Drive into Lahaina from the south on Honoapiilani Highway and you’ll see a sign proclaming Lahaina as the former "Royal Capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom." In addition to the old royal capital, Lahaina was also one of the largest whaler town in the Pacific Ocean back in the 1800’s. With all that history, the Hawaiian people have taken many steps to preserve these pieces of their rich past.
Perhaps the most recognized icon of historical Lahaina is it’s Banyan Tree, which is said to be planted in 1873. If you happen to be in Lahaina in late April, be sure to stop by and wish it a Happy Birthday and enjoy some cake with the rest of the visitors.
Perhaps the easiest and most recommended way to experience the historic sites of Lahaina Town is by taking your own walking tour. Most of the travel guides and books out there have their own suggestions and paths, and you can even get the official route from the Lahaina Visitor Center located just behind the banyan tree.
Common stops on these walking tours include:
- Baldwin Home Museum
- Banyan Tree
- Buddhist Church
- Lahaina Jodo Mission
- Old Prison
- Pioneer Inn
Most people overlook the historic parts of Lahaina Town, getting lost in the shops, the restaurants, and the views of the ocean at Lahaina Harbor. If you plan separate trips to Lahaina for shopping and a walking tour, you’ll find yourself getting distracted less and better able to take in the history and the significance of everything around you.