Coordinates: 20°53′10″N 156°40′29″WCoordinates: 20°53′10″N 156°40′29″W
Country United States State Hawaii County Maui
• Total 9.3 sq mi (24.1 km2)
• Land 7.8 sq mi (20.2 km2)
• Water 1.5 sq mi (3.9 km2)
Elevation 3 ft (1 m)
• Total 11,704
• Density 1,300/sq mi (490/km2)
Time zone Hawaii-Aleutian (UTC-10)
ZIP codes 96761, 96767
Area code(s) 808
FIPS code 15-42950
GNIS feature ID 0361678
Lāhainā is the largest census-designated place (CDP) in West Maui, Maui County, Hawaii, United States, and the gateway to the famous Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts north of the community. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a resident population of 11,704. Lahaina encompasses the coast along Hawaii Route 30 from a tunnel at the south end, through Olawalu up to the CDP of Napili-Honokowai to the north. During the heavy tourist seasons, the population can swell to nearly 40,000 people.
Until permanently moving to Honolulu, Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry with many sailing ships anchored in at its waterfront; today a score of pleasure craft make their home there. Lahaina's Front Street has been ranked one of the "Top Ten Greatest Streets" by the American Planning Association.
Lahaina's popularity as a tropical getaway has caused its real estate to be some of the most expensive in Hawaii; many luxury homes and condos are sold for more than $2 million there.
Hokoji Shingon Mission in downtown Lahaina, a Japanese Buddhist temple
In antiquity Lahaina was the royal capital of Maui Loa, 5th Moi of Maui, after he ceded the royal seat of Hana to the King of Hawaii Island. In Lahaina, the focus of activity is along Front Street, which dates back to the 1820s. It is lined with stores and restaurants, and is often packed with tourists. Banyan Tree Square features an exceptionally large banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) planted on April 24, 1873, by William Owen Smith to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries. It is also the site of the reconstructed ruins of Lahaina Fort, originally built in 1832.
Lele was an ancient name of Lahaina. The name Lā hainā means "cruel sun" in the Hawaiian language, describing the sunny dry climate.Lahaina averages only 13 inches (330 mm) of rain per year, much of which occurs from December through February.
Circa 1903 - 1910
Prior to unification of the islands, in 1795, the town was sacked by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845.King Kamehameha III, son of Kamehameha I, preferred the town to bustling Honolulu. He built a palace complex on a 1 acre (0.40 ha) island, Mokuʻula, in a fishpond near the center of town. In 1824, at the request of the chiefs, Betsey Stockton started the first mission school open to the common people. It was once an important destination for the 19th century whaling fleet, whose presence at Lahaina frequently led to conflicts with the Christian missionaries living there. On more than one occasion the conflict was so severe that it led to the shelling of Lahaina by whaleships.
In 1831 a fort was built for defense, and the reconstructed remains of its 20-foot (6.1 m) walls and original cannons can still be seen. Also nearby are the historic Pioneer Inn and the Baldwin House.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua hosts the PGA Tour's Hyundai Tournament of Champions every January.
The many restaurants along Front Street offer a broad variety of food and entertainment, making the street the hub of West Maui's night life.
The "Carthaginian II", a recreation of a 19th-century whaler ship, was a floating museum of whaling from 1980 to 2005, located dockside just across the Pioneer Inn hotel. Due to irreversible rust damage to the steel hull, the "Carthaginian II", which had started life as a German freight carrier in the Baltic sea, was sunk in 95-feet of water about one-half mile offshore from Lahaina. It now serves as a submarine tourist and diver attraction.
Halloween is a major celebration in Lahaina and has become a signature event in the past decades, with crowds averaging between 20,000 to 30,000. The evening starts off closing Front Street to cars so the "Keiki Parade" of children in costumes can begin. Eventually adults in costumes join in, and by dark, the street changes to one big party, which has earned the event the title of "Mardi Gras of the Pacific". In 2008 the celebration had been curtailed due to the objections of a group of cultural advisers who have upheld the permits necessary, as they feel Halloween is an affront to the Hawaiian culture. In the following years the event was poorly attended, as the street was not closed and no costume contest took place. In 2011, citing economic concerns, the city has allowed the event on Front Street the proper permits for the annual signature event to continue.
Every November, Lahaina hosts the Maui Invitational, one of the top early-season tournaments in college basketball.
Lahaina also hosts the finish of the Vic-Maui Yacht Race, the longest offshore sailboat race on the West Coast, which starts in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Often called the "jewel in the crown of Maui," Lahaina is a destination that is experienced by two million people, or 83% of all Maui visitors, annually. Lahaina town is the second most visited spot on Maui after beaches. We warmly welcome you to visit our historic town, which is nestled between the calm waters of the Au'au Channel facing Lana'i island and the fertile peaks and valleys of Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui mountain range). Lahaina has provided a home for many cultures over the centuries, always welcoming visitors to its inviting shores.
When the first Polynesian settlers arrived at these shores well over a thousand years ago, Lahaina offered them abundant freshwater streams, verdant valleys with fertile volcanic soil, warm, sunny days and a pristine, bountiful sea. Even today, much of this can still be said of Lahaina. Steeped in a history which consistently documents its progress from one era to another, Lahaina has retained a flavor of each to this day. Over 18,000 full-time residents call Lahaina home. Our challenge, as the caretakers of this legacy, is to continue to support compatible tourism while protecting Lahaina's unique cultural and natural resources, and to sustain the viability of our community.
Imported from India and planted in front of the Lahaina Courthouse and Lahaina Harbor on 1873, this sprawling tree along Front Street is the size of an entire city block and stands more than 60-feet high. If you need to cool down a bit, you can walk for two-thirds of an acre under the shadow of its sweeping branches. Many events and art exhibits are held beneath this popular gathering place.