Ka’anapali Beach – Black Rock
Beach Location: 2605 Ka’anapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761, just outside the Sheraton Hotel.
Amenities: Outdoor showers owned by the Sheraton, bathrooms in shops along the Ka’anapali Beachwalk, trash bins, walking paths.
Time to snorkel: Year round
Kid Friendly: Yes
Parking: There are 18 spots in the Ka’anapali Beach Access parking garage beneath the Sheraton. Drive all the way down Ka’anapali Parkway until it ends. Turn left around the bend, and head back the way you came. The second driveway on your right leads down into the parking garage. If there are no spots here, try another Beach Access parking lot about a ¼ mile down on the same side, nestled against the left side of Whaler’s Village Shopping Center. If you see the sign for the Westin Maui Resort and Spa, you’ve gone too far. If you plan to shop or eat at Whaler’s Village, you can park in their garage and get validated. Once you’re parked, head toward the beach. Black Rock is to the right at the far north end.
Check out all the awesome information below.
Ka'anapali Beach Rating by Boss Frog's
Water Clarity - 9.5/10
Wildlife Abundance - 9/10
Reef Abundance - 8/10
Ease of Beach Access - 8/10
Sandy Beach For Entertaining - 10/10
The beauty of Ka’anapali, which translates to “rolling cliffs,” is a unique experience for all of us, of course, as we are each unique individuals. Here are some of the things you can seek out when you are there.
There is a walking path all along Ka’anapali Beach, right between the resorts and restaurants and the sunlit sand. Many people like to jog along this path in the morning. It provides a nice place to stroll and listen to the waves during the day. At sunset, after the torches are lit, spending time along this walk together can be especially romantic.
If you’re ready to eat, several Beachwalk restaurants can satisfy your island appetite.
At the Hula Grill you can actually put your feet in the sand while you drink and dine at their Barefoot Bar! This place is right on the edge of Ka’anapali Beach, and it is sure to please the whole family. They have a delicious chef’s tasting menu as well as a kids’ menu. As night falls, a hula dancer on their outdoor stage gracefully interprets the rhythms and words of live Hawaiian music.
Leilani’s On The Beach is another of the famous Ka’anapali restaurants with an ocean view! They offer entertainment during their “Aloha Hour,” a keiki (kids) menu, and all kinds of locally-sourced menu choices. We can’t forget their wine and cocktail list, and if you really love the place, you can rent Leilani’s large dining room for special events!
In addition to restaurants, Ka’anapali Beach is lined with several fantastic resorts! Exploring Ka’anapali Parkway heading north (starting at the end closest to Lahaina Town), you’ll discover the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, Ka’anapali Ali’i, The Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Aston at The Whaler, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, and the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa.
The Hyatt Regency is the place to stay if you want great golfing nearby and a variety of restaurants and lounges onsite. Their Marilyn Monroe Spa offers a fun list of luxurious treatments, many of which are given next to expansive ocean views. Swim and play in their huge pools, relaxing whirlpools, and a water playground with a rope bridge! Plus, we’ll tell you a secret – this is the place to find penguins on Maui!
The Marriott Ocean Club is a family hotel. Most of the staff has been working there for over 30 years. One bellman said he has served the same vacationing families again and again – some of whom are now bringing their new great-grandchildren along! He also said, smiling, that he does his best to make all guests feel like family as soon as they arrive. In addition to the great staff at the Marriott, you’ll find giant chess and checker boards that await your thoughtful plays, and there is a Starbucks right on the beach. Sip your perfect beverage while watching the jetskis, parasails, or humpback whales play – depending on the season. While you relax you can dive into a good book, watch the people go by, or simply be.
One of two lavish condominium resorts on the beach – the Ka’anapali Ali’i offers privately owned condos surrounded by all the facilities you’d expect from a large hotel. Maintain your beach bod in the fitness center, switch gears and take advantage of the beachfront grills for dinner, and if you’ve had enough of ocean swimming for the day – enjoy the pools located just off the beach.
