The population was 1,250 at the 2010 census. The master-planned town is in the Old Hawaii ahupuaa of Hanakaʻōʻō, as in the same name of the southern end of Kaanapali Beach's Hanakaʻōʻō Canoe Beach.
Ka`anapali is about 10 minutes' drive by car from Lahaina as well as the Kapalua-West Maui Airport and about 45 minutes' drive from Kahului Airport, the main airport on the island, where the vast majority of travelers arrive. Route 30 is a road that connects Kaanapali with Lahaina and Kahului.
Most major car rental companies have stations in north Ka`anapali (on Honoapi`ilani Hwy. between Ka`anapali Resort and Kapalua-West Maui Airport) and at the Kahului Airport terminal on Mokuea Pl. in Kahului.
Most visitors to Maui rent a car. The budget constrained can take buses and shuttles and the adventurous can rent a geared bicycle.
Cars can be rented in Kahului Airport (all major rental companies have offices there) or in other locations throughout the island. Most hotels usually provide parking for their guests only, sometimes for an additional fee. Parking is available at the Whaler's Village shopping center, for a fee, but they will validate your ticket in stores and restaurants. If you go to one of the hotels for a luau, there is usually parking for the event, also for a fee in most cases.
There is a shuttle between main Kaanapali hotels and Whaler's Village center. The local bus is $1 per ride. (You can take a Sugar Cane Train between Kaanapali and Lahaina, but this should be done for entertainment only.)
You can rent a bicycle locally, or bring your own bicycle (folding bikes usually can be carried in a bag as luggage without attracting any extra charges). The main roads have paved shoulders marked as "Bike Route", and motorists are fairly relaxed.
You can use a beautiful path along the beach to walk between major hotels.
- Pu`u Keka`a. The ancient Hawaiian landmark that dominates Ka`anapali Beach, also known popularly as Black Rock. It is steeped in Hawaiian legends and lore; in fact, there is a historical site marker along the beach boardwalk at the entrance to the Sheraton Maui with the interpretation of this site. This area is great for swimming and snorkeling and most times of the year offers a huge expanse of golden sand beach. Snorkeling gear can be rented from the Maui Dive Shop in the Whaler's Village.
- Ka`anapali Historical Trail and Legends Tour. Consists of 10 rock monument site markers with interpretive signs as well as a complimentary guided tour by hotel concierges every Tuesday morning.
- 1 Ka`anapali Beachwalk. Takes you on a scenic shoreline walk for about two miles, stretching between Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa and Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. Whalers Village oceanfront shopping complex is right in the middle of it. This beach-side boardwalk occasional dips inland behind a property whose owner wouldn't cooperate with the others who created this facility.
- Kaanapali Golf Courses. Play golf at one, or both, of the spectacular golf courses.
There are a lot of shops and stores at 1 Whaler's Village.
- 1 CJ's Deli and Diner (On Honoapiilani Highway just outside the Kaanapali Beach resort). Inexpensive (for Maui) casual family restaurant where you order at the counter. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner. Box lunches with provided coolers and ice to take along for a picnic as you drive around Maui.
- Giovani's Tomato Pie. Family Italian restaurant at the entrance to Kaanapali Resort area, just off the main Honoapiilani Highway. Specializing in pasta and pizza.
- Hula Grill. The best restaurant in Whalers Village shopping center on Kaanapali Beach. Casual section with light menu on sandy floor, fine dining section on real floor with same menu for lunch but more elaborate menu including fresh fish entrees for dinner.
- 2 Leilani's. One of several restaurants in the Whalers Village shopping center in the middle of the Kaanapali Beach resort area. Casual downstairs with short menu for lunch or dinner. Fine dining upstairs with longer menu for dinner only.
- Hale Maui Apartment Hotel. 5 min north of Kaanapali and steps to the beach. Apartments with kitchen.
- Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Kohea Kai Dr.
- Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, 100 Nohea Kai Dr, ☏ , toll-free: . Spacious one and two-bedroom suites with separate living/dining area.
- [dead link] Outrigger Maui Eldorado. West Maui condominiums.
- Outrigger Royal Kahana. Beachfront condominiums.
- 1 Sheraton Maui (North end of Kaanapali Beach near Black Rock, where excellent snorkeling can be found).
- The Whaler Maui. Just south of the Sheraton Maui (Black Rock)
- Westin Maui Resort & Spa, 2365 Ka'anapali Parkway 96761, toll-free: . On-site restaurants are Tropica, Ono Bar & Grill, Moonlight Lounge. Also have fun watching Wailele Polynesian Luau or at Heavenly Spa.
- Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Drive 96761, ☏ . On-site restaurants include Pulehu, Ocean Pool Bar & Grill, Pailolo Bar & Grill and cabana dining. Also, Spa Helani for pampering.