Hawaii has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, but living on the east coast, it isn’t the easiest of places to get to. I took the plunge and booked the 12-hour flight to Honolulu (and then the much shorter, 20-minute flight to Maui) for Thanksgiving this year and I was not disappointed. This is the first post of three that will each feature a different town in Maui – Lahaina, Paia, and Wailea. These posts will give you a guide on where to sleep, eat, and play in each location.
Located in West Maui, Lahaina is one of the most populated towns on the island. It’s also a port city for many cruise ships, so it’s pretty lively with both tourists and locals. Lahaina has the famous Front Street, with adorable shops and restaurants lining the road. The beaches are beautiful and the surf is relatively calm on this side of the island – perfect for a surf lesson, snorkeling, and swimming in the ocean.
This town has a ton of great options for food. If you wanted to just stroll along Front Street, you’d have no problem finding a place to eat. Check out my post Top 10 Places to Eat in Maui for my favs, but I want to call out a couple that didn’t quite make the top 10.
Sea House Restaurant, located in the Napili Kai Beach Resort, looks right out on the Napili Bay. There are outdoor tables overlooking the beach. Even the bar seating is a prime ocean-view spot. I ordered the Poke Nachos, which were absolutely delicious. Full disclaimer, I LOVE ahi poke, so if that’s an ingredient there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to like it. Fried wontons, topped with big chunks of ahi, tomatoes, wasabi aioli, sriracha cream, and peppers – this dish is the perfect balance of spicy and crunchy with super fresh seafood.
Another great place I ate was Breakwell Shave Ice. They have really yummy acai bowls, cold brew coffee, and kombucha on tap. The best part about this place is their adult shaved ice – shaved ice with liquor – that’s available every day for happy hour.
I was impressed by the Old Lahaina Luau. You’re greeted with a lei, a mai tai, and shown to your table. I opted for the traditional floor seating, but you can choose table seating if you prefer. Before the show, there’s so much to do. You can watch the sunset over the harbor, listen to the Hawaiian band, shop at different vendors, and watch the pig be pulled out of the pit. The food is buffet style and features ahi poke, octopus poke, pork, and sweet potato rolls with guava butter. The show itself is really authentic and the performers are top notch. I can’t decide which was better – the open bar or the goodie bag of fresh banana bread on your way out.
There are so many to choose from, but my favorites were Black Rock Beach, Ka’anapali Beach, and Kamehameha Iki Park. Kamehameha Iki Park is right at the end of the street from the Hakuna Matata Hostel and is where most of the surf lessons take place in Lahaina, so it’s great for people watching.
You can do water sports all over the island, but Lahaina’s gentle surf makes for a great spot for these activities. I took a surf lesson with Goofy Foot Surf School and it was so much fun. I was TERRIBLE, but I had a blast and that’s really all that matters!
Scuba Diving is another great water activity to do while in Maui. I dove with Maui Diving Scuba & Snorkel Center and had such an amazing time. It had been two years since I had gone diving, so I signed up for a refresher course in the morning. The shop (easily) convinced me to do two more dives that day – a twilight dive and a night dive, both of which were unforgettable. You can read more about my experience in my The Best Scuba Diving in Maui post.
I’m Ashley. I’m a recent Maryland transplant living in NYC. I currently work in fashion, but my true love is travel. I was bitten by the travel bug at an early age and ever since I’m always craving my next adventure. From Europe to South Africa, I’ve been all over the world, but there are still so many places I have yet to explore. I hope you enjoy our little taste of wanderlust and are inspired along the way!