Best Beaches In Maui, Hawaii
Maui beaches are quite unique and offer plenty of fun in the sun as well as activities in the water like great swimming, snorkeling opportunities as well as surfing and scuba diving. The beaches on Maui also have a variety of different colored sands from black sand at Pa’iloa Beach to white sand at Kama’ole Beach Park to red sand at Kaihalulu Beach. Most Maui beaches have excellent facilities and many have fine grassy areas which make for great picnicking for a whole day of worry free fun. Some of the beaches offer interesting activities like torch lighting and cliff jumping just before sunset at Black Rock Beach. Another big plus for Maui beaches are their accessibility and most have sufficient parking lots to handle large crowds. So whether you are searching for a beach with black sand or for perfect swimming or for snorkeling with sea turtles, Maui has just the right beach for you.
Ka'anapali Beach - Lahaina
Ka’anapali Beach is a spectacular Maui Beach which has something for everyone when they visit this mecca of golden sand. Ka’anapali Beach is located on the western coastline of the island of Maui and is where the ancient Hawaiian royalty would reside because of its stellar beauty. Today Ka’anapali Beach has some of the best resorts on the island of Maui. Ka’anapali Beach has excellent areas for surfing, swimming and snorkeling all in one place that has the facilities to make for a great day. There is a great paved path for you to walk on and the sand is soft as well as inviting. During the winter months Ka’anapali Beach is a favorite beach for people to view the migrating humpback whales and you almost always guaranteed to see sea turtles. Black Rock is situated on the northern portion of this 3-mile beach and is a perfect spot to view sunset when native Hawaiian cliff divers light torches before jumping into the Pacific Ocean.
Photo by Upsilon Andromedae
Makena Beach - Makena
Makena Beach is composed of two Maui beaches which are known as the Big as well as Little Beach and is located in Maui’s southern shoreline. Makena Beach is famous for being the first place in history that a western explorer set foot on the island of Maui. Makena Beach was once the population center for Maui’s original native population and has an interesting history that is loaded with ancient cultures as well as traditions. Makena Beach is almost a mile long and 100 yards in depth with beautiful white as well as orange colored sand and there are plenty of facilities for you to enjoy a full day. This Maui beach is not quite as developed as Kihei or Wailea which makes for great adventure if you want to travel down the King’s Highway which can be reached in Keone’o’io Bay. You can still feel the history at Keawala’i Church which was established in 1832 and services are still held today in the native Hawaiian language. Overall, you will be pleased with the snorkeling and swimming that is provided offshore as well as fabulous views of Molokini as well as Kahoolawe. Makena Beach is protected from the trade winds by two black lava outcroppings making this an ideal spot to spend the day.
Photo by Peyri Herrera
Napili Beach - Lahaina
Napili Beach is one of the best Maui beaches for families and people who are looking for a relaxing place to spend the day. Located on the northwestern shoreline of the island, Napili Beach has beautiful white sand and is enclosed by two rock outcrops. Napili Beach is a perfect place for swimming and snorkeling during the summer months as well as in the winter months where you will find nice waves for surfing and body surfing. There are few facilities at Napili Beach because of development but this is one of Maui’s most gorgeous bays and there is a plethora of marine life to be seen in the water and on shore.
Photo by Abhinaba Basu
Ho'okipa Beach Park - Paia
Ho’okipa Beach Park is a nice cliff lined white sand beach which is ideal for viewing many different watersport activities that take place here throughout the year. Ho’okipa Beach Park is a fantastic Maui Beach which is located at mile 9 along the Hana Highway near the town of Paia along the eastern shoreline of the island. Ho’okipa Beach Park has some of the best waves in Maui and is a great place to go kite surfing, wind surfing as well as surfing. During the summer months swimming and snorkeling can be good because of an offshore coral reef. The highlights of Ho’okipa Beach Park are really watching the professionals on their watersport equipment while they challenge the big waves and heavy winds. Ho’okipa Beach Park has facilities to make for a splendid day of sunning and picnicking.
