An eclectic mix of surfers and soul-seekers cluster in Paʻia, also known as Maui’s hippest burg. Once a thriving plantation town of 10,000 residents, it declined during the 1950s when the local sugar mill closed. Then, like some other well-known sugar towns (eg Hanapepe on Kauaʻi, and Honokaʻa on Hawaiʻi, the Big Island), Paʻia successfully reinvented itself. First came an influx of paradise-seeking hippies attracted by low rents. Next came windsurfers attracted by Hoʻokipa Beach. Then came the tourists.
Today the town’s aging wooden storefronts, splashed in bright colors, house a broad array of indie businesses (for the most part) facing a constant stream of traffic. It still feels like a dusty outpost at times, but that’s all part of the vibe.