West Maui Beaches
Ka’anapali Beach is famous for snorkeling and cliff jumping from the volcanic ocean cliff known as Black Rock. This popular beach is a 3-mile stretch of golden-white sandy coast. There is a walking trail off of the beach, directly in front of the many resorts along Kaanapali. In addition to snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving, Kaanapali beach offers an incredible location for whale watching and sunset views.
Napili Bay is a popular snorkel spot and known for being frequented by Hawaiian green sea turtles. The waters are generally calm and offer a gorgeous viewing of underwater coral reef formations. During peak season, the beach can get quite busy and with no designated parking lot, we recommend going early.
Kapalua Bay is a picturesque Maui beach offering sheltered conditions perfect for swimming and snorkeling year-round. You’re likely to see vibrant sea life including corals, fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. The bay’s calm water making it ideal for beginner snorkels and it’s a great spot for a beach day with the kids.
Slaughterhouse Beach, or Mokule’ia Beach, is a protected marine preserve and great for snorkeling when the conditions are right. Located North past Kapalua, you’ll see cars parked along a fence and steps going down to the beach. The beach is enjoyed by more experienced boogie boarders, surfers and snorkelers.
West Maui Restaurants (Our Favorites)
This breathtaking oceanfront restaurant offers farm-to-table menu options. At least 90% of the menu items are locally sourced using sustainable methods. With indoor and outdoor seating options, live music and Kapalua Bay as the backdrop, it makes for an unforgettable dining experience!
Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop
For a more casual setting visit Leoda’s, a quaint counter-serve cafe featuring delicious sandwiches, salads and some of the best handmade pies! They emphasize farm fresh and sustainable ingredients. Located on Honoapi’ilani Highway in Olowalu, it’s a convenient stop when heading into or out of Lahaina area.
Known for their practice aloha motto, Mala is situated near the Mala Wharf in Lahaina. Enjoy the ocean views, friendly environment and delicious food. Don’t miss the ahi bruschetta! Neighboring restaurants, Honu and Frida’s are part of the same restaurant group and offer delicious seafood and pizza and Mexican cuisine, respectively.
Part of the TS Restaurant Group, Kimo’s is a relaxed seafood spot on front street featuring beautiful harbor and sunset views. It’s famous for local seafood, the prime rib and Hula Pie dessert.
Located away from the hustle and bustle on Front Street, Star Noodle offers a fun, family friendly environment. Enjoy Asian shared plates, noodle dishes and sake cocktails. Don’t miss the Malasadas for dessert!
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
Contemporary sushi and new wave Asian inspired dishes served in a lively setting are what make Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar one of Hawai’i’s most critically acclaimed and wildly popular restaurants. Bon Appetit names Sansei one of its
Located in Kaanapali in Whalers Village, this restaurant serves up great food as well as live entertainment and a beautiful setting. Hula Grill celebrates Hawaiian culture, architecture and cuisine. Relax in the ambiance reminiscent of a plantation era beach house and enjoy regional specialties prepared using traditional island cooking techniques.
Luau & Hula Shows
Old Lahaina Luau
Feast at Lele
Located at Ma’alaea boat harbor, it’s a great place to take the kids to experience Hawaiian sea life. You’ll see everything from octopus to hammerhead sharks. There are live coral, eels, lionfish, rays and much more as you walk through an acrylic tunnel under 750,000 gallons of water in the Open Ocean Exhibit. The aquarium includes two restaurants and an extensive gift shop. It’s open weekdays from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Maui Ocean Center Aquarium
Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC)
MACC, a $32 million non-profit facility paid entirely by donations, opened its doors in 1994. It’s a first-class venue that sponsors events such as music, theater, hula, symphony, ballet, taiko drumming, drama, children’s art, slack key guitar, acrobatics, storytelling and more. Prior to most concerts, local restaurants cater great food and drink at reasonable prices just outside the large indoor concert hall. It’s truly a wonderful way to spend an evening in Maui, but it’s best to go online for list of events. MACC is in located Kahului.
658 Front Street, Lahaina
Honolua Beach and Maunalei Arboretum Trails
Maunalei Arboretum was established in the 1920s by D.T. Fleming, visionary plantation manager of Honolua Ranch. He traveled the world seeking new plant and tree species that would complement our island home; these discoveries can be seen today planted like a lei encircling the mountain top.
The trail is accessible from the Kapalua Village Center or D.T. Flemings Beach. Please note that it is a strenuous 20 plus-mile roundtrip hike to the trailhead so hikers are advised to dress appropriately, carry adequate water and nutrition and be mindful of hazardous weather conditions. No return transportation from the trailhead above Plantation Estates and Honolua Ridge will be provided. No private vehicles are permitted to drive to the trailhead as the roadway is private property with no public access allowed. Hours are 7 am-Sunset
At the ocean’s edge throughout Kapalua Resort, the Coastal trail runs north from kapalua Bay Beach, across the sand dunes at Oneloa Bay, through the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua to popular D.T. Flemings Beach Park.
Acesss: Kapalua Bay, The Bay Villas beach access parking lot, Oneloa Bay, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, or D.T. Flemings Beach Park. Hours are Sunrise to Sunset
One of our favorite drives begins at Kapalua all the way up to Kahakuloa Village. Your follow the ocean the entire way with numerous scenic turnouts, some that provide access to several worthwhile mini-hikes to the unique ocean features below. Here are some of our favorite places to visit.
In the winter months there can be monstrous waves. We go there often to watch the surfers from the cliff top. When the surf is just right, there can be more than 100 surfers looking for the perfect way, very entertaining to watch! The bay itself offers great snorkeling when the surf is calm.
