Located on the western side of the Hawaiian island of Maui, the stretch of beach known as Kaanapali is one of the most beautiful in the state. Its location lets visitors enjoy spectacular views of the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean and offers them panoramic vistas that include the nearby islands of Lanai and Molokai. The Kaanapali area is replete with different types of accommodations, including many rental condos. These can be very affordable compared to a stay at a luxury resort. Condos often feature convenient amenities that typically aren't available to hotel guests, such as washing machines, full kitchens and outdoor grills, along with smaller, more intimate pools and hot tubs.
From scuba diving to parasailing, there's no end to the activities that visitors to Kaanapali can enjoy. There are plenty of shops renting equipment such as kayaks and snorkeling gear, and lessons are available for those new to surfing or paddle-boarding. Tours are offered daily for people wanting to fish, sail and zip-line. Beachfront hammocks are handy for more relaxed pursuits such as sunbathing and naps.
Kaanapali, with its turquoise water and generally mild surf, is at the top of many lists of the best Hawaiian beaches. This sliver of beautiful white sand has a lava outcrop known as Black Rock in the middle of its three mile length. A daily cliff diving ceremony is held there, and it's a prime spot for reef snorkeling. The Kaanapali Beach Walk, a paved sea walk that runs parallel to the beach, is perfect for people watching and taking in views of the ocean and the luxury condos and resorts.
Some of the many hotels that line Kaanapali beach have their own boutiques and stores, but the principal shopping destination is Whalers Village. This ocean-side open-air mall has complimentary lei making and ukulele lessons in addition to plenty of souvenir shops and restaurants. Free hula shows take place weekly, and it's also home to a museum dedicated to the region's whaling past.
Both the Kaanapali Kai and the Royal Kaanapali are challenging 18-hole championship golf courses. More importantly, their lush, picture postcard settings make any round of golf truly memorable.
With its warm, tropical climate, Maui is enjoyable all year. The wettest months are in winter, so May and October are some of the best times of year to visit; the island is less crowded, but frequent rainfall has either stopped or not started yet. While the period from October to April sees more rain, it's also the time of year when humpback whales migrate to the area to mate and have their calves. Visitors hoping to see one of these creatures on a boat trip, or even from shore or from their hotel balcony, should definitely visit then. Geography strongly affects weather on Maui. The northern and eastern sides of the island receive more rain, while the western and southern sides are more arid. Kaanapali's location ensures it remains mostly sunny and dry all year.
Kahului is the principal airport serving Kaanapali. All the major carriers flying into Maui from the U.S. mainland arrive there, and many people choose to rent a car to get from the airport to their lodgings and to use during some or all of their stay. Taxi and shared shuttle service are available at the airport. Private car transportation, usually in a luxury town car or SUV, can be pre-arranged prior to arrival. It's also possible to use public bus service. Unfortunately, it's not very convenient to do so because three different bus routes are necessary to get from the airport to Kaanapali.