Kaanapali Hawaii

Kaanapali Beach Hotel Maui
Kaanapali Beach Hotel Maui

Located about halfway between Kapalua and the old whaling town of Lahaina on the western coast of Maui, Kaanapali Hawaii isn’t a town at all. Its permanent population, not including tourists and the workers in the Kaanapali hotels and resorts, hovers around 2,000 people. Until relatively recently, there was little here other than vast cane and pineapple fields, a small sugar wharf, and the short rail line to the sugar mill in Lahaina, now available for scenic tours. However, Kaanapali Beach is what the area does have, and at more than one mile long it is one of the best beaches on the island.

Kaanapali Hawaii
Kaanapali Hawaii

Kaanapali Hawaii is strictly a resort area—planned and purposely built as such along the stretch of sandy Kaanapali Beach by a company called Amfac, which stands for American Factors. The roots of this resort community lie in Hawaii’s history as a region known for its huge sugar cane plantations and the production of sugar. The company of Amfac was founded in 1849 and was one of the Big Five, the five companies that dominated the industry and all Hawaiian commerce for nearly 100 years. The only one of these companies still in business as an agricultural firm is Alexander and Baldwin, which operates the Kauai Coffee Company on the island of Kauai, the country’s largest producer of coffee.

Kaanapali Vacations
Kaanapali Vacations

After Hawaii became a state in 1959, the sugar industry declined. Tourists discovered the attractions of the islands, and Kaanapali vacations have been popular ever since. The most venerable of the resort hotels built during this time is the Royal Lahaina, which dates to 1962 and is known throughout the islands for its sumptuous Maui luau.

Kaanapali Sailing
Kaanapali Sailing

The tract of land owned by sugar plantations and located behind the stretch of beaches was twice the size of Waikiki in Honolulu on Oahu—and ripe for development. These beaches are much more inviting than any of those found in Lahaina. The pattern of developing relatively barren tracts of coastal land begun at Kaanapali Hawaii has since been repeated all over the islands. You will find it at Kapalua and Wailea on Maui and Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Black Rock
Black Rock

There are numerous things to do in Kaanapali because of the resort complexes. These include hiking or strolling along the Kaanapali Beachwalk that stretches for nearly two miles between the beaches and resort properties, passing restaurants and other dining venues, art galleries and crafts shops, and the island’s most extensive shopping complex. All the Kaanapali hotels have services to help you book any of the popular outdoor adventures, from deep-sea fishing and parasailing, to whale watching cruises and Lahaina tours. There is world-class golf available, numerous venues for Maui weddings, luaus galore, exciting nightlife, and, of course, beaches. Take a walk up the beach to Black Rock Beach for the best snorkeling in the area, or to Hanakaoo Beach for more secluded sunbathing. Kaanapali vacations provide just about everything you might want of a destination.

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