Places We Chose to Visit
Beaches and Snorkeling
We tried a number of beaches during our stay from Big Beach to the south to the hotel beaches at Ka’anapali and they were broadly excellent. General comments:
– If you’re taking your cameras make sure you have a sand-proof, water proof bag or container to hold it. When the winds pick up sand gets in EVERYTHING. Additionally, while we didn’t experience it we heard tell of rogue waves rushing up on the beach and surprising people and their belongings. Better safe than sorry.
– Ask around about the trade winds. Maui beaches with low wind are wonderful. Maui beaches when the winds arrive are hard to bear.
– We didn’t bring any children’s toys at the recommendation of friends. We’d recommend you do the same. Save the luggage space as the condo you rent will almost certainly have all the toys you need from prior families.
– Snorkeling gear. We rented our snorkeling gear from Boss Frogs for ~$30.00/week for each of us. Totally worth it so you have gear with you where ever you find yourself. Boss Frogs is located all over the place and you can rent from one location and return to which ever is most convenient at the time (we rented in Ka-anapali and returned in Kihei). My only issue with them is the attempts to upsell on tourist packages when all you want to do is rent a snorkel, mask and fins.
Ka’anapali beaches were nice in that they were accessible to people not staying at the various hotels, were very clean and offered easy, pleasant swimming. The one issue we had while visiting was that we arrived at roughly the same time as the trade winds, and with the absence of any kind of wind break we were sand-whipped to the point that we had to leave the beach.
Kamaole Beach I, II and III
We drove south to Big Beach early in our vacation and on one of the hottest days of our stay. I suggest that you arrive early in order to secure a parking spot, and that you bring sandals as you won’t want to walk across the sand or the asphalt later in the day. The heat is remarkable.
The beach itself is long and ‘deep’ with a great deal of space between tide and vegetation. Shortly after we arrived the lifeguards got on the horn and made sure that everyone was aware that a) the waves were up that day and were easily strong enough to knock an adult down, b) there was a strong undertow and c) unless you were very comfortable in such waters you should probably stay out… Their warnings were quickly justified as a group of teens jogged into the surf and were quickly taught a lesson before eventually struggling beyond the break to calmer waters.
Finally, we observed our first ‘rogue wave’ while at Big Beach and several families who were many, many feet from the high water mark found themselves scrambling to grab their belongings when the tide quickly surrounded them and then quickly backed off again.
In short, this is a great beach for time on the sand, but probably not the ideal place for a toddler who enjoys playing in the water.