Maui, the second-largest island in Hawaii, has some of the most spectacular landscapes ever seen. From sunbathing on beautiful beaches to hiking up lush mountain ridges or strolling along the coastline, there are plenty of things to do in Lahaina.
If you are lucky enough to be cruising to Lahaina, you will enjoy this list of 30 things to do in Maui, Hawaii.
Where is Lahaina, Hawaii?
Lahaina, Hawaii is located on the northwest side of the island of Maui. Maui is located in the central pacific of the Hawaiian Archipelago.
Lahaina is a beautiful coastal town sandwiched between the harbor and the West Mountains. It has a long history, having been the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom between 1820 and 1845 and the major whaling hub in the 19th century. It’s the most populous city and is known as the entertainment center of Maui today. It’s therefore flooded with tourists at certain times of the year.
Lahaina Cruise Port
Lahaina is a tendering port. Cruise ships anchor in the Lahaina harbor and tender into town. There is a visitor’s center across the harbor. Restaurants and, shops are also nearby and downtown is within a walking distance. You can also take a taxi to nearby sites and beaches.
1. Shop Lahaina Front Street
Lahaina’s Front Street is the town’s major street. This coastal front street is lined with restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The bustling street is a historical landmark with buildings preserved from previous centuries. It’s so beautiful and well planned that it is named among top 10 of the United States’ greatest streets. Front Street is the best place to shop and eat in Lahaina.
2. Visit the Historic District of the Town
Take a walking tour of the historic Lahaina Town. Explore 62 historic sites spread out over 55 acres of the town.
Lahaina is of great historical significance. It was once the capital city of the kingdom of Hawaii. It later became a busy whaling port and a plantation town. You can learn this town’s intriguing history by following the Lahaina Historic Trail.
Done as a self-guided tour, you will visit many places that are designated national historic landmarks. Labeled with information filled plaques, you will find these sites from the front street all the way to the edges of the town.
Highlights include the Baldwin home, Hale Paahao (sailors jail), Lahaina Jodo, and Wo Hing Museum. To start this exhilarating tour, visit the Visitor Center at the old Courthouse found near the Banyan Tree.
3. Check Out the Old Court House
Learn Maui’s and Hawaii’s history in general at the old courthouse. The court opened in 1860 was a customs and government offices building. Built from wood and coral blocks, the courthouse went through periods of interesting history especially when Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdoms. Today, the court, houses a visitor center, art galleries, a heritage museum, and a theater.
Located adjacent to the Banyan Tree Park, the old courthouse is a nice place to stop by and learn about Lahaina’s history.
4. Explore Art
Lahaina is a renowned art market. It has plenty of art galleries going all the way from the Old Jail Gallery to art studios along Front Street.
Some of the best art galleries include Kush, Maui Hands, Village Galleries (it’s also the oldest), Lahaina print-sellers, and Maui on metal. Enjoy original works of art, some so intriguing that they momentarily transport you to another dimension. Of course, prices will vary here, with some galleries like Kush’s fine art being on the expensive side.
Other than paintings, photographs, and other interesting pieces of art, you can also check out crafts and woodwork art from various markets.
5. Checkout the Baldwin House
Check out the oldest house in Maui. The Baldwin home built in 1834, was the pioneer home of missionaries in Maui. The home was initially a single-story building but with the growth of Rev. Baldwin’s family, he added a second story.
Go, see how early 19th century folks lived in Lahaina, and how Rev. Baldwin, a medical missionary helped stop smallpox by inoculating inhabitants of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai.
The house offers a lot of history and is reserved in the fashion of the 18th– 19th century. With furniture and decor to boot. It’s open daily from 10 to 4 and charges $7 per adult, $5 for seniors, and military personnel. It’s free for kids below the age of 12.
6. Visit the Banyan Tree Park
The Banyan Tree Park in front of the courthouse is Lahaina’s most popular attraction. Spanning the size of a city block, it’s one of the largest Banyan Trees in the United States.
The tree has a whopping 16 trunks, is littered with benches, and is a lovely place to seat under the shade, picnic, shop, and listen to the live music played in the park.
