Rustic. Scenic. Serene. That’s life on the north shore of Maui. Compared to its south and west counterparts, the north shore is less developed and less crowded. But don’t let its quiet, unhurried nature fool you: there’s plenty to see and do here.
The Ocean is Your Backyard
Pe‘ahi Farms is just around the corner from the iconic surf break known as “Jaws,” which draws daredevil watermen and waterwomen from around the globe. From December to March, wave sizes at Jaws can exceed 60 feet. You can see if Jaws is “going off” (the colloquial term for big-wave action) by checking the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) live wave observation charts.
A few miles away from Jaws is Ho‘okipa Beach Park, a long, narrow strip of warm sand—and a world-famous windsurfing destination. A number of professional windsurfing competitions are held here, and on any given (and gusty) afternoon, you can watch the pros sail across the water. Ho‘okipa’s claim to fame may be windsurfing, but it’s also a go-to spot for surfers, kiteboarders, and stand-up paddleboarders. If you’re an ocean sports novice, be forewarned: Conditions can get pretty rough; the area is known for its strong winds, rip currents and a shallow reef. Keep an eye out for hazard warning signs and consult the lifeguards (there are towers at both ends of the park) before you go out. Ho‘okipa also has a covered pavilion, public restrooms, and picnic areas at the east end of the park.
A stone’s throw away is Kū‘au Cove, frequently dubbed “Mama’s Beach,” given its proximity to Mama’s Fish House. Here, there are no facilities or lifeguards, but this small white-sand cove is teeming with shallow tidepools. It’s a great spot for snorkeling, sunbathing or collecting seashells.
Drive a little further down Hana Highway to Tavares Beach, often referred to as the “Blue Tile House Beach” (a home with a ceramic blue tile roof sits next to the beach parking lot). Generally uncrowded on weekdays, the crescent-shaped beach is a great spot for snorkeling, spearfishing, surfing, and windsurfing. But like most beaches on Maui, you can expect a big turnout on weekends and holidays.
Continue west and you’ll find Pā‘ia Bay, a bodyboarding and surfing hub. Like Ho‘okipa, the waves can get pretty big here, especially during the winter months. There’s no lifeguard on duty, so if you’re a rookie, use precaution. If you’re in the mood for a long beach walk or run, start at Pā‘ia Bay and follow the shoreline to Baby Beach; it’s a three-mile round-trip trek.
Baldwin Beach Park is undoubtedly the most frequented beach on Maui’s North Shore. On any given day, you’ll find sunbathers soaking up rays, swimmers completing laps, and kids frolicking in the surf. And the one-mile stretch of sand is perfect for a morning beach run. As for amenities, there are lifeguards, restrooms, showers, barbecues, picnic tables, and a covered pavilion. There’s a large parking area, but it can get pretty packed on weekends and holidays, so you may want to arrive early to snag a spot.
On the west end of Baldwin Beach, you’ll find the aptly named Baby Beach, which fronts a protected lagoon with calm, shallow waters ideal for pint-sized swimmers and their parents. A word of caution, though: If the trade winds are blowing, you can expect a sandblasting at Baby Beach (the trades tend to pick up in the afternoons from mid-March to mid-November). If it’s a gusty day, head to the east end of Baldwin Beach, which is sheltered from the wind.
Given Pe‘ahi Farms’ close proximity to each of these sandy locales, it may be difficult to narrow down a destination for your next beach day. Good thing there are seven days in a week.
Pe‘ahi Farms—to Table
From fine dining to casual comforts, there’s a delectable range of options to satisfy every taste—and you’ll find it all just a short distance away from Pe‘ahi Farms. Here are some of the best neighborhood bets for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and everything in between).
Pā‘ia is packed to the gills with small-town charm. Here, you’ll find an eclectic assortment of art galleries, boutiques, yoga studios, salons, tattoo parlors and plenty of culinary hotspots. Here are just a few to choose from:
From its claim-to-fame wood-fired pizzas (made with organic ingredients and free-range meats) to its handcrafted cocktails, it’s no wonder Flatbread Company is a perennial crowd favorite. In fact, don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table, especially during happy hour or dinnertime.
Conspicuously located on the corner of Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue, Milagros Food Company is a family-run restaurant that serves up Southwestern cuisine combined with Maui-inspired flavors. Known for its generous portion sizes, happy hour margaritas, and al fresco dining, Milagros is always a safe bet for a laidback lunch or dinner. And it’s arguably one of the best people-watching spots on Maui.
It’s easy to see why Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon is one of Maui’s best breakfast hangouts. For one thing, it has a sprawling menu, and they never skimp on the portion sizes. There’s also a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. And on any given night, you can grab a meal and catch some live music—and possibly a glimpse of Willie Nelson, who gives impromptu performances on the main stage.
