Ka’anapali and Beyond

The Hawaiians named it Ka’anapali (rolling cliffs) to describe the bluffs at midpoint along its shore. Today, the three-mile (4.8-kilometer) stretch of golden sand on Maui’s western coast is the outer island’s equivalent of a mini Waikiki without a metropolis in the backyard. The beach was the first planned resort community of its kind and as such, builders set aside ample land for gardens, water features and lawns shaded by rows of coco palms. Ka’anapali faces the island of Lana’i and is situated between the West Maui Mountains and the shallow Au’au Channel. These warm waters attract Pacific humpback whales that migrate from Alaska to Hawaii each winter to birth and raise their calves.

At the heart of Ka’anapali is Whaler’s Village, an oceanfront, open-air shopping center. Refreshed by a multimillion-dollar renovation, this shoppers’ delight features nearly 100 stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars (some of them perched above or sitting right on the beach). About a ten-minute drive down the highway is old Lahaina Town, the original capital of the islands and a former whaling village. Today, this quaint seaside hamlet is full of souvenir shops, art galleries, restaurants and bars. Both Ka’anapali and Lahaina provide access to the stunning waters of the Au’au Channel. Boats of all shapes and sizes offer adventures ranging from snorkeling and whale and dolphin watching to island hopping and underwater exploration.

For those wishing to strike out on their own, there is a magical world beyond. For the cost of a day’s car rental, there are spectacular drives into and around the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala to hidden beaches, tropical trailheads and turn-back-the-clock villages. For those wishing an adrenalin rush or to try something unique, there is no shortage of experiences with activities like downhill biking a volcano, helicopter touring a neighbor island or cruising Maui in a 1957 Porche Speedster convertible.

The many faces of Maui:

  • Ka’anapali Beach
  • Lahaina Town
  • West Maui Mountains and Iao Valley
  • Ho’okipa Beach and Paia
  • Upcountry (Makawao and Kula)
  • Haleakala
  • Ulupalakua Ranch and Vineyards
  • Hana


“But when you play in this event, everyone watches this event next week. Even coaches that aren’t in the Maui Invitational, that’s the one I’m always watching when I’m not in it. So it’s a great stage, and hopefully we can get tougher and figure ourselves out a little more before we head into ACC play.”
—Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey