The Black Rock Beach was nice, but pretty commercial. Not the easiest place to get to if you're not already staying at one of the Kaanapali beach resorts. We were at the Westin Villas, so we just hopped on a bus to the Sheraton which is the hotel right next to Black Rock.
The beach was nice and sandy and the water was calm when we were there in May. Great for my 3 year old.
This is also the unique location of the nightly Lele Kawa (cliff diving) ceremony. Legend tells us the last chief of Maui, Kahekili (Thunderer), proved his spiritual strength by leaping from sacred Pu’u Keka’a to the Pacific. Upon sunset, a young diver will runs with a torch in hand to the top of Black Rock. He them offers his torch, a lei and them dives into the ocean below. If you're there early enough, you can grab a seat at the Cliff Dive Bar at the Sheraton for a great view of the whole event.
- Head up to the top floor (8th?) of the Sheraton hotel on the northside. You can get a great shot of the Kaanapali coastline going south.
- The cliff dive off of Black Rock around sunset
The snorkeling here is AWESOME. You can swim out along the Black Rock and swim down. Even very close to the shore there are tons of fish just swimming around. There are stands along the beach where can rent equipment and the floaties with the open window so kids can be pulled out to see the fish too without having to swim.
Black rock is an OK snorkeling spot. The water was pretty clear and there definitely were fish all around, but it was a fairly small area to look at. We heard from several people to go check it out, but it was not our favorite. We spent all of about fifteen minutes here and then took off. The snorkeling spots just a little further north in the two bays were far better. We went to quite a few spots to snorkel and I would recommend just skipping this one and sticking with some of the others.
Also known as Pu`u Keka`a, this is a large chunk of lava that’s part of the restored Sheraton property. While you’ll no doubt see lots of local kids jumping off the rock for a quick thrill, the better action is underwater. Here, snorkelers are treated to schools of brightly colored fish frolicking in clear water. (Don’t worry, those cliff jumpers can spot snorkelers and are careful about where they land.)
For fabulous scenic vistas you can climb to the top of the rock. There are guardrails and a paved path, so it’s safe and easy. Ancient Hawaiians believed that this was one of several sites from which the spirits of the dead departed Earth and entered the spiritual world.
The snorkeling is fabulous compared to any other easily accessible beach we went to. Sea turtles, tropical fish, eels, rays, etc. My kids were too timid to hit the water, but they played in a small tide pool and saw small fish and crabs. They loved it, as did we!
The waves weren't too rough and the beach was all sand right up to the reef. And it's free (other than renting snorkeling equipment)!!