In a nutshell: The North Shore of Maui is less developed, less crowded, and has a great selection of less-touristy beaches.
Minuses: Doesn’t cater commercially to resort-oriented tourists.
Sound-bite: “I swear that guy playing in Charley’s was Willie Nelson!”
The exact boundaries of Maui’s North Shore are not well defined, and there is overlap between Central Maui, Upcountry Maui and the Road to Hana. Even in my guide info, some key North Shore articles may also be found in Road to Hana category since this is how the majority of resort visitors will experience it (on the way to Hana.) For the purposes of the guidebook, I define the boundaries to the west and north around the surfing scene, mauka boundaries are based on proximity (a few miles) to the ocean, and to the east I end in Huelo, where the last signs of development give way to the jungle.