Nestled between the coast and the West Maui Mountains, Lahaina is known for its long history as well as the gateway to Kapalua and Ka’anapali beach resorts.
Front Street shopping, oceanfront restaurants and stunning mountain scenery are just a few of the reasons to visit this seaside town. Lahaina is historically significant to the Kingdom of Hawaii as it was the capital for 25 years in the 19th century. When you visit the island, you will want to spend time on the beach, surfing, and shopping, so use our list of 10 “MUST” do things to help fill in the gaps.
The Lahaina Banyan tree is an Indian species, brought to Hawaii by Sheriff William Owen Smith. Smith planted the tree to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Protestant mission in Lahaina, which occurred on April 24, 1873. Today, the tree stands sixty feet high, with 16 major trunks rooted in the ground and stretching over 200 feet. The tree has the distinction of being the largest in the USA. Maui County Arborists maintain the shape and health of the tree for visitors. You can find this beautiful tree in Banyan Tree Park near the courthouse. On weekends, crafters and local artists set up booths and tables to sell their wares. Musicians, cultural dances, and hulas are available here.
In our honest opinion, the best way to watch the sunset is from the water. It’s made even better when you have delicious pupus, island music and drinks! You’ll spend around 2 hours on the water, sailing if enough wind, and likely watching whales breach in whale season. Leaving from Lahaina Harbor, you’ll get a chance to see the west coast from a different perspective.
Baldwin Home Museum
The Reverend Ephraim Spaulding built his home in 1834 to 1835 on the island of Maui. The Baldwin house has the distinction of being the oldest house in Lahaina. The main structure consisted of four rooms on a single level for the year Spaulding lived in it. Becoming ill in 1836, he returned to Massachusetts, and Reverend Dwight Baldwin moved into the home. Life was hard for Baldwin as his new wife having to lose two children before they reached their third birthday. However, the couple had a total of eight children. The need for a larger house meant restructuring the home Spaulding built into a two-floor building and medical study, added in 1849. You can see the home as it was after the Baldwin’s made additions.
Myths of Maui Luau
The longest running oceanfront luau on Maui, the Royal Lahaina Luau treats guests to an incredible meal, hula dancing originating in New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii, live Hawaiian music, and finished off with a full-cast fire dancing performance. We particularly encourage visitors to experience this luau because you get walked through the history and culture of Polynesian culture in an impressive way.
Mala Grill is an oceanside restaurant with a delectable menu, including Asian seafood pasta and local delicacies. During the height of the season, you may need to call for reservations, but even on a Monday at the usual dinner hour, you are almost guaranteed to get a seat right away during the off season. Whether you enjoy burgers, oysters, or pasta, you can find it here. Mala has one of the best oceanfront decks on Maui. You can literally feel the ocean spray from waves crackling on the rocks.
Surf Break Wall
The Break Wall is a surfing area at the Lahaina boat harbor. The marina has a wall that breaks the surf to keep the boats and yachts safe from large swell. For new surfers, this is the place to go (south of the wall). You can paddle from the beach or walk along the rocks of the wall, but the waves can be somewhat dangerous closer to the rocks. Public access is permitted, and it is easy to find as it’s across from the Banyan Tree. There are many Maui surf schools here that will help you learn in a single day! If you’re on the south side, the Cove is very similar to Break Wall as far as learning. We particularly love this Kihei surf school.
Do you want to explore the underwater world but have always considered scuba diving beyond your capabilities? The Atlantis Submarine in Maui is the perfect way to dive more than a 100 feet down and see mysterious marine life. The submarine is capable of carrying forty-eight passengers. The trip will take you throughout the reef, including the a sunken boat used as an artificial reef.
Honolua Snorkel Sail
For a truly luxurious experience on the Pacific, Maui’s sailing catamaran offers an assortment of can’t-miss tour opportunities on Maui. Departing from Lahaina Harbor, all tours include a unique snorkeling experience aboard their luxury sailing catamaran. With smaller group tours, tons of onboard amenities and excellent customer service, Lahaina sailing trips are hard to beat when it comes to romantic and relaxing days on the ocean. Enjoy a guided snorkel of Honolua Bay as well as plentiful food options, and treat yourself to a day well spent in paradise.
Shopping on Front Street
Lahaina has shopping for everyone, whether you need a new surfboard, bathing suit, or art. The top three places you do not want to miss are Old Lahaina Center, Lahaina Cannery Mall, and Lahaina Gateway. All three sites feature local artisans and crafts, as well as those lovely “Hawaiian” trinkets you want to bring back for the family. And, of course, there’s always the shops along Front Street.
Whale Watching (When in Season)
Cruise on a large catamaran offering whale watch tours around the island of Maui. Maui whale watching features an onboard Jr. naturalist program for kids, hydrophones so you can hear the whales sing, and 2 decks ensuring everyone has a front row seat to the whales. Maui is well known as one of the best spots on the planet to watch humpback whale surface activity. You won’t forget this incredible experience!