North Kihei vs. South Kihei – What’s the Difference?

A lot of times I mention North and South Kihei to my clients, and I notice a small blank stare because they did not know that Kihei was split into those two different areas. Both areas have a combination of residential condos as well as vacation rental condos and single family residential subdivisions, but both are very distinct, in my opinion. During my days as a vacation rental manager, I met people who were very loyal to either one area or the other, and it still happens to this day.

Being a long time Kihei resident (22 years) and having lived on both sides, here is my general take regarding both areas:

  • Being in North Kihei allows you to drive out of Kihei much quicker than coming from down south, saving you time on your commute if you have to drive to town (Kahului), West Side, or Upcountry. You can add an extra 10 minutes if you are coming from South Kihei.
  • The longest stretch of beach on Maui is located in North Kihei; Sugar Beach is awesome for beach walks, water sports and although this is not a wide beach at all, it has several pockets that are suitable for swimming and sunbathing.
  • North Kihei is quieter than South Kihei, in my opinion, when night falls due to the area being more residential than commercial.
  • The majority of the vacation rental condominium complexes in North Kihei are oceanfront. They are either in front of Waipuilani Beach Park or on Sugar Beach.
  • The tradewinds do fill in earlier in North Kihei; it typically takes longer for the trades to hit further South. The winds fill in from Maalaea Bay and tend to blow a lot stronger in North Kihei.
  • South Kihei beaches are wider and more desirable for swimming and sunbathing. There are several options in an approximate 2 mile stretch.
  • Cove Beach park in South Kihei is the perfect spot to learn how to surf; I taught both of my sons there.
  • Several vacation rental condominium complexes located directly across the street from the beach as well as oceanfront complexes along the Kamaole Beach Parks, which have lifeguards on duty every day.
  • Several options of restaurants and stores nearby these vacation rental condos, making it a very convenient and popular location for visitors.

It really comes down to personal preference. If you like to stay outside of the busy areas and still be near the beach, perhaps, North Kihei would fit you better. If you prefer some white sandy beaches and don’t mind having a bit more people around, South Kihei is the place to stay.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information or a personal tour of properties in those areas.

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Catherine Leonard

May 31, 2018

Thank you. I have previously stayed in S. Kihei, and so already am aware of the difference in ‘tone’ and services of the two areas. I was not aware of the trade winds, or surfing though. As someone looking to purchase a short term rental property, I think S. Kihei is more likely to have a higher rental rate. You spoke of personal taste, I wonder what the ‘market’ rental frequency shows as to which is preferable and to whom. for instance is N. Kihei more preferable to families whereas S. Kihei more likely to attract young college age party animals.
The other area of interest is N. of Lahaina. I notice properties there that seem to be experiencing a measure of beach erosion and thus are selling for a ‘song.’ Is this a common and yet unspoken condition of that area? It doesn’t seem that Kihei in general is affected this way.
So. Comments – Sorry, I guess I have more questions than comments. I am glad I found your page. Even if you don’t know the answers concerning N. Maui, I’m glad I visited.
Thanks again.

Tuggles McTuggleton

July 29, 2019

Thanks for the info! Yeeeeezam

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