Kanaha Beach

You can actually get off the plane at Kahului Airport, the main commercial passenger airport on Maui, and walk to Kanaha Beach in about ten minutes. Second only to Hookipa Beach in Paia, Kanaha Beach Maui is a superb windsurfing spot. It is, in fact, considered one of the best in the world. It is located on Maui’s North Shore and is quite undiscovered by most visitors. Unless you’re looking for it, you are quite apt to never find it.

Kite Beach

Kanaha Beach Windsurfing
Kanaha Beach Windsurfing

One section of this long stretch of white sand beach is now known as Kite Beach, as the popularity of kite boarding increases. When the swell is up during the winter, you will also find it is excellent for more traditional Maui surfing. Most visitors to the island drive out of Kahului right after picking up their car rentals, and head off to the more well-known resort destinations. If you like seclusion and smaller crowds, this is excellent. Because a Kanaha Beach vacation is not as popular with visitors, you will find mostly locals and avid windsurfers here.

Kanaha Beach Park
Kanaha Beach Park

Kanaha Beach Park is an area of wild coastline with several different ecosystems. There are coastal dunes, sugar-fine white sand, and wildlife wetlands refuges, in addition to a developed park with excellent facilities. There are barbecue pits, volleyball courts, public restrooms, showers, and bicycle paths. There is even a halau, a hula school, here. The central area of Kanaha Beach Maui has a canoe club, which is the site of the hula school, and a lifeguard station. A Kanaha Beach vacation offers something few other beaches do, as well as plenty of things to do. Here you will find the 143-acre Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, a wetlands area that protects two endangered bird species, the Hawaiian stilt, or aeo, and the Hawaiian coot, or alae keokeo. Once a royal fishpond, it is also home to the Hawaiian duck, called the koloa, and is one of the stops for migrating Canada geese. Admission is free and there are some easy hiking trails through the wetlands and bordering forest.

Kanaha Beach Kitesurfing
Kanaha Beach Kitesurfing

Kanaha Beach Maui has excellent fishing, canoeing, and camping areas, though permits are required for camping. The vegetation is pristine, and you will find numerous indigenous coastal plants traditionally used for medicinal purposes that have largely disappeared elsewhere on the island. The plant life is monitored by the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and you can spend some time volunteering on your Kanaha Beach vacation by helping to remove alien and introduced plant species.

Look to Wailuku or Kahului hotels for lodging, as Kanaha Beach has very few nearby. But there are two good, three-star properties that are quite close and with easy highway access for exploring the attractions elsewhere on the island. They can be considered the equivalent of better motels. The Maui Beach Hotel is great for families, offers airport shuttle service, and has a bar and restaurant. It is two miles from the beach. The family-owned Maui Seaside Hotel has a harbor view, refrigerators in the rooms, and a swimming pool. It is less than a mile from the beach.

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