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West Maui Beaches - What to Know Before You Go

West Maui Beaches - What to Know Before You Go

05 May 2023

Welcome back to the Maui Resort Rentals Blog! 

The Island of Maui is bursting with beautiful beach areas to explore. Before heading out for a West Maui beach day, take some time to read through this blog, 'West Maui Beaches- What to Know Before You Go.' Part-time Maui residents and visitors don't always have that insider's perspective on what Maui beach is best pending day, season, available activities, and convenience. 

Learn more about what West Maui beaches are best for kids, where to snorkel, where to go beach camping, where to do beginner Maui surf lessons, and more.


Launiupoko Beach Park

Launiupoko Beach Park is a popular West Maui beach for locals and visitors. The beach park has lawn areas, BBQ zones and grills, a man-made wading pool, and a rocky beach bottom. Public parking, restrooms, and a freshwater shower are also on site. Please note that there are no lifeguards at this West Maui beach.

The direct views from Launiupoko Beach provide a full-on tropical stage with scenes of the neighboring islands of Kaho'olawe, Molokai, and Lanai. Launiupoko is a family beach, as you'll see parents switching baby and kid responsibilities to catch waves, children wading in the pool, picnics, and BBQing every day of the week.

For Maui locals, Launiupoko is best known for surfing and birthday parties, as it's common to see jumpy castles and large celebratory groups on weekends. For those that want to try surfing on Maui, Launiupoko is one of the best beaches for beginner surf lessons on Maui. For more information about private West Maui surf lessons, contact Zack Howard Surf, Maui Surfer Girls, or Local Pro's Maui.


Launiupoko Beach Park is near mile marker 18 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 


Olowalu Beach 

Olowalu Beach is a calm, sandy-bottomed beach perfect for sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba diving. It's possible to access Olowalu Beach by foot through a few entrances, and boat tours also access this area for snorkeling and scuba trips. 

Two of the best activities to do at Olowalu Beach are 100% kayaking and snorkeling. The ocean is generally calm, and the West Maui mountain and coastline views are gorgeous. Kayak and snorkel rentals or tours can be easily booked in advance with Kayak Olowalu

For those that are looking for one of the best places to camp on Maui, you've found it! Camp Olowalu is a fantastic Maui camp spot with options: car camping, tent camping, tentalows, and cabin rentals. This West Maui campground was recently renovated and is outfitted with everything you'd need for a fun camping trip. The beautifully landscaped property has secure parking, direct beach access, picnic, and BBQ areas, restrooms, and freshwater showers. Camp Olowalu is super popular with locals, and it's becoming a trendy event space, so we suggest that you book in advance. 


Olowalu Beach is near mile marker 14 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 


Lahaina's Baby Beach (Puunoa Beach)

Lahaina's Baby Beach is a little-known Lahaina secret. It's frequented mainly by Maui locals and those staying at nearby accommodations. Its namesake is precisely what it is, as you'll see moms, dads, kids, and babies enjoying Maui's glorious sunshine and calm ocean conditions. 

Lahaina's Baby Beach does not have public parking, as it is oceanfront and accessed on foot. Parking can be found in the adjacent neighborhood or closer to Front Street. This West Maui beach also has no lifeguards or beach facilities (restrooms, showers, BBQ areas, etc.). Considering this, this spot has a lot of tree-shaded areas and grassy knolls for picnicking and laying out on blankets.

So, what does a perfect day at Baby Beach look like? Think floaties, naps, relaxing moments, and incredible West Maui sunsets. If you visit Maui on the 4th of July, Baby Beach is also a great place to watch the fireworks!


FYI: Lahaina's Baby Beach should not be confused with 'Baby Beach' on Maui's North Shore (Paia)


Lahaina's Baby Beach is located off of Kai Pali Place in Lahaina.


Ka'anapali Beach

Ka'anapali Beach is one of Maui's most popular beaches for tourists, as the beach fronts West Maui's Ka'anapali Resort area. You do not need to stay at one of Kaanapali's many resorts to access the beach. There are various public entry points on foot, and paid parking can be found at Kaanapali's Whalers Village Shopping Center. 

