Ask The Ohana Mama…Maui Lodging For the Local at Heart

view from our rental, with our own yard and unobstructed view, for only $125/night. That's an old anchor on the sea about getting the Lahaina feeling!

Alrighty folks we’ve got another “Ask The Ohana Mama” question for ya!  This time it’s about where to stay on Maui with kids and without the hit-you-over-your-head-touristy-feeling…

Hi Sarah,

Love your blog!

We (myself, wife, and two toddlers) are planning a vacation in Sept to Maui. I read tons of material but could not find a good answer to the following question:
Where is the best place to stay? We want to enjoy the beaches, be close to activities / restaurants / etc, but wonder if there is some “off the beaten path” beach/area that will also give us some less “touristy” feeling?

Thanks in advance!


Aloha Ori, GREAT question!

I’ve covered the bigger hotels and condos here on The Ohana Mama and I will say that Hawaii has no shortage of awesome hotels for visitors.  However, if you are looking for lodging that offers you more of chance to be more of a local, even if only for a week, I suggest…that’s Vacation Rental By Owner.

Before we moved to Hawaii, and traveled here five times in 18 months, we almost always stayed in lodging that was found via

The reasons I LOVE for vacation with my family…

  • Most have a kitchen – great for saving some money on cooking, even if just for breakfast and lunch.
  • Many have laundry facilities, if not in your condo/home, then at least on the premises.
  • Space! You can get everything from a studio to a multiple bedroom and sometimes more then one bathroom…which is fantastic for families!
  • By renting a house or even a condo that’s not part of a resort, you can get more of the feeling of living in Hawaii and you could possibly have neighbors that live on island to talk story with
  • You can find fantastic deals! If you are traveling with extended family you can rent a big house and go in on it for an even better deal. We even found one right before we moved here that had fur pillows.

Downsides are…

  • Most don’t have daily housecleaning (some do though!), so if you need towels, you gotta wash them. Same goes for cleaning or tidying up…it’s all you
  • You have a kitchen so there’s less of an excuse to go out to eat every single meal…which if you are on vacation, you might want to take a vacation from cooking too.
  • No room service. (no big room service bill either though…I once stayed in a hotel with my son and we got the stomach bug. I called room service for some milk for him and that milk cost me $10! crazy!)
  • Most times you do pay a “cleaning fee” for the owners to hire a cleaning person to clean after you are gone, for the next person.
  • You won’t have a killer pool with a water slide or a pirate ship (Unless at a resort ownership type rental) but hey we had an old anchor and that was cool enough for Cam.

When we came to Maui during “the trip” (the one where we left with a house in escrow on the island), we stayed at this awesome house that is smack dab in the middle of Lahaina, on Front street.

A touristy area?  Yes.  But totally awesome and different than any hotel experience. It was a home, all on it’s own RIGHT on the water, one room, two bathrooms, living room, kitchen, a fence in yard, walking distance to Baby beach (perfect for the kids!), walking distance to downtown Lahaina, a grocery store and Starbucks (for when my son woke up at 4 a.m. every morning due to the time difference) and across the street from a church.  Sunday morning we woke up to the most beautiful singing from the church’s choir.  It was amazing. Add a rainbow and well…we were SOLD on Lahaina.

So check out for great deals and lodging for a more “local” feel. If you have any questions about location, etc of something you find on, let me know!  Anything in Puamana would be awesome…it has a really cool vibe, numerous pools and is right on the water.  I love Aina Nalu too – most come with housekeeping, the complex has two pools and you can walk to Lahaina town easily.

(I am on the West side if you can’t tell…but I bet there are gems over in Kihei too and even in Haiku or Paia – now, that would really be off the beaten path (but also further from the beaches)

I hope that helps Ori!  Have a fantastic trip to Maui and keep me posted.

Aloha, Sarah

If you are traveling to Maui and have a question, feel free to email me!


  1. VRBO is a great source. I would also add craigslist as a great source. On recent trip to Costa Rica, we found a phenomenal condo on CL at a great price (it had just been built, so they were being rented at 40% off to entice visitors to stay there). Nevertheless, great post, Sarah.
    .-= Maui Realtor´s last blog ..Tax credit for Maui home buyers is ending soon. =-.

  2. I am just going to come back to your site once an hour and stare at that gorgeous photo. Holy taking me to a place of peace. Ahhhhhhhh.
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..who would you rather =-.

  3. What a great idea! DH and I did not know about that when we honeymooned there. I think when we return, which we will one day, we’ll check out VRBO.

    Daily housecleaning isnt a must for me … as it was housecleaning walked in on DH in the bathroom during our honeymoon! LMAO! Oops…

  4. thanks – perfect answer!

  5. We have used VRBO with great success. The first was for a trip to Kailua on Oahu 2 years ago and for a return trip this summer! Great way to experience Hawaii like a “local” but still be able to do the touristy thing a well.
    .-= Mrs Little´s last blog ..Ultimate Blog Party 2010 and Giveaway! =-.


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