Kapalua roughly translates into “arms embracing the sea,” and this perfectly describes the pretty, crescent-shaped beach that’s flanked by two rocky outcrops. As a result of this natural barrier, the water in this area is very sheltered and calm, making Kapalua Beach ideal for a gentle swim or snorkel. It’s one of the few northern beaches where children can safely splash around in the shallows.
Palm-tree-lined Kapalua Beach is one of West Maui’s best snorkeling spots, even in winter. You may see surgeon fish, damsel fish, jacks and goat fish. You can even swim with a sea turtle if you are lucky. For optimal conditions, head to the north end of the beach. This is rockier, but has the advantage of better visibility. Occasionally, rare monk seals drag themselves up on to the rocks to rest. Bring your camera, just in case this happens while you are there!
Golf is a favorite activity in Hawaii and especially so in Kapalua the Plantation Course and the Bay Course both host professional tournaments. These courses also welcome passing tourists, so go and watch the action if you appreciate a good game of golf.
A range of boutique shops can be found in the center of Kapalua, including a handful of high-end jewelry stores. If you happen to visit in June, you’ll be delighted by the annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival. Learn all about wine tastings and sample the treats that the local restaurants serve up to showcase their menus.
Kapalua Beach in northwest Maui is relatively crowded compared to other Maui beaches, but since it has a lot to offer, it’s fun to visit at least once. Kapalua has its own private airport, and a luxury resort that straddles the beach offers accommodation options. There is little catering along the beach, so pack a picnic if you plan to spend the day. A parking lot is located close to the beach, but can fill up fast. Get there early to avoid a longer trek to and from the car.