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Lahaina (Maui), HI

Lahaina is a town on the western end of the island of Maui, Hawaii that abounds with restaurants, nightclubs, and souvenir shops. Because the western end of Maui is a popular vacation destination, tourism is important to Lahaina. Most tourists, however, eschew Lahaina during the day, choosing instead the beaches of 


; but life in Lahaina after sunset is quite active.

There are many different climates in the different districts of Lahaina. The historic district is the driest and calmest and hosts the small boat harbor. Kaanapali is north of a wind line and has double the annual rainfall and frequent breezes. The Kapalua and Napili areas have almost four times the annual rainfall compared to the historic district of Lahaina.... Read more

Lahaina (Maui), HI

Lahaina is a town on the western end of the island of Maui, Hawaii that abounds with restaurants, nightclubs, and souvenir shops. Because the western end of Maui is a popular vacation destination, tourism is important to Lahaina. Most tourists, however, eschew Lahaina during the day, choosing instead the beaches of 


; but life in Lahaina after sunset is quite active.

There are many different climates in the different districts of Lahaina. The historic district is the driest and calmest and hosts the small boat harbor. Kaanapali is north of a wind line and has double the annual rainfall and frequent breezes. The Kapalua and Napili areas have almost four times the annual rainfall compared to the historic district of Lahaina. The historic district has preserved 60 historic sites within a small area and they are managed by the Lahaina Restoration.

Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845, when the capital was moved back to Honolulu. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry, with many sailing ships anchoring at its waterfront; today pleasure craft make their home there. Lahaina's Front Street has been ranked one of the "Top Ten Greatest Streets" by the American Planning Association.

Lahaina's popularity as a tropical getaway has made its real estate some of the most expensive in Hawaii; many luxury homes and condos are sold for more than $2 million there.


In antiquity Lahaina was the royal capital of Maui Loa, aliʻi nui of the island of Maui, after he ceded the royal seat of Hana to the ruler of Hawaii Island. In Lahaina, the focus of activity is along Front Street, which dates back to the 1820s. It is lined with stores and restaurants and often packed with tourists. Banyan Tree Square features an exceptionally large banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) planted by William Owen Smith on April 24, 1873, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries. It is also the site of the reconstructed ruins of Lahaina Fort, originally built in 1832. It is the largest Banyan Tree in the United States.

Lele was an ancient name of Lahaina. The name Lā hainā means "cruel sun" in the Hawaiian language, describing the sunny dry climate. Lahaina's historic district averages only 13 inches (330 mm) of rain per year, much of which occurs from December to February. Circa 1903 - 1910In 1795, before the unification of the islands, the town was conquered by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. King Kamehameha III, son of Kamehameha I, preferred the town to bustling Honolulu. He built a palace complex on a 1 acre (0.40 ha) island Mokuʻula surrounded by a pond called Moku Hina, said to be home to Kiwahine, a spiritual protector of Maui and the Pi'ilani royal line, near the center of town. In 1824, at the chiefs' request, Betsey Stockton started the first mission school open to the common people. It was once an important destination for the 19th-century whaling fleet, whose presence at Lahaina frequently led to conflicts with the Christian missionaries living there. On more than one occasion the conflict was so severe that it led to sailor riots and even the shelling of Lahaina by the British whaler John Palmer in 1825. In response, Maui Governor Hoapili built the Old Lahaina Fort in 1831 to protect the town from riotous sailors.

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Lahaina (Maui), HI: Port Information

Cruise liners anchor offshore, and cruise travelers are transported ashore by tender boats.
Everything is within walking distance. The visitors center is just across the street from the harbor.
You can use a taxi if you want to visit some beaches located a little further.

Get around Lahaina (Maui), HI

Lahaina is very compact and easily explored on foot. If driving, it is advisable to park one's car and walk. There are a couple of free parking locations, but most charge a nominal fee. In some places, stores can validate your parking ticket. Front Street is the main thoroughfare of Lahaina, where most popular places are located.

