Beyond Kaanapali, Molokai and Lanai provide the exquisite backdrop for the pristine crescents of sand of Kapalua beaches, while palm trees punctuate their beauty shore-side. Each beach has a few hidden gems beyond the obvious snorkel and swim attractions. Only steps off the "beaten path" you‘ll find lava rock outcroppings, tide pools and coral reefs ideally suited to exploration by families.
Kapalua Bay is located directly in front of Coconut Grove and the Kapalua Bay Hotel. To reach this beach take the Lower Honoapiilani Hwy. and turn at the Napili Kai sign just next to the Kapalua Club entrance. After you’ve giggled with delight while watching kids maneuver from shore to sea in flippers and masks, and heard enough excited shrieks as they discover the underwater bounty of the brilliantly varied and colored fish, you might tear yourself away from this idyllic beach, amazingly graced with a coral reef accessible by anyone who can swim, and do some poking around.
Hike past the Kapalua Bay hotel toward the Kapalua Bay Villas or drive and park in the public parking lot next to the hotel. At the first oceanfront villa, walk along the path and find a gorgeous natural area called Hewae Point that changes its appearance from a typical coastal refuge to the surface of the moon in a matter of minutes! Natural grasses and sandy paths give way to deep coves and sharp, barren lava rock. Hold on to little ones here, as it can be very windy with steep drops into the ocean. Older kids will want to venture near the edge of any of the coves on the point. Swimming would be treacherous, but it is here that sea turtles regularly congregate. You are almost guaranteed to see them if you are patient.
From here you will encounter a second beach, known as Oneloa. It fronts a development of luxury homes and is less sheltered or visited than Kapalua Bay, yet it is another divine spot to swim or snorkel. If the kids are holding up, continue past the manicured, sweeping lawns of the Ritz Carlton stopping, if you are bold, to play a game of croquet or bocce balls. Walk down the hill respectfully past the sacred protected Hawaiian burial site and toward the long lava rock peninsula jutting into the ocean. This is a wonderfully unique section of rock known as "Dragon’s Teeth," where a glance at the photos explains the moniker. Complete with lava tubes, blowholes, and tide pools, again, caution is advised as swells and surges frequently pound this point so adults and kids alike must keep a safe distance from the edges.
Wrap up your ocean hike adventure with a dip in D.F. Fleming beach waves, West Maui‘s most exciting. Build a campfire on the beach when the sun begins to set. Surf, sea turtles, dragons’ and s‘mores; what more could a kid (or anyone) want?