Photo by Ken Lund
Little Beach - Makena
Little Beach is a part of Makena Beach Park and is located in the southern section of Maui. Although nude sunbathing is illegal in Hawaii, Little Beach has a great reputation for being one of the only clothes optional beaches on Maui because the laws are not typically enforced at this beach. Little Beach has a great area of white sand which is nestled within gnarled trees along the shoreline and the water is generally very clear, although there is sharp coral just offshore. Little Beach offers decent boogie boarding and surfing opportunities but there are no facilities for picnicking. Little Beach has interesting entertainment on Sunday’s with a drum circle and fire dancing that keeps people occupied as well as intrigued about Hawaiian culture.
Photo by Steve Isaacs
Wailea Beach - Wailea
Wailea Beach is a superb Maui Beach which is located in the southwestern portion of Maui and is the largest of the four beaches in this immediate area. Wailea Beach has a crescent shape with nice golden sand and the swimming and snorkeling is made easier because of the sandy bottom just offshore. The Wailea Beach Walk is a perfect paved trail for visitor’s to stroll and take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Along your walk will find many facilities for picnicking and there is a perfect grassy knoll that provides a relaxing spot away from the sand. During the winter months Wailea Beach is one of the best places to watch for migrating whales and you will always have a fantastic vantage point of Molokini Crater as well as the island of Lanai.
Photo by Christine Rondeau
Pa'iloa-Black Sand Beach - Hana
Pa’iloa or Black Sand Beach is a remote Maui Beach which is most famous for its beautiful and unique black sand. Pa’iloa Beach is situated within the 120-acre Wai’anapanapa State Park which is located along the eastern coastline of Maui along the Hana Highway. Pa’iola Beach is not very good for swimming as the ocean floor drops off very quickly and the rip currents are strong. For many people this is the prettiest black sand beach on Maui and is backed by black lava cliffs with plenty of tropical vegetation. You will find a short trail that will take you to two caves which are filled with freshwater pools that you can explore. You can also venture on the Kihaapi’ilani Trail which is packed with ancient Hawaiian sites from pictographs to burial sites to ancient shelter structures.
Photo by jenn
Kapalua Beach - Kapalua
Kapalua Beach is considered by many people to be the best white sand Maui beach which is ideal for many watersport activities. Located on the northwestern shoreline Kapalua Beach is a crescent shaped area which is backed by coconut and palm trees. Swimming and snorkeling are great at Kapalua Beach because there are lengthy rock outcrops on both sides of the bay as well as a large coral reef to help break the waves. Snorkelers will like the wide variety of tropical fish which can be found here and scuba divers will enjoy the calm clear waters farther out from shores. Many people will kayak and standup paddleboard at Kapalua Beach. There are plenty of facilities located at this beach so make sure you bring a picnic.
Photo by Derek van Vliet
Kamaole Beach Park (3 beaches) - Kihei
Kama’ole Beach Park is one of the most popular Maui beaches and is composed of three distinct beach areas that combine for a 1.5-mile stretch of beautiful white sands. Kama’ole Beach Park is located on along the southern shoreline of Maui between Wailea and Kihei. Kama’ole I is the largest of the three beaches and is situated between two rock outcroppings. Snorkeling and swimming are good in this section and there are occasional small shore breaks which bodyboarders will use to their advantage. To the south is Kama’ole II which is also protected by two rock outcroppings. Swimming is good here too and at times there can large swells when the wind is coming in from Kona. The beach has an unusually large bed of shingles which when exposed by erosion make a rumbling sound which the Hawaiians call the running pebbles. Kama’ole III is the smallest of three beaches and is short but has a wide berth of white sand. Swimming here is good but the shore beaks are more consistent making for better bodyboarding. There is also a large grassy area for picnicking as well as a playground for the kids.
Photo by Dave
Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu Beach) - Hana
Red Sand Beach also known as Kaihalulu Beach is a fascinating Maui Beach with a mixture of red and black sand which has eroded from a cinder cone hill that is situated on the northern end of the inlet. Red Sand Beach is situated on the eastern coastline of the island just south of Hana Bay. The beach area can be dangerous to get to from the road because of trail erosion and people should use caution along the crumbling cliffs. Red Sand Beach is better for sightseeing than for swimming or snorkeling because of the constant current and the water is a surreal blue hue which is enhanced by the color of the sand. There are no facilities here but bring your camera for some breathtaking photographs.
