How does spending some time in Hawaii sound? Magical, right? Well, Lahaina is just the place to visit here because it’s nothing short of a tropical paradise. The town is located in the western part of Maui, right on the coast, which makes this a perfect summer getaway whenever you need one. No doubt, if you want to rest and recharge your batteries, this is the right place to do it. No matter how you slice it, one day in Lahaina, Hawaii is going to be something to remember.
What’s the best time to visit Lahaina?
Lahaina is a tropical destination in every sense of the world, which means you can expect warm weather whenever you come. Still, it should be mentioned that the months of December and January see the most precipitation.
However, the best time to visit Lahaina is considered to be somewhere in spring (April or May) or fall (September or November). The reason for this is that in summer and winter many people come here and the total population swells from about 10,000 to almost 40,000 people.
For surfing fans, the situation is slightly different because winter is undoubtedly the best time to visit Lahaina if this is the thing that interests you most.
You may also want to visit Maui Ukulele Festival in October or Kapalua Wine and Food Festival while you’re here, but no matter when you come, there is bound to be something interesting to do.
A few facts about Lahaina
Lahaina was actually the capital city of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845, back when these islands were still an independent kingdom. Throughout that century, though, the town was an important whaling center, with many ships anchoring here during their hunt.
The name Lahaina means “cruel sun” in Hawaiian, and the name is fairly appropriate given how little rain the place receives during the year.
Today, this town is an exceptionally popular vacation destination, a fact that has seen real estate prices here rise sky-high: you will quite literally need millions of dollars to buy a property here.
Lahaina is also very much appreciated by filmmakers, and many Hollywood movies were shot here over the years, including Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie in 1997, The Hulk from 2003, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s Ends from 2007, among others.
One day in Lahaina itinerary
So, you’ve arrived in Hawaii and reached your destination of Lahaina. Then follow this itinerary to find the best things to do in this town and have an amazing day in this part of Maui. You will love every second of your stay here!
Get started in Front Street
Front Street is the very heart of Lahaina, meaning it’s a great place from which to start your one day here. The street is full of restaurants and shops, so just take it easy and soak everything in before moving on to other sights. Maybe get a cup of coffee or sit down for breakfast, or do some window shopping in search of a great souvenir.
You will see a lot of other tourists here since this is a hub for pretty much all people who come and visit this town. And the reason for that is the vicinity of some other big Lahaina attractions. Keep reading!
Check out the banyan tree
If you head to the southern end of Front Street, you will come to a huge banyan tree, the largest one in the whole of the United States! It was planted way back in 1873 as a way to celebrate 50 years from the arrival of the first missionaries and has since grown to impressive 60 feet (18 meters) in height.
The tree is surrounded by a very nice park, which makes this a great place for a walk and a breath of fresh air. If you’re a nature lover, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Lahaina!
Visit Baldwin Home Museum
Baldwin Home Museum, also known as the Baldwin house, is the oldest house in Lahaina. It was built in 1835 by Reverend Ephraim Spaulding, but he soon had to return to Massachusetts, so Reverend Dwight Baldwin and his wife took his place.
The house was actually quite important back in the day, as the Baldwins entertained a number of important guests from Hawaii’s royal court and provided a place to rest for travelers and ship captains. Reverend Baldwin’s wife Charlotte also taught various classes to the locals, so the house really paints a vivid picture of the life these people led more than a century and a half ago.
Given that you can enter the museum for just a few dollars and that it’s just north of the banyan tree, you really shouldn’t miss the chance to learn more about this interesting story.
Sit down for lunch
If you’ve been following our itinerary, you will still be near Front Street at this point, which is perfect if you’re getting hungry. As mentioned, the street is full of restaurants, so you have plenty to choose from.
Sale Pepe is an excellent choice if you’re in the mood for some Italian cuisine, and their brick-oven pizzas are just excellent. Kimo’s Maui, on the other hand, is a seafood restaurant with a long tradition that boasts a fantastic view of the harbor. Oh, and you must try their Hula Pie! Fleetwood’s on Front Street is also a great choice for lunch because it also provides a great view and serves some excellent American dishes.
Oh yes, foodies will love Lahaina, too!
Go whale watching (if in season)
If your one day in Lahaina happens to fall in winter, you’re in luck because this is the whale watching season! As a matter of fact, this is one of the best places in the world for this particular activity, so you surely don’t want to miss it.
Humpback whales are the stars of the show here, and with the right ship, you can enjoy a fantastic view of these magnificent animals. Make sure that the boat you choose also has hydrophones so that you can hear the whales sing!
This is also a great family trip because some boats feature an educational program for children. For them, this will definitely be a unique learning experience
Dive under the surface of the ocean
The crystal-clear waters around Lahaina are perfect for diving, so if you want to explore the underwater world, you have two main options at your disposal – scuba diving or a submarine. Yes, a submarine!
