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Sunbathing on Kaanapali Beach picture in Maui
Whale Sighting picture in Maui
Colors picture in Maui
Beach time picture in Maui
Sail away picture in Maui
Sunsets picture in Maui
Sunbathing on Kaanapali Beach picture in Maui
Whale Sighting picture in Maui
Colors picture in Maui
Beach time picture in Maui
Sail away picture in Maui
Sunsets picture in Maui

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • 24/7 daily

Details

  • Beaches, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.5
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Food Scene
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach

Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
Kaanapali Beach Hotel

Kaanapali Beach Hotel ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Maui »

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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 ... Read more » Royce Bair / Getty Images

#2 Helicopter Tours After you've experienced Maui through the eyes of a fish, consider getting a bird's perspective on a helicopter tour. Recent travelers describe this experience as a "splurge" (tours ... Read more » Benjamin Van Der Spek / EyeEm / Getty Images

#3 Kaanapali Beach 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 ... Read more » EvaBrowning / Getty Images

#4 Snorkeling Tours It can be easy to become mesmerized by Maui's multicolored beaches, verdant hiking trails and breathtaking sunsets, but don't forget about the world that lives beneath the surrounding ... Read more » M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

#5 Haleakala National Park Every year, more than a million tourists visit Haleakala National Park, home to the world's largest dormant volcano. The entire park occupies 30,000 acres of land in Upcountry ... Read more » Pierre Leclerc Photography / Getty Images

#6 Napili Beach Though not nearly as expansive as Wailea or Kaanapali, crescent-shaped Napili Beach is particularly popular with families. Napili's waters are much calmer than those at other Maui beaches, so ... Read more » unclegene / Getty Images

#7 Wailea Beach You visit Hookipa to see Maui's daredevils hang 10, and you head to Kaihalulu or Waianapanapa for multicolored sands. So which beach do you go to just to swim ... Read more » YinYang / Getty Images

#8 Waianapanapa State Park In Hawaiian, "Waianapanapa" means "glistening waters." But it's not the ocean that draws travelers to Waianapanapa State Park  it's the jet-black sands. The shoreline here is composed of ... Read more » 7Michael / Getty Images

#9 Hookipa Beach The wintertime waves at Hookipa Beach are so white and frothy that hardcore surfers and windsurfers can't stay away. The water is definitely too rough for swimming, but if ... Read more » BambooPro / Getty Images

#10 Iao Valley State Park Like Haleakala National Park, Iao Valley State Park offers visitors the chance to admire something other than the beach. This 4,000-acre, 10-mile-long park in Central Maui boasts a verdant ... Read more » Wildroze / Getty Images

#11 Golf Travelers who prefer greens to beaches will find plenty of places to put their clubs to good use. Maui is home to 14 highly acclaimed golf courses, some of them ... Read more » iShootPhotosLLC / Getty Images

#12 Old Lahaina Luau The Old Lahaina Luau is one of the most popular things to do for first-time Maui visitors; those who have taken in the show highly recommend devoting an evening to ... Read more » Kaiscapes / Flickr

#13 Banyan Tree Park Sitting near the courthouse and the harbor in the town of Lahaina on Maui's northwest coast, this relatively tiny park is centered around something huge: One of the largest ... Read more » 7Michael / Getty Images

#14 Maui Ocean Center If you find yourself facing a rainy day on the island, consider spending some time at the Maui Ocean Center. This facility was created to cultivate visitors' interest in learning ... Read more » jdeleon5 / Flickr

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Stop Along the Road to Hana picture in Maui
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Travelers describe driving the 55 miles from Kahului to Hana along the winding Road to Hana as a picturesque (albeit nerve-wracking) experience.  Royce Bair / Getty Images

Helicopter tours around the island can be pricey, but travelers say the views of Maui's craters, waterfalls and valleys are worth every penny. Benjamin Van Der Spek / EyeEm / Getty Images

Kaanapali Beach on Maui's northwest coast is one of the island's most popular beaches. The area features plenty of places to stay and eat, as well as several golf courses. EvaBrowning / Getty Images

According to travelers, setting aside a morning or afternoon to snorkel among Maui's underwater creatures is an unforgettable experience.  M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

The mouth of the dormant Haleakala volcano measures 19 square miles. Visitors can hike down into the crater for a closer look at the volcanic landscape. Pierre Leclerc Photography / Getty Images

The calm waves at Napili Beach make this small stretch of Maui's northwest coastline popular with families. unclegene / Getty Images

Wailea Beach is lined with upscale resorts and bustling restaurants, making this stretch of shoreline feel lively every day of the week. YinYang / Getty Images

The jet-black sand of this beach in Waianapanapa State Park is a particular favorite of travelers. 7Michael / Getty Images

Rougher waves draw surfers and windsurfers to Hookipa Beach. BambooPro / Getty Images

The striking Iao Needle stands 1,200 feet tall in the Iao Valley State Park. You can get excellent views of it from the Iao Needle Lookout Trail. Wildroze / Getty Images

Maui features 14 unique golf courses. The greens in Kapalua garner high praise for their arresting views of the neighboring Hawaiian island, Molokai. iShootPhotosLLC / Getty Images

The Old Lahaina Luau offers a great introduction to Hawaiian culture, exposing attendees to traditional hula dancing and cuisine. Kaiscapes / Flickr

Lahaina's Banyan Tree Park often hosts special events. But even when there's nothing on the calendar, the park makes for a great place to relax and people-watch. 7Michael / Getty Images

jdeleon5 / Flickr

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