Photo by Courtney Nash
Ulua Beach - Wailea
Ulua Beach is a little more crowded than the neighboring Mokapu Beach and has an excellent quarter-mile stretch of sand that is in the center of two rocky areas. Ulua Beach is located near the Wailea resort complex on Maui’s southern shoreline. Ulua Beach is named after the most popular sport fish in Hawaii which translate to the adult crevalle fish in Hawaiian. During the morning Ulua Beach is usually a great spot for swimming and snorkeling with many tropical fish, sea turtles as well as beautiful coral reefs. Scuba divers also visit Ulua Beach and there are introductory lessons on the beach on a regular basis. In the afternoon the beach is popular with bodyboarders when the surf is strong. There is a nice park area in the rear of Ulua Beach which is ideal for picnics.
Photo by Allie_Caulfield
Black Rock Beach - Lahaina
Black Rock Beach is a perfect beach for watersport lovers and sunbathers who don’t mind a crowd from time to time. Black Rock Beach is located near Ka’anapali Beach and is situated on the western coastline of Maui. Local folklore claims that the souls of the ancient warriors would jump from the large black lava rock when leaving the earth to venture with their descendants. Snorkeling is very good around the Black Rock Beach and is quite popular with sea turtles spotted regularly. There is a separate cove which is horseshow shaped that opens to the ocean with an abundance of colorful fish and swimming tends to be better here. The southern side of the large lava rock is also popular amongst cliff divers and there is a torch lighting ceremony nightly at sunset. You will find facilities at Black Rock Beach and neighboring Ka’anapali Beach are great picnicking spots.
Photo by jcsandoval4
D.T. Fleming Beach Park - Lahaina
D.T. Fleming Beach Park is one of the most gorgeous Maui beaches and has won Best Beach in America more than one time. Located in the western portion of Maui near Kapalua, D. T. Fleming Beach Park is named after the person who introduced pineapple to the western portion of Maui. The beach has great white sand and plenty of space for lounging and strolling on the shoreline. The waves here can get strong and D.T. Fleming Beach Park is a preferred beach for surfers and bodyboarders during the winter months when the swells are large. There is less development near D. T. Fleming Beach and you can view the Ritz Carlton from the sand. There are plenty of ironwood trees for shade and the facilities include everything you need for a whole day of picnicking on the sand including a nice grassy area.
Photo by Too Tall Paul
Kahekili Beach Park - Lahaina
Kahekili Beach Park is the most northern Maui beach associated with Ka’anapali Beach and is located along the western shoreline of the island. Kahekili Beach is a great place for people who are not strong swimmers or you are a first time snorkeler. The surf is generally light at this beach and coral reefs are situated just right off the shoreline which makes for favorable snorkeling. Many first time scuba divers enter the water for the first time at Kahekili Beach Park which has many sea turtles in the general area. In the winter months Kahekili Beach Park is an ideal place to watch the migrating whales as they playfully breach the ocean waters. There are facilities at this beach which make for a nice day of fun and picnicking under the sun.
Photo by katsuhiro7110
Maluaka Beach - Wailea
Maluaka Beach has one of the best Maui beach areas in South Maui near Wailea and is very similar to Makena Beach. Maluaka Beach has beautiful white sand with a golden hue that sparkles in the sunlight. Many local refer to Maluaka Beach as Maui Prince Beach because of its location in front Prince Beach Hotel. Maluaka Beach has ideal swimming with an excellent sandy bottom place for people to enter the blue water. Snorkeling is also a good choice here because of the sheer number of coral reefs off the shoreline. Standup paddleboarding is also very nice at Maluaka Beach during the morning hours and many people will also fish at this beach. Maluaka Beach has a nice grassy area for picnicking and there are facilities situated at this beach.
Photo by Amy Meredith
Map of the best beach in Maui