Once named the best beach in America, Kaanapali Beach is a world-known, coastal Hawaiian town that serves as a common tourist destination. Visitors can expect a near-perfect climate and warm water temperatures in an absolutely gorgeous tropical setting. Maui is one of our favorite Hawaiian Islands for several reasons and Kaanapali Beach has a ton to do with it. Read on for our 10 favorite things to do here in the “rolling cliffs of Maui.

Snorkeling at Kaanapali Beach

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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 10 minutes

Golfing at Championship Courses

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. What is better than golfing in paradise?

Drive time from Kaanapali: 10 minutes

Ziplining Over Kaanapali’s Tropical Forest

Perfectly situated at higher elevations above the forest and beyond the coast, Kaanapali Skyline Eco-Adventures offers a must-see experience for those who want to experience adventure and thrill 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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 5 minutes

Walking the Kaanapali Trail

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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 5 minutes

Head down to Front Street

CC BY/Hawaii Savvy/Flickr

Lahaina is Maui’s most popular tourist town, and it’s just a short drive south of 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. 

Make sure to visit Fleetwoods on Front Street for great live music and phenomenal food. The ocean-front bar and restaurant is owned by none other than Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood!

Drive time from Kaanapali: 10 minutes

Whale Watching

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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 10 minutes

Check Out the Museums

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

Drive time from Kaanapali: 10 minutes

Visiting the ʻĪao Valley State Monument

Kaanapali’s northwest Maui location puts you right at the base of the island’s northernmost high point, the ʻĪao 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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 45 minutes

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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 5 minutes

The Road to Hana

Public Domain/Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Head down Hana Highway for the drive of your life. 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.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 2 hours and 45 minutes but make sure to take your time as this drive will be up there in the most beautiful rides of your life.

Bonus- Check out the nightlife in Kihei

Known for the exciting beachfront “triangle”, Kihei is an epic little area on Maui with a great selection of bars and restaurants. This area is one of the only locations on the island that stays open late for those who enjoy a great nightlife scene. We love to recommend heading to Little Beach for the drum circle every Sunday, followed by a night on the town in Kihei.

Drive time from Kaanapali: 40 minutes

Maui Awaits

The tropical island of Maui is a picture-perfect location that is prepared to inspire you with its natural beauty. With everything being so close, your trip will be filled with adventure, relaxation, and great vibes. Just make sure to cherish the aloha spirit.