Kaanapali Beach on Maui was recognized as among the best beaches in the world (ranked 10th out of 25) and the only beach in the United States to be given that award. It also scored another honor as being chosen first place on the list of the top 25 beaches in the United States. That list also included these beaches in Hawaii:
- Kannapali, Maui – 1st place
- Hanalei, Kauai – 4th place
- Ho’okpa, Maui – 5th place
- Lanikai, Oahu – 15th place
- Poipu, Kauai – 16th place
- Napili, Maui – 17th place
- Kailua, Oahu – 21st place
- Hapuna, Big Island – 24th place
Both awards are from TripAdvisor and their 2023 Travelers’ Choice Awards. “Travelers’ Choice winners are determined based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings posted on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period, as well as an additional editorial process,” said TripAdvisor.
Would You Pick Kaanapali to be the Only USA Beach on World’s Best List?
Kaanapali is three miles of beautiful white sand that begins 4 miles above Lahaina on West Maui. It is spectacular, even though some of the beach has suffered significant erosion.
Since its beginnings as an ancient Hawaiian village, Kāʻanapali has been a spiritual and recreational home for generations of Hawaiians. In 1962, it became the first master resort in Hawaii. Now over 4,800 hotel rooms, condominium suites, and villas now clog those three exquisite miles.
From surfing lessons, scuba diving, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters that define Kāʻanapali Beach, the beach boardwalk (partly destroyed and in reconstruction) is a popular spot for walks. Whalers Village is within walking distance and has everything you need regarding facilities.
You can snorkel at Black Rock (also known as Puu Kekaa) and then return later in the day to watch a cliff diver lighting torches before jumping into the Pacific Ocean during the daily sunset-cliff diving ceremony. Enjoy parasailing, then dine at any of the great Kaanapali restaurants and food trucks.
Water sports abound with plenty of options. You can also take a cruise on a local boat and enjoy the fresh ocean breezes while you watch humpback whales in season until May.
Kaanapali Beach History
Kaanapali is steeped in Maui’s history. The Kaanapali Historical Trail offers a glimpse into Kaanapali’s unique history and legends and highlights many points of particular interest.
A self-guided walking tour begins at the Kaanapali Airstrip, Windsock Lounge, and ends near the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. The tour then takes you to nine additional marked sites, including an ancient Hawaiian temple or heiau and the Koko O Na Moku Race Track.
Where to Park at Kaanapali Beach.
A few small parking lots are available between the beach and Kaanapali Parkway. Beach access signs are easy to spot. You can also pay for parking at Whaler’s Village, where validation is required.
Where to stay at Kaanapali Beach.
The choices are clearly vast, and we’ll list just a few. They include Maui Kai, Honua Kai Resort, Sheraton Maui Resort, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Royal Lahaina Resort, Hyatt Regency Maui, and more.