You may not have heard of Lahaina but you’ve definitely heard of Maui. Sitting on the west end of the island, Lahaina is one of the four major towns that’s a great backdrop for activities, entertainment, food and as a place to call it a night. While it may not have the beaches of Kaanapali, there’s no reason to skip Lahaina as there’s something for everyone.
Keep on reading if you’re thinking about planning a trip to Maui and looking for a travel guide to Lahaina!
Here's what we're covering:
Lahaina is steeped with history
Once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Lahaina turned into a major whaling village in the mid-1800’s. Even novelist Herman Melville, made famous by his writing of Moby Dick could be found here during that time. Today, it’s on the National Registry of Historic Places and serves as great town to get to know those days gone past.
The old Lahaina vibe still lives in the town as you stroll through the historic trail that includes stops at the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Pioneer Inn, Lahaina Prison, and Carthaginian 2, a replica of a whaling ship. Also don’t forget to visit the banyan tree that occupies an entire city block and is said to be at least 400 years old.
Slice of traditional life
Perhaps the most popular thing to do in town is the Old Lahaina Luau. Widely regarded as the best and most authentic Hawaiian luau in the entire Pacific, feast your eyes on the rhythms of hula dancing and fire breathing heroics while trying a delicious collection of tropical dishes and drinks.
During winter, Lahaina is the perfect place to catch a whale watching cruise from the harbor. The channel off the coast is one of the best places in the world to spot humpback whales so you’re almost guaranteed to see one on one of these excursions.
No shortage of food
Lahaina is most known for its food and has many options to choose from despite its size. Front Street being the main thoroughfare for the town, you can take your pick of cuisine and budget that will surely delight your tastebuds.
Aloha Mixed Plate is a local favorite, serving authentic Hawaiian cuisine in an unpretentious setting from a tiki-torch laden deck with sunset views. Lahaina Fish Company is another place to try fresh seafood prepared with an island influence. And lastly, whether you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth or cool down, Local Boys West has the best fluffy shaved ice in town.
Another spot I recommend just outside of town is Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop which has seriously the best pies in Hawaii. I recommend getting their key lime pie and famous chocolate mac nut pie.
Speaking of Mixed Plate, my current pair of sunglasses are by a brand called Maui Jim which were recommended by my optometrist. I’ve done a fair bit of research and it looks like in the industry, they carry the highest quality of sunglass lenses in the market. I’ve had them for many years now and I have been incredibly impressed. Best sunglasses I’ve owned by far and beats Oakleys and Ray-Ban out of the water. So if you’re looking for a new pair of sunglasses for an upcoming trip, you know what to look up!
Sparkling Night Life
Once the sun goes down, the city comes to life with its many restaurants, bars and night clubs. For something familiar, the Hard Rock Cafe is right along Front Street and always packs a crowd. The Maui Brewing Company doubles as a restaurant and brewpub which makes it a great place to hang out. If you’re looking to do a little partying, Cheeseburger in Paradise turns into a night club after hours.
Read more on Maui
The top things you have to do when you visit Maui
While not necessarily in Lahaina directly, Boss Frog’s has a store in town and they run amazing catamaran snorkelling tour to Molokini (crescent moon island) and Turtle Town. It’s a half day excursion and you’ll have a blast snorkelling there as there’s a ton to see and it’s a nice balance of being able to explore on your own but is also guided at the same time.
This is the Molokini snorkelling and catamaran tour that I recommend.
Spending The Night
There are plenty of accommodations in Lahaina that will fit any budget.
Located 2 minutes walk from Ka’anapali Beach, this resort features a 3.5 acre pool, full-service spa, and each suite has private balconies or lanais.
GREAT FOR GROUPS
An Outrigger property that I review in this video and is a fantastic option for those travelling in large groups since these are apartment-style suites. Conveniently located, suites are clean, and has a pool as well. Read the full review of Aina Nalu.