Kaanapali Beach on Maui’s west side is by far my favorite vacation destination on the planet as of now! It always calls me back again and again to soak up the warm Hawaiian sun and crystal clear blue waters. It’s my kind of paradise. Once you visit, you’ll see why. It’s been consistently voted as one of Maui’s best beaches, and was once rated as America’s best beach!
Maui is especially accommodating, having a baby on board this trip. (The airplane ride over was interesting, but that’s a different story!) It’s not too busy and lacks nothing. It’s pretty chill and very family friendly with fun for every age.
Kaanapali Beach has a lot to offer. For thrill seekers, take surfing lessons or parasail. Take sunset cruises, snorkel tours, go jet skiing, rent paddle boards, go zip-lining, snuba, and go on whale watching adventures during whale season. Or simply hang out on the beach and make sandcastles or take a dip in the water and relax.
Snorkeling at Black Rock is always fun and one of my favorite spots. Black Rock is an old lava flow on the north end of Kaanapali Beach jetting out by the Sheraton Hotel. It is believed that ancient Hawaiians used this rock to release their spirits that then jumped off to be with their ancestors. Today, their is a sunset torch lighting that happens nightly and is finished up with a dive off the lava rock!
It has great snorkeling too. The fish are always abundant and beautiful, and turtles show up fairly often. Previous trips while snorkeling, big turtles arrived and began riding the waves. Very cool to see. They were also quite large. The smaller ones were hanging around too, but we’re far more busy swimming around popping by ever so often. Sting rays casually swam past us too…a little unnerving. If you get tired of snorkeling, relax in the water and watch the many people jump or dive off the black rock. Or if you’re adventurous, go take the leap yourself.
We always stay at The Whaler. It’s a condo complex, so all the rooms have a kitchen. Great for an extended stay and making my little guy’s breakfast. You’re situated right on the beach front close enough to hear the waves crash onto the shore. It’s not a resort where you get all wrapped up in the amenities either. No fancy water slides or restaurants. Just a modest pool, and courtyard with a relaxing koi pond, but we come for the beach life! We did spend a few days at the pool getting our little guy used to the water. The beach was just too overwhelming at first!
Once you’re done with your day’s activities, stroll along the paved path along the beach behind the resorts. It’s a mile long, nice to view the sunset and breath in the thick salty Maui air. It’s also a hot spot for runners in the morning as well. It starts at the Sheraton by Black Rock stretching all the way to the Hyatt.
Along the path, about midway, stop and eat or shop at Whalers Village. An outdoor mall with many high end shops and restaurants. Grab an ice cream cone to cool off or wait until you get to the Hyatt and enjoy some shave ice at Ululani’s.
With seven resorts you’ll walk by, there are many restaurants to choose from too. From cheap to very expensive, sushi to pizza, brunch to dinner, there is a restaurant for everyone. Pick depending on your occasion or budget. We’ve been to just about all of them and I didn’t have a bad experience from any. This last trip we ate at the newest restaurant in Whalers Village, Monkey Pod Kitchen. The atmosphere was great. There was live music, a beautiful view, and abundant seating. That little area tends to become very congested at night, so the restaurants are always packed and busy. Make sure to put in a reservation. There is also Hula Grill, and Lalani’s Grill. In a rush or want something light or to go? There is a food court in the mall.
If you’re looking to get away from the resort scene for a bit, take a drive into Lahaina. Browse all the fun little shops and have some shave ice or ice cream. Grab some lunch or dinner at one of their many restaurants as well. We’ve tried many of them, but on this past trip we ate at Down the Hatch. It’s an outdoor eatery. It’s fun and has amazing food. The chicken and waffles I had were out of this world amazing. My little guy loved them too, although it was quite a mess. Who cares though…it’s vacation!!!
Napili is another fun little area to explore. On the way though, is a place called Slappy Cakes. We never ever miss it. It’s a make your own pancake breakfast restaurant. Always so much fun – pick your flavor of batter, toppings and syrup. Don’t drive past it on the way to Napili. Napili is north of kaanapali a few miles. It has a fun little beach where turtles like to hang. It also has many restaurants to explore.
In Napili, there is one of my favorites, Maui Tacos. It is fabulous to say the least. It’s worth the short drive and such a nice casual dinner after a long day in the hot sun!
Just a bit further is Kapula. This is where the prestige Four Seasons Hotel is situated. It’s always fun to tour and walk around the grounds.
The west side of Maui, specifically Kaanapali Beach, is by far my favorite place to relax in paradise. But don’t forget, there is a whole island of adventure. We’ve also ventured into Kehei and Wailea. Drove the Hana Highway and hiked to some gorgeous waterfalls and explored Mount Haleakala – the dormant volcano that makes up most of Maui.
Maui is never boring and always paradise. Go visit!!! You’ll love it!
Hawaii is always a good idea!
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