A visit to Maui's Kaanapali Beach can easily be an all-day excursion. A variety of ocean activities can be explored (and booked in advance), including sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, sport-fishing, parasailing, or whale watching (pending season).

One of the best things about Ka'anapali Beach is that there are a variety of zones to explore. An oceanfront beach walk connects the beach areas, making it easy to ride a bike, take a run or walk, and find shaded areas to relax and decompress on the beach. Ka'anapali Beach has something for everyone, from lazy sunbathing with a book to action and adventure.

As pre-mentioned, Whalers Village is a great place to visit at Ka'anapali Beach. Not only are there paid parking and public restrooms. The outdoor shopping center is full of shops ranging from surf shops to luxury boutiques, real estate agencies, cafes, restaurants, and bars. For shopping enthusiasts, it is paradise. Whalers Village provides weekly entertainment and activities, like lei-making, hula dancing, ukulele lessons, movie nights, and more. 


Ka'anapali Beach is found via Ka'anapali Parkway near mile marker 24 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30).


Black Rock

Maui's Black Rock is not just Hawaii famous– it's world-famous! Black Rock is located at the far north end of Ka'anapali Beach. In the ancient Hawaiian language, the large black rock is called Pu'u Keka'a. The Hawaiian legend of the site states that the souls of Hawaiian warriors left this earth by leaping from this rock to meet their ancestors. 

Today, Black Rock is in front of Maui's Sheraton Resort & Spa. It's a super popular spot for swimming and snorkeling in the calm and clear waters. For adventurous travelers, it's also a popular spot for cliff jumping, with a few different jumping level points available. 

If you are not staying in the Ka'anapali resort area, Black Rock can still be accessed on foot. Parking is available at two public parking lots. One is at Whalers Village, and the other public parking lot is north of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa entrance (near the tennis courts). 

When visiting Black Rock, we suggest arriving early, sometime before 10am. That way, you can find parking and a relaxing spot in the sand. After enjoying snorkeling and playing in the ocean, you can check out one of the many tasty restaurants in Ka'anapali. Popular options include Monkeypod and Joey's Kitchen at Whalers Village.

Sunset at Black Rock is downright stunning, and every night at sundown, a Hawaiian ceremony is performed to honor Hawaiian chiefs and people. In the ceremony, a cliff diver lights the tiki torches that line the cliff, blows a conch shell, and dives into the waters. 


Black Rock is found via Ka'anapali Parkway near mile marker 24 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30).


Kahekili Beach Park (Old Airport Beach) 

Kahekili Beach Park is hands down one of the best family beaches on Maui. This spot is extremely popular with local families and visitors alike. 

The beach is accessed down a driveway adjacent to the Westin Maui Resort. Although there are quite a few parking spaces, this lot is constantly full, 24-7, 7 days a week. Try to arrive in the morning to snag a parking spot, and even if you need to wait for a spot, believe us, this beach is worth it. 

Kahekili Beach Park is outfitted with parking, restrooms, freshwater showers, covered and uncovered BBQ areas, and many grassy areas to relax with a blanket. It's a sandy-bottom beach that's perfect for swimming, floating, and stand-up paddle boarding on calm waters. While underwater, you can actually see the black lava fingers stretching from the West Maui mountains towards the outer island of Lana'i. It's a quintessential West Maui beach experience. 

The beach area in front of the parking lot is usually super crowded. We suggest that you head left down the beach boardwalk. While meandering down the boardwalk, you will have beachfront estates and resort rentals to your left. To your right are a few beach access points with tree-shaded areas to spend the day relaxing in (if someone has not snagged them before you!).


Kahekili Beach Park is found via Kai Ala Drive and near mile marker 25.1 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 


Napili Bay 

Napili Bay is located about 5 miles north of the Ka'anapali resort area. It's a crescent-shaped cove that fronts a neighborhood with residential homes and vacation rentals. Napili Bay is a perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming, and it is also famous for its most common visitor, Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles. Another notable mention is that Napili Bay is one of the most photographed beaches in all Hawaiian islands.

Like many West Maui beaches, arriving in the morning is highly suggested. During the morning, the waters are calm, there's space on the sand, and parking is less of a challenge. When spending time at Napili Bay, 2 hours to 1/2 the day is ideal for planning. From the sand, Napili Bay views are, honestly, breathtaking. The atmosphere is calm, and while facing the ocean, there are gorgeous views of the outer islands of Molokai and Lanai.

