As has been made clear on this blog… we love to travel. We believe in travel as a family, as an experience for our kids, as a way to get them outside of our “bubble” to explore the world and interact with cultures on many levels. As a general rule, we try to get beyond “tourist mode” when we travel (though we certainly do plenty of touristy things) and get into places on a deeper level.
Sometimes you just need to unwind!
Now all that being said… sometimes you just need a vacation. Not something where you’re on the go, but where you just stay in one place, disconnect from social media, work, etc and “veg.” While this can certainly be done at home as well (staycations are ever popular), we aren’t very good at that, and hence when we want to disconnect – we flee to Maui, more specifically – Kaanapali Beach.
Playing on Kaanapali Beach!
Leilani’s Shave Ice!
I want to start by saying that we were married on Kaanapali Beach 12 years ago, so it has a special place in our hearts. I also want to stay that we have done plenty of travel around Maui far beyond this tourist hot spot, which I will go over in another blog post later this week! There is TONS to explore on the Garden Isle, including a volcano (drive it, bike it, or even back pack it!), volcanic tubes, beautiful Road to Hana, where you find a true remote Hawaiian town, the Seven Pools (if they are open), lush hikes, snorkeling and kayaking, water sports, waterfalls, awesome beaches, dining, and more! Definitely stay tuned, because you can travel in every sense of the word on Maui, not just chill! 🙂
Sunsets – even silly ones- are the best!
In the case of Kaanapali Beach, I think it is a perfect “starter” vacation for families who are hesitant to travel with kids but want to make that big plunge – taking a plane flight, getting some R & R for mom and dad, with lots to do for the kiddos as well. This Resort area is ideal because you can do an awful lot without needing to rent a car… I actually have gone weeks there without getting in one! You can walk (or jog) the 2 mile path along the Resorts to shopping, dining, and water activities including parasailing, surfing, kayaking, and more. Sunset Cruises depart nightly, and there is tons of musical entertainment of all varieties along the beach. The classic Kaanapali Beach Hotel, one of my favorite spots for first time Hawaii-visitors and the site of our wedding, offers free hula and live Hawaiian music by their Tiki Bar nightly – except for Mondays, when there is a paid luau there. Also – Kaanapali has an amazing sunset nightly, thanks to the proximity of Lanai and Molokai, which make for some amazing photos during the day as well!
Play structure in Whaler’s Village!
Lanai and Molokai make for the best sunsets!
As far as accommodations go, you certainly have your pick! We love staying at the condos at the Whaler, as they allow us to barbecue and eat in with a full kitchen and laundry access. When we want to eat out or shop, Whaler’s Village is right next door! As a tip for families, we have enjoyed Ground Floor units with our kids so that they can run and play on the lawn while we relax on the lanai, and don’t have to worry about their safety or (when they were younger) toys flying over the side of a balcony and onto someone’s head! We often will have multiple units if traveling with extended family, and then use the Ground Floor unit as our home base. Many of the Resorts, including the Whaler, have activities available such as koi fish feeding – a daily source of entertainment for the kids. In previous stays, we’ve also had a great experience at the Kaanpali Ali’i condominiums further down the beach.
If you’re looking for a more traditional Hotel feel or Resort with fancy pools, water slides, and restaurants, the Hyatt, Marriott, Westin and Sheraton are all beautiful. The Hyatt and Marriott both boast villas now that accommodate families with kitchens and laundry through their vacation club or private booking, and the Westin also has vacation club villas farther up the beach on the other side of Black Rock. It’s expected through Marriott Vacation Club’s purchase of ILM that these time share villas will all merge into one managed company in the future, so that may be something to consider when making your plans! These pools are all large, beautiful, and many offer water slides and splash pads for the kiddos. The Hyatt has beautiful exotic birds and penguins that are always a hit for the kids, as does the Westin with flamingos we have even been able to feed in the past!
The Hyatt has birds, bridges, and more!
One thing to note – there is no such thing as an all-inclusive Resort package in Hawaii! It has to do with US laws and legalities. So Resorts that include all your food and drinks such as those in the Caribbean or Mexico are not to be found in the Aloha State… though they certainly provide a lot of amenities! 🙂
Shave Ice is a must!
If you’re looking for a place to unplug and relax, or just to try out a family vacation with kids in tow, Kaanapali Beach is a great spot to do it! I have been through all the hotels there and would love to help you plan a magical stay! On the other side of the island, the Wailea Resort area is is also a beautiful and luxurious spot for families and couples alike! Contact Me Today to plan your Aloha Vacation!
Stay tuned for Part 2, on activities and travel in Maui beyond the more touristy vacation spots. 🙂