What to see in Lahaina (Maui), HI

Lahaina is not known as a sightseeing destination and instead is focused mainly on food, souvenirs, and nightlife. In the course of those activities, however, there are a couple of attractions worthy of attention:

  • PGA Tour's Mercedes-Benz Championship. The Plantation Course at
  • Kapalua hosts the golf tournament every January.

  • Vic-Maui Yacht Race. The longest offshore sailboat race on the West Coast which starts in Victoria, BC, Canada and ends in Lahaina.
  • Banyan Tree

    . Considered the center of the city, this huge tree occupies an entire city block. There are a couple of historic places around as well.
  • Carthaginian 2, Lahaina Small Boat Harbor, ☎ +1 808 661-3262. 10 AM-4:15 PM daily. A replica of a whaling ship. Great to look at, especially at sunset. Kids will especially enjoy it. 
  • Maui Invitational Tournament. A major early-season men's college basketball tournament, hosted by Chaminade University of Honolulu (an NCAA Division II school) and regularly featuring many of the country's top Division I teams, is held every November at the Lahaina Civic Center.
  • Pioneer Mill Co Smokestack and Locomotive Exhibit, 275 Lahainaluna Rd. Outdoor exhibit dedicated to the old sugar plantation company. Free.

What to do in Lahaina (Maui), HI

  • Old Lahaina Luau. Widely respected as the best and most authentic Hawaiian luau in the Pacific, the Old Lahaina Luau is a feast for the eyes and stomach. Enjoy fire dancing, hula, tasty drinks and a large assortment of tropical dishes. 
  • Take a whale-watching cruise. Various boats can take you on dinner cruises, whale watching cruises, fishing rides, or to the island of Lanai. Look for good deals but beware of the "too good to be true" offers, they probably are. Note that during the whale season you'll see whales no matter where you go so getting a separate whale watching cruise may not be necessary. On the other hand, they are usually cheap.
  • Sugar Cane Train, 975 Limahana Pl Ste #203, ☎ +1 808 667-6851, toll-free: +1-800-499-2307. 10 AM-5 PM. Officially known as Lahaina Kaanapali Railroad, this is the only train in the whole of Hawaii. It shuttles between Lahaina and Kaanapali. If you choose, you can take a dinner train. 
  • Front Street. Take a stroll down the Front Street, along the shore. Watch people, enjoy the weather, simply relax.
  • Halloween in Lahaina. Lahaina is home to one of the wildest Halloween parties on the islands. 25-35,000 costumed participants fill the streets each year to enjoy the jovial festivities. Some of the more elaborate costumes have taken over a year to make, which adds to the complexity of the colorful scene.
  • The Baldwin Home Museum (Lahaina Restoration Foundation), 120 Dickenson St (cnr Front St and Dickenson), ☎ +1 808 661-3262. 10 AM-4 PM. One of several Museums run by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. 

What to eat and drink in Lahaina (Maui), HI


There is no shortage of places to eat, despite the small size of the city. There are several restaurants that feature fish along Front Street that are also oceanside.

