do you think Oahu or one of the other islands would be better? Thanks!! Great video!!

  10. We are (my son 10 and my husband)Ooo no allmost forgot my 2 kitty cats😻 looking for a long term rental in Maui ,we love our stay in Kauai ,very nice! And we love to move to Maui if we can findsomethingg less $$$$$$$ !, Any tips, Please🙏

  11. I loved the Fairmont in Wailea in 2016. I am coming back this year and I am staying at the Ritz Carlton in Ka'anapali.

  12. I came across your channel over the weekend while planning my Maui Honeymoon and this video just made my decision on where to stay so much easier! Thank you so much for sharing! See you in Ka’anapali this October!

  13. Hi! I’m so glad I watched this! I want to go to Maui in July/ aug. where can we stay that has the best white sand beaches ? I have a 9 & 11 year old and would love to find an ocean front rental that is not too crazy expensive! Thnx!!

  14. Hi guys! great vid! You both are easy to listen to…so cheery!!! Anyway, what do you guys think about the Aston Kaanapali Shores Beach Resort (condos)?

  15. I’ve stayed all over and I love the Hyatt in kaanapali the luau there is great! I love The Grand Wailea too it has the best beach!

  16. Aloha! I am so excited to be planning my honeymoon on Maui in May 2022! We have already decided to break our honeymoon into two parts: 3 days on the East side of Maui where we'll stay at the Hamoa Bay Bungalow and zipline and hike and experience more adventurous things and then the final 4 days on the West side of Maui at the Royal Lahaina Resort where we plan to snorkel, kayak, beach comb, maybe have a spa day and take a sunset dinner cruise! I have enjoyed watching your videos. Perhaps you could create an itinerary for couples that want to break up their travels like I am planning! Just a thought. Mahalo!

  17. This is so helpful, thanks! One question, is it possible to have a good vacation in Maui without a rental car? They’re all sold out!

  18. We split our last trip between the two areas: first Kaanapali where we did a lot more activities (whale watch, snorkeling, west maui loop, etc) and then spent the back half of our vacation in Wailea, where the focus is much more geared toward putting your feet up on a deck chair with a drink and a book as you watch the whale spouts and wait for the sunset. We love Ka'anapali but prefer Wailea since it's so close to Kihei and generally just more centrally located.

  19. Is the Kapalua (JHM) close? Also, I'm thinking of going to Kaanapali because of you guys. Thank you! But may I ask if it'll be hard to get a shuttle from Kahului to Kaanapali? It's my only option since my husband and I doesn't drive 😅

  20. When my family and I stay in Maui we stay in our villa which is the Westin kaanapali villas which we’ve been staying there since I was in kindergarten until two years ago when we stayed in waileia for a few days. I like how in kaanapali tpit seems to be more childhood friendly with wailers village and where the Westin villas are located but in Waileia I like how the waves are very big and how you can’t go very far out into the ocean and it still will be shallow. Although I do prefer kaanapali over waileia.

  21. Kaanapali wins hand down – restaurants at Lahaina & shopping at the Outlet are far much better. It also holds fond memories We stayed near there for our honeymoon some 27 years ago

  22. We love staying at the Kaleialoha condo’s – they’re right by the ocean! Cheaper than hotels and much more intimate than the giant hotel feel (my preference). And it’s by Kaanapali so it’s perfect!!

  23. kaanapali is fun until theres a fire and youre stuck there because there's only 1 way in and out realistically. RIP flights.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.