*** On August 8, 2023 wildfires on Maui devastated the West Maui town of Lahaina and the surrounding area. Our deepest condolences go out to all of the people, families, and businesses affected by this terrible event. Unfortunately, Lahaina Harbor was also lost in the fire and it will be some time before we see any ocean tours leaving or visiting this area.
About Lahaina, Maui
Once a major whaling port, as well as the capital of Hawaii, Lahaina Town is now one of Maui’s most popular visitor hubs, attracting nearly 80% of visitors to its sunny shores, historic sites, and variety of attractions all year long.
In 1802, King Kamehameha made Lahaina the first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, 12 years after defeating Maui’s Army in his efforts to unite the Hawaiian Islands. A brick palace, royal buildings, homes, and other structures were built in the surrounding town area, which acted as the center of the Hawaiian government for over five decades until its relocation to Honolulu. In recognition of his impressive efforts and lasting legacy, King Kamehameha Day is celebrated throughout the Hawaiian Islands, often with parades, cultural performances, and music every year on June 11th.
In the early to mid-1800s, Lahaina served as one of Hawaii’s largest whaling ports, thanks to its ideal location along whale migration routes and consistently nice weather. Soon after King Kamehameha II gave permission to Protestant missionaries to settle in the area, new customs were created and put into place, including a written form of the Hawaiian language and the first printing press and school – Lahainaluna High School – which still exists today as one of the only public boarding schools in the United States. In 1873, Sheriff William Owen Smith planted an 8-foot banyan tree in the center of Lahaina, now the focal point of the town as well as a historical landmark, which currently stands over 60 feet tall and covers an entire city block!
Today, some of the area’s best attractions include Front Street, a popular street stretching parallel to the ocean with lively seaside restaurants, bars, shops, art galleries, boutique hotels, live music venues, and more. Halloween, in particular, is the best time to see Lahaina Town in all its Front Street glory, when thousands of residents and visitors flood the area in costume to enjoy the street party, dubbed the ‘Mardi Gras of the Pacific’. Outside of October 31st, history buffs will enjoy walking the Lahaina Historic Trail, while art and shopping enthusiasts will love browsing work from local artists during Friday’s Art Night and merchants at the Lahaina Second Fridays town party.
Things to do in Lahaina
Foodies will also find themselves right at home with the amazing variety of acclaimed cuisine and cocktails, from local plate lunches to rooftop happy hours, Asian and fresh seafood specialties. And last but not least, adventurous travelers shouldn’t miss the area’s best activities, including whale watching, snorkeling, and sunset cocktail cruising from Lahaina Harbor, as well as luaus, beach hopping, magic shows and more. There’s a reason Lahaina is one of the most popular areas of Maui, so be sure to reserve some time to explore the most scenic and historic areas of West Maui’s favorite town!