Even if your principal goal is to get some peace and quiet on Maui, braving the throngs of people and visiting the Lahaina National Historic District is a must. It served as Hawai'i's capital from 1820 to 1845, is steeped in history, and is peppered with 60 historic sites. Get an early start to up your chances of finding parking. It can be quite the challenge, and though paying $10 to $15 can be quite annoying, the experience is well worth the cost. Make a day of it: Stop at your leisure to swim, take a walking tour through the historic center of town, and find yourself at the Whaler’s Village Shopping Center as dinner approaches.
If you're a well-rehearsed history buff, Front Street deserves some serious time and attention. Starting at the corner of Front and Dickerson, walk down toward the harbor and check out the Baldwin Home Museum, one of the oldest buildings in the area and the home of Reverend Baldwin, an old missionary with huge influence during a period of prolific building. Then, navigate back up to Front Street and continue until you hit Shaw. Take your next left on Wainee and loop back towards Dickerson, catching sites like the Hauola Stone, an ancient healing site, the Pioneer Inn, and the banyan tree.
If ice cream and a quick stop are what you’re after, head straight to the banyan tree—it’s truly a site you can’t miss. Planted in April 1873 to mark the 50th anniversary of Protestant missionaries in Lahaina, the enormous network now covers a full square acre. More than just a historical marvel, the banyan is a natural phenomenon. A member of the fig family, it’s the largest tree in the world in terms of acreage and an ecological lynchpin, making up an integral part of the diet of many birds, bats, and other animals.