The beach at Kahekili Beach Park is sometimes called Airport Beach, but don’t be frightened off at the idea of loud planes coming in and out. That name came from the park’s closeness to the old airport of Kaanapali Airport that closed in 1986. Today, this boardwalk-lined public beach has a few resorts at its back but is in a laid-back part of Maui, offering visitors a fantastic beach adventure on the island’s west coast.
Kahekili Beach is a long stretch of white sand that is located just north of the more populous Kaanapali Beach and Black Rock. But while more people do frequent that area, Kahekili Beach Park is the premier choice for those wanting a quieter beach experience or who want to get into some snorkeling and diving. In fact, this part of the island is considered one of the best areas for both types of underwater experience.
The Kahekili Beach area is renowned for beginner diving and snorkeling thanks to how its set-up and the plenitude of fish and underwater plants here. You will find several diving and snorkeling outfits located within a stone’s throw where you can sign up for introductory lessons or rent gear. Diving outfits love to teach at this place because the coral reef is really close to shore. You simply have to dive in and you’re essentially there, in the heart of things. Once in the water, snorkelers and divers can expect to get up close and personal with a diverse array of fish and even green sea turtles. If you go during the winter whaling season, you also have a good chance of seeing whales just off the beach and actually hearing their calls when underwater.
While snorkeling and diving are truly excellent at Kahekili Beach, general swimming and surfing aren’t always the best. The nearness of the reef makes it not so ideal for waders while the waves can be hit or miss. There also is no posted lifeguard, making it not always the best choice for families with young kids, and rip currents do form. The waves can also get pretty large and dangerous and all swimmers should practice caution when wading in.
No lifeguards but Kahekili Beach Park does have other great amenities. There is a massive beach pavilion complete with picnic tables, barbecue grills, and plenty of trash cans. Visitors will find full restrooms connected to this central visitor center with outdoor showers located just off of the boardwalk.
Another nice thing about this beach park is that when you walk up to it from the parking lot or the boardwalk, you will pass over a nice flat stretch of green grass with its own picnic tables and grills. This stretch of manicured grass connects directly with the white sands of the beach, making for a perfect place for those who want to relax and watch a sunset over the ocean and beach, but not get sandy. And the sunsets here are fantastic! If you are on this side of Maui, you should definitely consider viewing the sunset at Kahekili Beach Park at least once. The grass lawn here is also great for activities like frisbee.
-The water here is more often than not very clear, further adding to its appeal amidst drivers and snorkelers. That said, often is not always and so if you are traveling from another part of the island with the express purpose of snorkeling or diving at Kahekili Beach Park, you should double-check water clarity before you go. This can easily be done by calling one of the many diving outfits near the beach park.
-Free parking here is limited but Kahekili Beach Park is only a ten-minute walk from many of the area’s biggest beach resorts. If you aren’t staying at one of them, you