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Navigating Maui’s Highways | Maui Visitors- Don’t Make This Mistake

When it comes to finding your way around Maui, the highway numbering system can be a bit perplexing. In this blog post, we’ll explore the unique approach to directions on the island, where local residents rely more on landmarks and common street names than highway numbers.

1. Highway Names vs. Numbers

In Maui, locals rarely refer to the highways by their official numbers. For example, if you ask for directions to Highway 31, you’re likely to be met with confusion. Instead, residents are more familiar with the traditional names associated with the roads. The Maui Veterans Parkway, formerly known as Mokulele Highway, and the Piilani Highway, which runs through Kihei and Wailea, are just a couple of examples. However, it’s worth noting that the same name may be used for different segments of the road that do not connect, such as the Piilani Highway leading to the back road to Hana.

2. The Quirks of Highway Terminology

Maui’s highway terminology can be a bit quirky. The Kula Highway, for instance, doesn’t resemble what one might typically consider a highway. In fact, many of the roads designated as highways on the island do not match the conventional notion of a highway. Nevertheless, locals have become accustomed to these designations.

3. Directions: Landmarks and Landscapes

When asking for directions in Maui, it’s common for locals to provide guidance based on landmarks and notable locations, and even locations that no longer exist. Rather than relying on highway numbers or formal instructions, you might hear something like, “Near the Tesoro, turn right, go up the hill a bit, then turn left, and you’ll find it right in front of you.”

4. The Island Advantage

One of the benefits of navigating Maui is the island’s relatively small size. The topography plays a significant role in understanding directions as well. Going up the hill generally means moving away from the beach, while going down the hill indicates proximity to the ocean and the coastline. Living on Maui, people can appreciate the simplicity of knowing where the beach is and where the mountaintop is and find their way from there.

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