The Westin offers the largest lobby on Ka’anapali Beach, by far. You’ll see pink flamingos stretching their wings, swans floating on the ponds, rainbow macaws greeting you from their cages, and koi and cichlids plying the fresh waters below. Tropical flowers abound, including many species of delicate orchids, and there is no way to forget the huge waterfall that greets you at the lobby entrance. (You can even follow a path to walk behind the rushing water!) While you’re watching the birds and fishes, you can also browse through the many shops and local vendors located here.
Aston at The Whaler is the second condominium resort on Ka’anapali Beach. Here, you can enjoy vacation living in spaces ranging from studio to two bedroom. Each comes with a kitchen as well as daily housekeeping services and complimentary wifi. Kids 5 – 12 can spend time at “Camp Ka’anapali,” giving their parents even more of a vacation!
Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is one of the oldest hotels on the west side of Maui. It is known as “Hawai’i’s Most Hawaiian Hotel,” because the staff is highly trained in an authentic understanding of Hawaiian culture. Cultural workshops are available to all the guests who stay here. Some of the classes offered are Hawaiian Language (‘Olelo Hawai’i), ‘Ukulele, Lei Making, and Hula. In addition, Auntie Malihini gives tours of the KBH grounds, explaining how each Hawaiian plant is used in traditional medicine.
The Sheraton Resort and Spa is a large hotel with a swimming pool that flows like a river, a hot tub, and expansive lawns for playing games like bacci ball, table tennis, giant Connect 4, and croquet! It’s right on the north end of Ka’anapali Beach, so good snorkeling is just outside your hotel room door. They put on a decadent luau, and every evening there is a sunset ceremony in which a cliff diver leaps from the iconic Black Rock into the sea. The Sheraton was the first resort built on the west side of the island – all the way back in 1963!
Even if you are not staying in one of the hotels on the Beachwalk, you can still enjoy one of the world’s best beaches, and all the shopping it affords. Check out Whaler’s Village for great parking and more items to buy than you could ever spend your money on. You’ll find the perfect pieces of clothing, jewelry, art, and food.
Wondering what do to with the non-shoppers in your group? They can explore the whaling museum on the third floor or the play area in the courtyard. (In fact, this is the only shopping center I know of with the skeleton of a sperm whale hanging from the ceiling.) There are also hula lessons, hula shows, and lei-making classes. Whaler’s Village Shopping Center is located outdoors, so while you’re shopping, dancing, singing, and exploring, wear sunscreen and a hat, and carry your reusable water bottle with you to beat the heat.
If you’re done with staying dry, snorkeling at Black Rock on the north end of the beach can be a lot of fun. Sea turtles are often seen, and plenty of colorful fish live in the area.
Just an FYI, please do not snorkel on your own. You should always have a buddy no matter where you go in the ocean. When you see something amazing underwater, it’s much more fun to be able to point to it and say something unintelligible through your snorkels together! And even more importantly, in case either of you has any issues in the water, the other is there to see it, be there, and wave for help if necessary.
If you go snorkeling alone, even if there are other people in the water close by, they cannot tell if you’re distressed or not. Face down, you look just like any other snorkeler. We want you to be as safe as possible, so please always swim with a buddy.
If you want to see someone jump from Black Rock, see our video on the bottom of this page. If you plan to climb any of the rocks in the ocean, including Black Rock, pay close attention to what you are about to touch.
Sea urchins often spend time on rocks and in crevices. If you are stuck by an urchin, break off the spines as close to skin level as possible, wash the area well, and soak (or compress) the affected area in white vinegar to dissolve the remaining pieces.
The spines are made of calcium (a base), so acetic acid will break them down. This can take a few weeks. Urchin spines are definitely on Hawaiian time. The urchins in Hawaii are not poisonous, but you may find their defense mechanism to be an unexpected, uncomfortable, and fairly long-lasting souvenir.
If you’re ready to get into the water, stop into your nearest Boss Frog’s to rent snorkeling and beach gear. There is not much shade on Ka’anapali Beach, but you can rent beach umbrellas from us to make the perfect shady spot wherever you like. Our staff is always happy to help you find what you need, and to answer any questions you may have.
We know you’ll have a great time on Ka’anapali Beach. Enjoy!