Visiting Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation; you need to make the most of it! Before you pack your bags and stock up on sunscreen, make sure you know what places to check out while you’re there. Discover some hidden gems in Lahaina and Whalers Village that locals love to make your trip even more memorable.
Top Eight Places to Visit in Lahaina that Locals Love
If you’re on the island of Maui, you need to check out some of the local favorite spots near Whalers Village. Whether you want to jam-pack your vacation full of fun activities or spend most of your time laying low on the beach, we’ve got you covered.
The best places to visit in Lahaina are:
- Lahaina Jodo Mission
- Mala Tavern
- surf break wall
- Whalers Village
- Ka’anapali Beach
- local campsites
- craft fairs, swap meets, and flea markets
- Lahaina Front Street
1. The Spiritual Lahaina Jodo Mission
What better place than the beautiful island of Maui to connect to the earth and tend to your spiritual side? The Lahaina Jodo Mission is a Japanese-style Buddhist temple. Locals consider it to be one of the most serene and stunning spots in all of Maui.
The Buddha statue, towering pagoda, and replicas of authentic Japanese Buddhist temples will invite you into a state of total zen. All of the grounds and buildings are free for locals and tourists to explore. You should definitely take some photos to look back on and feel the calm energy once again on hard days.
When you’re planning your Hawaiian vacation, check the local calendar. There might be a spiritual event going on during your trip; you wouldn’t want to miss out on it!
2. Delicious Dining at Mala Tavern
One of the best parts of visiting Maui is trying the fantastic local food. You need to check out the Mala Tavern if you’re near Whalers Village. This delectable restaurant holds a special place in Maui’s history and culture.
Over the years, locals have visited the Mala Tavern to weigh pineapple gold, enjoy barbeque and karaoke, and indulge in fine dining. Today, people love their Pacific Rim and Mediterranean dishes.
The iconic chef is one of the things that makes Mala Tavern so unique. Locals in Maui know Chef Savella as the “Kitchen Assassin.” He even has a large social media following, attracting eager taste-testers from all over the world.
3. Surfing at the Break Wall
Calling all surfers! The break wall, located at the Lahaina boat harbor, is one of Maui’s most beloved surf spots. Even if you’ve never surfed before, tons of schools would love to help you learn!
The marina at the boat harbor has a wall that breaks the surf. It’s ideal for new and experienced wave riders since it keeps yachts and other big boats from disrupting. Locals recommend surfing south of the wall.
4. Shopping and Dining in Whalers Village
Whalers Village is one of the most popular places to visit on Maui. Both locals and tourists love shopping and grabbing a bite to eat along the beach. In addition to the many stores and restaurants, there is also a whaling museum, hula lessons, and other fun activities.
You can find tons of your favorite brands in Whalers Village, like Crocs, Lululemon, and Tommy Bahama. In addition, there are local shops where you can find items enriched with Hawaiian history. It’s the perfect place to stop and grab a t-shirt, shark tooth necklace, and other souvenirs for your friends and family back at home.
Arguably the best part about Whalers Village is the fact that after you’ve shopped until you dropped, you can wind down at Ka’anapali beach. It’s right along the shops, so you can venture over whenever you’re ready!
5. Ka’anapali Beach
If you’re lucky enough to bask in the Hawaiian sun, you better be living it up! Lay out and enjoy the breeze, splash in the waves, and admire the turtles and fish. Ka’anapali Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Maui and its convenient location doesn’t hurt, either.
After dining at Hula Grill or Joey’s Kitchen Napili in Whalers Village, you can walk the mile-long beach to work off all the delicious kalua pork and poke tacos. Does this beach sound like paradise? Consider staying at one of the seven Ka’anapali Beach resorts when you visit Lahaina.
6. Camping on Maui
Nature lovers need to experience the beauty of camping in Hawaii. Camping is one of the most popular activities for locals, and there are over a dozen campsites to choose from on the island. Do a bit of research before you pick your site because some have amenities like picnic tables, showers, volleyball courts, etc.
Some of the best places to camp near Lahaina are:
It’s important to note that both locals and visitors need a camping permit for county and state parks. Try to book your trip as early as possible because some sites are booked a year in advance! Reserve a campsite at one of the state parks for $12 per night or snag a site at a county campground for only $3 a night.
7. Local Craft Fairs, Swap Meets, and Flea Markets in Maui
The best way to connect with Maui locals and learn more about Hawaiian culture is by visiting craft fairs, swap meets, and flea markets. For example, the Maui Swap Meet offers some of the best deals on the entire island when it comes to local shopping. Plus, admission is only fifty cents.
You will find hundreds of vendors selling things like fresh produce, Hawaiian shave ice, and arts and crafts. The Lahaina Civic Center craft fair is also one of the best places to find fantastic jewelry, art, crafts, and gifts.
8. Walk Through Lahaina Front Street
If you’re not too shopped out after visiting Whalers Village, you need to check out Lahaina Front Street as well. It’s another must-see for people visiting Maui. Plus, they offer a tour so you can learn about the history behind all the shops, restaurants, and the street itself.
Locals love heading to this street for a night out on the town. There are plenty of tasty restaurants, fun bars, and hopping nightlife activities.
Some of the most popular restaurants you’ll find along your walk are Fleetwood’s on Front St., Spanky’s Riptide, and Captain Jack’s Island Grill. See what visitors loved about their trip to Front Street here.
With a few local gems on your to-do list, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation. Remember to book these things in advance—don’t wait until you’re on the island to make a game plan and enjoy your time on the beautiful island of Maui!