If you're planning a stay in South Maui, Kihei is definitely an excellent place to be. Although it does get a lot of tourists, it's not nearly as busy as Lahaina or Kaanapali. The town is built right along the water; you're almost certain to be within walking distance of the beach. Water lovers will absolutely love the snorkeling, diving and kayaking opportunities to be found up and down Kihei.
Go Snorkeling at the Kam Beaches
The main stretch of beach off Kihei Road is called Kamaole Beach. It is divided into three sections called Kamaole I, II and III. You'll see where one section of beach ends and the other begins due to the rocks in the water that separate the sandy beaches.
For the best snorkeling from shore, swim out to the rocky areas where you will see a multitude of fish species; many species are endemic to Hawaii. The waters here are clear, and it's not uncommon to spot sea turtles.
The waters in South Maui are typically very calm in the mornings; they are an excellent place to try out kayaking. There are a number of kayak rental companies in Kihei; one popular company is Big Kahuna Adventures. If you can arrange it, consider putting out at one of the many beaches in Kihei; paddle down to Makena Landing. Whilst paddling, keep an eye out for turtles, particularly at Makena where there is a turtle town that many tour boats visit. If you're really comfortable in the water, consider slipping over the side of your kayak and going snorkeling.
Visit NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
If you are visiting Kihei between December and April--the whale season--be sure to stop by the NOAA Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary has a deck which offers expansive views of the ocean. This makes it an excellent spot to watch for whales. There is also a view scope that you can use to look for those hard-to-see whales. There is a variety of humpback whale exhibits and a marine science library. If you have any questions regarding whale behavior, just ask one of the many volunteers at the sanctuary.
NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
726 S. Kihei Road
Kihei, HI 96753
Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen
Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.