Think of Kihei as a long narrow strip with two roads running its length. The mauka (inland) one, Pi‘ilani Highway offers the quick way to get from Ma‘alaea to Wailea. A few shopping malls line the road.
South Kihei Road runs along the shore and serves as Kihei’s “main street.” On the makai (ocean) side the road, the shoreline dips in and out, alternating beaches with grassy, rocky peninsulas that jut out into the sea. The motels and condos on the ocean side of the road are on these peninsulas. Three parks, Kam (for Kama‘ole) I, II and III stretch out on the beaches. They are immensely popular with locals and visitors, who usually stay in the large condo complexes on the other side of the road.
Between condos you’ll find a series of small shopping centers, filled with cafes, nail salons, burger joints, bars, shops and activity agents. Condos are within walking distance of these malls, which makes Kihei a very convenient location, and also Maui’s busiest beach town.
Kalama Village, an open air craft market, has everything from Tahitian black pearls to bamboo trinkets. Kihei also sports one of Maui’s most active farmers markets where you’ll pick up starfruit, papayas, apple bananas, pineapple, mangoes, and sugarcane.
Kihei is less manicured than West Maui or Wailea; some people think it’s more fun.