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One of Maui's most popular strips of coastline, Kaanapali Beach stretches across 3 miles of the island's northwest coast, offering plenty of space to surf and sunbathe. (Be careful while swimming, however, as travelers say the currents can be deceptively strong.) But coveted sand is just one of this beach's many highlights: Kaanapali was Hawaii's first planned resort area, and today it features several notable hotels and restaurants, two championship golf courses and the lively Whalers Village open-air shopping center.
Yet for many recent visitors, Kaanapali Beach's man-made comforts don't come close to trumping its natural and more traditional features. This is also an excellent place to catch sight of the many diverse creatures that call the Pacific home. The waters here are shallow, making them good for snorkeling, and many travelers report seeing whales off the coast. Another highlight of a visit to Kaanapali Beach is the daily sunset cliff diving spectacle at Puu Kekaa (Black Rock), which pays tribute to King Kahekili, Maui's last independent king who ruled in the 18th century.
Kaanapali Beach sits just north of the town of Lahaina and can be reached by car via Route 30 (the Honoapiilani Highway). Public parking around the beach is limited (and an annoyance for past travelers), but there are also spots in the Whalers Village lot (up to six hours of complimentary parking is available with validation). Public transportation here is fairly limited, but certainly an option – the No. 25 bus offers service between Kaanapali and Lahaina, while the No. 30 runs between Kaanapali and Kapalua. For more information on Kaanapali Beach, visit the Maui Tourism Board website.
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