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Posted on Jun 3, 2013 | 9 comments

5 Things to Do in Lahaina Town

5 Things to Do in Lahaina Town

The West Shore of Maui can be very popular with tourists. Since we like a more authentic experience, we opted to only spend a day in Lahaina after Humpback Whale  watching instead of staying in the area. Don’t get us wrong, some visitors love the resorts, shopping, and hustle and bustle of the West Shore. We prefer to slow it down more when we are on Maui. Either way, we still recommend spending a day in Lahaina. Here’s our top 5 picks on 5 things to do in Lahaina Town.

Things to Do in Lahaina

The Banyan Tree growing in Lahaina.

Visit Lahaina’s Free Sites

Our favorite thing about Lahaina are the things to see there. Located right on Lahaina’s Front Street you will find the incredible Lahaina Banyan Tree. The Banyan Tree is a must see with it covering over 2/3 of an acre with a dozen main trunks. The Banyan Tree was originally brought to Maui from India and planted in 1873, 140 years ago, by the town sheriff to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first missionaries to Hawaii. At the time, it stood 8 ft. tall. Today, it has grown to 60 ft and has become one of the largest Indian Banyan Trees in the world.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Hale Paahao

On July 11, 1851, an act was passed by the Hawaiian Legislature and approved by King Kamehameha III to build a new jail for Lahaina. The prison, Hale Paahao (meaning stuck in stones), was completed in 1852 by convicted labors out of black coral bricks and can still be found today on Prison Street. During its heyday it housed rowdy sailors who failed to return to their ships at sundown. You can tour the prison, M-Sat from 10am to 4pm. But be warned; singing, whistling, and laughter are prohibited! Prisoners who violate these rules may by flogged, have their food reduced and their heads shaved.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Re-built wall of the old Lahaina Fort.

The coral bricks used to build the prison came from the old fort along Lahaina’s waterfront that was built in one month’s time to protect the town from whalers. The fort was constructed from coral blocks with walls approximately 15-20 feet high topped with 47 cannons.  Due to damage and neglect, Lahaina Fort was demolished in 1854. In 1964, the State Parks Department rebuilt part of the old fort walls that can still be visited today.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

A front yard made of shells and materials found from beach combing we came across while walking around the neighborhoods of Lahaina.

Take a walk through the neighborhoods. You will see some beautiful tropical architecture, as well as landscaping. There are all kinds of places from little beach houses to funky, crazy front yards using resources from around the island. It’s a refreshing way to see some history of Maui you may not normally see.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Surfboards in Lahaina.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Hale Kahiko

Behind the Hard Rock Café, you will find Hale Kahiko, a traditional Hawaiian village. The three thatched roof houses, offer an insightful glimpse into Hawaiian life before missionaries and their Western developments swept through the land. The thatched buildings are authentically constructed of Ohia wood posts, native Pili grass thatch and coconut fiber lashings. Each of the hale, (building) had its own particular purpose.  One was used as a workshop for women to make tapa (bark cloth), another was for family sleeping quarters, and the last for a kane (man) only eating house. The grounds around the hales were planted in beautiful native plants that Hawaiians used on a regular basis for their food and medicinal purposes. On the premises you will also find tikis, a longboat, woven baskets and gourd containers. The village is open to the public, 7 days a week, until sundown.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Hawaiian plate lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate No Ka Oi!

Eat Local Grindz

Some people would tell you to eat at Star Noodle, Honu, or Mala while in Lahaina, but not us. We are Hawaiian plate lunch kind of people and we like to eat local grindz. We recommend jumping in your car and driving to the other side of Lahaina to Aloha Mixed Plate.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Sassy Wahine and Lava Flow.

Aloha Mixed Plate is a casual multi-award-winning, outdoor restaurant right along the ocean on Lahaina’s famous Front Street. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even have a nice little happy hour. All of their food is delicious, as well as their drinks. We always get a plate of their coconut shrimp to share and wash them down with Sassy Wahines and Lava Flows. Then we finish it off with a large plate of kaluha pork, lomi lomi salmon, lau lau, Hawaiian style mac salad, poi, rice and haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding). Be sure to not have to rush off anywhere because you will need some time to just sit back and chill for a bit after a meal like that.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Ululani’s has the best shave ice on the island!

