With its wealth of art galleries, teeming harbor, and sprawling banyan tree, the town of Lahaina is arguably one of Maui’s top attractions. To ensure a successful visit to Maui’s most famous oceanfront town, here are 5 tips.
1. Factor in time for finding parking
Though Lahaina has numerous parking options (both paid and free), parking can be a little confusing for a first time visitor. If you’re headed to the harbor for a whale watching tour or snorkel cruise, it’s important to give yourself enough time for parking so you don’t miss your boat. Since most of Lahaina’s parking lots are located a few blocks from the harbor, a good option is to drop off your group at the harbor entrance ahead of time. When finding a parking spot, be sure to check the signs. Many spots and public lots are limited to 3 hours, while others are reserved for schools or buses.
2. Don’t leave without learning about some of Lahaina’s fascinating history
Did you know that Lahaina is the former capital of the royal Hawaiian Kingdom? Or that the Maui’s oldest building, church, and jail are right here in town? Lahaina has a history that’s completely unique to any other town in Hawaii, where Hawaiians, whalers, missionaries, and sugar barons all played a role in sculpting this unique town. For a self-guided walking tour of Lahaina’s historical sights, stop at the Lahaina Courthouse visitor center and pick up a map of the numerous sights within walking distance of the harbor.
3. Visit on weekends or Friday night for the chance to meet the artists
While there’s a never a bad time to peruse Lahaina’s galleries, markets, and shops, Friday night is “Art Night” in Lahaina where some galleries offer wine, hors d’oeuvres, and the chance to chat with the artists. On weekends, artists and crafters congregate in Lahaina’s famous Banyan Court Park. Enjoying talking with Maui’s sculptors, jewelry makers, and painters as they sell their wares and craft their art beneath Front Street’s shaded boughs.
4: Be sure to hydrate, eat, and rest
Lahaina is always packed with activity to the point where it’s easy to forget simple things like resting or drinking water. In the Hawaiian language, “Lahaina” means “cruel, merciless sun,” and this oceanfront town has a reputation for being hot. Whether it’s stopping for a minute in the banyan tree’s shade or resting on the lawn of the Baldwin Home, remember to take it easy in Lahaina and drink lots of water, fuel up with food, and conserve your energy for discovering even more of the town’s charms.
5. Don’t forget about the beach!
With the buzz surrounding Lahaina’s shopping, history, and sights, people often overlook the fact that Lahaina also boasts numerous beaches. Though not as famous as those in neighboring Kaanapali or Napili, Lahaina’s beaches are an excellent option for a day of fun in the sun. Families with young children should seek out “Baby Beach” on the northern end of Front Street, located on Puunoa Point just south of Mala Wharf. The offshore reef creates calm conditions and shallow, tranquil waters. Wahikuli Beach Park on the north end of town is a popular spot for boogie boarding and snorkeling with Hawaiian Green sea turtles. There’s also a long, thin strip of sand that runs from Lahaina Harbor all the way south toward the homes at Puamana. The water here is shallow, rocky, and isn’t good for swimming, but it’s a good spot for escaping the crowds or enjoying an oceanfront stroll.