Every Hawaii check box can be marked in this cheery West Maui town: shops selling black pearls, muumuus, and macadamia nuts; Tiki bars; and beautiful beaches with countless sailing and snorkeling options. Absolutely everything is imbued with aloha spirit. This is a tender port, so cruise ships anchor in Lahaina Harbor and shuttle passengers to the heart of town.
What We Love
Luaus: They can be cheesy, but luaus give a true taste of Hawaiian culture. Kalua pig, lomilomi salmon, poi … this is real Hawaiian party food. Although the hula might not be traditional, it’s authentically Hawaiian.
Harbor Cruises: Sailing out of Lahaina Harbor is exhilarating, no matter what. Whether you see whales, dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish, or the beautiful scenery, it will be a day for the memory books.
Best Known For
Historic Lahaina: Start at Banyan Tree Park, home of the largest banyan tree in Hawaii, and then follow the Lahaina Historic Trail to monuments like the old courthouse and the Old Lahaina Lighthouse.
Haleakala: This crater is Maui's top attraction — popularity-wise and geographically. The journey up is memorable, and the surreal terrain (often compared to Mars) is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Sunrise and sunset are both breathtaking.
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Who It's Best For
Outdoor Sightseers: Amid the botanical gardens, the whales, and the gorgeous beaches (plus boldface attractions like Iao Valley and the Road to Hana), Maui offers enough natural beauty to keep visitors enthralled for a lifetime.
Ocean Lovers: If you want to snorkel or body-surf, go for it. If you just want to flop on a beach towel and people-watch, no judgement.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Touristy: Locals compare Lahaina to Disney's Main Street. Also, the relatively small town can get really crowded. Don’t expect a relaxed island pace.
Cobblestones: The old-fashioned streets are cute and delightful — until you walk them for a couple hours. Wear sturdy shoes (flip flops aren't recommended).
Lena Katz is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides.