Kaanapali Travel Guide

Does a frozen cocktail on a hot day sound like the perfect vacation to you? If so, Kaanapali Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui will be a great match for you. This three-mile white sand beach belongs on a postcard and is just as beautiful as it appears in pictures. If you’re looking for a new spot to spend some time in Maui, let VacationRentals.com tempt you with oceanfront rentals in Kaanapali.

What to Do in Kaanapali

kaanapali snorkeling

Fun Under the Sun

Many travelers spend vacation after vacation searching for the perfect beach. This process could be avoided by traveling to Maui the first time around. This Hawaiian Island delivers the quintessential perfect beach: long stretches of sugary sand, swaying palm trees, and turquoise water so clear that it almost loses its color. This is the perfect place to sunbathe, swim, and snorkel away the days.

While an entire Kaanapali travel guide could focus on these simple beach pleasures, there are also other activities for adventurous travelers. Whether you want to go scuba diving or sport fishing, these activities are all available nearby. Whale watching is another popular excursion — and this one is worth skipping a few hours of sunbathing for.

Kaanapali for Adults

Kids will love all of the outdoor activities on offer at Kaanapali, but if you’re planning an adults-only vacation, there is plenty more for grownups too. There are two championship golf courses here: the Royal Kaanapali and Kaanapali Kai. Some golfers have even had the magical experience of seeing a whale breaching in the water while trying to line up a shot.

kaanapali windsurfingLocated in northwest Maui, Kaanapali Beach is the signature beach of the area. In addition, a world-class shopping complex, restaurants, and live entertainment make this spot a perfect honeymoon destination. Once you arrive and see Kaanapali for yourself, you won’t be surprised that Maui was such a strong reputation for attracting honeymooners.

The Adventurous Side of Kaanapali

Kaanapali was once named America’s best beach, but this beach is also famous for another reason. Every day there is a cliff-diving ceremony here that attracts both locals and visitors alike. Taking place at the northernmost cliffs of Kaanapali Beach, called Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock, this ceremony will be one of the most memorable parts of your visit. It starts every evening at sunset, when a cliff diver lights torches along the cliff. The dive is a reenactment of an act by King Kahekili, a revered King of Maui. This spectacle is an important factor of how Kaanapali Beach has earned such a reputation amongst all of the spectacular beaches in Maui.

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What to See in Kaanapali

Local Landmarks

Some travelers might think that in a complex of oceanfront condos and villas that there might not be any attractions, but that isn’t the case in Kaanapali. Beyond Whalers Village and the two championship golf courses, there is also the Whaling Museum. This renowned attraction tells the story of a historic lifestyle that created a great deal of wealth.

Located in west Maui, there are also many landmarks nearby. Adventurous travelers will want to rent a car and explore the island at their leisure. Nearby in west Maui, travelers can visit Lahaina, home to dozens of art galleries and shops. This is also a historic whaling village with its own historic trail full of attractions and landmarks.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Kaanapli

kaanapali shopping

Shopping in Kaanapali

Not every Kaanapali travel guide will tell potential visitors that this resort area set the standard for resorts in Hawaii. This was one of the first areas to develop oceanfront villas along with shopping, restaurants, and attractions all in one place. If you don’t want to, you won’t have to leave the resort area for anything. This model has gone on to have great success in other areas of Hawaii as well.

In Kaanapali Beach, the open air Whalers Village is the place to shop. Here you will find world-class shopping including designer options as well as restaurants, a whaling museum, and even some free live Hawaiian entertainment. There are 90 fine shops here if you want to indulge in some serious retail therapy during your trip.

Dining in Kaanapali

Another reason people love Kaanapali Beach is its views. The best restaurants have views of the island of Lanai to the left and the island of Molokai to the right. Options for dining at Whalers Village include casual options or fine dining. Sunset is one of the best times to dine, so if you can drag yourself to do so, get off the beach early and be seated at a table for the best natural show in town.

Hula Grill is renowned for its fresh seafood and nightly entertainment while Leilani’s on the Beach offers a more casual grill atmosphere with an excellent oceanfront location. Cane & Taro advertises as having the best Mai Tai in Hawaii while the food court offers plenty of casual options for a quick bite on the go. Whether you’re looking for a romantic night on the town or a casual family dinner, you will find an option at Whalers Village in Kaanapali Beach.

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When to Visit Kaanapali

A quality Kaanapali travel guide will give details on the best time to visit. However, every individual visitor will have his or her own favorite time of the year. Hawaii experiences two seasons: summer from May through October and winter from November through April. While winter is considered the wetter season, many travelers prefer it because the average daily temperature is about 79 degrees instead of the 86 degree average temperature in the summer.

Another important factor travelers should consider is crowds. Hawaii, and especially Maui, is a very desirable vacation destination. During the summer months when many weddings are planned, Maui experiences a surge in honeymoons. The same can be said about times when schools are closed, including the summer months and weeks such as Christmas break or Presidents' Day. If you want to avoid these surges of visitors, plan your trip around these peak times.

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What to Bring to Kaanapali

When you’re planning a Kaanapali vacation you won’t have to worry too much about packing. This beach in west Maui has a casual atmosphere during the day, and you won’t need much more than a bathing suit, flip flops, sunscreen, and a good book. If you’re an adventurous traveler, you might want to bring along your snorkel gear, but if you don’t want to carry it, there are always some for rent along the beaches as well.

Another factor to consider when packing is what type of trip you’re planning. If romance is the center of attention, try packing little things to set the mood. Everything from candles to bubble bath to a special bottle of champagne can make all the difference in a romantic trip. If you’re planning a family trip instead, go ahead and pack some entertainment for the kids, including board games or DVDs for quality family time in the evenings.

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Local Services in Kaanapali

One of the reasons the model of Kaanapali Beach spread throughout Hawaii is it is successful and visitors appreciate having everything in one place. Whalers Village is the ultimate convenience, whether you’re looking to do some serious shopping or grab a quick bite to eat. Over the years, this resort area has perfected its services for visitors, anticipating every need. From ATMs to groceries to places to pick up more sunscreen, local services here will exceed your expectations.

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What to Know About Kaanapli

Kaanapali Beach can be a gateway for exploring the rest of Maui. While it has established a reputation as a great place for honeymoons and for soaking up the sun, there are also many attractions across the island worth exploring. Nearby in West Maui, visitors can plan a daytrip to Lahaina, Kapalua, or Honolua Bay. Adventurous travelers might want to explore even further, and drive the spectacular road to Hana to see its famous black sand beach.

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Getting to Kaanapali

Another reason for the popularity of Kaanapali, Hawaii is its easy accessibility. The fact that such a perfect beach is easy to reach will almost seem strange to the experienced traveler. Located in northwest Maui, Kaanapali is a 50-minute drive from Kahului Airport. In general, Maui has great connections to the continental U.S. Upon arrival, many visitors choose to rent a car to explore the island at their leisure.

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Why Kaanapali Vacation Rentals?

Savvy travelers know that it’s silly to travel all the way to Maui to stay in a hotel. The best way to fully enjoy the scenery and absorb the beauty of the beach is to stay in your own oceanfront rental. Honeymoons will be more romantic and families will enjoy more quality time; no matter what type of vacation you’re planning it will be enhanced by extra space, amenities, and comfort. The perfect beach in Maui can only be elevated by one more thing: the perfect vacation rental.

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