If you’re craving dessert, you’re in luck. Pā‘ia has several sweet tooth-satisfying options to choose from: Paia Gelato, Tobi’s Shave Ice (where you’ll also find some of the island’s best ahi poke plates) and Café Des Amis, which serves mouth-watering crepes (along with Mediterranean and Indian cuisine). As for coffee, check out Paia Bay Coffee & Bar, an outdoor café, bar and restaurant tucked away in the heart of town, or Sip Me, which has two locations—one on Hana Highway, the other on Baldwin Avenue.
Mana Foods is Pā‘ia Town’s iconic grocery store, bakery, and deli. The store has a variety of natural and organic items, and it carries products from 400 local vendors. In the produce aisle, you’ll find an average of 50 percent locally grown and 90 percent certified organic or unsprayed items. The grab-and-go deli has an impressive selection of hot entrées, fresh fish and meat, vegetarian lunch specialties, handmade pasta, salads, soups, pizzas, desserts, and more.
Just on the outskirts of Pā‘ia Town is the North Shore’s culinary crown jewel, Mama’s Fish House. There’s a reason why Mama’s was named one of the Top 10 fine dining restaurants in the U.S. by TripAdvisor and the second most popular restaurant in the U.S. by OpenTable: Apart from its top-notch service and ambiance, the menu features fresh fish reeled in daily by local fishermen (in fact, the menu lists the names of the fishermen and where they caught their fish). Given the restaurant’s popularity, reservations for lunch or dinner are strongly encouraged.
Ha‘ikū falls under the category of “sleepy town,” but it has its share of hidden gems—and one of the most dazzling is Nuka, an Izakaya-style Japanese sushi restaurant. The dining room is small (there are only 10 tables) and the restaurant does not take reservations; guests are served on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a good idea to get there early and be patient—because Nuka’s sushi rolls, bowls, poke and daily specials are worth the wait.
If you’re not in the mood for sushi, head across the street to Colleen’s at the Cannery, a casual dining restaurant with a wide-ranging menu—from eggs benedict to fish burgers to pizza to filet mignon. Pizzas and all dinner items are available for take-out.
Just a scenic, 30-minute drive from Pe‘ahi Farms, the Upcountry Farmers Market in Pukalani has it all, from soup to nuts. Literally. Every Saturday morning, you can stock up on locally harvested produce, fruits, nuts, and more. You’ll also find a variety of prepared items, including pastries, baked goods, Indian food, Thai food, fresh miso, fermented foods, raw and vegan foods, juices, kombucha, dehydrated goods, and raw nut cheeses. The farmers market is open from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Kula Malu Town Center football field parking lot next to the Long’s Drug Store. Just follow the signs—you can’t miss it.
A Sense of Community
There are a number of annual community events in close proximity to Pe‘ahi Farms. Here are a few of the crowd favorites.
Usually held in early June, the Olukai Ho‘olaule‘a (ho‘olaule‘a means “celebration”) features canoe sailing and surfing, ancient Hawaiian games, a traditional lūau, hula, and live music. The event draws some of the world’s best SUP, OC1, and OC2 paddlers to race the legendary eight-mile Maliko downwind run.
Ha‘ikū Ho’olaule’a and Flower Festival
A fundraiser for three beneficiaries—Ha‘ikū Elementary School, Ha‘ikū Community Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui-Ha‘ikū—this free springtime event features live entertainment, food vendors, a signature bake sale, one of Maui’s largest silent auctions, floral design and lei-making contests, a Ha‘ikū historical display, artisan marketplace, kid-friendly activities, and much more.
Seabury Craft Fair
Held the day before Mother’s Day, the annual Seabury Hall Craft Fair has more than 100 artisan vendors (jewelry, ceramics, weaving, clothing, painting, woodworking, traditional Hawaiian art, and more), food, live music, a silent auction, rummage sale, fresh flowers, potted plants, a giant waterslide, kids’ games—and a whole lot more.
North Shore and Upcountry Maui School Guide
Carden Academy of Maui
- Type of School: Carden Method
- 55A Maka‘ena Place, Pukalani
- Grades Served: K–8
Doris Todd Christian Academy
- Type of School: Parochial
- 519 Baldwin Avenue, Pā‘ia
- Grades Served: K–12
Haleakalā Waldorf School
- Type of School: Waldorf
- Elementary: 4160 Lower Kula Road, Kula
- Secondary: Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center, 2841 Baldwin Avenue, Makawao
- Grades Served: K–12
Montessori School of Maui
- Type of School: Montessori
- 2933 Baldwin Avenue, Makawao
- Grades Served: K–8
Real Ongoing Opportunities To Soar (ROOTS School)
- Type: Alternative
- 740 Ha‘ikū Road, Ha‘ikū
- Grades Served: K–8
- Type of School: College Prep
- 480 Olinda Road, Makawao
- Grades Served: 6–12