In the broad category called "weird," both are endearing. Laguna's weirdness is legendary, but Lahaina is growing into its own. If you make your way outside of the downtown tourist sector, there is a very livable community in Lahaina, which means you have "real people."
And in the woods of Maui, there are some very real people.
They drive beat-up trucks with cages in the back. Those cages, we learned, are for the pig hunting pit bulls. Yes, pig hunting with ferocious dogs is a thriving sport and food source on Maui.
We have the dark shadows of Laguna Canyon but they have the real thing.
They also have freaky geckos that materialize in your room out of nowhere.
They have dragon fruit, which I'm fairly certain is eaten on "Game of Thrones" by the lovely dragon woman, Daenerys Targaryen.
There are a lot of weird and interesting things in both Lahaina and Laguna. Our city's list could fill this whole newspaper. So even with the pig hunting, I think Laguna wins the weird gold.
In the beauty category, at first blush, you might think this would be an unfair fight: a tropical island versus a subdivision of Orange County?
But here's the thing: Maui is vulnerable. Many of its reefs are clearly overwhelmed — brown and trampled, the fish long gone. The turtles seem more rare than a few years ago; when they do poke up their heads out of the water, they seem to say, "Go away!"
The boat ride to the nearby crescent-shaped Molokini islet, allegedly one of the area's most pristine snorkel habitats, is a trash-filled eddy. Literally. When I went, there was a sickening amount of debris that filled its moon, sloshing around with nowhere to go.
Maui needs to immediately limit the number of cruise-like ships that go there.
The good news is Maui is still Maui. Nature still rules, so by the end of the day, there has been enough wind or rain to wash away most of our sins.
In Laguna, the environment is more measured and manicured. By contrast, we seem quaint — nice and attractive, but not particularly muscular.
With some concern, the gold goes to Lahaina, but there will be testing done later for steroids.
Make no mistake, both towns are beautiful and world-class destinations. The people are happy and helpful and you can always recognize the locals because they are not sunburned.
If you live in either town, count yourself lucky.
And if you were counting, both cities took three gold medals, but it was never much of a contest.
Laguna is better.
DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.