Lahaina Guide

Lahaina Guide
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Address , Lahaina, HI
Once the center of the whaling trade, today a popular tourist destination.

• General: Educational • General: Guide • General: History

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Lahaina is the most populated city in west Maui, encompassing the Ka'anapali and Kapalua beach resorts in it's township. It takes about 40 minutes to travel to Lahaina from Kahului Airport (OGG), but the traffic can be bad which will increase travel times. During the height of the summer tourist season, the population in Lahaina can approach 40,000 and approximately 2 million visitors each year. Lahaina also has some of the most expensive real estate in Hawaii with many properties valued over $2 million.


Lahaina, was once the capital for the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. Lahaina translated means "cruel sun" in the Hawaiian language because of it’s sunny and dry climate. Spend some time here during the summer months and you'll quickly understand just how cruel the sun can be.

It was once the center of the global whaling trade, but today, humpback whales are a protected species. Lahaina has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark, and is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. For more on the hisotry of Lahaina and Maui in general, be sure to read the Maui Museums Guide.


Take a stroll down historic Front Street which has a myriad of clothing stores, souvenir shops, restaurants, art galleries, and bars. Front Street runs beside a breakwall, which is fun to sit on and watch the boats at Lahaina Harbor. One of Hawaii's largest banyan trees is located in the center of Front Street at Banyan Tree Park. The tree was imported from India and planted in front of the Lahaina Courthouse in 1873 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Christian Missionaries.

Enjoy an authentic Hawaiian Luau. The Old Lahaina Luau is considered one of the best luaus in Hawaii and offers guests a hula dancing show, tropical cocktails, and traditional Hawaiian luau dishes.

Snorkel at Ka'anapali Beach. Maui has a plethora of fine beaches, but Ka'anapali Beach is particularly exceptional. It’s the quintessential resort beach, with beautiful white sand, gentle waves and fantastic snorkeling. There is a wide variety of colorful tropical fish and you may even spot a Honu - The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. For more on Maui snorkeling, see Best Snorkeling Beaches on Maui.

Go on a whale watching tour. One of the most popular family activities is to take a short boat trip from Lahaina Harbor to see the majestic humpback whales. During the winter months, they migrate along the Hawaiian Islands, and Maui offers great viewing opportunities either from boat or shoreline.

Hit the greens for a round of golf. The Kapalua Plantation Golf Course is one of the finest golf courses in Hawaii, and is part of the Annual PGA Tour.

Visit the the museums along the Lahaina Historic Trail. There are several museums run by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. On Front Street, be sure to see the Baldwin Home Museum. It has tours by a docent that will bring you back to the 1850s Hawaii. For a list of all things "history" please read Maui Museums Guide.

Explore the Carthaginian II - Submarine ride to sunken schooner. Atlantis Submarines offers a submarine ride to a replica of a sunken whaling vessel. Tours of the Carthaginian 2 originate at Lahaina Harbor. Trips under the sea are sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Drive along the Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30) which is a lovely drive that travels along the picturesque shoreline. You will experience it anyway on your way to Lahaina, but take a moment and pull over to see enjoy the scenery. During winter months, keep your eyes open for whales breaching offshore.