10 Coolest Small Towns, Hawaii

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A little bit hip and a little bit homey, these up-and-coming towns guarantee a fun detour on your next road trip. You'll be browsing the local real estate pages before you know it.

Paia, Hawaii
Population: 2,499
Nearest City: Kahului, 8 miles
Paia is where Mauians go to relax. On the east side of the island, 15 minutes from Kahului, the town has maintained not just a mellow vibe but also many of its plantation-style wooden buildings. Lucinda Eddins likes Paia so much that she opened her latest beachwear store here. At Love the Beach, the most popular custom swimsuit is the "itty-bitty string with the little Brazilian bottom" for about $100 (2 Baldwin Ave., 808/579-8044). Another chic shop is Bahama Mama (62 Baldwin Ave., 808/579-8188). A mile from town, the six-bedroom Kuau Inn is a 10-minute walk to Hookipa, a world-class windsurfing beach (676 Hana Hwy., 808/579-6046, kuauinn.com, from $100). On the other hand, the surf and currents are gentle at Baby Beach, on the west end of Baldwin Beach. The Flatbread Company, which opened last November, makes pizza with organic produce and nitrate-free meats (89 Hana Hwy., 808/579-8989). One of the newest attractions in town is the Great Paia Lha Bab Peace Stupa shrine at the Maui Dharma Center, which hosts meditation sessions and similar events (81 Baldwin Ave., 808/579-8076, mauidharmacenter.org). The Dalai Lama blessed the shrine when he visited Maui this year.

Correction: The above article has been amended from the original print edition to give an accurate location for Baby Beach.

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