Lahaina, Hawaii

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Lahaina, Hawaii
Census-designated place
Scenic Lāhainā oceanfront
Scenic Lāhainā oceanfront
Location in Maui County and the state of Hawaii
Location in Maui County and the state of Hawaii
Coordinates: 20°53′10″N 156°40′29″W / 20.88611°N 156.67472°W / 20.88611; -156.67472Coordinates: 20°53′10″N 156°40′29″W / 20.88611°N 156.67472°W / 20.88611; -156.67472
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)
Population (2010)
 • 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 Ka'anapali and Kapalua beach resorts to its north. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a resident population of 11,704.[1] Lahaina encompasses the coast along Hawaii Route 30 from a tunnel at the south end, through Olawalu, and to the CDP of Napili-Honokowai to the north. During the tourist season, the population can swell to nearly 40,000 people.

Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii before Honolulu. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry, with many sailing ships anchoring at its waterfront; today 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.[2]

Lahaina's popularity as a tropical getaway has made its real estate some of the most expensive in Hawaii; many luxury homes and condos are sold for more than $2 million there.[3]


Hokoji Shingon Mission in downtown Lahaina, a Japanese Buddhist temple

In antiquity Lahaina was the royal capital of Maui Loa, aliʻi nui of the island of Maui, after he ceded the royal seat of Hana to the ruler 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 often packed with tourists. Banyan Tree Square features an exceptionally large banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) planted by William Owen Smith on April 24, 1873, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries.[4] It is also the site of the reconstructed ruins of Lahaina Fort, originally built in 1832.[5]

Lele was an ancient name of Lahaina. The name Lā hainā means "cruel sun" in the Hawaiian language, describing the sunny dry climate.[6] Lahaina averages only 13 inches (330 mm) of rain per year, much of which occurs from December to February.

Circa 1903 - 1910

In 1795, before unification of the islands, the town was sacked by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845.[7] 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.[8] In 1824, at the chiefs' request, 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 whalers.

Geography and Climate[edit]

Lahaina is located at 20°53′10″N 156°40′29″W / 20.88611°N 156.67472°W / 20.88611; -156.67472 (20.886122, -156.674602).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.3 square miles (24.1 km2), of which 7.8 square miles (20.2 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), or 16.26%, is water.[10]

Lahaina has a tropical, semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with warm temperatures year-round.

Climate data for Lahaina, Maui
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 81.4

The whole west side of the island has a mailing address of "Lahaina" . This area included several different micro climates and wind lines. Areas that are in the northern end of Lahaina get 4 times the amount of annual rainfall as historic area of Lahaina and is cooler. The Kaanapali area of Lahaina gets double the annual rainfall that the historic area of Lahaina receives.

Average low °F (°C) 63.3
Average rainfall inches (mm) 3.15
Source: [11] WRCC,[11]

Lahaina panorama
Lahaina waterfront panorama


The Sugar Cane Train ran between Puukolii and Lahaina

As of the census[12] of 2010, there were 11,704 people, 3,263 households, and 1,759 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,584.7 people per square mile (612.3/km²). There were 3,263 housing units at an average density of 526.1 per square mile (203.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 27.02% White, 0.50% African American, 0.31% Native American, 39.50% Asian, 9.04% Pacific Islander, 2.18% from other races, and 18.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.50% of the population.

There were 2,599 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 18.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.50 and the average family size was 3.91.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 108.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.1 males.

The median income household income in 2010 was $81,384 and the average household income for 2010 was $99,975. Males have a median income of $39,583 versus $35,392 for females. The per capita income for the CDP is $29,921. About 6.8% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under the age of 18 and 9.2% of those 65 and older.


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 it 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.[13] 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 becomes one big party, which has earned the event the title of "Mardi Gras of the Pacific".[14] In 2008 the celebration was curtailed due to the objections of a group of cultural advisers who felt Halloween was an affront to 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 permitted the annual signature event to fully resume.[2]

Every November, Lahaina hosts the Maui Invitational, one of the top early-season tournaments in college basketball. New sponsorship of this event will cause the event to be renamed.

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 This race started in the 1960's and is held every second year.

Lahaina Activities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Lahaina CDP, Hawaii". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Maui's Front Street Named to Top 10 Great Streets for 2011 - Maui Now". 
  3. ^ "Hawaiian Real Estate Trends - A New Way to Look at Hawaii Realty". Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  4. ^ John R. K. Clark (2001). Hawai'i place names: shores, beaches, and surf sites. University of Hawaii Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8248-2451-8. 
  5. ^ Maui Historical Society. (1971) [1961]. Lahaina Historical Guide. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle, Co.
  6. ^ Pukui and Elbert (2004). "lookup of Lā-hainā". on Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  7. ^ Pukui and Elbert (2004). "lookup of Lahaina". on Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  8. ^ P.C. Klieger, 1998. Moku`ula: Maui's Sacred Isle Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Lahaina CDP, Hawaii". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 28, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "LAHAINA 361, HAWAII (515177)". WRCC. Retrieved 2015-01-14. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "In Lahaina, a monumental Maui Halloween" from Island Life October 29, 2004
  14. ^ "Halloween Destinations". Travel Channel. 

External links[edit]