Kaanapali Beach: Reasons Why You’ll Love It Here

When I drive by the entrance to the Kaanapali Resort, it brings up the nostalgia of summer mornings as a kid, sleeping in late, and routinely watching The Price is Right and Bob Barker. Who could forget the big wheel, that yodeling mountain climber, $1 bids, showcase showdowns, that fanatic audience, and of course, Barker’s beauties?”

Another thing I remember vividly were the prizes, which ranged from the odd – things like treadmills, unicycles, trampolines, chandeliers (WTF), and above ground pools – to the fantastic, such as diamond encrusted watches, campers, jet skis, luxury cars, and even exotic trips. Quite the spectrum.

And then there was the colorful and eccentrically dressed Rod Roddy, who I can hear right now in his animated game show announcer’s voice, “You’ll be whisked away in a state-of-the-art 747 jumbo jetliner leaving Los Angeles for your 7 day, 6 night stay at the all inclusive and ultra exclusive Sheraton Kaanapali, Maui Resort where you’ll enjoy fun in the sun paradise as you sip mai tais by the pool, basque on tropical beaches, and immerse yourself in island activity and nightlife.”

Actually, I have no idea if that was the exact context, or even the prize(s) for that matter. I’m not sure they were even talking about Kaanapali…I just know that this place, in all of its “vacation resort perfectness,” is what I envisioned way back then (and have obviously held on to).

Kaanapali = Happy

Situated about 3 miles North of Lahaina town on Maui’s West side, Kaanapali has the total island resort package. Along this 1.5-mile stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline, you have every beach activity at your disposal. And within the resort you have golf, shopping, dining, live entertainment, as well as world-class lodging complete with super pools and waterslides. At Kaanapali Beach, the weather is warm, the water crystal clear, the sand is silky soft, and every day is a weekend.

When I get together with family and friends for a Kaanapali Beach day, it is definitely an “event.” A day to “gather” that’s met with special enthusiasm and energy not found with any other destination on the island. Since the majority of occupants to Kaanapali Beach are out-of-towners on vacation, generally spirits are high as the rinse/repeat routine of home, work, stress, schedules, and winter clothing are a distant memory.

Us locals, we like to share in that same sort of vacation mentality from time to time, and while Kaanapali Beach the destination is awesome, parking is tough (public parking is very limited)! There is something to be said for having to work for it…a.k.a. plan, park, carry, and hoof it with all of your gear. No pain, no gain I guess…or as the Corona commercial says…find your beach. Either way, the extra work is worth it.

When’s the Best Time of Year to Visit?

One of the coolest times of the year to visit Kaanapali Beach is Christmas week (literally). During the rest of the year, it’s a fairly busy place with some major occupancy dips in between seasons. However, when the season turns on…it turns “ON.” Literally overnight, as the world comes to West Maui for the non-traditional holiday experience.

Imagine…sand angels and sunburns replacing snow angels and frost bite…it’s December, it’s warm, and the beach is densely cluttered with people, towels, chairs, coolers, noodles, floaties, flippers, snorkels, surfboards, horseshoes, umbrellas, sunscreens, and more. Nice tradeoff: 82 degrees and this kind of gridlock versus cold weather and the mainland kind of gridlock.

More Reasons to Love Kaanapali Beach

So, in addition to the obvious reasons of sunny, warm, beautiful, and spectacular mentioned above, here are a few more detailed picks why Kaanapali Beach is unique to itself and a West Maui gem. While the umbrella is in the sand, feel free to also check out:

1) Activities: surf, paddle, skim, SUP, body surf (lessons available).

2) Snorkel Black Rock: No boat needed.

3) Leilani’s on the Beach: Food, views, fun, spirits.

4) Parasail: Sign up and go, right from the beach.

5) The Boardwalk: Walk, jog, or stroll the oceanfront boardwalk.

6) Whalers Village: Restaurants, retail shops, entertainment, and more!

7) Jump Off Black Rock: Just high enough to scare you and impress anyone you’re with.

8) Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s Tiki Bar: For the adults…you get your money’s worth.

9) People Energy: 3 Hotels, 2 Timeshare Developments, 2 Fee Simple Oceanfront Condominiums. There’s action!

10) Molokai & Lanai: On the clearest days, they’re in your lap.

11) Breaching Humpback Whales: The real Sea World.

12) Sunsets: Frequently jaw dropping.

13) Great People Watching: In the entertaining way, not in the creepy way.

West Maui is the Best Maui

If you have questions, comments, or want information regarding real estate opportunities at Kaanapali Beach and surrounding areas, please feel free to contact me. 🙂

Thank you for reading!

About the Author

Jeff Onderko R(B)

Jeff Onderko R(B) is a Realtor-Broker, 2017-19 Christie's International Luxury Real Estate Specialist with Hawai'i Life. West Maui Real Estate Broker, and ultra enthusiastic advocate of Maui's Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kapalua areas. I truly believe it's an honor & privilege to call Hawaii home. For 17 years now, West Maui is where I live, work and play. My team and I specialize in resort market home and condominium sales striving to deliver the highest level of professional service possible. With $50M+ sold, a panache for extensive statistical research and 100+ published real estate articles since 2015. I'm relevant, information driven and responsive. I bring a passionate energy, an entrepreneurial understanding and a client-first approach to my real estate business. Prior to becoming a Realtor, I was an independent publisher, starting and operating Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Real Estate Weeklies, Maui Time Weekly (partner), and in 2005, I was a Mayors Small Business Award finalist. In 2009, after seeing the demand and living in an under serviced pet market, alongside my Mom, Susan we opened West Maui Pet Supply. I started my career after college as an account executive with Orlando Weekly ultimately becoming their Advertising Director. Then I moved on to Advertising Sales Manager at Orange County Weekly, in Southern California. I am native of Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Florida splitting time between Miami, Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Fl. I was a scholarship soccer player at the University of Central Florida and graduated with a BA from their School of Communication. Always attracted to healthy lifestyle, adventure, great weather, water sports and the outdoors, I moved to Maui in the summer of 2002. When the Realtor hat comes off, I'm active in the community coaching U-14 Boys Soccer (AYSO - West Side Pride) and I still play in the West Maui open division. I'm involved along with other fellow Hawaii Life comrades volunteering regularly at the Ka Hale A Ke Ola Shelter in West Maui and I'm on the Board of the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund. Through the outlet of the WM Pet Supply, I was heavily involved with the Maui Humane Society & ASCPA getting animals adopted & spayed/neutered. When I have free time you'll find me surfing, golfing, at the gym, a regular at yoga class, hanging at home with my animals or working in the backyard on my organic micro-farm (aka: food garden). You can email me at or via phone at (808) 280-4881.

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