With three miles of white sand and crystal clear water, it’s no wonder why Kaanapali Beach was once named America’s Best Beach. Fronting Kaanapali’s hotels and resorts, this former retreat for the royalty of Maui is now a popular getaway for the world.
Kaanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort and has become a model for resorts around the globe. Five hotels and six condominium villages face this renowned beach. Also fronting Kaanapali is the open air Whalers Village, a world-class shopping complex that features a variety of exceptional shops and restaurants, a renowned whaling museum and free Hawaiian entertainment. Kaanapali also has two championship golf courses, the Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai, where you may even see a breaching whale as you try to line up a shot.
One of Kaanapali Beach’s most famous attractions is the daily cliff diving ceremony off the beach’s northernmost cliffs known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. Held every evening at sunset, a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff, diving off Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili. To soar above Kaanapali‘s breathtaking coastline yourself, try a zipline tour by Kaanapali Skyline Eco Adventures and enjoy a royally good view of one of Maui’s signature beaches.
Once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early nineteenth century, Lahaina was also a historic whaling village during the whaling boom of the mid-1800s. Up to 1,500 sailors from as many as 400 ships took leave in Lahaina, including Herman Melville, who immortalized the era in his classic novel Moby Dick.
Today, Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can still get a feel for old Lahaina as you stroll down lively Front Street, ranked one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association. Visit historic stops like the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paaho (Lahaina Prison), the Pioneer Inn, Maui’s oldest living banyan tree and other sites on the Lahaina Historic Trail. Approximately 55 acres of old Lahaina have been set aside as historic districts.
Immerse yourself in Maui and the Hawaiian culture by learning about the ancient mode of seafaring by canoe, take a hiking tour with local guides at Hike Maui or fall asleep to the sound of breaking waves.
Lahaina’s sunny climate and oceanfront setting also provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities and entertainment. Get a fresh taste of Hawaii Regional Cuisine in Lahaina’s fine restaurants. Get your tickets to some of Maui’s best seaside luau where you can eat, drink and watch the traditional dances of Polynesia. The award-winning show Ulalena at the Maui Theatre offers a Broadway-caliber production showcasing the culture of Hawaii.
And during the winter months, the channel off the coast of Lahaina is one of the best places in the world to spot humpback whales. Even these magnificent creatures can’t get enough of Lahaina.
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