Many outdoor events are held here. You are lucky if your ship stops the second or fourth weekend of the month cause then you can attend the ‘Art in the Park’ event.
There are public bathrooms in the courthouse. Learn the tree’s history through the golden plaques found throughout the park or get a pamphlet from the courthouse.
7. Learn to Surf at the Break Wall
Hawaii is known as the origin of the surfing sport. What better way to start your visit to Maui than to learn how to surf? The break wall located on Lahaina’s harbor is the perfect place to learn how to surf and there are various schools there. At surf class, you will learn the basics of surfing and even try it out.
If your age or physical condition doesn’t allow you to stand on a board and maneuver waves, then you can try Canoe Surfing, also known as the Hawaiian Roller Coaster. You will still experience the thrill of catching a wave without having to stand. Or try out a Stand Up Paddle Board if you are looking for something more chilled. Go, let your inner surfer out.
8. Go to the Beach
Maui is well known for its world-famous beaches. It boasts over 30 miles of gorgeous beaches, some white, others black, and red as well. Some of these beaches are easily accessible, while others are hidden and involve a bit of off-the-beaten-path wandering, to get to.
You can swim, snorkel, surf or sunbathe on these beaches. In terms of facilities, they have them all. Public beaches have lifeguards, bathrooms, restaurants or picnic facilities.
- Kaanapali Beach – On the west side of the island from where you are docked, is the Kaanapali beach. One of the most popular on the island. Kaanapali found near the island’s most popular resorts is a pristine stretch of white sand very popular with cruisers. If you want to snorkel on this beach, then head towards the Black Rock on the northernmost section of the beach. It’s one of the best snorkeling spots on the island.
- D.T. Fleming Beach Park – Another West beach is D.T. Fleming Beach Park, a beautiful beach that was once named America’s best. It has facilities such as restrooms, lifeguards, and picnic tables.
- Launiupoko Beach Park – If you have kids, you might want to checkout Launiupoko Beach Park found south of Lahaina. Its main highlight is the natural pool created by the surrounding lava rock wall. This pool is an excellent swimming place for small children.
- Makena ‘The Big Beach’ – If you have time, Makena Beach in South Maui is arguably the island’s most beautiful beach. Its wide swath of sand gives rise to its name ‘the big beach’. It’s seldom crowded and a nice place to escape the crowds. It’s good for swimming, snorkeling or simply beach bumming. It has the necessary amenities including a lifeguard.
9. Take a Stroll Along Wailea Beach Walk
A nice way to take in the beauty of Maui’s coastline is taking a walk along the Wailea Beach Walk. This paved walk is 1.5 miles long. It runs parallel to the beautiful resorts of Wailea and features beautiful tropical flowers and scenic views of the ocean.
The path winds along 8 beautiful resorts, where you can stop and get a refreshing drink or lunch. It also runs adjacent to 5 beautiful white beaches. At the beach, you can dip your toes in the sand, swim, snorkel or spot humpback whales in their season.
Go early in the morning to catch the beautiful sunrise. Wailea is 20 miles away from Lahaina, it will take you roughly 45 -60 minutes to get there. The best way to get there is to drive, take a taxi or an uber.
10. Hike Maui
Maui’s mountainous background boasts of some of the most magical hiking trails. Get on port early and go on a morning hike in Iao Valley State Park.
Iao hiking trail is deemed an easy short hike but with breathtaking features, including a swimming area, picnic grounds, and lots of photo opportunities. The major highlight on this lush valley trail, though, is the Iao Needle, which stands taller than the Eiffel tower.
It will take you approximately 40 minutes to get to Iao from Lahaina on highway 30.
Kapalua Coastal Trail
Another great hiking trail near the Maui cruise port is the Kapalua coastal trail. A 1.74-mile-long trail that winds along the northwest coast of Maui. It starts at Kapalua beach public access point and ends at Fleming beach. Try this easy trail. It’s most spectacular part runs from Kapalua to oneloa beach.
It’s paved at its starting and ending points and the rest of the way is part gravel, dirt road, and boardwalk. This trail features the beautiful rugged coastline, beaches, flora, and wildlife.