If you want to stay dry and still see what lies below the surface of the ocean, you can board the Atlantis submarine and be one of its 48 lucky passengers.
And the best diving location around here is the one that hides the wreck of Carthaginian II, a museum ship that was deliberately sunk in 2005 in order to create an artificial reef. And it worked! At the depth of about 30 meters (100 feet), there is plenty to discover and enjoy!
Join a sunset dinner cruise
By now, the day will slowly be drawing to a close, and if you’re looking for a place where you could sit down for dinner, we’ve got just the thing – a sunset dinner cruise!
A sailboat will take you on a two-hour trip through the waters around Lahaina, and believe us when we say that the sunset you get to experience here is simply spectacular. The sun will slowly fall behind the majestic Maui mountains, and this is probably the most romantic thing you can do with your significant other while in town.
Add to that some nice appetizers and a drink (cocktail) or two, and you get an evening that you won’t soon forget. Mind you, you can also go on this trip with a catamaran that serves a full dinner with dishes native to the Pacific Rim. And there’s always a chance you’ll see whales!
Attend a true Luau
Coming to Hawaii and not going to a Luau would really be a shame. Fortunately, the one at Kaanapali Beach has it all! Buffet, cocktails, an awesome show, and the amazing fire knife dance to top everything off – all of these things guarantee a fantastic night out.
Get to know Hawaiian nightlife and the incredible vibe you can get around here while enjoying the sound of the ocean right next to you. It will be an awesome way to wrap up your one day in Lahaina and a night of fun you won’t soon forget!
Where to stay in Lahaina?
Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach
2481 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761
If you want a luxurious stay, Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach is a perfect choice. This five-star resort is located right next to the ocean and has features such as a full-service spa, sauna, swimming pool, fitness cente,r and even a tennis court. Naturally, the suites are spacious, comfortable, and bright, plus they come with a balcony. In short, you’ll love it!
The Kulani Maui
441 Ilikahi Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Lovely wooden cabins surrounded with lush greenery are the first feature of The Kulani Maui you’ll notice, which means you’ll be delighted right away. But that’s just the beginning because the location of this hotel is excellent, the rooms are incredibly comfortable, and the outdoor shower is a really nice touch. Staying here is definitely a very special experience.
Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Residence
475 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
You’ll have a really hard time finding a better value than the one Lahaina Shores Beach Resort has to offer. This place is right next to the Pacific and will provide you with some incredible views, plus it has a hot tub and an outdoor pool. The hotel’s interior is just lovely, the rooms are warm and welcoming, so you can be sure you’ll have a great time here!
Hakuna Matata Maui Hostel
545 A Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761
Apart from having a great name, Hakuna Matata Maui Hostel has a lot to offer to anyone who’s looking for an affordable stay. It has a garden, its own beach area, and a patio that comes with every room. Oh, and you can have a BBQ if you’re up for it, too. Just a few minutes away on foot from Front Street.
Day trips from Lahaina
There is certainly enough to see in Hawaii to keep you occupied for days. So, if you decide to spend more than just one day in Lahaina, you may want to consider a day trip or two. Here are some great destinations you may want to consider.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the capital of Hawaii! One day in Honolulu can really be a blast because the place has so much to offer. From amazing beaches and rich nightlife to wonderful hiking trails, there’s something for everyone. Come to the city, you won’t be sorry.
Snorkel with dolphins
The island of Lanai is home to a rich underwater world that includes spinner dolphins, and you can observe all this if you have a mask and a snorkel with you. This absolutely stunning island will entrance you with its beauty, and if you like any form of diving, this day trip from Lahaina is a must. You can book the spot here.
Book a scuba diving trip
The waters around Maui are excellent for scuba diving, so you have plenty of options to choose from. No matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned scuba diver, you will have an amazing time. Jump into the ocean just off the coast of Maui or head to the Cathedrals for a real diving adventure and meet the lush underwater world of Hawaii.
This amazing feat of nature is very much worth the drive from Lahaina. Enjoy the black sand beach of Wainapanapa State Park (yes, you can swim there!) and the lush greenery all around you. The rainforest here will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale!
Extra tips for visiting Lahaina
– Expect high temperatures no matter when you come. Having some refreshing drink with you at all times, especially during the day, could come in handy.
– The sun is VERY intense here, so sunscreen is advisable even if you’re not planning to hit the beach.
– Parking can be somewhat difficult, but you can walk most distances in Lahaina.
– Maui is a pretty safe place, and Lahaina even more so. You may come across a few homeless people here, but generally speaking, you shouldn’t expect any problems. Of course, some caution is always advised, but you can relax and enjoy yourself here.