Like I’ve mentioned before, when people think of Maui, they don’t automatically think “shopping.” Oahu certainly takes the cake when it comes to big malls, outlet centers, and big-name chain stores. While things are certainly changing on Maui (Target is having its grand opening as I write this), it still doesn’t compare to Oahu when it comes to the sheer amount of shopping there is to do. It does, however, make up for it with the quality and uniqueness of what it offers. If you do want to indulge in a little retail therapy while you’re on vacation, here’s where you’ll find what you’re looking for—and more!
I’ve written in depth about nearby Makawao already, but shopping in Paia is a completely different experience. With a younger, hipper, and funkier vibe, Paia is where the free-spirit fashionista goes to play. From eclectic boutiques to designers’ own shops, you can find that “Where did you get that?” look with a day of strolling down the shop-lined streets. Some suggestions: Check out Nuage Bleu for their incredible jewelry and cute kids’ items, Biasa Rose for more stylish apparel offerings than you can imagine, and Paia Trading Co. for the quirkiest antiques ever. And trust me—picking just three spots in this shopping-dense town was difficult. You can easily make a day of it—especially since Paia boasts some of the best dining on Maui as well!
My husband’s family lives in Lahaina, so we make the drive from Wailuku pretty often. When we do, though, I’ll admit there’s usually just one thing on my mind: retail. It’s home to Maui’s only major bookstore, a huge high-end outlet center, and countless souvenir shops, galleries, and boutiques on world-famous Front Street. This is another area where you can easily spend a whole day, and leave with a trunk full of shopping bags. While it features major retail chains like Barnes & Noble, Lush, and Gap Outlet, you’ll find plenty of unique spots around town as well. My picks? Banana Wind in the Cannery Mall, where you’ll find gifts, jewelry, and home items that you can’t live without; Célébrités Gallery, starring art and mementos both featuring and created by—you guessed it—major celebrities; and Serendipity, where you can get your fix of pretty, flowy dresses and sarongs to keep that island mood alive even when you’re back on the mainland.
It’s awesome to check out all the quirky, unique, and higher-end shops that make their home on Maui, but what if you just landed—and your luggage didn’t? Or you need sunscreen, potato chips, or a phone charger? Kahului has what you’re looking for. Close by to the airport, you’ll find Costco, Walmart, K-Mart, and the aforementioned Target. Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, Maui’s biggest mall, houses big-name stores like Macy’s, Champs, Forever 21, and even every major wireless carrier. Even if you’re just in the mood to shop, but aren’t ready to spend a ton, a day in Kahului should take care of that urge. It’s where most of Maui’s local residents live, work, and shop, so you won’t find the higher prices that more tourist-centric areas might charge. And hey—don’t think that it’s just major retailers in Kahului! While you’re in town, drop by Blue Ginger in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center for pretty, floral local fashions; Hawaiian Island Creations at Maui Mall for surf-inspired young adult fashions; and Tamura’s on Dairy Road for a gigantic selection of wines, liquors, gourmet foods, and fresh Hawaiian poke!
There’s something to be found pretty much wherever you are on Maui, and if you want to spend a day indulging in retail therapy, it’s definitely not hard to do. Whether you’re looking to get your hands on the latest designer goods, or deck yourself out in funky, island-made jewelry, Maui is the place to go for variety, selection, and customer service with aloha that will make your shopping experiences unforgettable.