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The capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 1800s, the former whaling town of Lahaina is one of the most historic cities in the entire state. Today, Lahaina is the main tourist hub on Maui, with luxe hotels scattered throughout the resort districts of Kaanapali and Kapalua, as well as eateries and boutiques galore along iconic Front Street. The town's sunny climate and location on the calm waters of the Auau Channel provide an ideal backdrop for any number of activities and entertainment. Whether you want to relax on the beach, go hiking in the rainforest, or take in a luau at sunset, Lahaina is the perfect jewel of a place when you want to get away.
Running for roughly 25 (40 km) miles along the west coast of Maui, Lahaina encompasses the historic center around Front Street, as well as several resort destinations and quieter communities.
Lahaina Town - The historic district of the city, old Lahaina Town is a bustling hub filled with restaurants, entertainment, and shopping options. Centered around Front Street, the area is the cultural core of the island, known for its many art galleries and the award-winning Maui Theatre. Along the Lahaina Historic Trail, find 65 sites that bring the story of the region to life, including the Old Fort, the Banyan Tree, the Hauola healing stone, and the Jodo Buddhist mission.
Kaanapali - Located directly to the north of the old town, Kaanapali is made up of 3 miles (4.8 km) of white-sand beach and crystal-clear water. Once a favorite retreat of Maui royalty, the elegant area boasts upscale hotels, a championship golf course, and a world-class shopping center. The community is known for its nightly cliff-diving ceremony at Black Rock, where every evening a man dives from a cliff at sunset in a tradition that dates back to the 1700s.
Kapalua - Another of Maui's premier resort destinations, Kapalua is located on the northwest shore of the island at the foot of the West Maui Mountains. It's jagged coastline is made up 5 bays and 3 pristine beaches, with Honolua Bay being an especially popular destination for watersports. During the winter high season, the bay is known for having powerful waves that grant experienced surfers spectacularly long rides, while the area becomes an ideal spot for snorkeling and kayaking in the calmer summer months. With award-winning restaurants, tons of boutiques, and plenty of activities like hiking and ziplining, the community truly does have something for everyone.
Lahaina has a wealth of wonders for the eyes, but if visiting for the first time, you simply can't miss catching a performance of Maui's longest-running luau. Follow the sound of the trumpeting conch shell to the Royal Lahaina Resort, where beachside seating, a meal of mouthwatering favorites, and a dazzling Polynesian show come together to create the hemolele Hawaiian evening. Grab your seat on the beach and dig into island culinary creations including kalua pork, molokai sweet potatoes, and creamy coconut pudding. After your meal, enjoy a feast for the eyes as a cast of incredible performers tell the legends of of the islands through thrilling fire dances, spirited hulas, and mesmerizing music.
For Outdoor Adventurers
There's no end to the outdoor adventure that Lahaina has to offer. Go snorkeling with sea turtles off Kaanapali Beach, learn to surf like a pro in the warm waters near the harbor, or sink to the bottom of the ocean aboard a battery-powered sub. For real adrenaline-junkies, a heart-pounding zipline course lets you soar over landscapes for 450 feet (137 m), while an insane jet boat ride will have you screaming as you twist and turn through the ocean.
For Peace Seekers
Of course, not all of your outdoor excursions have to be so wild. On the back of a friendly horse, set off for a serene ride through the countryside at sunset. Bask in the views of the lush valley and tender sounds of the songbirds as the sinking sun turns the sky shades of pink, purple, and orange. For even more relaxation, leave Lahaina behind for a tour that takes you into the tropical wilderness of the North Shore. Soak in spectacular sights of dramatic cliffs and roadside waterfalls as you cruise through the peaceful jungle.
Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Hawaii on a food tour through the historic district. With an in-the-know guide leading the way, sample island classics like locally grown coffee, macadamia nut pancakes, and Hawaiian shaved ice in flavors such as guava, banana, and lime. For even more flavors of Polynesia, embark on a tasting tour of a local coconut farm. Wander the verdant grounds and then savor fresh coconut milk and other seasonal fruit plucked right from the tree.
Some say the best things in life are free. Be sure to explore the following around Lahaina:
Stuck in Irons House (Hale Pa'ahao) - Approach the friendly staff or curator and find out about the interesting collections on exhibit here.
Brick Palace - Come to understand some of the unique history of the area through this site.
Holy Innocents Church - Gain a deeper understanding of local religious beliefs at this place of worship.
Emily's Beach - Read a great book or listen to a popular playlist while getting some sun.
Acid War Zone Trail - Contemplate the contrast between urban life and nature's splendor at this scenic location.
Lahaina Historic District - Grab your picnic blanket, throw together a few snacks and find a shady spot to be at one with nature.
When the weather forecast is fine, these experiences are impossible to resist:
Kaanapali Beach lives up to its reputation as an icon that you just can't miss.
Terrific sights aren't hard to come by here, however, Kapalua Golf Club Plantation Course and D.T. Fleming Beach Park are two you shouldn't miss.
Keep more of your hard-earned money in your wallet with these cheap and popular activities:
You'll barely have time to fetch your wallet out of your pocket with so many fantastic free things to do: