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Six million folks a year stream through Kahului, Maui’s biggest town (pop. 20,000) and home of the island’s main airport. Kahului is a huddle of Wal-Marts and K-Marts with every known rental car agency in the world situated at a tangle of three two-lane blacktops that run through a maze of windsurf board shops and junk food franchises to the turn-off exits for plummy resorts like Wailea and Kapalua, rowdy Lahaina and yonder Hana, ever serene. Kahului, like Oakland, may look like there's no there, there, but that's too easy. You go to Kahului to buy cheap goods at any of the half dozen big box stores, check out local arts and crafts at ...

Six million folks a year stream through Kahului, Maui’s biggest town (pop. 20,000) and home of the island’s main airport. Kahului is a huddle of Wal-Marts and K-Marts with every known rental car agency in the world situated at a tangle of three two-lane blacktops that run through a maze of windsurf board shops and junk food franchises to the turn-off exits for plummy resorts like Wailea and Kapalua, rowdy Lahaina and yonder Hana, ever serene. Kahului, like Oakland, may look like there's no there, there, but that's too easy. You go to Kahului to buy cheap goods at any of the half dozen big box stores, check out local arts and crafts at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, enjoy authentic Hawaiian music and hula at Maui Arts & Cultural Center, sample local fruits and veggies at Aloha Friday Farmers Market, board the inter-island cruse ship at Kahului's deep-water port, or hop a chopper to flightsee Puu Kukui's off-limits rain forest, reputedly the world's second wettest spot. Near Costco, there's even an endangered bird preserve where a rare Hawaiian stilt, it is said, lives amid the human confusion. What remains to be seen are two of Maui's great natural attractions: Iao Valley, a green gash in the West Maui Mountains, and, to the east, cloud-wreathed 10,000-foot Haleakala, the fabled "house of the sun."

Rick Carroll
About the Expert

Rick Carroll has written dozens of articles on Hawaii and the Pacific. His books include Great Outdoor Adventures of Hawaii, Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawaii's Fire Goddess, and Travelers' Tales Hawaii.

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Rick Carroll for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The largest community on the island of Maui, it lies on the north shore of central Maui.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Anytime, but May and October are best.