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Tip: This town is best known for hosting the annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
As you begin your drive to Hana, you’ll discover the historic town of Paia on Maui’s north coast. This hospitable village was once a booming plantation town during the heyday of Maui’s sugar cane industry. Today, Paia is a picturesque town of colorful residents thanks to an influx of refugees from the hippie movement in the continental United States in the 70s. A decade later, the town became the focal point of an ongoing windsurfing boom, drawing board sailors from around the planet to the perfect conditions of Ho’okipa Beach, located just east of town.
Take a walk down Pa’ia town’s two main blocks today and you’ll find a vast array of antique and souvenir shops, fine art galleries, casual clothing stores and low-key eateries (with lots of vegetarian fare), all housed in turn-of-the-century plantation storefronts painted with a color palate that would make the brightest reef fish go green with envy.