What to see and do in Lahaina
Where to eat, where to stay
If you haven’t been to Lahaina, you haven’t really been to Maui. Though its population is only 9000 residents, this little town has the most of everything for tourists: shopping, restaurants, history, ambiance, harbor, and much more.
Lahaina was the royal capital of Hawaii in the 1800’s, and most of the old buildings on the main street are preserved, though now converted into shops and restaurants. This was the “whaling capital of the Pacific” from 1825 to 1860. Whalers came here for rest and relaxation after months at sea hunting whales. Today the tourists come hunting burgers and bargains. But don’t miss the history while you are here. Pick up a free brochure in the Visitor’s Center in the Old Courthouse adjacent to the harbor, and take a self-guided walking tour of the many historical buildings.
Front Street is the main street of Lahaina. It’s about a mile long, and lined with art galleries, restaurants, souvenir shops, clothing stores, and jewelry stores. A huge famous banyan tree occupies a large square in front of the Old Courthouse building. The sidewalk through town goes along the seawall (built in 1878) with views of the ocean and the island of Lanai. There’s a boat harbor where you can choose a boat to take you out for sailing, whale watching, fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, dinner cruise, or a ride over to the island of Lanai about 9 miles across the channel. There are free hula shows at the Lahaina Cannery Mall on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and free children’s hula shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There are shopping centers at opposite ends of Front Street: the Wharf Cinema Center on the south end, the Old Lahaina Center and the Outlets of Maui on the north end. There are two big (but expensive) luaus in Lahaina most nights. On Halloween in Lahaina, there are costumes and parties.
Inexpensive places to eat in Lahaina, in order of my recommendation, include Penne Pasta, Lahaina Coolers, Lahainaluna Cafe, Lahaina Pizza Company, and Cool Cat Cafe. Moderate priced very good restaurants include Honu, Kimo’s and Bubba Gump. The top fine-dining very expensive restaurant in Lahaina is Lahaina Grill. The best shave ice is at Ululani’s. Free cookie samples are at Honolulu Cookie Company.
There are very few places to stay that are actually inside the town of Lahaina (Lahaina Shores, Pioneer Inn, Aina Nalu), and I don’t really recommend any of them. All of the hotels and condos on the whole west side of Maui have Lahaina mailing addresses, though they are not actually in the town of Lahaina. I suggest you stay in the Kaanapali Beach area, about 3 miles (8 minutes drive) north of Lahaina. For reviews and photos of recommended accommodations there and nearby, see West Maui Hotels or West Maui Condos.
Front Street, Pioneer Inn on left, Wharf Center on right
Giant banyan tree
See the page of Things To Do In Maui for luaus, whale watching, snorkeling, tours, helicopters, horseback riding, ATV, dinner cruises, parasailing, fishing, zipline, biking, golf, beaches, kids and family fun, and more.