The town of Kihei is in South Maui within 20 minutes of the airport, which is located in Kahului. Kihei is home to miles and miles of the most incredible beaches in the world. Many of the beaches in South Maui have been officially recognized as being among "The best in the world"! There is also an endless variety of restaurants, shopping, bars, snorkeling, golf, fishing, and just about anything else you could desire from your Maui vacation. Kihei is a very long, skinny town that runs down the South Maui Coast. It doesn't really have a downtown, but rather has lots of little plazas dotting the main strip of road, which is called South Kihei Road. No matter what you are looking for in entertainment, it is a short walk, bike ride, or drive to reach your goal. There is such a variety! My favorite plaza is Kihei Kalama Plaza. There are lots of outdoor shopping booths, several restaurants, bars, etc. Two of our favorite restaurants are in this plaza. The South Shore Tiki Lounge is great for lunch or dinner. They have an outdoor seating area that always has a surfing film playing. Many evenings they have live entertainment on the plaza, the tiki torches are lit, and the atmosphere is just perfect. The menu isn't extensive, but the feel of the place is very Hawaiian. The other restaurant that we like in this plaza is Kihei Caffe. They only serve breakfast. This is a very small place, with very, very casual service. Truly a local's spot. The food is really good, though, and the prices are very low. (Try the Loco Moco) Cash only.
Looking for more fun places to eat? One of our favorites on the island isn't in Kihei, but it is worth the drive. Over in Lahaina, take the last Lahaina exit from the highway, and head back in towards Lahaina Town. On the left will be the Cannery Mall. On the right, just before the entrance to the Old Lahaina Luau is the Aloha Mixed Plate. This place is awesome! Again, a very casual place, but the food is worth it! The seating is all outdoor, and faces towards the ocean with beautiful views. My favorite is the name-sake of the restaurant, the "Aloha Mixed Plate". Plate lunches are a Hawaiian favorite. They consist of a scoop of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and the meat of your choice. Worth trying! Back in Kihei, we also like Fred's Mexican food (mostly because of it's outdoor seating with an ocean view). The food is good (very affordable breakfasts), and the parking is horrible. (Note: you can walk to Fred's EASILY from Maui Banyan, and I would highly recommend this) Looking back, I can see that all of our favorites are very casual. Probably an indication of the fact that we travel with small kids. :) If you are into more fancy dining, I have heard rave reviews about Mama's Fish House. Roy's is incredible, but not a cheap meal, or a fast one. Anyway, the book that I mention below will give you many, many more suggestions.
Now, the beaches!! Kamaole I and Kamaole II beaches are described in more detail under the Maui Vista and Maui Banyan headings, as they are across the street from the condos. Basically, they are both very family-friendly swimming beaches. Our kids also enjoy boogie-boarding on them. There are so many incredible beaches on Maui that you could explore 10 beaches every day of your vacation and STILL not find them all!
Looking for surfing instead? No problem. Take a right when you leave Maui Vista and the next beach to your left (known as Cove Park) has plenty of the best beginner's waves around. From Maui Banyan, it is a bit further, but still very accessible. Look for Kihei Kalama Plaza on the in-land side of the road, and Cove Park will be on your left. That is where you go to learn to surf in Kihei! Looking for snorkeling? You will find Maui and the surrounding islands loaded with some of the best snorkeling sites around. You can drive down the coast and find endless choices of snorkeling sites where you just walk into the water and start enjoying. Or, you can go out on a snorkeling excursion to Molokini, Lanai, Molokai, or any of the special coves around Maui. I prefer the excursions that leave out of Maalaea Harbor, as it is very close and easy to get to. There are more choices than you can imagine! The same goes for hiking, fishing, zip lines, or any other excursion you can dream of trying. I highly suggest picking up a copy of Maui Revealed well before your vacation. You can read up on all the suggestions, restaurant reviews, activity descriptions, etc. I have found their reviews to be incredibly accurate and informative.
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