West Maui Destination Guide
Home to the island’s most renowned beaches, West Maui is a top global travel destination.
Snorkel and walk family-friendly Kā’anapali’s three-mile-long golden beach, and whale-watch from Pu’u Keka’a, or Black Rock, an ancient holy place. Shop, dine, tour historic buildings and hit the nightlife at bustling oceanside Lāhainā, to the south. Or just to the north, boogie board, snorkel or retreat with your partner to the quieter sheltered white-sand bay of understated Kapalua. Golf is also a favorite here.
We recommend calling ahead before visiting shops, restaurants and attractions to confirm hours of operation. Many businesses across the island have modified operations in response to the global crisis.
Once a mid-1800s whalers’ village, modern-day Lāhainā is a relaxed, sunny oceanfront West Maui hub with a fun surf town ambiance. Spending the day visiting the original shops, galleries, coffeehouses, bars and restaurants, plus heritage buildings and historic sites. Lively Front Street, often ranked tops in the U.S., is the place to be. Be sure to snap a picture in front of the town’s mascot: a century-old banyan tree, the oldest on the island. The area’s other retail center is Whalers Village oceanfront shopping mall in Kā’anapali.
OLD LāHAINā LU’AU
Learn about Hawaiian culture and enjoy a spectacular, high-energy evening of traditional Polynesian dance, music, cuisine, history, legends and demonstrations. This is Maui’s No. 1 seaside lu’au, put on by an award-winning team that prides itself on hosting an authentic Hawaiian hula and feast. Superb ocean views and a pastel sunset framed by flickering torches are all part of the package, of course.
Agriculture is still a major Maui industry — and way of life. Find out how premium coffee is grown, and the whole field-to-cup process, at MauiGrown Coffee, a 500-acre estate in the West Maui Mountains outside Lāhainā. Not something you see every day, Maui Dragon Fruit Farm, just five minutes outside Lāhainā, cultivates 27 organic acres of its namesake, plus other exotics like pineapple, papaya, mango and banana. Take a guided walking tour to see 16 varieties of dragon fruit, learn about the unusual produce, the farm’s background and the area’s agricultural past.
LāHAINā PALI TRAIL
Take your time to take in the big vistas along this scenic five-mile trail looking out to the shimmering coast in the distance. The rocky out-and-back route, cut 200-plus years ago into the red soil, passes Maui’s Kaheawa wind farm with 34 large turbines. You’ll also be treated to views of Molokini Crater and Kaho’olawe Island, the Big Island, and Haleakalā and Ma’alaea Bay, where humpbacks pass in winter.
WHALE WATCHING & SUBMARINE
Humpback whales frequent Lāhainā’s coast in winter; in fact, the entire Maui Nui Basin, including off the resort’s shoreline, is one of the world’s best places to spot the acrobatic creatures. Once the capital of Hawai’i and a whaling center, Lāhainā’s harbor is still a busy place with boats shuttling visitors for sunset sails, snorkeling, fishing expeditions and whale-watching tours. Try a thrilling submarine-whale-watching combo, where you get to see the giants both under the surface and as they breach out of the water.
WEST MAUI RESTAURANTS
Lāhainā is West Maui’s dining destination of choice. On Front Street, cool down with iced coffee over breakfast at Belle Surf Café. For lunch, order a lobster grilled cheese, any kind of fish or shave ice at Down The Hatch, or tuck into jumbo-sized traditional Hawaiian platters at open-air Aloha Mixed Plate. Mick Fleetwood’s on Front St. is the town’s hot spot for rooftop panoramas of paradise over upscale casual American, and the Aloha Fridays extended Happy Hour goes from 11 to 4. In Kapalua, farm-to-fork Merriman’s beckons for elegant romance with ocean views over sophisticated regional cuisine. Think: wok-charred ahi sashimi and grilled Kaua Ranch lamb with papaya salsa.
Our friendly and helpful Fairmont Kea Lani concierge team is at your service with additional information and insider tips, and to make reservations and tour arrangements. Get in touch by email or phone at 1 808 875 4100, ext. 290.