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Top 10 Beaches in Maui

26 Jun 2019

The island of Maui is world-famous as an ocean playground for experienced watermen, with breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring ocean backdrops. There are dozens of beautiful beaches to choose from and it can be challenging to know which ones are worth a visit. Each beach has something different to offer, from exciting ocean sports to nature photography opportunities, and leisurely sunset strolls. We hope this list will help you find the beaches that are right for you and your family.

 

1. Baldwin Beach

Baldwin Beach is consistently rated as one of the top beaches in the state. Baldwin Beach Park is a long white-sand beach with plenty of room for sunbathing. Best to get to the beach early in the day to avoid crowds and wind. Bonus: Baldwin Baby Beach is at the far west end and is perfect for keiki (kids). A shallow reef creates ideal lagoons for beginner swimmers. Location: North shore, Paia. Best for: lounging, walking, families. Type: white sand, undeveloped. Facilities: showers, bathrooms, pavilions, picnic tables. Lifeguards: yes.

 

2. Makena (Big Beach)

Makena Beach is another great location for family fun. A picturesque white-sand beach with gorgeous views of Molokini Crater, this undeveloped beach provides stunning scenery. There is little natural shade here so bring your own umbrella. Be sure to ask the lifeguards about ocean conditions before partaking in any water activities, especially during the summer months when waves are stronger out of the south*. Take the short trek over the cinder cone to Little Beach at your own risk; Makena’s Little Beach is beautiful and secluded but clothing-optional. Location: South shore, south of Kihei. Best for: families, sunbathing, sunset, picnics. Type: white sand, undeveloped. Facilities: showers, bathrooms, picnic tables. Lifeguards: yes.

 

3. Ka’anapali Beach (and Black Rock)

With lots of shops, hotels, and restaurants close by, Ka'anapali Beach is a great place to spend the day. There are plenty of options for food and drinks so you can escape the heat of the day. By spending some money in one of the shops you can get validated parking or you can find some small, free public parking lots. A paved two mile long paved sidewalk runs between the hotels and the beach, perfect for a light stroll. This area can get very crowded with tourists who are staying in the hotels nearby. Black Rock on the north end of Ka’anapali Beach is great for some daredevil cliff-jumping or casual snorkeling but be sure to ask the lifeguards about the wave conditions and currents first*. Look out to sea for possible whale sightings during the winter months. Location: West shore. Best for: resort aesthetic, shopping, walking, surf lessons, swimming. Type: white sand, highly developed. Facilities: shops, dining, bathrooms, showers (most facilities are provided for resorts). Lifeguards: yes.

 

Turtles on Ho’okipa Beach

 

4. Ho’okipa Beach

The main attraction of  Ho’okipa beach on the north shore is watching the locals: the native Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and the experienced surfers! Be sure to keep a respectful distance from the animals as they rest on the sand and obey any signs posted regarding the wildlife and ocean conditions. The surf is dangerous* in the winter months so we recommend you lay out a blanket and enjoy the show from the surfers and maybe even spot Humpback whales passing by offshore. Location: North shore, Paia. Best for: turtles, lounging, whale watching, sightseeing. Type: white sand, undeveloped. Facilities: showers, bathrooms, pavilion, picnic tables. Lifeguards: yes.

 

5. Olowalu

This less picturesque beach makes the list because of its great snorkeling, commonly recommended by locals. Lounging on the sand is not recommended because of the Kiawe (mesquite) trees that line the beach and drop their thorny twigs into the sand (bring a beach chair instead). The best conditions for snorkeling are during the winter months. Location: South West shore. Best for: snorkeling, whale watching. Beach type: mixed sand/pebbles/rocks. Facilities: none. Lifeguards: no.

 

6. Kama’ole Beaches

Consisting of three different beaches known as the “Kam I, II, and III”, this series of beaches in south Kihei has a little bit to offer for everyone. There is ample parking between the three beach parks and several shops, resorts, and restaurants are within walking distance. Kam III has a large grassy area with picnic tables set up at the north end of the beach, along with restrooms and showers at each park. The location provides stunning views of the neighboring islands for sunset. Location: South shore, Kihei. Best for: picnics, families, lounging, sunset. Beach type: white sand, developed with grassy parks. Facilities: showers, bathrooms, picnic tables, BBQs. Lifeguards: yes.

 

Wai’anapanapa Beach from above

 

7. Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach

This beach located within the Wai’anapanapa State Park has something to excite just about everyone. The lush rainforest setting provides a stark contrast for the black sand and jagged lava rock cliffs. Highlights here include sea caves and arches, anchialine ponds (brackish pond separated from the ocean), hiking the King’s Trail, and campgrounds. When the ocean conditions are calm you might see some adventurous cliff-jumping as well*. It is a popular stop on the way to Hana. Location: East shore, north of Hana. Best for: camping, hiking, caves, families, culture/history. Beach type: black sand, undeveloped. Facilities: camping (cabins), showers, bathrooms, picnics, bbq. Lifeguards: no.

 

Toddler at Baby Beach

 

8. Baby Beach

Often highly regarded as the most ideal keiki beach by visitors and locals alike, Baby Beach in Lahaina has shallow tide-pools that are protected from waves almost year-round. There is a reef located not far from shore that creates ideal tide-pools for beginner snorkelers but use caution when entering the water as there are no lifeguard towers here. Location: West shore, Lahaina. Best for: families, tide-pooling, sunset. Beach type: narrow white sand, developed. Facilities: showers and bathrooms located in nearby Mala Boat Harbor. Lifeguards: no.

 

9. Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Beach ranks on our list because it is another beach with a little bit to offer everyone. It is a small beach surrounded by several resorts and restaurants. Kapalua Bay creates an ideal protected environment for different water activities. You can even rent paddleboards and snorkel gear on the beach. Because of its beauty and convenient location, the beach can get crowded. For even more adventure, check out the Kapalua Coastal Trail. Location: North West shore. Best for: paddleboarding, sunsets, snorkeling. Beach type: white sand, developed. Facilities: some provided for resorts. Lifeguards: no.

 

10. Oneuli Beach

For something totally different and a bit more “wild” Hawaii, we recommend Oneuli/Naupaka Beach. The mixed black and red sand is created from eroded lava rock and the beach is adjacent to the Pu’u Ola’i cinder cone which even has a short hiking trail to the top. Use caution around the cliff and cinder cone, as the eroding soil and lava rock may be unstable at times. We recommend this beach for the more adventurous, off-the-beaten-path types. Access is through a dirt road, but 4WD is not required. Location: South shore, by Maluaka Wetlands. Best for: nature photography, sightseeing. Beach type: mixed sand, undeveloped. Facilities: none. Lifeguards: no.

 

*A Note on Ocean Safety: ocean conditions may change rapidly. If you are unsure or uncertain of your swimming abilities, always check with a lifeguard first. If there are no lifeguards present, choose a different location.

 

Looking for vacation rental accommodations located nearby some of Maui’s most beautiful westside beaches? Contact us to find your perfect rental.