Lahaina is Maui's dressed-up city. Stretching along the western coast, Lahaina's small down-town area is lined with picturesque curio shops, clothing stores and restaurants—a good afternoon's worth of air-conditioned activity. Shop chic boutiques before knocking back on the beach over a luau feast, Mai Tai and requisite sunset.
If the previous night's luau has you looking for a way to disentangle yourself from your towel, there are several options in Lahaina that might appeal. A variety of tours leave from Lahaina Small Boat Harbor, for those who want to get off the beach. Fishing tours set off from both Lahaina and Maalaea Bay, further south on Route 30. From November to April you can watch the 'big fish' (big mammals really)—humpback whales—either close up on a boat excursion or with a good pair of eyes from land.
Otherwise simply wander the waterfront on foot and imagine what you're missing out there over the horizon. Soak up some Hawaiian history with a visit to the old prison and the Wo Hing Temple, or take in the Baldwin home, the site of the Brick Palace and Hauola Stone.
While the beaches in Lahaina proper may fail to match some Maui standards, they suffice for a quick afternoon swim or a place to picnic. Organize a snorkelling tour in town for more exciting waters, or rent an assortment of beach paraphernalia at one of the local shops. Cruise town on a rental bike, if you've had your fill of sand and salt, or hike the five-mile Lahaina Pail Trail. Just don't forget to bring along plenty of water and sunscreen whatever your pursuit of choice, as Lahaina is the hottest and driest place on the island.
Chug along on one of the few stretches of rail still in use on the Sugar Cane Train that runs the six miles between Lahaina and Kaanapali for views without the effort.
Lahaina is 23 miles from Kahului and 77 miles from Hana.