Hawaiian Shave Ice

Now let’s get something straight. It’s SHAVE ice. Not SHAVED ice. To ask for shaved ice is saying it wrong. We don’t want you to look like a silly tourist and say it wrong. Remember there is no D at the end of shave.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Mr. AfterGlobe eating shave ice.

There is more than one place to get shave ice in Lahaina, but the only place we recommend is Ululani’s. Their ice shave is so fine, cones massive and they have more flavors than any place we have ever been to. Li Hing Mui (salted plum) is my all-time favorite. They even put a little Li Hing Mui powder on top for a little extra kick. Drew usually goes for a coconut or Tiger’s Blood flavored cone. No matter what flavor you get, you will love it. If you don’t have enough flavoring, let them know and they will add some more free of charge. Make sure to stop into one of Ululani’s two Lahaina locations and to visit them, again in Kahului and Kihei.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Shopping at Hilo Hattie.

Go Shopping

I’ll admit it; I’m not a big shopper. In fact, in many ways I loathe it. However, I love shopping at Hilo Hattie and the ABC stores. Both which happen to be in Lahaina and both great places to get souvenirs to take home to others, as well as for yourself. They are the perfect places to pick up plumeria hair clips, lauhala baskets, Hawaiian candies and other food, clothing and pretty much anything else you could want Hawaiian.

5 Things to do in Lahaina

Make sure to stop at Honolulu Cookie Company

Another fun place to stop while shopping is the Honolulu Cookie Company . Their cookies are the amazing Hawaiian shortbread and they are all kinds of buttery goodness.  All the cookies are available to sample and we have tried every single one of them. Our favorites are the original macadamia nut, pineapple, white-chocolate-dipped Kona coffee, and chocolate-dipped macadamia nut. Don’t miss out on this cute little store and their Hawaiian shortbread cookies.

Make sure to try all of the Hawaiian Shortbread flavors.

Make sure to try all of the Hawaiian Shortbread flavors.

Old Lahaina Luau.

Old Lahaina Luau.

Attend a Luau

As your day winds down, why not finish up your day in Lahaina by attending a luau? Old Lahaina Luau is the most authentic luau in the Hawaiian Islands. They take great pride in presenting an authentic Hawaiian Luau and providing an evening of award winning traditional Hawaiian music, hula and demonstrations. Guests are treated to a genuine reflection of Hawaii’s rich history while enjoying the sunset over the ocean. Not to mention a bountiful buffet of regional cuisine with enough variety to satisfy everyone’s palates.

Reservations at Old Lahaina Luau are based on first come first serve. With this in mind, make your reservation for Old Lahaina Luau, as soon as possible. The sooner you make it, the closer you will be to the stage. The shows fill up quickly and usually sell out.

Have you been to Lahaina?

All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2013.

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About Kimmy Hayes


Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.

9 Comments

  1. Great info! Now I am craving shave ice from Ululani’s – I believe it is the best in the state!

    • Mahalo, Elizabeth. I believe Ululani’s is the best, too! Mmmm, now I want some.

    • Mahalo, JR. That means a lot coming from a local boy!

    • Jessica, I’ll be honest with you, I would change my reservation for Old Lahaina Luau to get the full experience and the tasty Hawaiian buffet.

  2. Great posts Kimmy loads of useful info, especially the part about no whistling or laughing during the prison tour. Not sure I could rock the ‘Britney’s off her rocker’ shaven head! thanks for the heads up, no pun intended!!
    Charli l Wanderlusters recently posted…Solo Travel | Love, Loss and Life LessonsMy Profile

  3. It’s so nice to see Mr. Nakao’s front yard sculpture on Wainee St. is still there. I remember Mr. Nakao working on that yard… I always thought that couple in the front was he and his wife. He was a very friendly man, and passed away in the 1970′s, but it looks like his legacy lives on. :)

    • Ryka, I love that you know this yard and who built it. When we came across it, we instantly loved it! I hope it’s always there.
      Kimmy Hayes recently posted…Recipe: Hurricane PopcornMy Profile

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