Hailed as the best beach in America, Kaʻanapali Beach boasts miles of soft, white sand and crystal-clear water. What was once a retreat for the Hawaiian monarchy now hosts some of the most luxurious resorts in Hawaii.
There are countless ways to enjoy the beautiful beach, from a simple stroll to swimming and snorkeling in the sea. There’s a paved walkway along the length of the beach, but it’s hard to resist walking on the powdery sand. If you do take to the water, keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles. During whale season (December-May), humpback whales can be seen breaching from the shore.
At the northern end of Kaʻanapali, Puu Kekaa (Black Rock) has some of the beach’s best snorkeling sites. Regardless of your experience level, you can go scuba diving on a half-day tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Ka’anapali Beach has the liveliest beach scene on Maui is therefore not recommended for those seeking low-key beach time.
- There’s no lifeguard on duty on the beach.
- There are showers behind the beach but you’ll need to go to the nearby Whalers Village shopping center or a resort to find restrooms.
- Water conditions vary with the season; be alert as currents are sometimes strong.
How to Get There
Ka’anapali Beach is a 10-minute drive north of Lahaina—or a 35-minute journey on the number 28 bus—and a 45-minute drive west of Kahului Airport. Paid parking is available behind the beach but it fills up quickly, especially on weekends.
When to Get There
The beach can get busy at weekends; the best time to visit is on a weekday morning, when it’s quietest. Visit at sunset to see the daily cliff diving ceremony off Puu Kekaa, during which a cliff diver lights torches along the cliff and dives off them in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s King Kahekili.
Exploring Whalers Village
Once you’ve had your fill of beach activities, wind down in Whalers Village, which is home to some of Maui’s best shopping and dining. Options include Hawaiian-style eateries such as Leilani's on the Beach, Hula Grill, and Ohana Tacos. On Sundays at noon the village hosts a hula show in the lower courtyard.