For those of you looking for a challenging trail, Lahaina Pali is such a trail. The 5-10-mile-long hike features some beautiful views of the central valley, the ocean, and neighboring islands. But be warned, this is a steep hike full of rocks and boulders. Good hiking boots and plenty of water is required.
You can choose to hike from either the Maalaea or Ukumehame side. Maalaea has better views. It will take you about 20minutes to get to this trail from Lahaina.
11. Watch Whales
Experience one of the most amazing marine wildlife adventure on a whale watching tour. The best time to see whales in Maui is between mid-February and mid-March.
Maui is known as one of the best islands to watch whales from in all of Hawaii. The whales cross the western channel right in front of Lahaina and Kapalua. So, you are in for a treat, because you can see these beautiful creatures right from the beach. Or a coastal lookout point like Umukahame. However, it’s better to see them up close and you can do this on a boat tour.
12. Take a Food Tour
Taste Lahaina on an informative historical guided food tour of the town. The best and fastest way to find out what and where to eat in Lahaina is on a Food Tour. This will have you tasting poke, Macadamia nut, pineapple, or guava pancakes, cookies, gelato, sandwiches, banana bread, pineapple, fudge, and of course shave ice.
Some of the best places to eat in Lahaina are Pioneer’s Inn, Ululani shave ice, Take Home Maui, Banyan Treats, Mr. Sub sandwiches, Hawaii Fudge Company, Ono gelato, and of course, Paia fish market restaurant. If you are in Paia, don’t miss out on Mama’s Fish House, famous for its delicious fresh fish.
13. Attend a Moana Glass Workshop
Learn the ancient art of glass blowing in Maui at Moana glass, Lahaina’s only glassblowing studio. Shop for beautiful glasswork, or better yet, make one yourself by engaging in a hands-on glassblowing class. The designs here are inspired largely by Maui’s colorful marine wildlife especially the Honu and Koholas meaning turtles and whales.
Rated one of the best things to do in Maui, you cannot miss this fun learning activity. It’s great for a family bonding kind of adventure. Best of all, you get to carry your design home. The professionals at Moana glass guarantee you’ll never carry home a bad design. They will guide you the entire time, to ensure you produce a photo-worthy piece.
Calling on all anglers. Maui’s fertile water is perfect for deep-sea fishing and offshore trolling. Some of the species caught in these beautiful waters include blue and striped marlin, wahoo, yellowish tuna, and dorado. Best of all, it’s a fishing time any time of the year on this island.
Charter a fishing trip from the many available. Maui fish charters boast of experienced and capable captains and crewmen. They know the best spots and techniques. The captain is also known to fillet the fish and make a nice lunch. Depending on the charter, you can keep or not keep your catch.
15. Golf Maui
Play on Maui’s famed golf courses, created by top course architects such as Ben Crenshaw and Arnold Palmer. Maui’s beautiful 18-hole courses couldn’t be any more dramatic, with perfectly manicured greens, surrounded by palm groves with a view of the rainbow-colored mists from the ocean.
While there are over 14 golf courses in Hawaii. Two of the best can be found in Kapalua and Kaanapali in Lahaina. Which is a good thing for you, because you don’t stroll far from the cruise port. Did you know Maui hosts PGA tournaments of Champions; you just might meet a pro golfer in the clubhouse.
16. Horse Riding
Explore Maui’s verdant countrysides on horseback. If you are looking for a wonderful adventure to do as a group or alone, Horse riding is it. Luckily, Maui has several ranches offering this excursion. The operators are friendly and professional and put your safety first. On this excursion, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean and mountainous background as you ride along the coast, learning the history of Lahaina.
The horses are well-taken care off and very well behaved, so it should be a pleasure to ride them even if it’s your first time. However, you have to book early to secure a good time slot for this activity. Here are some horse riding adventures companies.
17. Helicopter Tour
See Maui from a bird’s eye view on a helicopter tour. Fly over Haleakala, world’s largest dormant volcano. Check out its large moonlike crater. Fly over the West Mountain, see craggy ridges, and check out the world’s tallest sea cliff over at Molokai.
These narrated tours are an excellent way of seeing all of Maui, learning its history and visiting its secret places, unknown to many. Helicopter tours usually last about 45 minutes long but are worth it. Maui’s beauty is one that deserves such splurging. Best time for a helicopter ride is in the morning hours when there is less cloud cover.