When the surf is up and tide is high, this blowhole can be very impressive indeed, sending water up to 75 feet in the air! There are times when nothing happens, but this section of coastline normally has a great deal of wave action. You will hike down about 200 feet in elevation from the road to the blowhole.
Road to Hana
This is a terrific day trip, but you’ll need to leave early! The road starts several miles past Paia town on the same side of the island as the Kahului airport, about one hour from Kapalua (traffic can add travel time.) Hwy 36 turns into 360 (Hana Hwy.) Numerous waterfalls, overlooks, and pullouts give you an opportunity to enjoy the stunning tropical scenery of Maui. It’s rumored there are more than 900 turns in this road. We’ve never counted, but it can be slow going. Bridges are wide enough for one-way traffic only and there are lots of them. Note that Hana is a very small town and there are not a lot of places to eat. After 6:00 it seems like the town simply shuts down.
Haleakala National Park
Sunrise at the crater is said to be a Maui must experience! Depending on the time of the year, your experience can start as early as 2:00 am. You will drive from the condo back toward the Kahului airport, turn right on the Hana Hwy, then turn right again on Hwy 37, the Haleakala Hwy. About 8 miles up, take the Upper Haleakala Hwy 377 then turn left at Hwy 378. You’ll rapidly gain elevation through a serious of switchbacks all the way to the top, about 21 miles. You’ll be at about 10,000 feet above sea level. It can get cold way up there, so make sure to take something warm.
If you’re in Maui to golf, you may know all of the fabulous golf courses here. Listed below are course and Pro Shop contact information.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua
Pro Shop: 808.669.8877
The Bay Course at Kapalua
Pro Shop: 808.669.8820
The Royal Ka’anapali Course / the Ka’anapali Kai Course
Maui has five ziplines located on various parts of the island. Each offers a unique experience and prices range from $150 per person and up. Ziplining is quite an exhilarating experience. For more information, please call or visit the websites below.
Piholo Ranch Zipline
4 & 5 line tours
Skyline Eco Adventures
5, 8 and 13 line tours
8 line tours
An aerial view of the island is always stunning, with a perspective not possible from the ground. You’ll see incredible waterfalls, lush valleys, unique coastline and parts of the island accessible only by air.
808.873.8779 / 888.418.8458
808.871.0792 / 888.418.8458
Snorkeling & Snorkel Driving
There are many places to snorkel and dive in Maui. Good snorkeling / diving is available from shore or by boat via one of the many kayak or dive charter companies. Almost all scuba charters offer snorkeling for those in your party who don’t dive. Check with the concierge for available snorkel and dive charters.
Here are a few snorkel/dive locations:
This beach is located in front of the Westin and was named Airport Beach long before there were buildings there. In fact, the beach park just south of the Westin is called Airport Beach Park. This fabulous reef begins at the north end of Airport Beach Park and runs north toward Honua Kai.
South of Airport Beach as you walk along the Beach Walk, you’ll see an old abandoned concrete pier and a lava formation jutting out into the ocean. This is the formation known as Black Rock and home to the Sheraton Resort. This formation divides North & South Ka’anapali Beaches. You can snorkel or dive around Black Rock from either side.
As you drive from the Kahului Airport toward Ma’alaea Harbor you’ll see the Molokini Crater out in the ocean ahead and to your left. This is an old volcanic crater and a very popular place for snorkeling and diving, but you must take a charter boat to get there.
The interior of the crater is about 30-60 feet deep while the backside offers a wall dive that is excess of 200 feet. Most charters to Molkini originate of out the Ma’alaea Boat Harbor.
From both Ma’alaea Boat Harbor and Lahaina Boat Harbor you can take a dive charter to the island of Lanai where the Cathedrals dive site is located. This is a great dive site with vertical coral and many underwater tunnels to dive through. Snorkelers are welcome as well. It’s not uncommon to see dolphin on this trip.
Maui Dive shop www.mauidiveshop.com is the largest on Maui with nine locations on the island. You can rent snorkel/dive equipment at all the locations and they offer scuba lessons from the Lahaina Gateway location.
December-April / Humpback whales (Kohola) are a protected species that being showing up in Maui around mid-December each year after a 4,000 mile swim from Alaska. They come to Maui for a general R&R, mating and calving to escape the harsh winter months in Alaska. While in the cold waters of Alaska, during the summer months, they have voracious appetites consuming about 1 ½ tons of Krill (a small shrimp like crustacean) per whale per day! Humpback whales measure 40-50 feet in length and weigh 25-40 tons. They eat nothing in the warm waters of Maui for several months due to a lack of food. Nursing calves consume 100 gallons of milk per day. Most have gone back to Alaska by the end of April. If you are lucky enough to visit Maui during whale season, it’s truly magical and our favorite time to be in Maui. We often see humpbacks swimming and breaching. If you have never seen a full breach, you are in for a memorable treat. It’s an awesome sight to see 30 ton of whale doing a full breach out of the water then splashing back down! The great news is that on many occasions you can see this spectacular sight as West Maui tends to attract a large number of whales. During the peak whale activity months of February and March, spending a day on the beach usually results in many whale sightings. During this time we often hear whales sign their underwater chants while snorkeling.
For an informative whale watching experience, consider booking a whale watching adventure. There are many companies that run whale watching charters, however, we recommend the Pacific Whale Foundation. In business for more than 30 years, it’s an eco-friendly company whose charters are led by knowledgeable Certified Marine Naturalists. Most of their profits go toward whale research and preservation. During the 2-hour cruise you will see humpback whales and, if close enough, you will hear live whale songs piped over the PA system from a hydrophone lowered into the water. Cruises originate in Lahaina (main office) and Ma’alaea Harbor.
Pacific Whale Foundation
808.856.8379 / 800.942.5311