A historic whaling village and former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Lahaina today is known as being a can’t miss destination on Maui. Located on the shores of West Maui, this sunny town offers a glimpse into the history of Hawaii and is a hub for current-day activities. In town you’ll find historic Front Street, the main street that stretches along the ocean and is lined with restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
It’s also a launching point for many activities, with Lahaina Harbor in the center of town. From here you can head out whale watching, snorkeling, parasailing, fishing, and more. Check all of our favorite tours and activities before deciding what to book.
Table of Contents
- Getting to Lahaina
- Weather in Lahaina
- Where to Stay in Lahaina
- Things to Do in Lahaina
- Where to Eat in Lahaina
- Shopping in Lahaina
- Map of Lahaina and West Maui Highlights
- Visiting Lahaina and Beyond
- Why Are Hotels in Hawaii So Expensive? (And Clever Ways to Save)
- Maui Pineapple Tour
- Start Here for Your Hawaii Trip Planning
Is Lahaina worth visiting?
Lahaina is a popular tourist destination, and for good reason: it is absolutely worth visiting. In Lahaina you’ll find some of the best restaurants on Maui, plenty of art galleries, art fairs, a large number of great souvenir shops, and a really fun small town vibe that lasts from morning until night. You’ll also be able to step back in time and learn about the history and culture of the island through visiting historical sites or taking a downtown Lahaina walking tour.
Getting to Lahaina
Lahaina is located on west Maui, approximately 25 miles from the main airport, Kahului Airport (OGG). Most visitors to Maui arrive at Kahului, with airlines like Southwest, Hawaiian Airlines, United, Alaska, Delta, and American operating daily flights here. There is a closer airport, Kapalua Airport (JMH) located approximately 5 miles north of Lahaina. Kapalua airport is primarily a private use airport but offers commercial flights with Mokulele airport. If you are doing any island hopping in Hawaii, you might be able to find a flight that lands at Kapalua Airport.
The easiest way to get to Lahaina and around Maui is with a rental car. You can rent a car from either airport or multiple off-airport locations, like in Kihei or Ka’anapali. We love booking with Discount Hawaii Car Rental. You can book with national carriers and there is no pre-payment required or fee for cancellation. Plus, their prices are so competitive — we’ve saved hundreds on each inter-island trip we’ve taken by renting with them.
If you’re not renting a car on Maui, there are other options for getting to Lahaina. One of the easiest is using a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to bring you to downtown Lahaina. There are usually plenty of car options available to take you back to your hotel when you’re done with your stay. If you’re staying in Ka’anapali, you can get to downtown Lahaina with the Cannery Mall shuttle. The shuttle departs hourly.
And finally, from the airport you can take any number of airport shuttle busses, like Roberts Hawaii, to take you from Kahului Airport to Lahaina. There is public bus service on Maui as well, which offers a number of different routes. Just remember that the bus makes multiple stops and if you’re going a long distance, you may be required to change bus lines. It’s a very cost effective way to get to Lahaina as long as you’re not in a hurry!
Weather in Lahaina
If you’re coming to Maui in search of sunny and dry weather, Lahaina is the spot. Located on sunny west Maui, Lahaina offers plenty of sunshine, high temps, and very few rainy days. The chart below shows the average temperature by month in Lahaina:
This chart shows the average rainfall by month in Lahaina:
As you can see, it’s pretty dry and sunny year-round so there really isn’t a bad time to visit. If you want to compare the weather in Lahaina to other parts of the island by month, we have you covered. Here’s what it’s like to visit Maui (and Lahaina) in November, December, January, February, and August.
Where to Stay in Lahaina
Lahaina isn’t only a popular spot to visit, but Lahaina and surrounding areas are great places to stay. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options here: camping, hotels and vacation rentals, and luxury resorts. There is no shortage of options and you can find something to fit almost any budget. Check out our favorite hotel and vacation rental options in Lahaina and west Maui.
And if those aren’t quite right for you, we have plenty of other information about booking the perfect place to stay:
- Where to Stay on Maui (a great overview of the island and options available)
- Vacation Rentals on Maui for Large Groups
- The Best Honeymoon Resorts on Maui
- Maui Vacation Rentals with Private Pools
- The Best Kid-Friendly Resorts on Maui
Things to Do in Lahaina
Lahaina is a hub of activity with no shortage of things to do. Lahaina itself has plenty of activities and there is even more just a short drive away up and down the coast of West Maui.
