Kaanapali is a popular town in West Maui. Located about 10 minutes North of Lahaina town, there are tons of things to do in Kaanapali that will keep you entertained on your Hawaiian vacation.
Whether you take it to new heights on a zip line or under the water with the fish of the sea, enjoying these Kaanapali activities will guarantee a memorable trip and create long lasting memories.
Ka’anapali is a popular part of Maui to stay on due to the number of beautiful resorts that line Kaanapali beach. If you are on Maui for a romantic honeymoon, looking for a tropical adventure or a relaxing vacation there’s an activity in Kaanapali that will suit your wants & needs.
In this article, I’ll go over all the fun things to do in Kaanapali Maui written by a local, just so you know, you’re getting the inside scoop. And at the end of the post, I’ll add any useful tips or travel guides to will aid in your trip to Maui.
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Kaanapali is a must stop on anyone’s Maui itinerary. Filled with tasty restaurants, boutique shops and surf schools, spending a few days in Kaanapali will be full of adventure.
Below I have a listed the best things to do in Kaanapali for easy viewing. If you’d like more information on a certain activity, click on the blue links below for more details.
- Kaanapali Beach
- Snorkel Black Rock
- Cliff Diving at Black Rock
- Attend the Myths of Maui Luau
- Go on a Whale Watch
- Learn to Surf
- Have a Mai Tai at Monkeypod Kitchen
- Watch the Lighting of the Tiki Torches at Sunset
- Golf in Kaanapali
- Splurge at a World Class Resort in Kaanapali
- Go Shopping at Whalers Village
Best Things to do in Kaanapali Maui
It wouldn’t be a best things to do in Kaanapali list if I didn’t start off with the star of the show, Kaanapali Beach. Kaanapali Beach is a beautiful 3 mile stretch of golden sand and is undoubtably one of the best beaches on Maui.
Kaanapali beach is home to several resorts, ocean view restaurants and high end shopping. Kaanapali Beach is one of the best beaches in Maui for swimming.
There is not a lot of reef and there is a gradual decline, so getting in and out of the water is easy. Don’t forget your Reef Safe Sunscreen.
On the North end of Ka’anapali Beach is Black Rock, which offers cliff jumping and great snorkeling. This is one of the best free things to do in Kaanapali, unless you add this on to a tour.
Although this is area is usually saturated in tourists (due to proximity of resorts), it doesn’t take away from her beauty.
Snorkel Black Rock
As I mentioned previously Black Rock is on the north end of Kaanapali beach and is one of the best beaches for snorkeling Maui. This is by far one of the best things to do in Kaanapali and a great way to experience Maui on the water.
You can almost always guarantee to see a turtle, feeding around the reef. The last time I snorkeled at black rock, I saw a sea turtle that was bigger than me, this guy had to be 100 years old!
Cliff Diving at Black Rock | One of the Best Things to do in Kaanapali
Black Rock is also one of the more popular places in Maui to go cliff diving. There are a few different places to jump off ranging in 10 to 25 feet in height.
The waters below are deep and just asking of you to take the plunge. Cliff House behind the Montage in Kapalua is also a fun place to go cliff jumping.
Attend the Myths of Maui Luau
A must do in Kaanapali is to experience a luau. One of Kaanapali’s best luaus is the Royal Lahaina Luau | Myths of Maui.
The Myths of Maui Laua takes you on a voyage throughout Polynesia, not just Hawaii. It showcases the beautiful Hula and fire-knife dance along with music and chants.
Come with an appetite because a luau a is dinner and show. Taste local, Hawaiian cuisine and sip mai tais as you get a taste of authentic Polynesian culture.
Go on a Whale Watch | The Best Thing to do in Kaanapali
If you are traveling to Maui during whale season (December through April), one of the best things to do in Maui is to witness these majestic creatures up close and personal.
One of the best ways to do this is by taking a Whale Watching Tour. There are several boat companies that offer tours to see the humpback whales, Sea Maui is one of my favorite companies.
The tours usually last a couple hours. The guides are very knowledgeable and you’ll learn tons of fun facts about the Pacific humpback whales that make the trek from Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii every year.
Drinks are included. Beverages, snacks and whales, what more could you ask for?!?! This is one of the best Kaanapali things to do and fun for the whole family. This whale watching tour departs directly from Kaanapali Beach.
