Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Once the Hawaiian islands' royal capital, remains of the former palace now lie beneath a softball field, but there's more than enough relics of Lahaina's missionary, whaling, and sugar-plantation past to keep history buffs busy. Most emblematic of the town's character was its stint as whaling capital of the Pacific, a time when men spent days harpooning and nights swilling ale. The popular town still functions as the launching grounds for Maui-based adventures ranging from submarine immersions to helicopter flights. Find tranquility on nearby Kaanapali beach or golf course, or beneath the canopy of Hawaii's biggest banyan tree, which sits in Lahaina's courthouse square.