Napili: West Maui’s Hidden Treasure
Tucked away on Maui’s northwest coast, the charming community of Napili boasts brilliant blue waters, white sand beaches, and lush vegetation. With breathtaking views of the West Maui Mountains and the neighbor islands of Lanai and Molokai, this slow-paced town creates the perfect setting for a relaxing Hawaiian getaway. Nestled between the resort communities of Kaanapali and Kapalua (and their many options for dining, shopping, and activities), Napili retains an old-Hawaii feel.
Lovely crescent-shaped Napili Bay Beach showcases white sands and calm waters. Likewise, Kapalua Bay Beach provides a scenic and safe opportunity for swimming and snorkeling because of the offshore reef that protects it. Spectacular Oneloa/Ironwoods Beach, with its soft sands surrounded by lava-rock cliffs, generally remains uncrowded. Named America’s Best Beach in 2003, D.T. Fleming Beach Park has parking, lifeguards, restrooms, a picnic area, a playground, and areas shaded by ironwood trees.
Experienced snorkelers visiting Napili may enjoy an excursion at Honolua Bay, or at Slaugherhouse Beach when ocean conditions permit. Both Gemini and Trilogy have snorkeling, whale-watching, and sunset boat tours that leave from neighboring Kaanapali, while the Atlantis Submarine leaves from nearby Lahaina to explore depths of up to 100 feet below the ocean’s surface. Visitors who prefer golf will find excellent possibilities in both Kapalua and Kaanapali. Ironwood Ranch also offers a variety of unique horseback rides through forests, valleys, and pineapple fields.
In Kapalua, elegant farm-to-table cuisine meets a stunning oceanfront setting at Merriman’s, and The Plantation House features fine dining on the Plantation Course. Sansei also serves stellar sushi and seafood, along with entertainment in the form of karaoke nightly at 10 p.m. Beach Bums has barbecue and bar food for a more casual experience, and the oceanfront Gazebo restaurant has lunch and breakfast choices that include macadamia nut pancakes.
A slack-key guitar show takes place at the Napili Kai Beach Resort each Wednesday evening, and free hula/Hawaiian music performances take place at Kaanapali Beach Hotel nightly. Lahaina holds a town party every Friday, which involves food vendors, live music, and local arts and crafts. The Napili Farmers’ Market operates every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., while the Honokowai Farmers’ Market operates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7 to 11 a.m.
Larger events in the area include Kapalua’s Tournament of Champions each January and Celebration of the Arts (featuring hula performances and other Hawaiian arts, crafts, and food) each March. A Wine and Food Festival occurs in Kapalua every June, and local restaurants create special menus for Kapalua Restaurant Week every October. Also in October, the annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon begins at D.T. Fleming Beach Park. Finally, the Lahaina Civic Center hosts the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament each November.