The only real town along the green but sunny shoreline of West Maui, Lahaina is one of the prettiest communities in all Hawaii. During the early nineteenth century it served as capital of the entire Kingdom of Hawaii, but it has barely grown since then, and still resembles the peaceful tropical village it used to be. Its main oceanfront street is lined with timber-frame buildings; coconut palms sway to either side of the mighty central banyan tree; surfers swirl into the thin fringe of beach to the south; and the mountains of West Maui dominate the skyline.
The view out to sea from Lahaina, towards the island of Lanai, is superb. If you have the time, consider taking a ferry there for the day; there's little to see on the island, but the main beach, at Hulopoe Bay, is a delight. Expeditions provides five sailings daily, from Lahaina Harbor ($25 each way; Tel:808/661-3756, Web: www.go-lanai.com ).