  • Aloha Mixed Plate, 1285 Front St, ☎ +1 808 661-3322. Beach view from a tiki-torch laden deck and very reasonable (on the beach in Lahaina next to the Old Lahaina Luau behind the Lahaina Cannery Mall (apparently owned by and supplied by the same kitchen as the Old Lahaina Luau). Authentic unpretentious Hawaiian Cuisine -- service and quality very good for the price (the Panko-Breaded Haupia Hawaiian dessert with passionfruit sauce is very good). 
  • Bubba Gump, ☎ +1 808 661-3111. A theme restaurant based upon its namesake, "Forrest Gump", this restaurant is fun for the whole family (especially if you like shrimp), and a lot cheaper than some other Lahaina restaurants. Right on the ocean in Lahaina.
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise, 811 Front St, ☎ +1 808 661-4855. The burgers are okay, but there is a great party atmosphere, live music, and it's the view that makes the restaurant. A very popular place with tourists so lines can be long.
  • David Paul's, ☎ +1 808 667-5117. No view, and very expensive. a block from the ocean in Lahaina. But the food and service are outstanding.
  • Cool Catz. Less of a party atmosphere than Cheeseburger in Paradise, but the food is rated higher.
  • Hard Rock Cafe. The view from this restaurant sets it apart from other Hard Rock Cafes; ask to sit outside and you will be blessed with a view of the ocean as well as neighboring islands.
  • Io (Next door to PacificO (same owners) in the 505 shopping center), ☎ +1 808 661-8422. Great beachfront views and wonderful innovative food, including unusual vegetarian presentations.
  • Kimo's, 845 Front St, ☎ +1 808 661-4811. A Lahaina classic for decades, Kimo's is on the ocean side of Front Street in the middle of town. Make reservations for dinner if you don't want a long wait.
  • Lahaina Coolers, 180 Dickenson, ☎ +1 808 661-7082. A couple blocks off of Front Street but worth searching out for reasonably priced delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner, indoors or out.
  • Lahaina Fish Company, 831 Front St, ☎ +1 808 661-3472. Sunset views are magnificent from this cozy restaurant; if a couple comes before sunset, they would even sit you next to one another so that you both can enjoy. the food is delicious too.
  • Lahaina Store Grille & Oyster Bar, ☎ +1 808 661-9090. There are several restaurants with ocean views in Lahaina, but this restaurant on a rooftop is the only one that gives you a 360-degree view of both the ocean and the mountains. Food is good but service is slow. If the weather isn't indicating a rooftop experience, the downstairs dining area is covered, offers a great view, and has a slightly more casual menu with appropriately lower prices.
  • Longhis. Consistently gets mixed reviews; some love it, others will never go back.


Most of the aforementioned restaurants have great bars. Places like Moose McGillycuddy's and Cheeseburger in Paradise become nightclubs after hours. Hard Rock Cafe is on Front Street. Those are just a few choices

Shopping in Lahaina (Maui), HI

Lahaina is a tourist town so you will find many stores selling souvenirs, cruises, activities, art, Hawaiian trinkets, etc. If you're staying for a while, there is a supermarket in Lahaina, and Costco, Wal-Mart and other big stores in Kahului.

  • ABC Stores. They are all over Hawaii, and you will find a couple of them in Lahaina.
  • Old Lahaina Book Emporium, 834 Front St, ☎ +1 808 661-1399. A fantastic book store chockablock with used books in stacks, shelves, counters, and aisles; a bookstore lover's dream. More than 25,000 quality used books are lovingly housed in this shop, where owner JoAnn (and sometimes Ann) treats books and customers well. Specialties include Hawaiiana, fiction, mystery, sci-fi, and military history, with substantial selections in cookbooks, children's books, and philosophy/religion. You could pay as little as $2 for a quality read, or a whole lot more for that rare first edition. Books on tape, videos, the classics, and old guitar magazines are among the treasures of this two-story emporium.
  • Lahaina Cannery Mall, ☎ +1 808 661-5304, e-mail: On the northern side of town, this is a fully enclosed air-conditioned mall that can provide a nice respite from the sun. Other than that, your regular mall with some Hawaiian specific stores.

Safety in Lahaina (Maui), HI

While quite rare, there are a few cases of rat lungworm disease on Maui and the Big Island. This is an extremely serious parasitic disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and can be fatal. Despite the name, very few, if any, victims acquire the disease directly from rats. Most often, it's food poisoning from uncooked or undercooked snails, slugs, crabs, shrimp, or frogs. If you have a taste for these types of foods, make certain they are properly cooked.

Language spoken in Lahaina (Maui), HI

Though English is mainly used in Maui, the language of Maui is the same as the entire island of Hawaii. The Hawaii pidgin language originates from Polynesian languages. It is part of an Austronesian language family, which are languages that are widely dispersed through Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Some languages that helped create the Hawaiian pidgin are English, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, and several others. 


4:28 pm
July 4, 2022


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