Places to Explore
Lahaina is the second most visited place in Maui- and for good reasons. Lahaina has a wonderful combination of natural scenic beauty, rich culture, and a good serving of Hawaiian history in its sunny shores. In Lahaina, you can head to the beach, be captivated by the beauty of its natural scenes and marine life, visit the different historical attractions, and immerse yourself in the local art and culture. Because of these, Lahaina is one of the best places to explore in the island of Maui. If you’re wondering what Lahaina can offer to tourists and visitors, below are some of the places that you can explore during your visit to Lahaina.
The beaches and water activities
Maui is known for its beaches, and the west side, including Lahaina, boasts of the most beautiful shores in Hawaii, and it also has the distinction of having the most beautiful sunset views on the planet. Take your pick among the beaches in West Maui, or, better yet, visit them all and have a complete experience of what it’s like on the beaches of Maui.
Black Rock on Ka‘anapali Beach
Black Rock on Ka‘anapali Beach is a popular snorkeling and scuba diving spot. There, you’ll be treated to clear waters, coral reefs, and tropical fish. Aside from those, you can swim, surf, or just go for a peaceful stroll along the beach. It offers proximity to several beachfront establishments, so you can easily get food and refreshments.
D.T. Fleming Beach Park
This beach was named as the best beach in the US in 2006, and is a popular spot for swimming and surfing. The park also has tables, restrooms, and shower rooms, so you can hold a picnic on the shores with the family.
Another beach that was named as the best beach in 2003, the Ka’anapali Beach has three miles of white beach, and is great for swimming, surfing, sailing, and other fun water activities. You also have several resorts and restaurants along the shores, so you just need to take a short walk for a quick break and cool drinks.
Also known as the “Old Fleming Beach”, the Kaplua Beach offers great spots for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. The beach was also named the best beach in the US in 1991. There is also a resort nearby where you can easily grab a bite to eat.
Launiupoko Beach Park
Aside from the scenic beach, you’ll also be treated to a view of the natural pool created by lava rock enclosures. The park is great for kids as the waters are calm. You can also find picnic tables, rest rooms and shower rooms in the park.
Wahikuli State Park
Just like the other beaches, you can swim, snorkel, and surf on this beach. You also have facilities like picnic tables and grills for family outings and picnics. This is also a great place to just lounge on the beach and relax, or to go for a romantic stroll while viewing the sunset.
A visit to Lahaina would not be complete until you have gazed upon the gentle giants of the oceans—the humpback whales. As Lahaina was a major whaling port in the past, you will have a great view of the whales in their natural habitat. You can even see them from the shore. But if you want to get up close and personal, you can also get a whale viewing tour from the harbor. The harbor is also a place for great food with a great view as there are plenty of seaside restaurants that can give you the freshest catch of the day.
Culture and history
Lahaina has several historical sights and attractions for visitors. This is because the town has gone through a lot of changes over the century, from being the capital of the Hawaii Kingdom, to being a whaling town, to becoming a plantation settlement, and to its present state. Because of this, Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places. In Lahaina, there are lots of places to tell you about Hawaii’s past and culture.
Lahaina Historic Trail
This trail will lead you through the historic places within the town of Lahanai. For example, you can look at the old mission houses built for the protestant missionaries, or check out the Hale Paahao, the jailhouse for sailors during the whaling era. This is a self-guided tour, so it’s more exciting to explore and discover the area for yourself. Look through the different historic buildings to learn more about how the town has changed through each era until its present state. You can get guides of the place from the Lahaina Visitor Center.
The Banyan Tree
If you want to experience a real tree canopy, then you need to see the Banyan Tree in Lahaina. When they say large, that would be an understatement as the tree covers a whole city block. Its branches reach up to 2/3 of an acre, and so, this location is a great place to stroll and walk under the shade while marveling at the tree’s great size and reach. The Banyan Tree is also one of the largest in the US, and perhaps one of the oldest. The tree was imported from India, and was planted in 1873. The Banyan Tree is also the spot where you can see great Hawaiian art. Every second and fourth weekend of the month, an arts festival is held at the roots of this great tree. You can find original artworks and handicrafts during the festival, and you can grab souvenirs from there as well.
Lahaina Art Galleries
If you’re really into the arts, then the Lahaina Art Galleries is a must-see. Offering about 40 art galleries for you to visit and look at, Lahaina has become one of the well-known centers of art in the US. In the galleries you can find paintings, sculptures, jewelries, and ceramics made by local artists. This is another great place to shop for authentic Hawaiian products and souvenirs. Some of the galleries that you can visit are the Old Jail Gallery, Village Galleries, and Martin Lawrence Galleries. Aside from artworks, you can also find antique items such as maps and prints that dates back to the 17th century.
Lahaina Jodo Mission
For a glimpse of the multi-ethnicity of Hawaii, you should visit the Lahaina Jodo Mission. The mission is a replica of a Japanese Buddhist Temple, and has one of the largest Buddha statues outside of Asia. The bronze statue measures twelve feet high, and is about three and a half tons in weight. The statue was erected in 1968 as a commemorative marker for the centennial of the Japanese immigrants’ arrival upon the shores of Hawaii. Aside from the temple, you can also look at its gardens, and relax in its serene atmosphere.
If you want be in the most happening place in Lahaina, then Front Street is it. Packed with lots of restaurants, shopping establishments, and art galleries, you can find plenty of things to do. And of course, you can’t forget the luau. If you want to experience an authentic Hawaiian luau, then Front Street has the Old Lahaina Luau and the Royal Lahaina Resort Luau to give you a fine Hawaiian feast with complimentary Hawaiian entertainment.
With all these attractions, it’s not that hard to see why Lahaina has more than its fair share of visitors in the island of Maui. Combining great scenery from nature, history, and culture, Lahaina provides a complete Hawaiian experience for its visitors.