Guest Author - Candyce H. Stapen
Maui offers some of the best beaches for families in Hawaii. With more than 30 miles of sands, families have lots of options. The key is to know where to go for what ambiance. All the beaches in Hawaii are open to the public at no charge. Here’s a guide to the best family beaches in Maui.
Wailea, a popular, upmarket resort area in south Maui, is home to such posh properties as the Fairmont Kea Lani, the Grand Wailea, and the Andaz Maui at Wailea. The beach divides into a series of coves with black lava rock borders. Generally the surf is mild and the setting is relaxing. That’s because the resorts, uphill from the ocean, are fronted by green lawns that slope to a path lined with sea grape trees and tropical blooms. Situated further downhill from the path, the beach gets little noise from the joggers or the resort pools. The Fairmont and the Grand Wailea offer supervised children’s activities as well as family-friendly activities.
The resorts offer kayaking, snorkel tours and other typical water sports. At the Fairmont Kea Lani try something special: an outing on an outrigger sailing canoe, the only one on Maui.
Kihei, just north of Wailea, and also in south Maui, is more laid back. Along with smaller hotels than those in Wailea, the town has condominium properties and three terrific beach parks a few blocks from each other: Kamaole I, Kamaole II, and Kamaole III. All feature bathrooms, lifeguards, good swimming and grassy areas shaded by trees. Kamaole III has the largest parking lot and lawn plus swings for kids. Arrive early to get a parking spot and be sure to bring your own beach chairs.
The Days Inn Maui is oceanfront in Kihei. Café O’Lei, one of many local restaurants in town, offers a daily plate lunch and a fish special. Try the macadamia sautéed mah mahi and the Maui onion soup.
Kaanapali Beach, in West Maui, another popular resort area, bustles. Families, especially those with tweens and teens who crave being in the heart of the action should spread their beach blankets here. A paved walkway level with the sand stretches through the heart of Kaanapali. The hotels’ patio areas edge the path and the beach, which is long, but not wide, begins right on other side of the walkway.
Forget about finding a quiet spot on the sand. Outdoor restaurants, resort pools, and vendors renting umbrellas, selling dinner cruises and pushing parasailing and other water sports line the promenade. Whalers Village, a popular outdoor shopping center, anchors the area. Whalers’ has the Honolulu Cookie Company, worth a stop for its variety of tasty shortbread cookies flavored with macadamia nuts, Kona coffee, lilikoi mango, chocolate coconut and other local tastes. Westin, Hyatt, Marriott, Aston and Outrigger are some of the well-known hotel chains with Kaanapali properties.