10 Must-Visit Historic Sites in Maui
Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island with the greatest number of accessible beaches, vast valleys perfect for hiking, and an abundance of wildlife. The best way to learn about Maui is to understand its past. Let us take you on a tour of some of the best historic sites in Maui.
Sugar cane was an incredibly important part of Maui’s economy. It was the island’s primary industry from the 1800’s to the 1960s. Visit the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum to learn about the industry’s history in Maui and how it shaped Hawaii into the diverse state it is today. Understanding the significance of this museum forms the backbone of modern Hawaiian history.
Visit on Shaka Guide’s West Maui Coastline Tour.
Hana is the most isolated town in Hawaii, overlooking Hana Bay. Explore the early life of Hawaii through stories of people that lived in Hana and discover over 560 artifacts leftover from the village of Kauhale. The courthouse is part of the exhibit but is still in use today! Hours are Monday-Friday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, but the museum is run by volunteers, so hours may differ. Entry is a donation of $3 per person.
Note: The Hana Cultural Center is currently closed due to COVID. Check here for updates
Haleakala National Park is considered a sacred place for its history and diverse wildlife. This is where Maui the demigod is believed to have lassoed the sun! Visit the summit at sunset - or sunrise - for an unforgettable experience. From over 10,000 feet in the sky you’ll watch the sky fill with shades of yellow and orange. You can also spot four Hawaiian islands from the summit, including Lana’i, Kahoolawe, Molokai, and O’ahu!
Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last natural wetland habitats in Hawaii. It is home to over 30 species of birds, including many endangered species. During your visit you can photograph unique wildlife, learn about the environment, and develop an appreciation for the endangered species that call Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge home.
Maui Tropical Plantation is an agricultural paradise on 500-acres of farmland. Spend the day exploring! You can take a 40-minute train to learn about Hawaii’s fruits and plants while participating in a coconut husking demonstration. While there, you can also fly over Maui on one of the plantation’s zipline tours.
6. Chinese Wo Hing Temple Museum
293.xx.xxx.xx, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
During the early 1900s Lahaina was home to a large population of Chinese immigrants to Hawaii. In Maui to work on the sugar plantations and mills, this tight-knit group grew and eventually formed the Wo Hing Society. This organization was dedicated to providing support and aid to immigrants in times of crisis. In 1912, they decided they needed a meeting house - so they built one, which still stands today, as the Wo Hing Temple Museum. So, drop by to learn more about Maui and Lahaina’s history, and take a tour of the building!
7. Old Bailey House Museum
SeaHorsePunch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Bailey House Museum, also known as the Hale H??ike?ike, has had a long and storied history. If you click here, you can see a full timeline. Today, it’s the headquarters for the Maui Historical Society, as well as the museum.
The museum is packed with ancient, historical artifacts, and has a gift shop with local products from the island including, jewelry, clothing, card games, art pieces, and educational books about Hawaii.
8. Hasegawa General Store
Lechhansl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Hasegawa General Store, located in Hana, has been serving the public since 1910 - over a century! In the store, there are products that are “Uniquely Hana,” and can’t be found anywhere else. This store is a true piece of Hana’s history - for a full historical timeline of the store, click here.
Want to visit Hana? Check out our THREE Road to Hana tours: Classic, Loop and Reverse.
9. Kahanu National Tropical Botanical Garden
The history of Kahanu Gardens dates back hundreds of years. Kahanu Gardens’ main claim to fame is the Pi’ilanihale Heiau that sits within the garden - the largest heiau in all of Polynesia. It was restored in the late 1980s, and now sits tall in the gardens - one of the best preserved heiaus in all of Hawaii.
As for the rest of the garden, it focuses on plants significant to Polynesian culture - especially Hawaiian culture. There are scattered signs labeling plants, and explaining their historical uses.
So, come and wander these picturesque gardens! Learn about ancient Hawaii and it’s customs while walking along Maui’s stunning coast.
10. Charles Lindbergh’s Grave
Charles Lingbergh was the most famous man alive in his time. He was the first person to complete a nonstop flight from New York to Paris. He started on May 20, 1947 - and after 34 sleepless hours, he had made it to Paris - and to a lifetime of fame.
Late in his life, he was diagnosed with cancer. After undergoing treatments, he knew his health was failing. So, he chose to end his life in his favorite place - Maui!
Each Hawaiian Island is unique, and a visit to any of these spots will help you learn more about Maui’s culture and history!
When you’re in Hawaii, we ask that you act respectfully towards the locals, land and wildlife. Please pick up your trash; never touch any marine life, plants, or other animals; and avoid spots that are unsafe. Hawaii’s natural resources are precious, it’s up to all of us to help preserve these resources.
Traveling to Maui? Check out our six driving tours on the island!
MAUI TRAVEL GUIDES: