“I must go down to the sea, To the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.” – John Masefield
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Paia, HI – Small towns often have plenty of interesting, but lesser known history. And the town of Paia, HI, with its more than 100 years, certainly falls in this category. Alive with accomplishment and diversity, the town’s origins can be traced back to 1896 and the opening of the Paia Store.
On the other hand, many say that the creation of the plantation camps throughout the area signifies the real beginnings of Paia. These camps housed workers of the Paia Sugar Mill, which was the oldest operating plantation in Maui until 2000. The mill started operating way back in 1880 and the store was built six years later for the purpose of supporting the needs of the immigrant sugar workers.
Both Laidback And World-Class? Yup, Sounds Like Hawaii Alright
Located on the northern coast of Maui, Paia is a CDP with a population of just over 2,500. The town is actually the last one on the Hana Highway when heading eastbound towards Hana. In recent years, it has become a real laidback kind of place. Featuring plenty of local businesses, Paia boasts a coexistence between local residents and many visitors mesmerized by the world-class windsurfing opportunities in the area.
Still surrounded by sugar cane and nestled along some of Maui’s best beaches, Paia has become a world-class destination in its own right. This is thanks to many factors, including a unique blend of restaurants, boutiques, shops and other amenities. Located at the intersection of Baldwin Avenue and Hana Highway, wandering up and down these streets will pretty much allow you to see everything worth seeing.
Beaches In Paia, HI? Sure, Take Your Pick
Just west of town, you’ll be able to find a free parking lot on Hana Highway. This is a great place to ditch your wheels and start wandering about. For example, Tamara Katz Inc. and the Maui Arts and Crafts Guild are two unique shops you should definitely check out on Hana Highway. A couple of suggestions for when you get to Baldwin Avenue include Dafna’s, Mahina, Alice in Hula Land, The Hemp Store, Birken and Bailey’s Boutique and many other stores.
And let’s face it – what’s the point of visiting Hawaii and not enjoying its gorgeous beaches? Paia Beach Parks are great way to do just that. Baldwin Beach Park boasts Paia’s most breathtaking stretch of sand. Baldwin Beach offers a grassy park, restrooms, showers, body surfing waves, body boarding and lifeguards. Ho’okipa Beach Park, on the other hand, is the best place to watch Maui surfing. Bring a camera and enjoy North Shore swells and local surfer artistry on the waves.
Dining And Staying? Nope. Dining And Staying With Style? You Betcha
Dining establishments in Paia are also scattered across both Baldwin Avenue and Hana Highway. Some suggestions include Charley’s, Café des Amis, Dazoo, Café Mambo, Paia Fish Market, Flatbread, Tobi’s Shave Ice, Maka by Mana, The Wine Corner, Paia Gelato, and Paia Bay Coffee.
And everyone likes the fact that there are no big condos or hotels in this town. So, when it comes to accommodation, you’re pretty much looking at smaller, family-owned spots. Mama’s Fish House is a great place to start looking. It’s actually an always-packed restaurant (duh!), but few are aware that it also offers nine clandestine rental cottages on Kuau Cove. And if agencies are the way you want to go, you can try Chameleon Vacation Rentals Maui or Hawaii’s Best Rentals. Other than that – surf’s up, dude!