- Stroll Front Street at dawn: Your first few days on the island are probably going to be early ones thanks to jet lag. Lean into your jet lag and enjoy an early morning stroll down historic Front Street while the weather is cool and the streets are empty. And there are two coffee shops downtown that are open early for you: Drift Coffee and Badass Coffee.
- Enjoy the Beach: While there are only a couple of beaches in downtown Lahaina to enjoy, Baby Beach and Kamehameha Iki Beach Park, some of the most spectacular beaches on Maui are located just outside downtown. Check out our list of the best beaches in Lahaina and on West Maui.
- Take a walk: There are a number of easy hikes and walks that you can take just beyond the downtown area. Stretch your legs and get some great ocean views on the Kapalua Coastal Trail. Or take a short walk and view the Nakalele Blowhole (just be sure to keep your distance!).
- Take to the skies: If you want a view of west Maui from above, you can get that here. Take a parasailing trip from downtown Lahaina or head just outside of town to go ziplining in Kapalua.
- Go whale watching: From December to April each year, thousands of whales migrate to Hawaii to breed, birth, and nurture their calves. And the best place to see them is just off the coast of Lahaina. Hop on a whale watching tour or view them from shore. Make sure to check out our guide to whale watching on Maui. It has everything you need to know to make sure you get the most out of the experience.
- Get in the water: There is one good snorkeling spot in downtown Lahaina, but you can head just outside of town to some of the best snorkeling spots on the island. Get all of the details on the best snorkeling spots in Lahaina and on west Maui. And if you want to take your experience up a level, there are no shortage of amazing snorkeling tours to join leaving from Lahaina harbor.
- Attend a luau: Two of the best luaus on the island are located in downtown Lahaina, so you have plenty of options to choose from without ever needing to leave Lahaina. Pick between Feast at Lele and Old Lahaina Luau for a special evening out.
For even more ideas, check out our list of 16 things you won’t want to miss while you’re enjoying downtown Lahaina and ReefDancer vs Atlantis Submarine: What is Maui’s Best Underwater Tour?
Where to Eat in Lahaina
If you’re looking for a good meal, Lahaina is the spot. Downtown Lahaina is full of pretty much any food option you could want: great cafes, excellent fish restaurants, upscale dining, casual food trucks, ice cream shops, shave ice, and more. You’ll even find a fantastic happy hour scene in Lahaina, which you’ll want to take advantage of.
Use our list of the 10 best restaurants in Lahaina to make sure that each and every meal you have is a great one.
Shopping in Lahaina
If you’re on the hunt for souvenirs for yourself or to take home to someone else, Lahaina is the best place to shop. There are plenty of excellent clothing shops on Front Street to choose from, like Kai Aloha, Goin Left, and Honolua Surf Company. You can find small souvenirs at any of the other shops lining the street. And if you visit over the weekend, the art fair at the cannery mall showcases products from the very talented local artists.
Map of Lahaina and West Maui Highlights
Get acquainted with where these places are located on this interactive map of Lahaina.
Visiting Lahaina and Beyond
Lahaina is just one of the amazing places on Maui that is worth a visit. But it’s not the only spot you should see. If you want to make the most of your vacation time and experience more of Maui’s beauty without doing the heavy lifting of planning, our itineraries are for you.
Our itineraries map out excursion days where you visit the best spot — beaches, historical sights, restaurants, snorkeling spots, farms and more — on a well planned out route. Plus, we provide tips on parking, when to go, and how long to stay.
“I just wanted you to know that my family and I purchased the Maui itinerary and we are wrapping up 12 days on the island. We did so much of what you recommended and it was awesome for everyone. We have three college-age kids and everyone enjoyed the things that you suggested, including the restaurants. Thanks for all of the work that you put into this.” – Gunnar
I'm the co-founder, with my husband Jordan, of The Hawaii Vacation Guide. We live on Maui with our toddler Henry and our sweet but quirky dog Hattie. I am a planner! I love to plan island-hopping adventures, days out on Maui, and everything in-between. I spend a lot of my time on our SUP and my favorite time of year in Hawai'i is whale season!
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