Take a relaxing tour of Lahaina harbor on a kayak. The two hours long guided kayak adventure takes you to nearby shark pit reef, on the shallow waters beneath West Maui Mountains, along the coastline with close up view of the boats moored at the Lahaina marina.
This relaxing activity is your best chance to spot green turtles, spinner dolphins, and even the elusive monk seal. During whale season, kayaking is an excellent way to see them.
You can also combine a kayaking tour with snorkeling. This eco-friendly adventure is a great way to see Maui’s varied marine wildlife.
19. Snorkel and Scuba Diving
You can’t visit Lahaina and fail to check out its vibrant underwater world. There are many snorkeling and diving destinations around the island.
Experience the magic of diving in the pacific where all manner of marine wildlife live, such as tropical fish, whales, turtles, eels, rays, and dolphins.
There are several diving sites with the best being the Molokai creator accessed from south of Maui. Or the Lanai cathedrals, a 45-minute boat ride from the island.
However, if you are pressed for time, you can still enjoy an amazing snorkel and dive experience from Airport Beach. Start from the North most point of the beach to avoid the strong current that runs south.
20. Go Flyboarding
Defy gravity and check off an item from your bucket list by flyboarding. Located just near where you are docked over at Kaanapali beach is the Jet Ski Maui company. They will teach you how to fly board in as little as 60 seconds. From there you can soar up to heights of 5-45 feet in the air on a wild and wet ride off the Kaanapali coast. Try something new on your visit to Maui, after all that’s what vacations are for. You can also do jet skiing if flying isn’t your thing.
See Maui’s coastline from a different angle while soaring up above on a parasailing adventure. Enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline and the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai. Soar as high as 800-1200 feet in the air as a speed boat pulls you at top speed. You can even do it with your partner, friend or family.
Parasailing companies in Lahaina take your safety very seriously, so you have nothing to worry about. And to help you remember the adventure for the rest of your life, a photo package with over 50 photos of you on the ride of your life, await you at the end.
Fly above the Ka’anapali coastline, or over blossoming pineapple fields on a thrilling zipline adventure. Enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, ocean, and the nearby islands of Lanai and Molokai. Choose from 7 to 11-line zip line course, or try a suspension bridge.
There are many zip line companies in Maui and each has access to some of the most scenic views you’ve ever laid eyes on. Luckily, two of the best, Kapalua zip lines and skyline eco-adventures are near enough to the port, for you to enjoy a thrilling zip lining adventure and still have time to go to the beach.
23. Boat Tours
Hop on a luxury catamaran and go on snorkeling, dolphin or whale watching the tour. Visit an entirely different island on a boat trip to Lanai or Molokini. Visit the coral gardens which are teeming with turtles and spend time exploring the amazing marine wildlife of the outer islands of Hawaii.
Enjoy visibility of up to 100 feet, swim with tropical fish, manta rays, urchins, and harmless sharks. A boat trip to either one of these islands is rated one of the most family-friendly adventures in Maui.
24. Atlantis Submarine
Explore Lahaina’s underwater life on a submarine tour. Atlantis submarine in Maui has been taking people to explore the beauty of the Magic isle’s underwater world for years now.
The sub which drops to depths of 100 feet helps you explore the colorful coral and sea life off of Lahaina’s coast, without getting wet.
This is a nice activity especially for those of you who would like to have a peek beneath the water but are not comfortable snorkeling or diving. The adventure lasts for about 45 minutes. This is especially a great excursion with kids.
One Day Adventures
25. Cruise the Road to Hana
Discover Maui’s lost in time paradise on the road to Hana. Though it takes a full day to explore this highway. It’s a full day well spent. Along the road are ancient lava cliffs, dotted with numerous waterfalls among green foliage, with state parks and botanical gardens featuring unique black beaches, pools, caves, and forests.
The road is very windy and spots 620 hairpin turns. While it’s a great DIY tour when you have more than a day on the island, you are better off with a cruise based excursion, if you have only a day in port.
