Lahaina is a town on the western end of the island of Maui, Hawaii that abounds with restaurants, night clubs, 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 Kaanapali; but life in Lahaina after sunset is quite active.
Most visitors arrive on Maui by plane via Kahului Airport (OGG). The vast majority of visitors rent cars there and drive to various Maui destinations, including Lahaina. The Honoapiilani Highway (route 30) is a very picturesque drive along the shore which gets you directly to Lahaina. The drive from the airport is about 40 minutes, though the road may get congested sometimes.
Some people fly to West Maui Airport, which is closer to Lahaina (about 15-20 minutes drive).
Cruise ships sometimes anchor near Lahaina and passengers get tendered to shore.
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.
Lahaina is not known as a sightseeing destination, and instead is focused mainly on food, souvenirs, and night life. 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. 10AM-4:15PM daily. A replica of a whaling ship. Great to look at, especially at sunset. Kids will especially enjoy it. Fee.
- 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. $98 + Tax.
- Take a whalewatching 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. 10AM-5PM. 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. $21 roundtrip, $15 children 3-12.
- 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. 10AM-4PM. One of several Museums run by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. Don't miss the candlelit tour every Friday night starting at 6PM. $3-6.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 unprententious Hawaiian Cuisine -- service and quality very good for the price (the Panko-Breaded Haupia Hawaiian dessert with passionfruit sauce is very good). Dinner $7-15.
- 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. A burger joint that launched a chain traces is origins to Lahaina. 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 reastaurants have great bars. Places like Moose McGillycuddy's and Cheeseburger in Paradise become night clubs after hours. Hard Rock Cafe is on Front Street. Those are just a few choices.
As beaches in Lahaina are not that great, most people prefer to stay in other places on Maui, such as Kaanapali which is only 10-15 minutes away.
- Garden Gate Bed and Breakfast, 67 Kaniau Rd, toll-free: +1-800-661-8800. Elegant Affordable Hawaiian Luxury Lahaina Bed & Breakfast Ocean View Rooms with Private Decks.
- Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Kohea Kai Dr, ☎ +1 808 661-1234. Surrounded by 40 lush, beachfront acres with plenty to do. Frolic in the water playground, pamper yourself at the spa, play championship golf and tennis, scuba dive, or ride the waves.
- Kahana Sunset, 4909 Lower Honoapiilani Hwy, toll-free: +1-800-669-1488. Condo rentals set on a secluded white sand beach and surrounded by a tropical garden setting.
- Lahaina Boarding House (Lahaina Hostel), 446 Hauola Pl (2 blks up from Hwy- 5 blks to ocean), ☎ +1 808 661-8285, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: open, check-out: open. Rooms available to single adults on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. Fully furnished, including TV and WiFi. The house is located 2 blocks from the hwy, 5 blocks from Front St. It is close to stores, beaches, and the public bus system. $40, $240 per week, $600 per month.
- Lahaina Maui Vacation Rentals, 660 Wainee St, ☎ +1 206-949-5758, e-mail: LahainaRental@live.com. Three vacation rentals in the heart of Lahaina.
- Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, 180 Dickenson St, toll-free: +1-800-642-6284. The only hotel in Lahaina that is right on the beach (good for sunbathing, not so good for swimming because of all the corals), it's minutes away from the city center, right next to 505 Front Street shopping center. Offers condos with full kitchens.
- Maikai Hale Oceanfront Estate Vacation Rental Property (Lahaina Accommodations Oceanfront Rental Property in Lahaina), 1423 Front St, ☎ +1 808 667-4663, toll-free: +1-800-874-0761. Check-in: open, check-out: open. The oceanfront vacation rental property backyard, living room, kitchen and master bedrooms showcase sweeping ocean views while the front of the house gazes at the peaceful west Maui mountains. From sunrise to sunset,it can serve as a breathtaking backdrop for all vacations or special events. Your wedding party can stay togethor with the wedding couple at your private wedding location on Maui! Sleeps up to 16 in 5 Suites and Ohana, outdoor heart shaped pool, jacuzzi.
- Marriott's Maui Ocean Club Lahaina and Napili Villas, 100 Nohea Kai Dr, ☎ +1 808 667-1200, toll-free: +1 800-845-5279. Spacious villa accommodations.
- The Mauian on Napili Bay, 5441 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, ☎ +1 808 669-6205. Newly remodeled, 44-unit Napili Bay beachfront lodging. Most rooms have a fully-equipped kitchen and are stylishly furnished. Rooms without kitchens have mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, and microwave oven. All have private lanai and Tempur-Pedic beds.
- Old Lahaina House, 407 Ilikahi St, toll-free: +1-800-847-0761. Laid-back romantics, this is the home for you. Short walk to the sandy beach and the Historic Lahaina Town! From $89.
- Outrigger Aina Nalu, 660 Wainee St, toll-free: +1-866-253-9743. Newly remodeled condos in the heart of Lahaina. Enjoy the garden atmosphere in a residential community.
- Whalers Realty Property Management Co., Fairway Shops, Ste #118, 2580 Kekaa Dr, toll-free: +1-800-676-4112, fax: +1 808 661-8338, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. This company manages numerous Maui vacation rentals. Homes and condos from the luxurious to the affordable are available. Depending on the unit's location, view, and the time of year $140-950.
- Ka'anapali Beach Hotel, 2525 Kaanapali Pkwy, ☎ +1 808-661-0011, toll-free: +1-800-262-8450. Featuring oceanfront accommodations along Kaanapali Beach.
- The Plantation Inn, 174 Lahainaluna Rd, ☎ +1 808-667-9225, toll-free: +1-800-433-6815. Sister property to the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. 18 beautiful decorated guestrooms & suites. Free breakfast included.