Coastal Living says Paia among top 10 ‘happiest’ seaside towns

Paia has been named the eighth best “Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living magazine.

“It’s easy to miss, this tiny outpost on Maui’s north shore, and most travelers on the road to Hana make that very mistake. Their loss,” said the narrative about Paia.

The commentary about the town noted that Paia has 2,668 residents with five beaches within walking distance of the town.

“Paia calls itself Maui’s ‘coolest little town,’ and that title fits,” said the magazine. “Combining holdover hippie sensibilities, surf culture and New Age openness, Paia is a funky little crossroads that Big Tourism has managed to pass by.

“With a Buddhist stupa consecrated by the Dalai Lama himself, two tattoo parlors, one hemp store, and what is considered the best natural foods store on Maui, Paia is charmingly, distinctively a unique place.”

The list of 10 finalists began with all the places the magazine has lauded as “Dream Towns.” That list was narrowed to 10 based on rank on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, crime ratings, walkability, standard of living and financial well-being of the locals, geographic diversity and the editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.”

The top 10 were announced in the February issue and the winners were ranked based on online voting.

The top seaside town was Beaufort, S.C.