The long, lovely white-sand stretch of shoreline that occupies a significant amount of Kihei is broken into three beaches, cleverly named Kama’ole Beach Park 1 (also known as Charley Young Beach), Kama’ole Beach Park 2 and Kama’ole Beach Park 3. You’ll commonly hear them referred to their nicknames, Kam 1, 2 and 3. Each of the three parks are known for snorkeling and beach lounging, but of them all, Kama’ole Beach Park 1 is the biggest and the best for swimming. In fact, in the early morning, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more ideal swimming spot in Kihei.
Access is a cinch here — the parking lot is mere steps from the beach (and there’s an overflow lot across the street), but as always, arrive early to beat the crowds. The lots do fill up quickly. Once you snag yourself a spot, a day’s worth of lounging, boogie boarding, swimming and snorkeling lies ahead. There’s a spacious grassy area right off the beach with picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms and showers, and there’s always a lifeguard on duty. Sometimes, they even have a beach volleyball court set up near their stand. And, as an added bonus, there’s a convenience store just across the street. To add the cherry atop the cake, the views of Molokini, Kaho’olawe and the Lana’i Islands are phenomenal.
When it comes to snorkeling, try venturing near the rocks that bracket both ends of the beach, especially along the north (right) end — the end that’s named after Charley Young. This beach has its own parking lot and set of access stairs. Because most of the parking and amenities for Kam 1 is situated on the other end of the beach, Charley Young Beach is generally a bit less crowded. Oh, and to satiate your curiosity, the beach’s namesake, Charley Young, was a military reporter who began to build his house there at the onset of World War II. His land and adjacent beaches were promptly taken over by troops who used them to simulate enemy terrain. Even so, after the war, his land was returned to him and he built a beachside house that was known to visitors as a friendly and hospitable pit stop on the way out to the beach.