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Napili Bay is a classical crescent-shaped bay with a sandy beach, located at the northwest "corner" of Maui. It is fully developed, in terms of having various kinds of lodging, basic shops, and rental business. Yet the bay is quite secluded and still preserved with the natural beauty and charm of a tropical beach. Napili Bay is "old school" Hawaii; at the oceanside, one doesn't see high rises, strip malls, or tour vans. Both Napili and Kapalua seem removed from the bustle of other parts of Maui--serene and low key.
Napili weather is a little cooler than Kaanapali; most rain is at night, and tends to pass by early morning. The rainfall difference between Napili and Lahaina town is only a few inches a year. Low rise condominiums line the shoreline.
The bay is relatively calm year round, due to several lines of submerged coral reef barriers starting about 100 ft from the shore. The beach is all sand, with few seashells or pebbles. At the two flanks of the bay are tidal rocks, especially on the south corner. There, tidal pools are present for exploration and discovery. The bay is normally safe for swimming, snorkeling, diving, floating, surfing and peddle board. Many families would let their toddlers play on the sand or with the waves with little worry. One additional attraction is frequent visits by some Hawaiian green sea turtles. They can get as close to the shore as 10 ft, mostly around the southern tidal rock area. It is not unusual to see one turtle appearing around noontime, for a few consecutive days. Remember to never touch turtles!
Vista: The eastern side of Moloka'i is visible straight across the bay at a distance. Its tall mountains, steep slopes with green valleys, as well as the island cloud formations can change in appearance and mood according to the time of the day. The north side of Lana'i can be seen to the far left side when facing the bay. Sunsets from Napili range from directly over the ocean to obscured by Lana'i, depending on the time of year.
Nearby: Kapalua Bay is the next bay north of Napili Bay. It is publicized for good snorkeling and diving. There is limited parking for the public beach areas near and around Kapalua, as the condos and Montage Resort occupy the area. To avoid the limited parking there, one could easily walk there from Napili Bay. To the north end of Napili Bay is Napili Kai Resort, which stretches from the beach to the top of the headland, where the resort's entrance is next to the short trail for going to Kapalua Bay. There's very limited beach parking near Napili Kai. One can walk up the steps that leads from the beach to the main lobby, then out to the parking area and turn left to get to the trail (around 10 min). That public trail is also the beginning of the Kapalua Coastal Trail that meanders along the shoreline boundary to past the Ritz Carlton Resort in a northern direction. It passes through a headland that has many interesting volcanic rock formations and magnificent views.
Beachfront lodging: The Napili Sunset occupies the middle of the beach. To its left are Napili Bay Resort and Napili Surf. Further left (south) but facing the rocks are Napili Shores and Napili Point. To the right (north) is Napili Kai. There are other lodging behind these properties, all with public access to the beach.
Basic shops: There is a dive shop (with other water activity rentals) behind Napili Sunset There are more shops and a full pharmacy at Napili Plaza.. Grocery stores include Napili Market (5 min drive to Napili Plaza) and Times Supermarket (fresh local fish daily; 10 min drive to Honokowai). Napili Plaza also has several restaurants, including Maui Tacos, Mama's Ribs and Rotisserie, and Beach Bums BBQ. Resort restaurants include Sea House at Napili Kai, and the Gazebo Restaurant and Iron Imu BBQ at Napili Shores. Less than 10 min daway,up the road are fine dining places such as Merriman's, Cane and Canoe (Montage), and Sansei in Kapalua. A little farther is the Plantation House in Kapalua.
Napili and Kapalua are about an hour from the main airport in Kahului. The drive time from Napili/Kapalua is about 15-30 minutes longer to some popular tourist attractions, depending on time of day and location one's going to.