Kaanapali Beach is perhaps the most well-known beach in all of Maui. Situated on west the west coast, these three miles of soft, golden sand have been called the best beach in America. It was once the retreat for the royal family of Hawaii, and it is now home to some of the most famous Hawaiian resorts.
There are countless ways to enjoy the beautiful beach, from a stroll on the sand to swimming and snorkeling in the clear, warm sea. There is a paved walkway along the length of the beach, but it’s hard to resist walking on the sand. If you’re in the water, keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles—they’re common visitors to the area. During whale season, humpback whales can be seen breaching from the shore.
At the northern end of Kaanapali, Black Rock has some of the beach’s best snorkeling. Every night at sunset cliff divers can be seen performing the Hawaiian ritual here, lighting torches along the cliff before leaping into the ocean.
Once you’ve had your fill of the beach activities, head up to nearby Whalers Village for some of Maui’s best shopping and dining, as well as a whaling museum with history of the area.
Kaanapali Beach is located in northwest Maui, roughly a 50-minute drive from Kahului Airport. Blue shoreline access signs point to public beach access points and limited free parking. There are showers located along the beach but no public restrooms. Water activities are available from vendors lined up along the shore.