Description of Kaanapali Beach: Kaanapali South Beach is and always will be one of my very favorite beaches. I spent countless hours on the beach and boardwalk here as a kid growing up on Maui. My friends and I would would leave my house in Haiku at about 4:30 in the morning on Saturdays so that we could get to the “Point” in front of the Kaanapali Ali’i to enjoy our skimboarding and surfing completely to ourselves for at least an hour or so. This is the best area for surfing or skimboarding. For boogie boarding, its best to head down in front of the Whaler as there isn’t any coral here and the waves hit the shore at the perfect direction.
There is no place really else like Ka’anapali Beach on Maui, it is a stunning location with tons of ocean activities/sports to enjoy and there is also a strong commercial element to as well with all of the hotels and commerce (namely Whaler’s Village) that lines the boardwalk. It is a very fun and happening place and does remind me a bit of a very scaled down version of Waikiki Beach on Oahu.
Kaanapali Beach has consistently been named one of the best or simply the best beach in the world for many years and by various reputable publications. This long stretch of beach is the epicenter of all that is happening in Kaanapali
For real estate on Ka’anapali Beach- there are only two fee simple condominium complexes- The Ka’anapali Ali’i and The Whaler at Ka’anapali. There are no oceanfront homes on Ka’anapali Beach and you will find fractional ownership options at both the Marriot Ocean Club as well as the Hyatt Residences.
You will find seasonal sand fluctuations on the beach here but what is consistent is that you will always find more sand on the southern portion of the beach closer to the Ali’i and Marriott Ocean Club rather than the northern end towards Black Rock.
In the summertime, the water is usually quite calm making it perfect for swimming and snorkeling with the best conditions for snorkeling and diving off Black Rock. Speaking of which, Black Rock is awesome for amateur cliff divers and more experienced ones who show off their advanced techniques. In the winter, there can be very powerful swells that come through with large waves crashing both of shore and direct shore break so caution is advised. If you want to stay on land but get some exercise, try playing paddleball or you will occasionally find the beach volleyball nets set up near the Sheraton hotel.
One of the most popular activities at Kaanapali Beach is cliff-jumping off Pu’u Keka’a, also known as Black Rock. Many of the locals have perfected their techniques with fancy gainers, back flips, or olympic style jumps but also know that it’s all about taking the leap of faith- and going for it! This particular location has a very important significance for native Hawaiians as they believe that it is an entry point for a person’s soul passing from this world to the next. To jump off Pu’u Keka’a is to mimic the soul at the moment of death, a legend which is still told during the evening toch-lighting ceremony that takes place during each sunset.
Parking for Ka’anapali South Beach is a major challenge but there are a few small public lots along the stretch as well as some secret public parking spots as well. Parking at Whaler’s Village is always pretty easy to do and you can get validation with something like a $15 purchase or so at one of the shops.
Beach Length: .
Beach Type: Fine Sand.
Bottom Type: Rocky.
Is there a lifeguard? Yes, there is a lifeguard at this beach.
Facilities: BBQ Grills, Beach, Free Parking, Paid Parking, Park Area, Restrooms, Showers.
Hazards: Large Surf, Partially Buried Rocks, Strong Currents.
Beach Access: Dirt Trail, Paved Trail.
Parking: Paved, Free Parking, Paid Parking.
How hard is it to get there? Some effort is required.
What is this beach best for? BBQ, Body Boarding, Body Surfing, Kids, Photography, SCUBA Diving, Snorkeling, Stand Up Paddling.
Beach is open 24 hours. However, please note that lifeguards are available only during the daytime.
How to get to Kaanapali Beach
Jeremy Stice is the Author of the Maui Real Estate Guidebook.
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