Among Maui beaches, Kaanapali Beach is the classic beautiful resort beach for many reasons - white sand, easy access from a large group of resort hotels, swimming and Black Rock snorkeling, shopping at Whaler's Village, and people watching.
The result? Kaanapali Beach was rated as the best beach in America in 2003.
This page also includes how to find parking and access the beach, Kaanapali luaus and activities, and a Kaanapali Beach video.
Kaanapali Beach is quite civilized compared to many Maui beaches that are more isolated.
We like the close-in parking, the beachside ocean view restaurants, the public restrooms, the many casual and upscale shops at Whaler's Village, and the free humpback Whaler's Village museum.
And like any urban area, this beach has lots of people and energy.
There is even a fresh water public shower right on the beach.
Catamaran sailboats go right onto Kaanapali beach to load and unload passengers.
We have taken several trips where we just stepped through some shallow water onto the boat.
• early morning Dolphin Snorkel Sail on the Gemini catamaran
Snorkeling and diving are popular at Black Rock at the northern border of Kaanapali Beach on Maui.
Each evening at sunset a runner lights a row of torches along the top of Black Rock, then finally dives off the cliff into the ocean.
Kaanapali Beach Access & Parking
If you are not staying in one of the hotels at the Kaanapali Beach Resort, there is limited parking. We park at Whaler's village (the shopping part of Kaanapali). There is paid parking (last time I used this, 3 free hours with a $15 purchase at any store) just to the right (north) of Whalers Village.
If you can't find an empty space in the paid lot, or just don't like to pay for parking, there is some free parking spaces in a lot just to the left (south) of Whalers Village - look for the blue Shoreline Access sign.
You have to be careful in this lot.
You can only use a few spaces that have BEACH PARKING painted on the asphalt.
Some of these free spaces are intermingled with reserved spaces.
Kaanapali Beach Luaus
Several luaus are held at different hotels at the Kaanapali Beach Resort - you can even catch a free glimpse of the Wailele Polynesian Luau at the Westin Maui Resort by just strolling along the ocean walk close to Black Rock.
Kaanapali Beach Video
My Kaanapali Beach video gives a quick glmpse of the resorts, expanse of white sand, sailing catamarans that land right on the beach, snorkeling at Black Rock at the north end of the beach, and lots of people.
Click on the PLAY button in the image below to view the video.