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Lahaina vs. Honolulu: A Hawaii Travel Guide

View on Napali Coast on Kauai island on Hawaii

Lahaina vs. Honolulu: A Hawaii Travel Guide

If you're planning to travel to Hawaii, you might have a lot of questions. Hawaii has multiple islands, each of them offering different experiences. The Hawaiian islands include Hawaii (the big island), Maui, O'ahu, Molokai, Kauai, Lanai, and Niihau. It's good to do some research on each island to see which might fit you best. Today, we're going to help you take a look at Lahaina and Honolulu. These areas are on different islands. Lahaina is located on Maui, and Honolulu is located on O'ahu.

We're going to cover all the things you might need to know about each of these islands and cities to help you decide what might be a better fit. We'll go over their locations, landscape, how much it costs to stay, the weather, the food and culture, and some of the fun activities you can do in each area. Here is your Hawaii Travel Guide for Lahaina vs. Honolulu.

Lahaina vs. Honolulu: Location

Lahaina is located in the west part of Maui. This area is one of the more popular resort areas on the island, located near Kanapali, Kapalua, and Wailea. This part of the island is very beautiful, with lush greenery and tropical/mountainous scenery. It's also a very developed area of the island, so you'll be able to experience great dining and shopping, beautiful golf courses, resort spas, amazing beaches, and more.

Honolulu is located on the island of O'ahu. It is a very large and popular area of the island on the south shore. Honolulu is actually the capital of Hawaii. It is very developed and home to many businesses, which brings in a lot of travel, approximately 4.7 million people per year. Honolulu is known for its great nightlife, shopping, and dining. It's also a commonly visited place because it is home to the Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial.

Oahu Hawaii
There is a lot to do on the shoreline of O'ahu in Honolulu.


Lahaina vs. Honolulu: Landscape

Lahaina, which is on Maui, offers a beautiful tropical landscape. Maui is actually nicknamed “Heaven on Earth” and is believed to be the most beautiful of the Hawaiian islands. In Lahaina, you'll see palm trees, tropical flowers, and even beautiful mountain scenery all around. Maui is the second largest island, so although Lahaina is tropical, the island also has rainforest and desert areas.

The island of O'ahu and, specifically, Honolulu give big-city vibes. Although the Honolulu area is lined with beaches, it is also a very busy area for business, finance, hospitality, and the military. Because of this, it's very developed, so it feels like you're in a tropical city. This area has a mixture of many cultures, including Asian, Pacific, and Western cultures, so it is diverse. In Honolulu, you can see mountainous scenery but also travel around the island to see more of a rainforest landscape.

Lahaina vs. Honolulu: Cost

Because the west side of Maui is a sought-after vacation spot, the demand is high, which will ultimately lead to higher costs. The average cost for a hotel per night in Lahaina is $524. The median price for a hotel room is $458. Most of the three-star hotels will be approximately $315 per night, whereas four-star hotels will jump up in price to $615. With this average, a one-week stay in Lahaina would cost approximately $3,667 for a hotel.

Honolulu, on the other hand, is actually much more reasonably priced when you compare it to other areas in Hawaii to travel to. The average cost per night at hotels in Honolulu is approximately $365. You can find mid-range hotels for $275, low-budget hotels for $200, or even luxury hotels for $500. Because this area of O'ahu is traveled to so much, it has the infrastructure to take on more travelers, providing more options, meaning there is a little bit less demand that affects the cost.

Booking a sunset sail is an amazing way to enjoy the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

©Theodore Trimmer/Shutterstock.com

Lahaina vs. Honolulu: Weather

Lahaina has great weather year-round. From January to December, temperatures range from 82 degrees to 88 degrees for highs and 64 degrees to 71 degrees for lows. It also only averages around 12 inches of rain a year, which is vastly different from the 400 inches of rain the west Maui mountains get. May through September often have no days of rain all month long. January is historically the wettest month, with rain for three days. February, March, November, and December average two days. Lastly, April and October only have one day a month.

Honolulu, on the other hand, receives more rain than Lahaina. The climate in Honolulu is much more humid, and it averages about four and a half days of rain each month. This rain results in a luscious greenery landscape you can see throughout the city. This area receives the least amount of rain during the summer months. But, if you travel in the Spring, Winter, or Fall, don't worry too much about the rain as it usually comes and goes quickly. Similar to Lahaina, Honolulu temperatures are stable throughout the year in the mid-80s.

Lahaina vs. Honolulu: Food

Although each of the seven different islands might have some cultural variation when it comes to food, each island of Hawaii has Hawaiian staples that you have to try. Many of these include malasadas, spam, locomoco, and roast pork. Of course, make sure to take advantage of the delicious fresh seafood. If you're looking for some of the best restaurants in Lahaina, check out these restaurants:

  • Gazebo Restaurant at Napili Shores
  • 808 Grindz Cafe
  • Miso Phat
  • Honu Oceanside
  • Mala Ocean Tavern
  • Japengo
  • Leilani's On The Beach
  • Monkeypod
  • Soup Nutz & Java Jazz
  • Castaway Cafe

If you decide to visit Honolulu, make sure you try all the Hawaiian classics here as well: spam, roast pork, loco moco, and malasadas. To try some of the best malasadas (fried doughnuts), check out Leonard's Bakery. They have been making and perfecting malasadas since 1952. If you're looking for some of the best restaurants in Honolulu, check these out:

  • Marukame Udon Waikiki
  • Momosan Waikiki
  • Deck
  • La Mer
  • Lucky Belly
  • Poke Bar
  • STRIPSTEAK Waikiki
  • Sweet E's Cafe
  • Ramen Akatsuki
  • Tempura Kiki
Hawaii's North Shore
While in Hawaii, take advantage of all the amazing ocean activities you can experience.

©Shane Myers Photography/Shutterstock.com

Lahaina vs. Honolulu: Activities


If you're visiting Lahaina, you'll likely be planning to spend a lot of team at the beach, in the water, and dining and shopping. But, here in this area, here are some things you have to do and see.

First is the check out of the Lahaina Banya Tree. Located at Banyan Tree Park, you can see this Indian species tree that was planted in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Lahaina Protestant mission. This tree is 60 feet tall and has 16 huge trunks that stretch out over the park.

If you're into surfing, make sure to check out the surf break wall. Located at the Lahaina boat harbor, the wall breaks the surf, making it a safe place for surfers, even beginners.

Lastly, if you're in Maui, you can't miss out on seeing the Road to Hana. The Road to Hana is an amazing driving tour on Maui that takes you through beautiful rainforests, ocean vistas, and a handful of natural pools and waterfalls.


If you're visiting Honolulu, there are many things to do. Make sure to check these things out.

One of the most popular things to do when visiting Honolulu is to visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. With an award-winning audio guide, learn the history of everything that happened on December 7, 1941.

If you're looking for great snorkeling, although you can schedule a tour, you can also plan a visit to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This is a family-friendly area known to be one of the best places to snorkel on the island with exotic marine life.

If you have a car, make sure to take a trip to the Dole Plantation. If you love pineapple, then this is a must. Take the Pineapple Express Train, which is narrated to tell you about the area. You can also take a walk through the plantation garden, adventure into the Pineapple Maze, and try their delicious homemade pineapple ice cream.

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