Every year, when we start thinking about where to go for our annual family getaway, my husband puts his vote in for his favorite spot: Maui. The Valley Isle is a great place for families, but Maui has a diverse landscape. The resort areas of Kaanapali and Kapalua to the west and Wailea to the south all offer gorgeous beaches and great swimming and snorkeling. The fun part is deciding which paradise vibe you’re looking for.
If you want to be where the action is, this stretch of golden sand is the perfect spot. The beach parallels a paved walkway that links hotels and condos, open-air restaurants and the popular Whalers Village shopping center.
You’ll find lots of vendors lined up in front of the hotels, offering all types of water sports gear for rent. Whalers Village offers live music and hula dancing on certain nights and a variety of food options. There’s a daily sunset cliff-diving ceremony near Black Rock, and the water is clear and calm.
If you’re looking for a quieter, “we’re on our own private beach” vibe, Kapalua is the spot for you. A 15-minute drive up the coast from Kaanapali, the crescent-shaped oasis rolls from soft-sand beaches to spectacular sea cliffs. The calm water is so clear you can see it turn to green and then deep blue.
In this part of Maui, you’ll have access to two marine sanctuaries and miles of hiking trails that run from the ocean’s edge across sand dunes to a mountain ridge trail with stunning panoramic views. There are plenty of restaurant options in the area, but they’re more spread out, so you’ll need a car to explore the area, which is lined with pineapple fields.
If you’re looking to relax in the sun, this part of Maui is the sunniest, warmest and driest. Wailea Beach is one of five beaches in the gorgeously manicured Wailea Resort area, and because it is protected on both sides by black-lava points, its clear waters gently tumble to shore. Home to luxury resorts such as the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea, this luxurious stretch of paradise offers what Frommer’s calls “Beverly Hills by the sea.”
There are lots of shops, restaurants and water sports equipment rentals nearby. You’ll also find a scenic three-mile trail along the oceanfront with gorgeous views of the nearby islands. For more information about visiting Maui, go to the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau’s website at (www.gohawaii.com/islands/maui)
Elena Epstein is L.A. Parent’s Director of Content and the mom of two.