For visitors who have achieved the Maui Tourist Triathalon (Haleakala, Lahaina, Hana Highway), the North Kihei coastline will come as a happy surprise.
Anchoring the shore is the (take a breath) Hawaiian Islands Humpack Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center. It's set up for families with kids, as well as for couples, and admission is free (donations are appreciated).
The sanctuary was established to study and protect the huge migrating mammals who are just offshore Maui during the winter months. They have binoculars at the ready.
The center has been spruced up and refit this winter (opens again December 4). Its viewing decks are a breath of fresh air.
There are a number of intrepretive installations, of course, but the line between learning and having fun gets blurred into the experince. Right next-door is the little Kalepolepo Beach Park (from which the top photo was taken) with its recreated fish pond that makes for safe wading. Fish dart about at your ankles.
On north side of the visitor center is the beginning of long Sugar Beach—a quiet spot with high scenic value and good swimming. And just two miles north of the whale center, on Ma'alaea Bay, is the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk, a coastal stroll for birdwatchers where sea turtles sometimes nest.
Maui Trailblazer has more details on this fabulous freebie.