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Destination: Ka'anapali

Just a short drive up the West Maui highway from Lahaina is a beautiful, three-mile stretch of golden beach and the first destination resort on Maui...Ka‘anapali. Ka‘anapali Beach Resort includes many fabulous resort hotels and condominiums fronting world-famous Ka‘anapali Beach.

In Ka‘anapali, you’ll find casual to elegant restaurants, rooms from modest to luxury prices, just about every kind of beach activity there is, challenging golf, fun historical attractions, and delightful shopping.

The resorts along this celebrated stretch of beach also provide glittering night spots and exciting activities and events throughout the year, including a culinary showcase, the Maui Onion Festival, and Hawaiian cultural events, Na Mele O Maui and Hula O Na Keiki, both for students. For a listing of annual events in the Ka‘anapali area, see the Maui Calendar of Events.

Landmark Pu‘u Keka‘a (commonly referred to as “Black Rock”) was once a sacred location to native Hawaiians. They revered it as a place where the spirits of the dead went to leap from this world to the next. It was considered extremely brave to leap from the same spot as the spirits of the dead. The leap is recreated each evening at sunset by a diver from the Sheraton Maui Resort.

Pu‘u Keka‘a, along with many other sites along the beach and rolling greens of Ka‘anapali, becomes even more fascinating than usual when you learn about the mythology and history behind it. The best learning experience is through the Ka‘anapali Historical Trail & History and Legends Tour. This fascination may help explain why a great majority of visitors to Maui stay in the resort.

The deluxe hotels and condominiums of Ka‘anapali Beach are some of the best in the world and cater to guests’ every whim. If your dream vacation includes a luxury oceanfront resort and spa with acres of lush gardens, pools and waterfalls, look no further than Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa or The Westin Maui Resort & Spa. Maybe you want swimming pools with fun water features for the kids (or for yourself) an interactive kids program, cultural activities or a sunset lu‘au experience - the Sheraton Maui Resort, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel or Royal Lahaina Resort may be perfect for you. Or maybe a spacious, beachfront condo with a full kitchen, private lanai and stunning views is more your style - check in at the Ka‘anapali Ali‘i, Whaler on Ka‘anapali Beach, Outrigger Maui Eldorado Resort, Maui Ka‘anapali Villas, The Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas or Honua Kai Resort & Spa.

In the heart of the resort lies the vast, green expanse of the Ka‘anapali Golf Resort. The Royal Ka‘anapali (par 71; Robert Trent Jones, Sr.) and Ka‘anapali Kai (par 70; Arthur Jack Snyder) golf courses offer an unforgettable experience for any avid golfer. Ka‘anapali Beach Resort’s natural beauty and geographical features set the stage for healthy activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, body boarding, parasailing, diving, beach volleyball, hiking and ziplining. The resort features several world-class oceanfront spas, including The Spa at The Westin Maui Resort with 14,000 square feet of oceanfront luxury and a Westin Workout Facility, and Spa Moana & Moana Athletic Club at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort—a 15,000-square foot haven dedicated to wellness, plus the new spa at Kaanapali Alii.

Whalers Village shopping complex is anchored in the center of the scenic Ka‘anapali Beachwalk. It offers a wide array of retail options from resort wear and beach accessories to international trend-setting fashion and convenience stores. Specialty shops feature jewelry, gifts, art, Hawaiian crafts, sporting gear for the whole family and more. And, there’s food for every mood at Whalers Village from the international food court to beachfront island cuisine restaurants. History buffs won’t want to miss the Whalers Village Museum, which provides a fascinating look at an important period in Maui’s history: it is believed to house the largest single collection of whaling memorabilia and scrimshaw in the world. Fairway Shops at Ka‘anapali is an intimate retail center, featuring specialty shops, services and dining.

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Another reminder of Maui’s colorful past can not only be seen, but ridden! The Sugar Cane Train travels between Lahaina and Ka‘anapali on rails that were built during the boom of the sugar plantation industry. The train once helped move harvested sugar from the fields of Ka‘anapali to Pioneer Mill in Lahaina and from there to the pier to be loaded onto cargo ships. Since 1970, it serves the visitor industry by providing a scenic ride and nostalgic trip back in time.

Once you’ve seen everything on land, it’s time to hit “America’s Best Beach” (honored by Dr. Beach in 2003) for ocean activities. Snorkeling should be one of the activities you choose, because the coral reefs along Ka‘anapali Beach provide some of the most colorful underwater spectacles to be seen anywhere. The area between Pu‘u Keka‘a and Kahekili Beach Park (north) is an exceptional place to start. From December to May, whale watching fever strikes the island and particularly Ka‘anapali when the gentle giant humpback whales frolic while breeding and giving birth. For those who would like a closer look at the whale activity than from the beach, a resort lanai or oceanfront restaurant, there are whale watch cruises available, which can be booked from your hotel or at Ka‘anapali Beach.

Whatever your tropical island pleasure, you are bound to find it here along the western shores of Ka‘anapali; after all, it’s where the world comes to play!