What to see and do in Lahaina
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.
Where to eat, where to stay
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
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,
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. Shopping centers at opposite ends of Front Street are
the Wharf Cinema Center
and the Old Lahaina Center. 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,
Lahaina Pizza Company,
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,
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.