Airport Beach Maui: Windsurfing Paradise at Kanaha Beach Park

Kahana Beach Park – Underrated beach near the airport in Maui

Kanaha Beach Park is totally unique and underrated! I think it gets lost along the way because of its location and unique elements. It is not located close to any of the big resort areas on Maui. In fact, it is right next to the airport. One of the best places to pass time before getting on a plane to leave Maui. 

This beach is most famous for being an ideal location to windsurf or kitesurf. While I don’t do either one of those extreme sports, I extremely enjoyed watching others do them.

Maui kite surfer on shore at Kanaha Beach Park
Maui kite surfer on shore at Kanaha Beach Park

Kahana Beach Park Quick Facts

  • Other Names: Airport Beach Maui, Kanaha Beach Park, NOT Kahana Beach
  • Best known for: Wind that is perfect for windsurfers and kitesurfers 
  • Also available: beautiful sand and rolling waves
  • Day and time I visited: multiple days, morning, afternoon, and evening
  • Facilities: Bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, pavilions
  • Lifeguard: Yes
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Plenty
  • Open from: 7 am to 8 pm

Location: 4 minutes from the Maui Airport

Called Airport Beach of Maui for a Reason

This beach is located right next to the airport.

Literally you could walk there straight from your flight.

It is on the north side of Maui.

It is close to the Kahului area where you will find a lot of the most abundant shopping (Costco, Walmart, etc).

It is a perfect location to kill some time if you end up with extra time to hang out before your flight takes off.

What to Expect at Kahana Beach Park

Windsurfing

While this beach isn’t known to most Maui tourists, it is famous amongst the extreme sports crowd. The Kahana Beach Park windsurfing opportunities here are not available almost anywhere else.

The volume and intensity of the wind make it an absolute perfect location for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Difference Between Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

Full disclosure I had no idea what the difference between the two sports was until I researched it on the trip. Both are extreme sports that involve standing on a surf type board and a sail. The difference is that in windsurfing the sail is directly attached to the board and in kitesurfing the sail flies up in the air as a kite.

Windsurfers really can harness the wind to skim across the water quite fast.

Kitesurfers seemed to be even more extreme to me as they can use their kite/sail to ultimately jump way high out of the water to do tricks. Seriously, I was people jumping over 10 feet in their air while being pulled along by their kite sails.

It was a TON of fun to watch.

Want to See if Conditions are Right? Check the Kanaha Beach Beach Cam 

The Kanaha Beach cam shows what the current conditions at the beach are like (here). Evidently the windsurfers keep track of this because one afternoon as I was lounging on the beach the wind picked up and within 30 minutes wind and kite surfers started pouring onto the beach!

Parking

There is plenty of parking available and one of the even more appealing aspects of it is that it is free.

Facilities

There are restrooms, showers, lifeguards, pavilions for picnics, as well as sand volleyball available. There are even boat rentals in the area if you want to push out and row into the waves.

Negatives

I love this beach, but there are a couple of things you should be aware of before you go.

Windy

The exact thing that makes this beach so unique and awesome for the wind or kite surfing is exactly what probably keeps most beach goers away. It seems like it is windy all the time. 

At times the wind got strong enough to blow sand into my face. While it didn’t turn into a full blown sandstorm, it did feel like my skin was getting gently exfoliated.

Cloudy

This side of the island isn’t as popular for beach lounging because it often is more cloudy than the other side. 

Kahana beach park
Kahana beach park

Airplane Noise

While I think airplanes flying overhead are actually kind of cool, the noise of them taking off and landing isn’t exactly relaxing.

Nearby Attractions

As I mentioned the airport is obviously close to Kanaha Beach Park.

It is also close to all the shopping of Kahului that most people want to do once they land (Walmart, Costco, restaurants, etc). 

Conclusion: Go Visit Kahana Beach Park Maui

Even if you swing by for just a few minutes to watch the wind and kite surfers in action, you won’t regret the experience. It is fun to watch these talented athletes and you will only be seconds out of the way on your trip to the airport!

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