Every flight that descends into Maui from the mainland is first greeted by the North Shore’s rugged coastlines and jade slopes. Home to the charming towns of Haiku and Paia, world-class windsurfing, and windswept beaches, Maui’s North Shore remains a favorite Valley Isle destination among surfers, hippies, and visitors alike. Characterized by vibrant storefronts, eccentric people, and a laid-back vibe, the North Shore and its bohemian funkiness are well worth exploring. Curious what Paia and Haiku have to offer? Here are the top 10 things to do on the North Shore.
1. Watch the surfers at Hoʻokipa Beach Park.
Tucked in between Haiku and Paia, this picturesque cove is the decided capital of windsurfing and surfing on Maui’s North Shore. While swimming isn’t ideal here, Hoʻokipa is dotted with surf breaks and viewpoints that allow spectators to get in on the action. You’ll find ‘Pavilions’ on the eastern end of the beach, a popular right-hand break among surfers.
Park at the Hoʻokipa Lookout, which overlooks the break, and you’ll be treated to views of the surfers in action, the North Shore coastline, and the West Maui Mountains. Head to the western edge of the beach, and you’ll spot windsurfers with their eye-catching sails speeding down the right-hand breaks at ‘The Point.’ This break has hosted countless international windsurfing competitions and is considered one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. 179 Hana Hwy, Paia.
2. Peruse the colorful shops and restaurants in Paia Town.
Although Paia’s t-shaped ‘main drag’ spans no more than half a mile, a half-day can easily be spent exploring the eclectic variety of shops and restaurants. The businesses that occupy the town’s pastel buildings range from world-renowned eateries like Paia Fish Market to new-age crystal shops and high-end art galleries.
What’s more, the people of Paia are just as motley as the town’s businesses. On any given day, you might see professional surfers, chanting Hare Krishnas, barefoot hippies, Hollywood actors, or sunburnt tourists wandering the streets- earning Paia a top spot on the list of best people-watching locales on Maui.
3. Take a dip at Twin Falls.
The North Shore of Maui is the gateway to the sinuous road to Hana, and Twin Falls is typically the first stop for many travelers on their way out east. Located just 20 minutes past Paia, Twin Falls is home to a string of waterfalls, freshwater ponds, and hiking trails amid lush rainforests. A stop here is a great way to get a taste of the Road to Hana without traversing the highway’s many curves and bridges.
Twin Falls sits on the privately-owned Wailele Farm property, which graciously welcomes the public to soak in the beauty of their rainforest valley. Be sure to thank them by supporting their fruit stand that sports all types of delectable tropical fruits and local goodies. Parking here is minimal, so try to plan your visit around peak times- late afternoon is typically slow. 6300 Hana Hwy, Haiku
4. Enjoy the meal of a lifetime at Mama’s Fish House.
With stunning ocean views, beautiful architecture, vintage uniforms, and the freshest seafood on the island- Mama’s Fish House is a Maui institution, rightfully so. Set amid a coconut grove in the picturesque Kuau Cove, the iconic restaurant emanates a Polynesian feel and the spirit of aloha. However, it’s the food that really steals the show at Mama’s Fish House. Visitors will be hard-pressed to find fresher seafood than at Mama’s- the menu changes daily depending on the catch. The fishermen who caught each fish are also listed on the menu, just in case you want to thank them for reeling in your delicious dinner. 799 Poho Pl, Paia.
5. Take a walk on the golden sands at Baldwin Beach in Paia.
On the outskirts of Paia Town sits Baldwin Beach Park. This mile-long beach is as lovely as they come- with luminous ocean blues, powdery white sand, and views of the violet West Maui Mountain range. Both ends of the beach house placid coves- to the east, Baldwin Cove, which tends to disappear when large north swells pull the sand away, and to the west, the reef-protected tide pool of Baby Beach. Baldwin is one of only two North Shore beach parks with lifeguards and boasts amenities like showers, restrooms, pavilions, and a large sports field.
6. Stop by Fukushima Store for a hot dog.
The unassuming Fukushima Store might fly under the radar, but North Shore locals know that this is a Haiku staple. Fukushima’s has been around for generations and is a go-to for ono local grinds like chow fun, poke, and spam musubis.
However, Fukushima Store is best known for its legendary hot dogs. A sizzling hot red Redondo dog will run you $1.25 and comes topped with ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo, chopped onions, and a pickle spear. It’s the closest thing to a true Haiku delicacy. 815 Haiku Rd, Haiku.
7. Take a farm tour and meet the friendly animals at Leilani Farm Sanctuary.
Goats, pigs, cows, donkeys, and turkeys galore- Leilani Farm Sanctuary is a bona fide paradise, whether you’re four or two-legged.
Set on eight acres of lush Haiku land, Leilani Farm provides a safe haven for rescued animals who were once neglected or abused. Tours at the sanctuary have become one of Haiku’s top attractions, and visitors come back year after year to visit the animals and bask in the Haiku tranquility. An hour tour runs for $50, but the feeling of connecting with the animals is priceless. 260 E Kuiaha Rd, Haiku.
8. Explore Haiku’s history at 4th Marine Division Memorial Park.
Off Kokomo Road in Haiku sits the sprawling 4th Marine Division Memorial Park, home to a history unknown to most visitors. In World War II, the park and surrounding areas were the site of a vast military camp dubbed ‘Camp Maui.’ Over 20,000 marines were housed and trained here. The marines from Camp Maui went on to fight in some of WWII’s most significant battles, including Iwo Jima.
Today, the park boasts arguably the best playground on Maui, a massive green field, pristine views of Haleakala, and WWII memorials that history buffs will relish. 4th Marine Division Memorial Park is known as ‘Giggle Hill’ to locals. Kokomo Rd, Haiku.
9. Zipline through the Haiku jungle.
On Kauhikoa Road sits Haiku’s own jungle zipline- North Shore Zipline Co. Here, you can zip across seven lines through the rich jungle, walk tree to tree via swaying suspension bridges, and take in the gorgeous ocean views that Haiku is known for. North Shore Zipline’s freestyle lines have been touted as some of the best on Maui.
Located only a few minutes from 4th Marine Division Memorial Park, North Shore Zipline Co is also located on the grounds that once housed Camp Maui. In fact, North Shore Zipline Co even boasts its own Camp Maui museum, which features unique relics like restored WWII-era planes. 2065 Kauhikoa Rd, Haiku.
10. Learn about the almighty coconut at Coconut Information Farm in Haiku.
Few plants embody the tropics as much as the coconut. But unlike the rest of us, it’s not coconuts’ tasty flavor that the folks at Coconut Information Farm relish. Instead, they see coconuts as the key to sustainability, and they’ve got the facts to back it up. At the quaint Coconut Information Farm off Kauhikoa Road in Haiku, visitors can take coconut cooking classes, farm tours, and learn heaps of information about how the coconut could quite literally save the planet. 11 Kane Pl, Haiku.
Can’t wait to come visit when all restrictions are gone.