26. Check out Pools of Oheo
Located on Mile Marker 42 on the road to Hana at Haleakala National Park are the seven sacred pools otherwise known as the Pools of Oheo. Located in the ohe’o gulch. A short 1-kilometer hike winds along a scenic valley of cascading waterfalls flowing through tiered pools.
When the water levels are right, you can have a dip in these pools. The otherworldly beauty of the Pools of Oheo is something that you have to see when in Maui.
It’s a long trip to the east side of Maui and if you must go, this is a one-day trip. You will spend about 3hours on the road each way.
27. Explore Iao Valley
Take a break from the beach and explore Maui’s lush background. Iao is a lush valley designated as a national landmark in west Maui. It’s most commonly known for the Iao needle that stands 1200 ft tall from sea level. The lush valley stream cut by the Iao stream is a beautiful place to go take a nature walk, capture beautiful shots of Hawaii’s beauty, and learn the history of the island.
Visit the botanical garden at the park. The scent of those wildflowers is just heavenly. If you are there during a hot day you can take a dip in the stream, so carry a swimsuit just in case.
Visit Iao valley via a park bus, a taxi or book it as an excursion. The park charges a $5 parking fee.
28. Discover Haleakala Volcano National Park
Haleakalā National Park located in East Maui is a 33,265-acre park, which is designated a national park. Named after the towering dormant volcano that can be seen from every place in Maui, Haleakala is a place of may landscapes and skyscapes.
It’s best known for its sunrises. Something, that people book 60 days in advance for and drive out in the wee hours of the morning to go see. It has been named the most spectacular sunrise in the world.
However, for those who might not make it for the sunrise, the park is full of other highlights, like the mars like landscape at the crater, lush valleys with waterfalls, streams, and rainforest at the base of the mountain in the Kipahulu region.
One of the best things to do here is to hike (the best hike is the sliding sands trail at the mountain’s summit) and explore the beautiful nature present in the park. Don’t miss out on exploring the bamboo forest, which produces nice wind music.
Haleakala meaning house of the sun is located on the road to Hana, it’s actually the furthest attraction on that road. It takes about two and a half hours from Lahaina to the park each way. Therefore, you might want to consider, seeing this when you are in Maui for more than a day.
29. Waiʻanapanapa State Park
One of the most mesmerizing places in all of Maui has to be Waiʻanapanapa State Park. This park located off the Hana highway is a must-visit. Adorned with unique features such as a black beach, red tide pools (various times of the year), lava tubes, blowholes, caves, and natural stone arches. You will feast on beauty from the entrance to the shores of the park.
Located off mile marker 32, there is a road that branches into the park. Since it’s a small park with a small beach area, arriving early is best.
30. Visit Maui Tropical Plantation
Another highlight on the road to Hana is the Maui Tropical Plantation. The 1800 acre working plantation which seats in the majestic Waikapu valley is one of the most visited places in Maui.
Featuring an agricultural theme park, it’s the best place to learn Maui’s agricultural past and see its most famous crops, sugarcane, papaya, coffee, and pineapples. Apart from this, Maui Tropical Plantation also features a zip line course, The Mill House Restaurant (famous for its sumptuous dishes), plenty of shopping, and tropical gardens bearing a variety of flowers and fruits.
You can take a tram ride around the plantation grounds. This is the best way to learn the island’s agricultural past. Or you can zip line, settle in for a nice lunch, and shop for tropical fruits to your heart’s content. It takes about 40 minutes to get to the plantation from Lahaina. The park is free to visit; however, each individual activity attracts a fee.
Lahaina is generally warm throughout the year, with an average temperature of 80 degrees. It has a wet winter and a dry summer. Maui’s peak season which is also its winter period is December to March. If you want to watch whales this is the best season to visit Lahaina.
The island is less crowded in Spring which runs from Apr to June and in fall which runs from Sept to Dec. These are great seasons to visit Maui in terms of prices and weather.
There are plenty of things to do in Lahaina, Hawaii. This list has captured the best of them all. One thing you ought to keep in mind is that some of the highlights mentioned here, book out easily. So, book in advance to get a chance to partake in them once on the island.
Lahaina means cruel sun, remember to carry plenty of sunscreen and water when on the island. Happy Cruising!!