Wailuku is Maui’s goverment center, the political beating heart of Maui Nui. Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Maui have just one head of government, a mayor. His office is here. A County Council has members who represent all parts of the three islands.
The island’s only high rise office building is here, as well as the county jail. You may need to visit county offices for certain camping or hiking permits.
Wailuku’s historic sites draw visitors. The Maui Historical Society operates the fine Hale Ho‘ike‘ike (former Bailey House Museum) jammed with artifacts from pre-contact days through the missionary period. The elegant Queen Ka‘ahumanu Church with its soaring steeple would look at home in New England.
If you want to get a sense of early 20th century Hawaii spend a night or two at the Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono. The house, its furnishings and the owners’ aloha-inspired hospitality will let you live for awhile in the graceful time before World War II.
Other reasons to go are to poke down Market Street, maybe attend a performance at the ‘Iao Theater, join the line for malasadas at Home Maid Bakery or go to A Saigon Cafe for grilled shrimp sticks and green papaya salad. Or plan a visit for First Friday, a block party with locals.
Wailuku is a convenient stop in conjunction with an ‘Iao Valley excursion.