Snorkeling at Kaanapali Beach

CC BY/Brian Lauer/Flickr

Once named the best beach in America, Kaanapali Beach in Maui, also known as Black Rock due to the massive lava rock jutting out into the water, is a prime snorkeling spot. This is an easy-walk in spot for swimming and undersea sightseeing. Kaanapali visitors are lucky to be so close to one of the best beaches on the island.

Shopping at Whaler’s Village


Fashionistas looking to indulge in a little vacation shopping time can visit Whaler’s Village, a shopping center at the heart of Kaanapali. Shops include boutiques featuring wares from local clothing and jewelry designers, making this a great place to scoop some unique Hawaiian souvenirs and tropical clothing to enhance the Aloha spirit.

People Watching on Front Street

CC BY/Hawaii Savvy/Flickr

Lahaina is Maui’s most popular tourist town, and it’s just a short drive south from Kaanapali. Front Street is the major tourist destination within Lahaina, offering tons of souvenir shopping opportunities and some fantastic people watching among crowds of both quirky townie locals and international tourists alike. Traffic can be a headache during peak season, so plan accordingly.

Whale Watching from Lahaina

CC BY/James Brennan/Wikimedia Commons

In addition to offering great people watching, Lahaina is also the port from which most of Maui’s whale watching and other boat tours depart. This puts Kaanapali visitors in an ideal location to board a morning cruise, walk around Lahaina and head back to their vacation home base before traffic gets too bad.

Golfing at Championship Courses

CC0/Steven Moreno/Public Domain Pictures

Golfers have lots of great course options on Maui, and two of them are located in the Kaanapali area: the Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai. These championship courses each offer 18 holes with amazing views of the water and surrounding landscapes. Guests of participating resorts in the area may get a discount on their tee time at these courses.

Ziplining Over Kaanapali’s Tropical Forest

CC BY/Forest Starr and Kim Starr/Flickr

Perfectly situated at higher elevation above the forest and beyond the coast, Kaanapali Skyline Eco Adventures offers a must-see experience for those who want to zipline while on Maui. The scenery is spectacular, and the company offers several different stops and viewing platforms on its various tour packages so visitors can get a bird’s eye view from several different directions.

Visiting Lahaina Museums

CC BY/Joe Parks/Wikimedia Commons

Kaanapali’s neighboring tourist town of Lahaina isn’t just a place to indulge one’s inner tourist. It’s also an important part of Maui’s immigrant and whaling history. Options for curious history buffs include museums such as the Wing Ho Temple, which commemorates the island’s Chinese immigrant population, and the Lahaina Heritage Museum.

Driving the Road to Hana

Public Domain/Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Hana is essentially on the other side of the island from Kaanapali, so it’s not exactly a walkable attraction. However, adventurous visitors with a car at their disposal should consider making the drive. There’s no better way to see the island than to traverse it, and Hana itself is a beautiful gem tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Kaanapali and Lahaina.

Walking the Kaanapali Trail

CC BY/Edmund Garman/Flickr

This free, self-guided coastal walking tour takes visitors through some important Hawaiian historical sites and beautiful ocean vistas, with the westward-facing view making for a perfect sunset stroll. The trail can get quite crowded due to its beauty and location in the heart of Maui’s most crowded tourist district, so those who want to beat crowds should plan to go early.

Visiting the Iao Valley State Monument

CC0/Bernard Spragg/Wikimedia Commons

Kaanapali’s northwest Maui location puts it right at the base of the island’s northernmost high point, the Iao Valley State Monument. This gorgeously lush area is a well-preserved tropical paradise that visitors can either hike or drive to for a photo op. Plan to stay awhile either way to make the drive worth it.