Lahaina – a Blend of Old and New on Maui

In 1843, Hawaiian King Kamehameha the Great declared Lahaina, Maui the capital of the kingdom. Lahaina was once known as the whaling capital of the world. The waning whale industry and the move of the capital from Maui to Oahu caused the local economy to become dependent first on agriculture and later on tourism.

Lahaina offers visitors to Maui a unique glimpse into the past while enjoying what Maui has to offer today. Visitors are enticed to walk, shop, eat and enjoy. Spending the day in Lahaina is a must-do on any visit to Maui.

The Old Courthouse was built in 1859. Visitors may walk through this historic building and view exhibits from top Maui artists presented by the Lahaina Art Society. The lower level galleries still feature windows with the bars that held Maui prisoners in days past. Informational brochures about other historic sites in this Maui village are available here as well.

The Courthouse Square is home to what is, perhaps, the most memorable tree on Maui. The Banyan Tree, planted in 1873, has aerial roots that have grown into twelve major trunks. What appears at first glance to be a small forest is actually all part of one tree. The tree provides nearly an acre of shade in the square and is a popular meeting place among Maui tourists. While in the Courthouse Square, take a moment to find the restored ruins of the original Maui waterfront fort built in the 1830s.

The streets of Lahaina are lined with small shops and restaurants catering to Maui visitors. At the quieter southern end of Lahaina is an oceanfront boutique mall (505 Front Street). Stores feature made-on-Maui products, Maui souvenirs and gifts.

There are several waterfront restaurants in this area and live music is available on weekend evenings for Maui tourists to enjoy. The Lahaina Center (900 Front Street) features 30 stores and restaurants offering apparel, jewelry and microbrews. A stroll along the streets of Lahaina will fulfill the shopping needs of any Maui visitor.

Maui visitors looking for a party atmosphere at night will find it here so a well-planned day visit can turn into a night full of fun.

Lahaina offers great night life and plenty of fun but it lacks the features that make accommodations on Maui special. It is missing the clean beaches and slow pace the makes a Maui vacation special. A limited amount of lodging is available in Lahaina but most area accommodations are north of Lahaina. Lahaina is a great place to visit on Maui but not to stay.

Visitors looking for water activities to enjoy on Maui will find themselves drawn to the offerings at Lahaina. Vendors at the harbor offer day and evening cruises, submarine rides and other boating activities that provide a water-based view of Maui.

Visitors to Maui rely mostly on rental cars for transportation. Because Lahaina is a popular destination greater crowds are found here than at any other location on Maui. As a result parking can sometimes be a bit difficult. Plan arrival for before 10 a.m. and parking should not be a problem.

Lahaina offers Maui visitors a special mixture of old and new that is not to be missed.