One lazy afternoon on Maui, my mom and I decided to take a trip, just the two of us, to Lahaina, one of the island’s most adorable historic towns.
For as long as I can remember we’ve been making the drive to Lahaina from our base in Kihei; this West Maui town may be small in size, but it delivers plenty of entertainment and attracts millions of visitors every year. We always hated saying goodbye at the end of the day.
Lahaina’s historic thoroughfare, Front Street, is all kinds of adorable; shops are painted a myriad of bright, playful colors and the whole place oozes that laid-back Hawaiian vibe. Everyone wears a smile in Lahaina, no matter the occasion. It’s contagious, really.
My memories from previous visits include posing for pictures while holding brilliantly colored macaws, dining at oceanfront restaurants perched on stilts above crashing waves, and digging into rainbow mountains of Hawaiian shave ice while window shopping on Front Street.
On my return more than a decade older, I couldn’t think of many things I’d rather do; with a few minor modifications, we spent our day in Lahaina in much the same way as we had all those years ago. Among the shops we wandered into were apparel and surf shops, touristy stores selling the stereotypical Hawaiian print shirts, art galleries, and jewelry stores.
It’s here that I found my GoPro tripod and the sweater that I later wore to the summit of Haleakala crater. I also practiced a lot of restraint that day; many a swimsuit tugged at my heartstrings, as did the selection of adorable Hawaiian trucker hats that I knew I’d never wear after leaving the island. Knowing that I already had a suitcase that was full to near bursting (and a wallet that was anything but) really helped keep me in check.
We reached the end of Front Street in what felt like no time flat, so we made a u-turn to head back toward the car and investigate a few of the shops we’d missed on the first pass. By that point I was in dire need of a late afternoon pick-me-up, so I stopped in at the gelato shop that had caught my eye earlier, Ono Gelato. There are several gelato shops in town, but this one was by far the cutest!
Ono means “delicious” in Hawaiian, and they couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name. I ordered two scoops of gelato and a coffee to wash it down. This little combo set me back a pretty penny, but at least they made up for it with beautiful views from their oceanfront deck. Their Sandy Beach flavor–peanut butter with graham cracker crumble and coconut candy–was my hands-down favorite, and paired with rich chocolate gelato, I could have died happy right then and there.
If I had died, however, I never would have had a chance to appreciate the incredible towering banyan tree located at the south end of town, in a park appropriately named Lahaina Banyan Court. This tree is one of the largest banyan trees in the United States! It spans an entire city block and stands more than 60 feet tall. Its labyrinth of branches was spellbinding; I could have gazed into its wise, spindly soul for hours. Not only does this magnificent Lahaina landmark provide a relaxing place to escape the Hawaiian sun, but it also serves as an event space for art exhibitions and local gatherings. It was a beautiful sight to behold as well as our last before bidding our farewell to Lahaina that day. I already look forward to the day I can return. It’s not hard to see why people come to Hawaii and decide to stay; friendly people, magnificent scenery, and a sun that never quits…
What’s not to love?
Have you been to Maui? What’s your favorite town?
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