Beaches · Travel · Vacations

Maui: The Valley Isle of Hawai’i – Beaches

Happy New year readers!! Its been over a month since my last blog post. But now that I am back from 2 amazing vacations, I’ll try to make it a point to be a little more active in adding new posts!

We visited Maui, Hawai’i during Thanksgiving 2010 and here’s my take on all the cool stuff you could try out if you ever plan a Maui vacation. We were only there for 6 days, so obviously we couldn’t get enough of this island but I am still going to pen down my experiences at Maui into 3 different blog posts. The first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Hawai’i is beaches and so this blog post will talk about Maui’s beautiful beaches and water activities. A second post on Maui’s volcanic crater and much talked about Road to Hana and a third one on Maui’s dining and shopping are available too, so read on šŸ™‚

Swimming with turtles @ Black Rock in Maui, Hawai'i

We stayed at a resort on Kaanapali beach in West Maui. You will read a lot about Kaanapali being “THE” place to be in Maui. I believe the prime reason for this is its proximity to a lot of places. This gorgeous stretch of white sand beach has a lot to offer from world-class resorts to amazing views of blue water and the distant islands of Molokai and Lanai. Kaanapali was rated as America’s best beach in 2003. Well..that’s a long time back, but it is a still great beach if not the best. If you are staying in West Maui, I highly recommend staying at Kaanapali. If West Maui ain’t your pick, South Maui is also a good option. Pick Wailea for the 5 star resorts or Kihei if you are on a strict budget. But I wouldn’t prefer it over the West Maui any day. Before I go into describing my picks for the best beaches, do want to know the highlight of my trip??? It was SWIMMING with TURTLES šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ :). Let me jump into describing Maui’s snorkeling options first.

SNORKELING: There are a lot snorkeling tour options available but since we had snorkeled before at other places and had all the gear, we decided to visit Black rock (from the Sheraton side) on the first day and see if we really needed to opt for a tour instead. Surprisingly, snorkeling at Black Rock lives up to all the hype. Absolutely delightful and fantastic. It was our first time swimming with the turtles in the ocean though. And I have been bragging about it ever since. But trust me, overcoming the fear of water and swimming with those gentle creatures is truly a memory I will cherish for a lifetime :). Lots of colorful fishes near the rock make it an incredible experience. Check out the slide show below in this blog to view few of our snorkeling photographs. Some tourists don’t get to see so many fishes even if they opt for expensive tours. So, if you have all the a gear and have been snorkeling before, don’t waste too much money on the tours everyday. There are a lot of places close to the beach where you can explorer your snorkeling options. That said, snorkeling at the crescent-shaped Molokini islet is renowned and scuba on the outer side of Molokini is world-famous. Some other options are taking full or half day trips to the distant island of Lanai.

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BEACHES: We did a lot of beach hopping in Maui and here is a list of few of the best beaches in Maui. In West Maui, Kapalua and Napili (north of Kaanapali) are good options. Though Kapalua is an extremely small beach. Kaanapali of course, is good for anything and everything. In South Maui, we started exploring beaches from the town of Kihei. Kama’ole Beach Park I tops the list of great beaches in Kihei. This beach is fabulous for swimming and has reasonable snorkeling options at the 2 ends. The only downside is that there is no shade on this beach, so it can get very hot in the afternoons if you are not in the water. Wailea beach near Fairmont Kea Lani has the most hep crowd. If you just want to read or relax on the beach, this is the beach. But snorkeling and swimming at Wailea were a big flop when we visited the beach. May be it was the wind that day because Wailea is known to be great for swimming. We spent sometime relaxing on Wailea and then headed to further to explore other South Maui beaches. Next stop was Makena Beach State Park or Big Beach. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this beach. Very less crowd and a huge stretch of white/golden sand. Couldn’t get better than that! May be it was the sun or the time of the day we visited the beach, this was the bluest of all beaches I visited in Maui. Makena/Big Beach was my favorite of all Maui beaches we visited.

Sunsets at Maui are definitely not to be missed. Kaanapali beach is probably a good place for an evening stroll and watch the sunset. But my favorite beach to watch sunset was Kahekili Beach Park. Public parking near Westin provides easy access to this beach. On a clear day, you get amazing views of Lanai and Molokai from this beach. We saw sunset from Kapalua beach too, but it was raining slightly on that day and so it was not anything great.

Makena State Beach or Big Beach

Other water activities: Snorkeling and scuba are not the only options you have. There’s everything from a banana boat ride to an aqua submarine ride adventure. Go explore an activity that suits your liking.

Books to read: If you have read my previous posts, I have mentioned that it almost always pays off if you read travel books about your vacation spot beforehand. We did quite a bit of research and here is a list of books we read: Fodors Maui 2009, Frommer’s Maui 2009 and 2011, but a true gem was Maui Revealed: The ultimate guide-book. Please read it and you will not regret it! More posts on Maui COMING SOON!!!

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