Best Places to Eat, Stay & Explore in Lahaina, Maui

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Curator’s statement

Maui has been a favorite of mine for many years. I appreciate the many different landscapes and it truly has something for everyone. If you are looking to relax on a beach, hike in the lush rainforests or enjoy the many different cuisines that Maui is known for it is truly a special island. Maui is the second largest island of the Hawaiian islands and is known to be less crowded than Oahu. This island caters to all types, if you're looking for luxury accommodations or budget-friendly hotels you can find both in Lahaina.

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Where to stay in Lahaina, Maui

Montage Kapalua Bay

On Maui’s northwest coast, this all-suite resort incorporates Hawaiian culture into everything from its architecture and restaurants, to kids’ club and spa.

Fora Perks
  • $150 spa credit.

  • $60 breakfast credit daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort And Spa

Upscale beachfront resort with seven restaurants and bars set in 40 acres of lush tropical gardens.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua

On Maui’s northwest shore, this sprawling resort encompasses six beaches, a championship golf course and hiking trails through its 22,000 acres.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Lahaina, Maui

body of water during sunset

Lahaina, located on the island of Maui in Hawaii, is a popular tourist destination for many reasons. Firstly, the town has a rich cultural history and was once a center for whaling and the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Today, Lahaina is a National Historic Landmark and offers a glimpse into the past through its well-preserved buildings and historic sites, such as the Lahaina Banyan Court and the Lahaina Fort.

Lahaina is known for its stunning natural beauty, it is situated on a beautiful stretch of coast, with crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches and stunning sunsets. There are also many opportunities for outdoor activities, including snorkeling, surfing, hiking and whale watching (in the winter months).In addition to its history and natural beauty, Lahaina also offers a lively and vibrant atmosphere, with a wide range of shopping, dining and nightlife options. From upscale boutiques and local crafts markets to delicious seafood restaurants and lively bars, there's something for everyone in Lahaina.

  1. Visit the Lahaina Banyan Court: This large banyan tree is one of the town's most iconic landmarks, and it's a great spot to relax and enjoy the shade.

  2. Take a historic tour of Lahaina: Explore the town's rich cultural history with a guided tour of its historic sites, such as the Lahaina Fort, Old Lahaina Courthouse and Baldwin Home Museum which offers a glimpse into the life of early settlers in Lahaina.

  3. Go snorkeling or scuba diving: Lahaina is surrounded by some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Hawaii. Napili Bay is a popular spot for snorkeling, if you go, get there early as it gets crowded. If you’re looking for a snorkeling/scuba tour make sure to visit Molokini crater, once a volcano it is an amazing spot to see a variety of tropical fish and sea turtles. This partially submerged crater provides protection from the open ocean and creates a calm environment ideal for snorkeling and diving.

  4. Take a whale-watching tour: During mid-January to March is the best time to go with humpback whales often visible from the shore.

  5. Shop for souvenirs at the Front Street markets: Lahaina's Front Street is lined with shops selling everything from local crafts to souvenirs, making it a great place to pick up a few mementos of your trip.

  6. Try the local cuisine: Lahaina is home to a wide range of dining options, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. Be sure to try some of the local seafood, such as poke or ahi sashimi.

  7. Take a sunset sail: Experience the beauty of Lahaina at sunset with a sail along the coast, sipping cocktails and taking in the stunning views.

  8. Visit Ioa Valley State Park: A 40 min drive from Lahaina, this lush park features a well-manicured trail that leads to the stunning Iao Needle, a 1,200-foot-tall pinnacle that provides panoramic views of the surrounding valley.

  9. Go to a Luau: the word "Luau" means "feast" in Hawaiian, it often gives tourists a chance to experience the traditional culture of Hawaii with storytelling, Hulu dancing, and Hawaiian music. Old Lahaina Luau is one of the most popular Luau's, make sure to reserve months in advance as it fills up fast. It is pricey but well worth the visit.

Day Trips

Haleakalā National Park: This is a must-see attraction where you can see stunning sunrises or sunsets of Haleakalā Volcano. Sunrise reservations are required. Dress for inclement weather as it can be freezing. Stargazing is special here, too, and it is quiet like few places on earth. We went for the sunrise and it was a surreal experience. We wanted to catch the sunrise so we were prepared to get up super early as it's a 2+ hr drive from Lahaina of winding trails all the way up. There are no restrooms once you arrive, so plan ahead. The views are picturesque and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you don't want to miss. There are also amazing hiking trails throughout the park offering opportunities to explore the unique landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

Places to eat & drink in Lahaina, Maui

pastry with bananas on top

Breakfast

  • The Gazebo Restaurant: The Gazebo is a hidden gem, every time we come to Maui we always visit this place. It is a favorite for kids and adults alike. They are known for their macadamia nut pancakes, fried rice and fresh papaya. Its open-air seating allows you to enjoy its killer views of Napili Shores. Be prepared to wait, it opens at 8am and already has a line by 7:30am so get there early. It is not the easiest location to find and parking can be difficult so I'd recommend you have one of your parties wait in line while you find parking.

  • 808 Grindz Cafe: This is a popular spot amongst the locals, so again, be prepared to wait for a table. If you’re looking for a hole-in-the-wall place that is relatively well-priced 808 Grindz is your spot but bring cash. I’d highly recommend their fluffy Macadamia nut pancakes and top it off with their Mac-Nilla sauce. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option their “Mowie Wowie” omelet is delish. Don’t miss their pork loco or spam if you’re a meat lover.

Lunch

  • Down the Hatch Maui: A great local spot on Front St that is known for locally sourced fresh fish like Poke and Mahi it has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” a Food Network show hosted by Guy Fieri. Their service is quick and you can order online if you don’t want to wait. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options. I always come back for their Fish Tacos or Ahi Fish sandwiches, but you can’t go wrong with any of their dishes. They also host a happy hour daily from 2-5 pm that hosts live music with discounts on their appetizers and cocktails. A must-try, at least once.

  • Leoda’s Pie Shop: Who doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Yes, Leoda’s is known for its pie but their menu reminds you of Grandma’s cooking. A fav on the menu is Seared Ahi Tuna, Lahaina dog, and their monkey bread. If you love pie like me you can’t go wrong with any of their options, try their Chocolate Haupia pie, banana creme or their peanut butter pie - YUM!! Insider tip: order online so you don’t have to wait! Notice the trend here…

Dinner

Most restaurants in Lahaina can be pricey so if you’re looking for a sit-down place with nice ambiance you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants located in Whalers Village. Make sure to reserve a table in advance as the lines can be long during dinner time. We’ve enjoyed Hula Grill and Monkeypod Kitchen, if you time it right you’ll have great views of the sunset. If you’re looking for a place to pick up and go I’d highly recommend the Fish Market, their fish tacos are one of the best I’ve had on the island and their portions are quite large.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out this guide to Maui by Fora Advisor Katie Mcavoy: 7 Days of Family-Friendly Outdoor Adventure on Maui.

Advisor - Timadge Berkhadley

Travel Advisor

Timadge Berkhadley

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maui, and our ongoing series on nature escapes.