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17 Apr 2019

Maui’s stunning west coast is a special place. Home to world-class beaches, five-star resorts, and the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, West Maui is where it’s at. With so many activities available, from free hikes and pristine snorkeling spots to top-rated tours and one of a kind experiences, plus excellent dining and shopping, it can be hard to choose what to do with your precious time. Don’t stress. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites from Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Lahaina. Read on for an epic vacation.

 

KAPALUA

 

1. Coastal Hiking in Kapalua

Set against a rugged coastline and the beautiful West Maui Mountains on the northern tip of Maui’s West Coast, Kapalua is home to some incredible outdoor activities. The Kapalua Coastal Trail is a scenic two-mile hike that begins at Kapalua Beach and ends at a Oneola Beach. Along the trail are beautiful views of Molokai. Hikers report spotting turtles and whales (in season) too. A few minutes north is the Dragon Tooth Trail. This four-mile round trip hike takes you out to a breathtaking point with jagged lava formations (hence the name dragon tooth). At the end of the trail, you will find the Kapalua Labyrinth.

 

2. Tee Off on a World Class Course

If you love golf, a stop at the gorgeous Kapalua Golf Course is a must. Their award-winning Plantation Course is rated #1 in Hawaii, and ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the United States. Improve your game with one of their expert instructors at the Kapalua Golf Academy or play a few rounds on one of their two courses.

 

3. Adventure Through the West Maui Mountains

Experience the beautiful West Maui Mountains with two awesome local tour companies - Kapalua Ziplines and Maui Off Road Adventures. Kapalua Ziplines has Maui’s largest dual line zipline course. Set on private land in the West Maui Mountains, this tour gives you exclusive access to stunning views, and adrenaline pumping fun. Their zipline course takes you over lush forested valleys and over a suspension bridge. During the summer season, they offer full moon ziplining. In partnership with Pu’u Kukui Watershed, Maui Off Road Adventures offers one of a kind trail rides that provide educational opportunities for guests to learn about the preserve and the unique animal and plant species that call it home.

 

Image courtesy of Maui Off Road Adventures
 
 

4. Grab a Cold One at Maui Brewing Company

Stop off at the Maui Brewing Company after a day of outdoor exploring in Kapalua. They have family friendly dining and delicious brews like their Coconut Porter and famous Bikini Blonde Lager. Another cool thing about Maui Brew is its commitment to sustainability. The company is currently 80% solar powered and actively working towards becoming totally grid independent.

 

Image courtesy of Maui Brewing Company

 

 KAANAPALI

Kaanapali Beach - Image courtesy of Jessie Reardon

 

5. Beach and Snorkel at Kaanapali’s Black Rock

Maui’s original resort destination for visitors from around the world, Kaanapali boasts some of the island’s most beautiful sun-drenched beaches just north of Lahaina town. One of the highlights of this area is Kaanapali Beach - a three-mile white sand beach with amazing snorkeling at Black Rock or Pu’u Keka’a Beach on its northern edge. Some of the colorful sea life you can spot in the aquamarine waters include butterfly fish, parrot fish, tang, wrasse, triggerfish, goatfish, snapper, porcupine fish, hawk fish, jacks, mackerel, cornet fish, turtles, and more. You can cliff jump off the rock if you dare!

 

6. Treat Yourself at Whalers Village

Go ahead and indulge in some retail therapy at Whalers Village, a high-end shopping zone with top brands and plenty of tasty spots to eat. More than your typical shopping mall, Whalers offers a slew of ongoing cultural activities, classes, and performances throughout the week, including lei making and movie nights on the lawn. See their website for a full schedule of regular events. Some of our favorite spots to grind at Whalers include Choice Health Bar, Joey’s Kitchen, and Ono Gelato. Monkey Pod Kitchen is famous for their Mai Tai.

 

Image Courtesy of Makai Adventures

 

7. Go on a Whale Watch or Fishing Charter

Between West Maui and Molokai, the Pacific Ocean is relatively shallow - around a mere 300 feet. To a whale roughly the size of a city bus, this looks and feels like a lovely bathtub. West Maui has the best whale watching in the Hawaiian Islands, with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary right off the coast. There are numerous companies that offer private charters and tours. One of our favorites is Makai Adventures, a family run company that offers private sailboat charters out of Kaanapali and power boat tours out of Lahaina Harbor. They also offer fishing charters during the summer season when the whales are gone.

 

8. Watch an Epic Sunset and Cliff Diving Ceremony

 

The Sheraton Resort, which overlooks Black Rock puts on a free show every evening before sunset. A performer lights torches along the cliff and then leaps off in a breathtaking finale. Cliff diving or lele kawa has historical significance here. The Sheraton has live music before and after the ceremony with guided historical narration. You can read more about it in Hawaii Magazine.

 

LAHAINA

 

9. Explore Historic Lahaina Town  

Lahaina Town is rich in history. The former capital of the Hawaiian Islands from 1802 to 1845, Lahaina town was home to Hawaiian royalty, rowdy sailors, and missionaries. Its famous Front Street dates back to the 1820s and offers several points of interest for history buffs. Visit Banyan Court to see one tree that takes up an entire city block. This banyan tree is the oldest tree on Maui at over 150 years old. Around Christmas time, it’s a sight to see covered in lights. In historic Lahaina Town, you’ll find the old courthouse, lighthouse, the Baldwin Home, and Hale Pa’ahao Prison, all dating back to the mid-1800s. The story is, the prison’s primary residents were sailors whose raucous lifestyle while ashore offended the missionaries.

 

10. Catch a Free Hula Performance

 

Lahaina town’s Cannery Mall offers up free hula performances Saturday 1-2 pm and hula and ukulele lessons weekly. View their schedule of events for a full calendar here. This is Maui’s only fully contained air-conditioned mall which provides a nice respite from Lahaina’s hot sun. If you prefer to be outdoors, Outlet Malls of Maui on the waterfront offers weekly Tahitian dance performances and other events. You can view their schedule here. This is a fun, accessible way to experience Hula and Hawaiian culture outside of a formal luau.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do in West Maui? Drop us a line and share it with us!

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