Kaanapali Beach#3 in Best Things To Do in Maui
- 4.0Food Scene
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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#1 Road to Hana
To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty.
The Road to Hana might seem short, but traveling it will most likely take all day given the number of scenic lookouts and other places to stop. Those who have driven the Road to Hana highly recommend taking your time and stopping as often as possible. Reviewers also recommend starting your drive early in the morning, as the road grows congested as the day progresses. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, there are several tour companies that offer tours in luxury vans, including Valley Isle Excursions and Temptation Tours. Though pricier than driving yourself, taking a tour allows you to focus on the incredible scenery while someone else focuses on navigating the winding curves.
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