Hawaiians once referred to the town of Kihei as "Kamaʻole" which means "barren” because of its dry climate and high temperatures.
This perception changed during the 1960s when water was diverted from the valleys and mountains of central Maui. Developers saw an opportunity to create a vacation spot for beach-loving tourists. Some of those who came to the newly developed Kihei did not desire to return home, so they stayed and became locals.
The picturesque beaches are what originally drew Hawaiians to Kihei. The white sands and calm waters remain the area’s most desirable attractions.
The Kihei coastal area consists of many beaches with some of them honoring the earlier name of Kihei. Three of the beaches are Kamaʻole I, II, and III. These beaches are anything but barren today, as you will see on almost any weekend. There are picnic tables, outdoor showers, and free parking. They also have great swimming conditions with some of the most lifeguards patrolling beaches in Hawaii.
For the golfers there is the Elleair Maui Golf Club in Kihei, which sits in the foothills of Mt. Haleakala. From the course there are spectacular ocean views that can be seen from every hole. Elleair, which was formerly Silversword Golf Club, is a course for golfers who love the relaxing views as much as the ample fairways and well kept greens.
The town boasts boutiques, restaurants, and a mall near the coastline. There are upscale malls, specialty shops, as well as a Japanese market. One would not have to leave Kihei to fulfill their shopping desires. Kihei is a lively town with a bustling tourist industry as well as a vibrant local community. There is an easy-going beach town feel to Kihei that the beautiful scenery and sunny weather bring.
Kihei is well suited for educational needs. For families looking for schools, Kihei offers both private and public schools. There are preschools, kindergarten, and intermediate schools available. There is a Charter High School in the area as well. Only 10 miles from Kihei is the University of Hawaii Maui College in Kahului.
Kihei also has a breadth of churches to suit many religious sects. There are Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Non-denominational, and Episcopalian churches.
Real estate in Kihei ranges from starter homes and condominiums to multi-million dollar beach and oceanfront estates.