A giant banyan tree in a beach town where kings were born
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LAHAINA, Hawaii — The beach town of Lahaina in western Maui was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, a place where kings were born. It later became a key port at the height of the 19th century whaling boom.
Though it transformed into a mostly tourist area in the 1960s, much of Lahaina's history can still be found sprinkled around town — including in the roots of a giant banyan tree.
"There's just a ton of historical spots in town, really precious, sacred places," said Amy Fuqua, manager of the Lahaina Visitor's Center.
Located about 40 minutes from Kahului Airport, Lahaina was known in ancient Hawaiian times as Lele, meaning "cruel sun." It was conquered by Kamehameha the Great in 1795.
Front Street, which runs along the shoreline, was known as King's Road, where only kings and queens could walk. It's now the town's main thoroughfare, dotted with historical sites — 62 in all around town — as well as shops and restaurants with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and
Among the historical sites is the Hauola Stone, a chair-shaped stone used by Hawaiian royalty as a birthing site starting around the 14th century. The smoothed-out rock at the north end of the
At the town
And make sure to visit the tree around sunset, when hundreds of mynah birds sing inside its canopy.
"It's kind of the
Not into history? Lahaina offers plenty of other touristy things to do.
Instead of whaling, the
The tiny Lahaina Civic Center transforms from a local events
Lahaina also is the hub of western Maui, a gateway to golf courses in Kaanapali and Kapalua, sandy beaches and some of the best snorkeling found anywhere in the world.
"There's a lot to do here, even for a small town," Fuqua said. "It's just a cool town."
If You Go...
LAHAINA, MAUI: http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/
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