D.T. Fleming Beach
Flemings is by far my favorite beach on the west side, it sits just north of Kapalua and is the immediate left after passing the Kapalua Club House. The nice thing about the park is that it is a public beach park with lifeguards, facilities, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and easy beach access. Flemings has a decent sized parking lot and can accommodate quite a few cars if people park right. There is plenty of beach to lounge on with rocks on other side of the beach to go explore.
I personally enjoy this world-class beach because it is much less developed and far less touristy than Black Rock/Ka’anapali Beach. I recently spent the weekend at this beach and on multiple occasions we saw whales in the distance. Turtles can also be found in the next few bays to the right of the beach, however, if you are not a strong swimmer please do not attempt. It’s actually a quite challenging swim because of the constant waves and wind factor.
An interesting little fact is the beach was named after the man who introduced the pineapple to West Maui.
Black Rock and Ka’anapali Beach
This beach is well know as two different names because of the commonly known landmark associated with the beach, Black Rock. Ka’anapali Beach is the 3 mile long stretch of white sand housing Black Rock on the northern end by the Sheraton Hotel. On numerous occasion the beach has been rated as one of the best beaches in the world by travel publications such as Condé Nast magazine.
Black Rock is the pronounced rocky peninsula that juts out into the ocean creating a natural diving board. The water is deep enough to safely jump in and feel secure about the surrounding water. The reef and rock edge around black rock offer great snorkeling conditions for those who are interested. Also, black rock is the perfect place to practice rock running, it’s an exercise where one attempts to carry a rock as they can under water. It’s a great work out, I recommend trying it!
Some of the fish around Black Rock to keep an eye out for: Butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, box fish, cardinal fish, perch, chub, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, snapper, porcupine fish, hawk fish, jacks, mackerel, cornet fish, needle fish, turtles, crustaceans, and invertebrates.
It is a journey to this side of the island but this is one of the most beautiful beaches on Maui. Kapalau Beach is great for snorkeling and scuba, also stand up paddle boards can be rented from the activities cabana. The beach is often uncrowded because the water isn’t too ideal for swimming. The reef is shallow from the shore all the way out. It’s dangerous to be in the water here especially during the winter swells.
Kapalua Bay is naturally sheltered by two reefs that extend out on both ends forming a C-shaped cove making it ideal for snorkeling. The bay’s calm water makes it one of those perfect places for beginner snorkeling and is an ideal spot to take the kids. Getting into the water couldn’t be easier. The ocean will literally be a few feet from your beach towel.
Some fish that can be found: butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, box fish, perch, chub, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, porcupine fish, hawk fish, scorpion fish, jacks, cornet fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates.
Ironwoods is a rather hidden beach, many do not even think much of it when they pass by. You’ll see a sign saying “Ironwood Lane” marking the turn, the parking lot is only a few feet from the turn. The beach is a beautiful 1/4 Mile stretch, sandy and uncrowded next to the Ritz Carlton and Kapalua Resort. The beach fronts private property near several private residences. So keep in mind to please not block any access, and respect the privacy of the home owners.
Launiupoko State Wayside Park is an island favorite and it is incredibly difficult to get a parking spot in the beach parking lot, additional parking is just across the stop light. Many favor the beach for its beautiful green grass area complete with picnic tables and barbecue stations. The park is a convenient place for a quick dip but it is also known to be an awesome place for beginning surfers.
The beach is best in the summer months when very well formed and consistent surf breaks are firing across the line up. The not so large breaks work well as beginning surfers and surf schools often teach here. The beach is also a growing popular location for stand-up paddlers when the seas are flat to medium surf. This is one of the last beach parks on the west side to get the wrap-around trades from the north so it will often remain calm, without white-caps well into the afternoon hours.
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