Monday, July 20, 2009

The Three Kamaoles

Let's face it, Kihei on Maui's southern "Gold Coast" isn't going to win any design-planning awards, since it consists of a several-miles-long run of prosaic shopping, mid-level condos and resorts, and eateris that range up from McDonalds. Not a scintillating first impression for the Hawaii newcomer.

But wait a darned minute. This coast does have three of Hawaii's best family swimming and snorkeling beaches—the Kamaole Beach Parks, which locals call Kam I, Kam II, and Kam III. The south end of these parks (walking distance on a coastal trail) leads to the posh half-dozen beaches of ritzy Wailea. Going north you walk to cute Charley Young Beach park and then to the open fields of Kalama Park, scene of many weekend whoop-de-do, including the knock-out Pacific Whale Foundation Day. So, Kihei becomes a pretty good base camp for economy Maui goers who want to log beach time before heading out to sight-see. It's a lot easier to get into and out of than the crammed resort areas to the north of Lahaina, Ka'anapali, and Kapalua.