When visiting Napili Bay, make sure to bring snorkel gear! The reef hosts an array of tropical fish in its knocks and crannies, and the water clarity is crystal-clear. Usually, the ocean Is very calm here, but pending season and wind patterns, it can sometimes be rougher and misleading. Seniors and visitors with accessibility issues should be careful with the sloping sand. Guests with questions regarding water safety can check in with the lifeguard on duty daily from 8am-4:45pm.


Napili Bay is found near mile marker 29 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 


Kapalua Bay

West Maui's Kapalua Bay is a protected cove that lies alongside five bays and three sandy beaches. For many visitors and Hawaii residents, Kapalua is regarded as one of the prettiest beaches in Hawaii. Edged by two coral reefs and protected from wind, Kapalua Bay offers pristine ocean conditions for snorkeling in West Maui.

Views from Kapalua Bay are simply stunning. Ocean and outer island scenes surround you. It's a perfect West Maui beach for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling.

When snorkeling alongside the reef, ocean-goers have the opportunity to see a variety of marine life. Snorkelers may find a variety of Moray eels, see Green Hawaiian Turtles, and find a variety of colorful corals and tropical fish species (including Hawaii's State Fish, the Huhumuhumunukunukuapua'a.)

Kapalua Bay is outfitted with restrooms and freshwater showers. Parking is available outside the beach area, and please note that there are no lifeguards at this West Maui beach.


Kapalua Bay is found after mile marker 29 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 


Oneloa Bay "Ironwoods"

Located adjacent to Kapalua Bay is Oneloa Bay. This West Maui beach gets a special honorable mention due to its calming, quiet environment. It's not as popular for tourists as Napili Bay and Kapalua Bay, but it can offer a similar beach experience (but with less foot traffic).

Oneloa Bay offers a 1/4 mile-long stretch of white sand. As you enter the beach, the area fronting you is rocky and not the best point of entry for swimming or bodyboarding. For a sandy bottom entry, walk to the left of the entry to find a calm and relaxed (uncrowded) spot for a day in West Maui's marvelous sunshine. 

Another advantage to this Maui beach is that it's alongside a little hike. Walking this trail is another peaceful and fun way to explore this part of West Maui's coastline. 

No matter what time of the day you visit Oneloa Bay, you'll have a good experience. It's a great spot to land in the mid-afternoon as you can relax in the sun without so much heat, and you'll already be perched in the perfect spot to watch a magical Maui sunset.


Oneloa Bay is found in front of the Kapalua Resort and at approximately mile marker 30 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 


D.T. Fleming Beach Park

D.T. Fleming Beach Park is one of West Maui's best year-round beach park secrets. It boasts all the amenities of a West Maui beach park, including lifeguards, a public parking lot, restroom facilities, freshwater showers, BBQ grill areas, and plenty of shaded and non-shaded areas to lounge in the sun. 

The beach has a sandy bottom, so there is no need for reef booties here. It's less touristy than many other West Maui beach parks, but it does get a lot of local foot traffic. Popular with local families, D.T. Fleming's can be crowded on weekends with large family celebrations and birthday parties. On any day of the week, it's an excellent spot for a beach picnic. 

The water can be as calm as a lake during the late spring and summer months. The water can be less predictable during the late fall and winter, but it is an excellent spot for bodyboarding and surfing. Although D.T. Fleming's is nestled in an ironwood tree forest, note that conditions can get windy in the afternoons.


Little note: D.T. Fleming Beach Park is named after the man who introduced the pineapple to West Maui. Learn more about D.T. Fleming here.


D.T. Fleming Beach Park is found near mile marker 31.1 of Maui's Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30). 



Thank you for taking the time to read the Maui Resort Rentals blog. In conclusion, and for all Maui beach visitors, enjoy Mother Maui's waters but never turn your back to the ocean. Always heed lifeguard warning signs, and always snorkel with a buddy. Hawaii's waters can be strong, so watch your back, and when in doubt, don't go out. Keep safety and respect for the ocean as your #1 priority. Until next time, a Hui Hou!