Learn to Surf
When most people think of Hawaii surfing comes to mind. A perfect Kaanapali Beach activity is to test the waters and learn to surf. If the surf is up, there’s a perfect place to learn to surf right on Kaanapali Beach.
This is a great area for beginners to learn how to surf due to the sandy break, meaning there won’t be reef to cut yourself up on if you fall. You’ll be hanging 10 in no time!
Have a Mai Tai at Monkeypod Kitchen | The Tastiest Thing to do in Kaanapali
You can’t visit Maui without sampling at least a couple Mai Tai’s right? Monkeypod Kitchen is one of the tastiest restaurants in Kaanapali.
There are 2 Monkeypod Kitchens on Maui, one in Wailea but the newest one is located in the center of Kaanapali in Whalers Village. Not only is the food delicious but so are the Mai Tai’s.
The Monkeypod Mai Tai is a twist on the traditional Mai Tai that is more spirit driven and topped with a honey-lilikoi foam. Yum! This is what to do in Kaanapali when it rains…or when it doesn’t.
A few other must hit up bars in West Maui for the Mai Tai’s are Merrimans and Fleetwoods on Front Street, two of the best restaurants in Lahaina.
Watch the Lighting of the Tiki Torches at Sunset
One of the coolest and best free things to do in Kaanapali at night is watch the historic lele kawa put on by the Sheraton Maui Resort. Every night at sunset, a cliff dive ceremony is performed where a Hawaiian blows a conch shell in all four directions, begins a chant and then proceeds to light a string of the tiki torches.
The ceremony ends with the Hawaiian by diving off Pu’u Keka’a aka Black Rock into the blue waters below. According to Hawaiian legends, the last chief of Maui, Kahekili, proved his spiritual strength by jumping from sacred Puu Kekaa.
Black Rock is one of three leina, or portals to the ancestral realm, on the island. When people pass away, they jump into the afterworld from here. This is an honored and a beautiful tradition to watch.
Golf at Kaanapali
Fore! Kaanapali is home to 2 beautiful 18-hole golf courses. Take your swing at either the Kaanapali Kai course or Kaanapali Royal course.
Golfing in Maui is memorable, with exotic and dramatic backdrops you can never have a bad time no matter what you shoot. Opt for an early Maui golf tee time, winds pick up in the afternoon.
Splurge at a World Class Resort in Kaanapali
One of the best things to do in Kaanapali is live it up in paradise at one of the luxurious resorts that line Kaanapali beach. Spend your days sipping a pina coladas by the pool, taking dips in the ocean and working on your tan.
However you choose to spend your resort time, make sure it’s relaxing and let your stress melt away. There are several fantastic Maui resorts to choose from.
Go Shopping at Whalers Village
Whaler’s Village is an oceanfront retail center filled with tons of high-end boutique shops and restaurants ranging from fast food to full service ocean view venues.
Some of the best stores inside Whaler’s Village is Lulu Lemon, Mahina, Chapel Hats and Blue Ginger. You’ll be sure to find the perfect souvenir here to remember your Hawaiian vacation.
Go on a Sunset Sail
One of the most convenient and best things to do in Kaanapali Maui is to go on a Sunset Sail on the Pacific Ocean. It just doesn’t get better than this.
Departing directly from Kaanapali Beach in front of the Hyatt Regency Resort, this sunset cruise offers stunning views of the West Maui, the neighboring islands of Lana’i and Molokai.
This sunset tour is perfect for a romantic evening, a night out with friends or as a solo mission. Toast to the good life and cruise in style aboard a spacious catamaran.
Lomi Lomi Massage | A Thing to do in Kaanapali Worth the Splurge
Lomi lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage that uses a combination of massage techniques, nut oils like macadamia and breathing and dance. The massage is meant to restore energy and soothe the body. A traditional lomi lomi massage costs around $120-200 at a quality spa.
This is worth the splurge on your budget. Your best bet will be to book one with a hotel/resort to ensure the quality. Sit back, relax, and get your zen on. This is a great Kaanapali activity to enjoy when it’s raining on Maui.
Another one of Maui’s best beaches is Airport Beach, a top Kaanapali attraction. Located on the back side of Black Rock is this beautiful beach. Much like Kaanapali Beach, Airports is a long, wide and golden sand beach.
The Royal Lahaina sits on this stretch of beach which is one of Maui’s oldest resorts. If you make your way to the South end of the beach (close to Black Rock) is where the crowds will thin out and you may even have the beach all to yourself.
