Kaanapali Things to Do

Things to Do near Kaanapali on Maui

Situated just north of Lahaina on the West Maui coast, the area known as Kaanapali is named after the Hawaiian term for “rolling cliffs.” Upon arriving at this former go-to spot for Maui royalty, you’ll quickly see how fitting the name is.

But Kaanapali provides a lot more than just an intriguing view. Today it is arguably the ultimate destination for those seeking to unwind in an island paradise - blessed with that elusive perfect balance of unspoiled beauty and modern accommodations.

This is our guide to Kaanapali and some must-do activities to include during your visit.

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Natural Beauty

As we said, Kaanapali is more than just beautiful rolling cliffs. It is, in fact, a wonderland of natural beauty. From miles of stunning white sand beach to majestic mountains and everywhere between, there’s a reason why Kaanapali Beach Resort was such an explosion on the tourism scene back in the 1960s. Since then, the area has only grown in popularity as more hotels and resorts for varying budgets and interests have appeared. But however built up the area becomes, it still retains its essential regal feel - thanks to the idyllic natural scenery that made it so popular in the first place. 

Ideal Weather

Hand in hand with its beautiful nature is Kaanapali’s famously spectacular weather. Annual precipitation is 25 inches per year, temperatures are virtually always somewhere between the high 70s and the low 90s, and humidity is relatively low, particularly for a tropical destination. In other words, it’s perfect for humans in flip-flops and swimwear almost all the time. The area does see a wet season from mid-November to late March, and it isn’t necessarily immune to storms - it’s never a bad idea to check the forecast, especially if you’re visiting in winter. But even then, the chances you’ll be pleased with what the weather app says here are about as predictably high as anywhere.

Directions to Kaanapali

From the Kahului Airport (OGG), take Highway 380 to H-30, head south to H-3000 to Puukolii Road and turn left.

Top Attractions in Kaanapali

The nightlife is like no other, with endless dining options. The boardwalk alone has popular restaurants serving a variety of local favorites, and it’s easy to catch some live music and enjoy drinks during happy hour. If you love shopping, it’s a short trek to Whalers Village, where you’ll find an excellent selection of retailers. The top things to do in Kaanapali include:

Kaanapali Beach

The beach is on the West Shore of Maui, just under an hour’s drive from Kahului Airport. As mentioned, the area became popular in the 60s with the development of Hawaii’s first official resort, the Kaanapali Beach Resort. Since then, the beach has continued attracting people to its white sands to relax, take in the sun, and swim in crystal-clear waters.

There are nearby dining and restaurants, parking and restrooms, and a lifeguard on duty, making it perfect for families. You can shop at the open-air mail, Whalers Village, which features a long list of high-end shops. Golfers can play a round of golf at one of the two championship courses. Ziplining offers a chance to take to the skies and admires the views from Kaanapali Skyline Eco-Adventures. Plan your trip in winter and take in the views of humpback whales that arrive every season.

Black Rock Beach

Black Rock is located at the north end of Kaanapali Beach. Lava flows created its black wall and can be viewed from Kaanapali Beach, but it is not accessible by Kahekili Beach Park. Pu’u Keka’a in Hawaiian was believed to be the spot spirits leaped from to join their ancestors. It is considered bad luck to take a black rock from the area as Hawaiians believe that those unlucky souls unable to find their way to their ancestors attached themselves to the black rocks.

The rock is best known for cliff jumping, and you can choose to take the leap yourself or enjoy the show from Kaanapali Beach. Black Rock Beach is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, but swimming from the beach is not recommended as the water is deep and has strong currents.

Black Rock Beach also hosts a unique event every evening right around sunset. This traditional ceremony is signaled by blowing a conch shell, when the torches are lit, and hula dancing and cliff diving begin. You won’t want to miss it.  


Kaanapali is an especially great place to attend a Luau because many if not most, will be right along the water. One of particular acclaim is Drums of the Pacific at the Hyatt Regency. This fire-laden epic show has been running on Kaanapali Beach for 4 decades and counting. With great drinks, delicious food, and famously high energy, this award-winning luau is often described as the most exciting on the island.  

Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice

This Hawaiian treat is a must when you are in Maui. Located at the Hyatt Regency at 200 Nohea Kai Drive, this cold, mouthwatering tradition comes in various flavors, from Almond to Wedding Cake and everything in between. Whether you want to indulge in tropical fruit juices, a favorite soda or soft drink, or popular combinations like banana, pineapple, coconut, or coconut and sweet leche, you’ll find a flavor to quench your thirst.

Shaved ice is more palatable than an old-school snow cone. The ice is shaved instead of crushed, making it smoother and better to hold in the flavors. Ululani’s opened in 2003 with a single machine that traveled to community events and private parties. As their reputation grew for exceptionally yummy shave ice, they began opening shops so more people could enjoy the sweet treat.

Joey's Kitchen

Located on the lower level of Whaler’s Village, this Hawaiian hotspot has become a place to eat for both locals and tourists alike. This is much more than “just” a fast-food restaurant. The food is served up fresh and hot with an impressive menu of mouthwatering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Classic breakfast fare is fresh and fast from pancakes to Loco Moco. Portuguese sausage is a must. Fresh Island Fish Tacos topped with Asian slaw, Tahini-Miso sauce, and Sriracha Aioli are messy but satisfying, while Local Plates provide a taste of Hawaii with Huli Huli Chicken, Steamed Pork Lau Lau, and Kalbi Beef Short Ribs.

Kaanapali is an island paradise where sunshine is virtually guaranteed, and there’s enough food and incredible scenery to keep you blissed out for hours on end. We hope you find this to be a helpful guide to the region. As always, mahalo, and best wishes for your visit!

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