Decades ago, southwest Maui was dubbed the "Gold Coast" by real estate copywriters, as a string of condos and resorts sprung up along the shoreline. To be honest, it seemed sort of tacky. But now, as the construction cranes seemed to outnumber palm trees during the ensuing years in West Maui north of Lahaina, Kihei seems downright kitsch—and a great choice for families seeking fun in the sun and sand.
The town is full of no-nonsense eateries and beach after beach. On the south end of Kihei is Wailea, a swank resort strip with a miles-long path providing access to five excellent beaches.
But at the heart of the scene are Kihei's three sweet family beach parks: Kamaole I, II, and III. The three are connected by short paths and each has very good (and safe!) swimming.
Keawakapu Beach, a locals' fave, connects Kihei's beaches to those of Wailea. A jogging path strings together these pearls. Bargain hunters should check out North Kihei and Ma'alaea Harbor, which have their own beaches, and are close enough to all the others, as well as being located logistically to explore the rest of the island. Maui Trailblazer has way more details on planning a trip to Maui, and guiding you once you are there.