Historic Sites

Every city has its own unique feel and vibe, which is determined by a number of things. The local historic sites are no doubt one of the largest contributing factors to the aura that surrounds a city. When in Maui, users recommend paying a visit to Maluuluolele Park, in the Lahaina area to get a feel for what truly makes up the city.


This church, which began as a grass hut and went through several incarnations until this latest version was built in 1876, honors Queen Ka'ahumanu. Wife of King Kamehameha, she was the first royal to embrace Christianity and helped facilitate the religion's popularity when she converted in the 1820s. The church itself, built in the style of a traditional New England sanctuary, still features hymns sung in Hawaiian. It is open only on Sundays.

Read more about Ka'ahumanu Church →

This current-day park is most notable for what it used to be rather than what it is today. Formerly known as Moku'ula, the revered site was a royal residence throughout ancient Hawaiian history and up until the mid-19th century, when King Kamehameha died. In 1918, in the name of progress, the sacred pond around the site was drained, the residence was razed, and tons of soil were brought in to build up the area as a public park. Nowadays, an effort exists to reclaim the area and its history, but in the meantime, visitors must look across the site and imagine how ancient Hawaii must have been.

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Long known for its peaceful ambience, this area became a favorite refuge for Japanese plantation workers, who erected a simple sanctuary on the site. To mark the centennial anniversary of the Japanese presence in Hawaii, a large Buddha statue was installed here in 1968. It accompanies beautifully-kept grounds, a pagoda, and a reproduction of that first temple. Although the buildings aren't accessible to the public, the grounds are a terrific place to experience the quietness and beauty of this otherworldly spot.

Read more about Lahaina Jodo Mission →


This structure, located on the grounds of the former Lahainaluna Seminary (now an area high school), was home to one of Hawaii's earliest printing presses. The press was used to create a dictionary of the Hawaiian language, which early missionaries began to codify and document in the 1830s. Using the native tongue allowed them to teach the tenets of Christianity more quickly than filtering ideas through English. In 1982, the building was converted into a museum. Today, it holds the original press and replicas of early publications.

Read more about Hale Pa'i →

Constructed in 1912, this temple served as a social center for Chinese workers in the sugarcane industry. Named after the Wo Hing Society (a fraternal order), the temple includes a religious shrine and numerous items relating to the Chinese experience in Hawaii. A fascinating display located in the society's original cookhouse presents several movies filmed by Thomas Edison in turn-of-the-century Hawaii.

Read more about Wo Hing Temple →

Constructed in the late 19th-century for Portuguese Catholics in the area, this octagonal church brings a bit of the Old Country to the islands. Modeled after a Portuguese crown, the building features an elaborate gilt altar and fourteen beautifully decorated stations of the cross. The tiered exterior, crowned by a cross, is unmistakable. When the church was threatened by termites several years back, the congregation rallied to restore it and sold Portuguese sweet bread to raise funds for the work.

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Housed in the former home of a plantation supervisor, this museum details the role of sugarcane in Hawaii's economy. An assortment of photos and artifacts documents the changes brought about by A&B's push to acquire and accumulate land. Societal shifts affected by the influx of foreign laborers is also noted. In addition, there are displays on the growing and processing of sugarcane. An educational retrospective on Maui's first industry.

Read more about Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum →

Built in 1834 by Rev. Ephraim Spaulding and enlarged by his successor, Rev. Dwight Baldwin, this structure was home to American missionaries attempting to bring Christianity to the islands. Today, it displays artifacts from this era, including a host of furnishings original to the house. Adjacent to the house is the Masters' Reading Room, a building intended to distract sailors from the temptations of women and liquor. It is now home to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation and isn't available for touring. It is, however, a great place to pick up a guide to the town's historic sites.

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Originally built as a girl's school in the mid 19th-century, this structure eventually became the home of Edward and Caroline Bailey, the missionary couple who ran the school. Today, it is occupied by the Maui Historical Society, which operates a museum with items from the period. Along with Hawaiian crafts and an exhibit on cloth made from tree bark, it also houses furniture of the missionary era and paintings of Maui done by Mr. Bailey.

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This sacred site, used for ancient religious purposes, dates back at least to the 16th century and the era of King Piilani. A Maui chieftain who spearheaded a number of civic works and helped unite the island, Piilani established the temple, which was completed by his sons and grandson. With walls which reach 50 feet high, this structure is the largest of its kind in Hawaii. Inundated by vegetation until the 1970s, the heiau was examined by archaeologists in the 1980s and is now protectively maintained by a number of local families. The site is located on the grounds of the Kahanu Garden, which is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Read more about Piilanihale Heiau →