Of all the beaches on Maui probably the most famous is Kaanapali Beach. This enormous white sand crescent shaped beach is the centerpiece of the Kaanapali Beach Resort which is the home of five of the most popular hotels on Maui as well as six of the largest condominium complexes. Kaanapali Beach is not only extremely wide with the most marvelous soft and fluffy sand making it ideal for "laying out" but its sand bottom entry into the water makes it an ideal location to swim. In fact one could easily jump into the water at the far south end of Kaanapali Beach near the Hyatt and swim the entire two-thirds of a mile or so all the way to the Black Rock where the Sheraton Hotel is perched. In addition, snorkeling is a great option at Kaanapali as well and the Black Rock has been a giant magnet for snorkel enthusiasts over the years.
At any given day Kaanapali Beach will be the site of lots of ocean activity. Not only are people sunning themselves, swimming and snorkeling but they are surfing, paddle boarding and floating on inflatable beach chairs and rafts. Kaanapali is also a popular location to depart from on one of the many snorkel sails, sunset or dinner cruises, parasail rides, diving adventures or jet ski rides. The center of all the activity is at a place called "Dig-Me Beach" which lies just in front of the Whalers Village Shopping Complex access to the beach. Over the years this has been the place to "see" and "be seen" explaining the unusual moniker. Since all the major hotels and shopping areas lie directly on the beach itself it is convenient to spend much of the day under the shade of an umbrella ferrying back and forth for food and refreshments which are found just steps away.
Though Kaanapali Beach is widely known for its sand bottom, it also has one of the most well known snorkeling spots on the island at the Black Rock. The Black Rock is a finger of lava that separates the two sides of Kaanapali Beach. Along the sides of this beautiful promontory are areas of ocean that are excellent for snorkeling because of the abundant sea life not found elsewhere on the beach. Bring your snorkel gear if you have it or you can rent some gear right there at the beach.
Surfing is also popular at Kaanapali and there are an number of surfing schools that operate here. The surf break is at the north end of the beach by the Hyatt and it is known as "the point". This is an excellent place for beginners to learn to surf. The surf at "the point" is very consistent and it is a rare day when the surf is not large enough to be able to ride. In addition to wave surfing, Kaanapali Beach is also an excellent spot to paddle board as the water just out beyond the initial break along the entire beach is usually quite flat. This is great exercise and tons of fun and the sport has really taken over in Hawaii and is all the rage.
The beach amenities at Kaanapali Beach are formidable. First of all there is parking available just south of the Whalers Village between it and the Westin. It's not that many parking stalls but you could certainly park at any one of the hotels or at Whalers Village although there will be a charge for the parking. Public restrooms can be found at any of the hotels or in the shopping areas and showers are located all over the beach. There is a beach walk that connects all of the hotels running along the shoreline. Restaurants are available all along the beach. Equipment rentals are available as well if you would like to rent a surf or paddle board. Although there is no lifeguard tower on the beach there is one at the beach immediately to the south with easy and fast access to Kaanapali.
For many people, perhaps the quintessential beach on Maui is Fleming Beach, also known as D.T. Fleming Beach Park. This beach has it all. It spans close to a half-mile along its crescent-shaped coastline and is carpeted with the an incredible white fluffy sand that extends fifty-plus feet from the ocean to the shaded forest line which provides the perfect back-drop to the beach.
Perhaps the most beautiful of all the Hana beaches is the beach at Hamoa. Years ago the high-end Hana Hotel realized this and purchased the land directly behind the beach to be used as a staging area of sorts for their guests to use and often the hotel will bus their guests the two or three miles from the hotel to Hamoa Beach.
Located on the north-western tip of the island of Maui, Honolua Bay is a one of the most beautiful ocean locations to be found anywhere in Hawaii. The bay itself is a part of the 45 acre Honolua-Mokule'ia Marine Conservation District and as such all corals and marine creatures inside it are federally protected.
Over the years various organizations, magazines and self appointed experts have taken on the task of determining the best beaches in the world. The criteria used is presumably different in each case but for what it's worth, Kapalua Bay has appeared at the top of this list in many of these surveys, not just once, but for a number of times.
Napili Bay is a beautiful crescent shaped white sand beach that is located in the area of the island called Napili along the coast of West Maui. Napili Bay is very popular, particularly among people who are staying in Napili and are within walking distance of this seaside jewel of a beach.
Sugar Beach is located at the very north end of Kihei where the island takes a sharp ninety-degree turn toward Maalaea Harbor. Sugar Beach is very long, in fact it travels the entire distance between North Kihei and Maalaea and thus makes a fantastic morning walk area for people traveling in either location.
Wailea Beach is the jewel of the Wailea Beaches. This is the largest beach in Wailea and a case could easily made that it is the most beautiful. It certainly was beautiful enough for the Grand Wailea Resort and the Wailea Four Seasons Resort to make the decision to construct their properties here and each of these hotels have been listed as the best hotel in the world on numerous occasions.
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