Hawaii January 05, 2017
The Unique Town In Hawaii That’s Anything But Ordinary
With a fascinating whaling history and thriving tourism industry, there is truly no city in America quite like Lahaina. In fact, Lahaina – which is located on the northwestern coast of Maui – was named “the best city or town in Hawaii” in the HAWAII Magazine’s 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards, and we truly can’t think of a more extraordinary destination.
Lahaina has a resident population of 11,000, though, during tourist season, the population can grow to upwards of 40,000. What makes this town so special? Is it the town’s fascinating history, or perhaps the incredible destinations and attractions within its border? Indeed, these 13 facts, attractions, landmarks, and views, surely make this little seaside town anything but ordinary.
1. The town is full of history + culture.
This charming seaside town is full of old-world architecture from the town’s plantation era, and every October, the town celebrates its vibrant history during “Lahaina Plantation Days. Notable historic landmarks include the remains of this old fort, and the city's downtown historic district, which is a National Historic Landmark.
2. Lahaina was once the seat of the Hawaiian government.
Once considered to be King Kamehameha the Great’s royal playground, this beachside oasis is full of history. Lahaina also served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. Pictured is Hale Piula, the Old Lahaina Courthouse, once occupied by King Kamehameha III.
3. Nowhere has a deeper connection to the whaling industry than Lahaina.
Whaling ships hunting sperm whales in the Pacific began arriving in Hawaii in 1819, and nowhere was this presence felt more than Lahaina. The whaling industry propped up the Hawaiian economy for years.
4. Lahaina is easily the tourist capital of Maui.
It is said that the Lahaina tourism industry sees approximately 80 percent of all tourists who visit Maui - and for good reason. With sparkling blue waters, plenty of history, incredible attractions and world-class accommodations, it's easy to see why Lahaina is such a tourist destination.
5. Front Street was named one of the Top Ten Greatest Streets by the American Planning Association.
With amazing restaurants, bars, surf shops, boutiques, galleries and sights, Lahaina's Front Street is certainly an incredible place to explore.
6. The outdoor recreation opportunities are incredible.
Perfect for those who want to be on the water as much as possible, Lahaina Harbor is home to a variety of fishing charters, whale watch tour boats, snorkel tours, and sunset cruise options. Oh, and found just half a mile offshore is the Carthaginian II, a replica of a whaling supply vessel that once served as a floating museum before being intentionally sunk to 95 feet below the ocean’s surface.
7. Oh, and Lahaina is home to one of Maui’s best beaches, Ka’anapali.
This stretch of beautiful white sand, located just a few miles north of Lahaina, is a popular resort destination. The area’s 40-foot tall Black Rock’s underwater lava rock edge is well-known as a hangout spot for honu.
8. There’s nothing more uniquely Hawaiian than the Old Lahaina Luau.
This popular Lahaina luau is located on the beach, and was opened in 1986 when the four owners felt that there was a need for more culturally sensitive entertainment. Often considered to be the best luau on Maui, the Old Lahaina Luau is dedicated to showcasing traditional Hawaiian music, dance and food.
9. Lahaina’s Banyan Tree Court is certainly a sight to behold.
Is there really anything more stunning than an old, big, and beautiful tree? Located in the heart of Lahaina is the largest banyan tree in Hawaii, and one of America’s largest as well, with its trunk and aerial root system covering 0.66 acres. The seedling was approximately eight feet tall when it was planted in 1873, and is the oldest banyan tree in the Hawaiian Islands.
10. Lahaina is the place to go for nightlife on Maui.
This former crazy whaling town has never quite been tamed - and is still buzzing with excitement. From rowdy sailors during the whaling era to modern day bars and stage productions, Lahaina is perhaps the only town to go for nightlife on Maui.
11. And the restaurants + fine dining cannot be beat.
From highly-rated restaurants like Lahaina Grill (pictured) and the Gazebo restaurant to food trucks known for mouthwatering and cheap tacos, there's an eatery for everyone in Lahaina.
12. The entire town is a mecca for creative souls.
With a thriving art scene, including more than 40 popular galleries, weekly Friday Art Nights, and various events – like the annual creation of a 30-foot community art piece – Lahaina is full of artists, photographers, and creative souls of all kinds.
13. Nestled between the West Maui mountains and the shimmering Pacific, the town is absolutely stunning.
VIDEO Can you imagine a more picturesque place?
If you’ve already checked out all Lahaina has to offer, might we suggest heading to the
small surfing mecca of Paia, or the upcountry cowboy town of Makawao?