Do You Get Island Fever Living on Maui?

Ever wonder if Maui residents suffer from “Island Fever”? That feeling of being stuck on a volcano in one of the most isolated parts of Earth. While feeling claustrophobic or suffocated by this realization undoubtedly does occur, here is the way I see it.

After moving to Maui in 2006 from Cincinnati, Ohio, I find that I experience the opposite of this “island fever” mentality. While this concept could be broadened to the entire state of Hawaii, I cannot speak to how I might feel having lived on a different island. I could have a much different perspective if I lived on the Big Island (substantially larger), Moloka’i (less developed), Lana’i (significantly smaller) or any other Hawaiian Island.

Maui is Unique and Diverse

I live in Kihei, and I love it. If you want to read more about this beachy town in South Maui, check out Pros and Cons of Living in Kihei. There have been weeks when I have not left this 10 square mile patch of desert land. Between the beaches, scenery, warm weather, and amenities, there’s hardly a reason to leave.

However, there are times where I may get “Kihei Fever.” Every couple of weeks, my wife and I like to get out of this town and spend the day on another part of the island. This is one thing that makes Maui so great. Within two hours or less, we can experience a completely different environment. Did you know that Maui has a Redwood Forest where you can feel as though you’re hiking in Northern California? Whenever you want a change of scene, go swim under a waterfall, drive to the top of Haleakala to feel as though you’re on the moon or ride a horse in the cowboy town of Makawao.

Polipoli State Park- One of Maui’s more unique environments

From hippie surfer towns to world-class golf communities, lush rain forests to pristine beaches and sleepy towns to bustling shopping areas, Maui has it all. No matter where you live, a short drive can leave you feeling a world away.

Interisland Flights are Too Easy

Living in what has been called the best island in the world, Maui residents can easily forget that in less than an hour on three airlines were offering these interisland flights. While this competition created some bargain deals, like $19 one-way trips, Hawaiian Airlines eventually became the sole player… until now.

Southwest Airlines now servicing Hawaii

As of 2019, Southwest Airlines has started offering these interisland routes. The competition is back, and we once again see plenty of options to island-hop at attractive prices. So, if you’re on Maui and want to get away for a day or two, take advantage! It’s true, you’re still going from one island to another, but the fact that you can be on a completely different island in such a short time certainly helps alleviate this feeling of island fever.

How is Maui Different from Anywhere Else?

If you’re reading this and believe that you could not live in Hawaii because you would get island fever, I ask you this. How often do you drive more than an hour away from your hometown? Once a week? Once a month? A few times a year?

You can drive around Maui in one day

True, if you’re planning a road trip on Maui, it’s either going to be short-lived, or you’ll be driving around in circles. So how is living on Maui any different from living anywhere else? It’s surrounded by water rather than land.

What’s the Verdict?

I’ve spoken to some people who have lived on Maui who admit that they experience a feeling of isolation or disconnectedness with the rest of the world. Whether this comes from being surrounded by the ocean or lifestyle choices is up for debate. I, for one, do not experience island fever living on Maui. I love being able to see the ocean every day and have unique areas or other islands I can easily visit.

I experience the opposite of island fever and have personally felt more stir-crazy living in places away from the ocean. However, one of my favorite things in the world is traveling! Hawaii is my favorite place in the world, and Maui is my favorite island. With that said, I make it a priority to leave the state once or twice a year.

I have found that Maui can be most appreciated through getting on a plane and seeing somewhere new. If you are curious as to where Hawaii residents go on vacation, read Top 10 Vacation Destinations for Hawaii Residents. It’s wonderful seeing new places and having experiences that are not available on Maui. But what’s impressive is that after about a week, I remember how truly great Maui is. Ending any vacation is bittersweet, but when you’re returning home to Maui, it’s mostly sweet.

Do you think you would experience island fever living on Maui? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you are interested in learning more about life on the Valley Isle, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you. And who knows, you may just find yourself searching for a new home here on the best island in the world. Aloha!

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Emma K Keirney

February 29, 2020

Interested in age range of retires and ratio of male and females? Thanks


March 10, 2020

Never will I get island fever. We live in the Chicago area and will be moving to Kona on the Big Island by 2021. Have been planning this for many years and will not miss Illinois whatsoever. 😎

Frank Silva

May 18, 2020

Maui is the only place on the earth to live, I have been going to Maui for over 30 years this what heaven looks like. I plan to retire in maui.

Donna Powers

September 30, 2020

I live on Kauai and usually get off the island 2-3 times a year but I’ve been stuck here in 2020 due to covid19 and I have a case of island fever!


March 2, 2021

We also live in Kihei in a condo on the beach and love many things about living on Maui. We had hoped to spend many more years here. We don’t have island fever but will be moving to Florida later this year. This is for many reasons. First, the cost of living is very expensive and continues to go up and seems to have gotten exponentially worse over the last five years. Frankly, we can’t afford the increases anymore. Secondly, the Covid lock downs have taken their toll as we’ve seen businesses and restaurants close up and eveand I beow. Also, my wife ended up with some medical problems and the medical on Maui is not very good which meant we had to spend a lot of time and money on the mainland for her treatment. Thirdly, and some may disagree, but with Covid we have seen a change in the people on Maui and it is not good. There seems to be an attack on tourism and tourists and to a small extent on Haoles in particular. It is really sad to see but we have witnessed it several times in the last year. It is like an undertone that persists with some locals, not all but it seems to be growing. Lastly, living on Maui full time is not the same as coming here on vacation. Many people do not realize the difference.

Paulette Wood

March 5, 2021

Lived in Maui for 4 years. Often referred to it as living on a rock in the middle of the Pacific but never felt island fever or claustrophobic. People often asked me if i felt that way or isolated. On the contrary, so much open sky to feel either way. Moved back to the mainland for other reasons.

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