Kaanapali Beach Walk
If you sprung for a beach side resort wake up and stroll Kaanapali Beach walk before it gets too hot or too crowded. The path is paved and takes you along the beach, past all the resorts and all the way into Lahaina if you’re really feeling saucy.
Take the adventure under water and go Scuba Diving. Whether you are an experience PADI diver, wanting to get certified or just looking to try something new, there is a tour available depending on your wants and needs.
With over 680 species of tropical fish in the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is best experienced below the water and this one of the best ocean activities to do it on.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to experience Kaanapali on the water and get in a workout. There are several places along the Kaanapali Beach walk to rent paddle boards or book a Stand Up Paddle Board Lesson.
The gradual, sandy slope makes getting in and out of the water with a paddle board less difficult than other places. Black Rock shelters you from strong winds and makes it easy to find your bearings no matter where you are. All these factors alone make Kaanapali the ultimate place to get your stand up on.
Sail & Snorkel Tour at Honolulu Bay
Honolua Bay is one of Maui’s most premier snorkel sights and one of the best stops while driving around West Maui. Although you can reach Honolua Bay by hiking through the forest, for snorkeling it is best reached via boat.
A Sail and Snorkel Tour at Honolulu Bay is one of the best things to do near Kaanapali and have some adventure along the way. The sail will take you along Maui’s west coast offering stunning views.
Once at Honolua Bay your snorkeling paradise awaits. This Maui snorkel tour is perfect for all ages and experience. Food is provided along with all your modern comforts, this is what to do in Kaanapali to enjoy a beautiful day on the water.
Explore West Maui on an Off Roading Adventure
Get a little dirty on an Off Roading Adventure in West Maui. This is one of the things to do near Kaanapali as this activity is enjoyed on the slopes of the West Maui mountains in Kapalua, just North of Kaanapali Beach.
With over 1,400 acres of red dirt trails this Ka’anapali attraction lets you experience an under explored part of West Maui. Prepare to get a little dirty.
Watch the Sunset
One of the best free things to do in Kaanapali or Maui in general is watch the sunset. Every sunset is breathtaking, rain or shine. Depending on the time of year that you visit Maui, you’ll witness the sun setting between Lanai and Molokai.
On a super clear day keep a look out for the green flash. There’s a split second where the sun shines through the ocean as it sets over the horizon creating a green flash of light.
Zip Lining on West Maui
Take your Maui adventure to new heights on a zip line. Another Kaanapali activity is the Kaanapali Zip Lines. The Kapalua Zip Lines offer the largest all dual zipline course in Maui.
With 5, 6, 7, and 8-line tours, you can find a Maui zip-line adventure that works for you. This is a perfect Kaanapali excursion for the whole family, honeymooners or the adventure enthusiast.
Helicopter Ride Over West Maui
A Helicopter Ride Over West Maui is one of the most thrilling and coolest things to do in Kaanapali. On this tour, you’ll be greeted with birds eye views of the stunning West Maui paradise.
You see towering sea cliffs, pristine beaches of Kaanapali and Kapalua, and cascading waterfalls of the lush valleys below. Opt for a doors off experience to really get the wind in your sails.
West Maui Travel Guides
The majority of my 12 years living on Maui were on West Maui. Check out the travel guides below for more inspiration on the best things to do near Kaanapali.
- Kapalua Coastal Trail offers stunning coastal views and a leisurely pace through a wooden walk way and through a lava rock path.
- The Kapalua Walking Trails are just uphill from the Ritz-Carlton. There are several trails that take you along the old golf cart path. I walk these trails on a daily basis.
- West Maui is one of the most popular parts of the island, check out these amazing stops while exploring West Maui.
- Ma’alaea Harbor has lots of boat tours running daily like snorkel tours and whale watches.
- These are the best restaurants in Lahaina and the top restaurants in Kaanapali are.
- Explore Lahaina Town and enjoy these 20 awesome things to do on Front Street.
- Visit some of Maui’s Best Beaches.
- Snorkel at Honolua Bay.
- Check out Nakalele Blowhole.
- Explore the Olivine Pools.
- Hike the Mahana Ridge
Final Thoughts on Best Things to do in Kaanapali
Kaanapali is one of the most popular destinations on Maui and after reading this post, I hope you can see why.
If you found this article about the best things to do in Kaanapali useful, let other travelers know in the comments below 👇.