Lahaina may mean “merciless sun” in the Hawaiian language, but for the thousands who visit the “jewel in the crown of Maui” every year, it represents peace and tranquility. Located on the west coast of the island, Lahaina features dinner cruises, luaus and eco-adventures, not to mention the warm sun and majestic beaches that the Hawaiian Islands are known for.
But Lahaina does offer something unique you won’t find anywhere else on Maui: Front Street. For a relatively small town like Lahaina, it is amazing how much they’ve managed to cram onto this single street. Take a journey into the heart of Lahaina with the following three destinations and discover what makes Front Street an unforgettable memory lane.
1. Banyan Tree Park and the Lahaina Historic Trail
Your first stop should be Banyan Tree Park to explore the Banyan Tree, the large “strangling fig” that covers two-thirds of an acre. Though most mistake it for many separate trees at first, it is actually a single tree that grows roots from its large branches, which drop into the ground and create secondary trunks. When you meander underneath this massive natural wonder, you will find one of 29 plaques that make up the Lahaina Historic Trail.
The Lahaina Historic Trail is considered one of the most historically significant sites in all of Hawaii. The signs tell the stories of Lahaina’s whaling and seafaring history and lead visitors on a self-guided walking trail. Among its treasures are the birthing stones, including the Hauola Stone, considered to have healing properties. Women in labor would sit on these stones to help ease the pain of childbirth. Such sites paint a vivid picture of the rich culture and traditions that inhabited this island.
2. Bubba Gump at sunset
After exploring the Banyan Tree and other sites on the Lahaina Historic Trail, journey farther down Front Street to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for an early dinner. Be prepared to wait an hour or more for a table, but you will find it well worth it. The restaurant features delicious Cajun Shrimp, Mahi Mahi and other tasty dishes. Many of the tables look out over the ocean, making it a beautiful dining experience at sunset.
Part of what makes Bubba Gump such an event is not the delectable seafood or even the incredible view, but the fun atmosphere and great service. Based on themes from the movie Forest Gump, the walls of the restaurant are covered with paraphernalia related to the film. In addition, each table features two signs: a green sign that says Go Forest Go as well as a red sign that says Stop Forest Stop, indicating to the server that you would like service. This entertaining theme makes Bubba Gump an experience you won’t want to miss.
3. Art galleries at twilight
After a satisfying meal, take a slow, meandering walk at twilight to view some of the dozens of art galleries that line Front Street. You will also find art fairs showcasing works by Lahaina’s local artists under the Banyan Tree. Featuring magnificent seascapes, gorgeous sculptures and everything in between, the beautiful artwork in Lahaina creates a more lasting impression than multiple tourist shops ever will.
With these three destinations, you are guaranteed a glimpse into the treasures that make Lahaina unique, as well as some delicious cuisine to satisfy your appetite. The warm sandy beaches and brilliant blue waters of Lahaina may be typical of most Hawaiian towns, but the history and culture of Front Street offer a local flavor and one-of-a-kind experience that you will remember for years to come.