Visitors Information in Lahaina, Maui
Today the threat of overdevelopment is a concern, which may help protect this special place. The island has very different areas, from the resorts of sunny West Maui and the South Shore to the funky small towns of the North Shore, the ranches and farms of Upcountry, and the remote village of Hana in unspoiled East Maui. Directions on the island are often given as mauka (toward the mountains) and makai (toward the ocean).
Separated from the remainder of the island by steep pali (cliffs), West Maui has a reputation for attitude and action. Once upon a time, this was the haunt of whalers, missionaries, and the kings and queens of Hawaii; now it's one of Maui's main resort areas. Lahaina Town was not only once the kingdom's capital but also the alii's (royalty's) playground. Today the main drag, Front Street, is crowded with T-shirt and trinket shops, art exhibits, and restaurants where tourists stroll day and night. Farther north is Kaanapali, Maui's first planned resort area. Its first hotel, the Sheraton, was opened in 1963. Since then, resorts, luxury condominiums, and a shopping center have sprung up along the white-sand beaches, with championship golf courses across the road. A few miles farther up the coast is the ultimate in West Maui luxury, the resort area of Kapalua. In between, dozens of condominiums and strip malls line both the makai (toward the sea) and mauka(toward the mountains) sides of the highway. There are gems here too, though, like stunning Napili Bay and its crescent of soft sand.