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’re on Maui for a romantic honeymoon, looking for a tropical adventure or a relaxing vacation there’s an activity in Kaanapali that appeals to everyone.
Kaanapali is a must stop on anyone’s Maui itinerary. Filled with tasty, must eat restaurants, boutique shops and surf schools, spending a few days in Kaanapali will be full of adventure. So without further ado here are 20 of the coolest things to do in Kaanapali, Maui.
MAUI TRAVEL PLANNING TIPS: Check out these awesome things to do all over Maui!
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1. Ka’ anapali Beach
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 isn’t a lot of reef and its a gradual decline so getting in and out of the water is easy.
On the North end of Ka’anapali Beach is Black Rock which offers cliff jumping and great snorkeling. Although this is area is usually saturated in tourists, it doesn’t take away from her beauty.
2. Snorkel at Black Rock
As I mentioned previously Black Rock is on the North end of Kaanapali beach and is one of the best snorkel sites that Maui has to offer. This is by far one of the best Kaanapali beach things to do and a great way to experience Maui on the water.
You can almost always guarantee to see a turtle here, feeding around the reef. The last time I snorkeled here I saw a sea turtle that was bigger than me, this guy had to be 100 years old!
This is also one of the more popular places in Maui that you can cliff dive. There are a few different places to jump off ranging in 10 to 25 feet in height. Adventure is waiting!
3. Attend the Myths of Maui Luau
A top experience that one wants to have when they travel to Hawaii is to attend 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.
4. Go on a Whale Watch
If you are traveling to Maui during whale season (December through April), one of the best experiences you can have 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. The tours usually last a couple hours and snacks and open bar are included. 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 usually 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. There are boats that depart from the Kihei boat ramp, Ma’alaea Harbor, Lahaina Harbor and Ka’anapali. So even if you aren’t staying in Kaanapali, you can still enjoy a whale watching tour now matter where you are on island.
5. 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. There are a handful of surf shops nearby that will set you up with a group or private lessons depending on your preference. You’ll be hanging 10 in no time!
6. Indulge in a Mai Tai at Monkeypod
You can’t visit Maui without sampling at least a couple Mai Tai’s right? Monkeypod Kitchen is one of the tastiest restaurants on Maui. There are 2 Monkeypod Kitchens on Maui, one in Wailea but there’s the newest one 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! You will see this style of Mai Tai is fairly popular on Maui as many restaurants have their own version of a foam topped Mai Tai.
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. The Mai Tai aka Mai Tyler from Fleetwoods is pictured above.
7. Watch the Lighting of the Tiki Torches by the Sheraton
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. 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.
8. Golf at a Kaanapali Golf Course
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 tee time, winds pick up in the afternoon.
9. Splurge at a World Class Resort
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 its relaxing and let your stress melt away.
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10. Go Shopping in Whaler’s 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 oceanview 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.
11. Go on a Sunset Cruise
One of the best ways to experience Kaanapali is by taking a sunset cruise on the Pacific Ocean. It just doesn’t get better than this. Departing directly from Kaanapali Beach, 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 or a night out with friends. Toast to the good life and cruise in style aboard a spacious catamaran.
12. Treat yourself to a Traditional Lomi Lomi Massage
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 activitiy to enjoy when it’s raining on Maui.
13. Airport Beach
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.
14. Kaanapali Beach Walk
If you sprung for a beach side resort one of the best ways to wake up walking 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.
Or better yet rent an electric bike to take in the sites.
If you enjoy hiking makes sure you check out the best hikes on Maui for some hiking inspiration.
15. Scuba Diving
Take the adventure under water and go scuba diving! Whether you are a 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.
16. 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.
The gradual, sandy slope makes getting in and out of the water with a paddle board easy. 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 this the ultimate place to get your stand up on.
17. Luxury Sail & Snorkel Tour at Honolua 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…and why not sail in luxury?!
Opting for a luxury sail on the Ocean Spirit is a great way to treat yourself and have some adventure. 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.
18. 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 let’s you experience an under explored part of West Maui. Prepare to get a little dirty. Available for ages 7 and up.
19. 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.
20. Zip Lining
Take your Maui adventure to new heights on a zip line. Another attraction near Kaanapali is the Kapalua Zip Lines.
The Kapalua Zip Lines offer the largest all dual zipline course in Maui. With 5-lines, 6-lines, and 7-lines tours, you can find a Maui zipline adventure that works for you. This is a perfect Kaanapali excursion for the whole family, honeymooners or the adventure enthusiast.