West Maui’s Kāʻanapali Beach is a great place to end the day. Three miles of sparkling gold-white sand, crystal clear water, great snorkeling, cliff-diving, convenient amenities and unbeatable sunset views. You may be lucky enough to spot sea turtles, dolphins or whales breaching in the distance. It’s no wonder why many visitors think Kāʻanapali Beach was named America’s Best Beach in 2003. This ancient retreat for Maui royals is now a popular getaway for the world, and one of the best places on Maui to capture that jaw-dropping sunset picture.
Kāʻanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort. Several hotels and condominium villages face the renowned beach. Whalers Village, a world-class shopping complex, offers over 90 shops and restaurants. The Whaler’s Village features a 40-foot sperm whale skeleton at the entrance of the shopping center, and the museum (currently under renovations) holds Hawai‘i’s largest collection of harpoons, tools, sea chests, sailor journals, ship logs, scrimshaw art, ornaments and utensils made from whale tooth ivory, and a scale model of a whaling ship. Kāʻanapali also has two championship golf courses, the Royal Kāʻanapali and the Kāʻanapali Kai.
As night falls, at Kāʻanapali’s Black Rock, or Pu`u Keka`a, “hill creating strength through enlightenment”, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa retells the story of King Kahekili through a nightly cliff-diving ceremony. Hawaiians believe that Pu`u Keka`a is one of three “`uhane lele”, a place where souls of the dead leap from earth into their ancestral spirit land. King Kahekili lived in Ka’anapali and ruled over Maui and O`ahu for 45 years. King Kahekili proved his bravery and spiritual strength by leaping from Pu’u Keka’a and returning to shore unscathed.