Hanakao'o Beach ("Canoe Beach")

Hanako'o Beach Park Canoe Beach Lahaina Kaanapali Maui
Overview: Locals call this "Canoe Beach" because it hosts outrigger canoe races on Saturdays, but for island visitors this beach could be called "Ka'anapali's Back Door."

The sand is technically connected to famous Ka'anapali Beach, but a barely noticeable stream technically separates the two. It's a three minute walk to the Hyatt from here, and you can even link up with the Ka'anapali Boardwalk by just strolling to the end of the sand.

Despite its proximity to Ka'anapali, however, Hanakao'o is way more relaxed and exudes a local vibe, where families barbecue under small pavilions and children splash in the waves.

The snorkeling here is actually really good—especially when you swim by the part of the beach in front of the Hyatt resort. You can also head south and hug the shallow area off of the rocks, and just keep an eye out for fishing lines from anyone fishing on shore. This is a great spot to find honu (sea turtles)!

It's also a popular spot for paddleboarders who are looking to escape the wind, since there is usually a little pocket of water that's protected from strong, northeasterly tradewinds that blow during most of the summer.

Good For: Snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, picnics, and avoiding paying to park in Ka'anapali.

Not So Good For: Luxury, enormous crowds on weekends.

Maui Expert Tip For Hanakao'o Beach Park (aka "Canoe Beach"): The rocky headland just south of the sand is a great spot for snorkeling with sea turtles. It's also usually tucked out of the wind and much calmer than the Sheraton area of Ka'anapali.

Just keep an eye out for fishing lines since it's a popular spot for shore casting, and occasionally the surf can get big in summer.
Directions and Parking Situation: Hanakao'o Beach Park is accessed directly from Honoapi'ilani Highway and just south of Ka'anapali. Much of the parking is in a large dirt lot, and be extra cautious when turning left and driving back on to the highway.

Facilities: Lifeguards, showers, restrooms, barbecues, picnic shelters.