If you have ever thought about Hawaii, then long sandy beaches and the glorious Hawaii sunrises and sunsets should instantly come to mind.
In this article, we help you figure out your way around Maui’s beaches. We have meticulously researched to give you our top selection of 24 of the best beaches on Maui.
Our list will help you plan a beautiful getaway filled with all the best things to do in Maui—prepare for an unforgettable Aloha experience.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
The Top Beaches of Maui Island
In Maui, there is hardly a shortage of sandy beaches. To get started, we will classify the beaches to offer you a general perception. Beaches on Maui island can be classified broadly into four categories based on their geographical locations as indicated below:
North Maui Beaches
Commonly referred to as Maui’s north shore, North Maui beaches are incredibly laid-back and relaxed. Much of this coast comprises rocky sea cliffs. So if you want to savor beach after beach, day in and day out, then you will probably prefer Maui’s south and west beaches.
North Maui beaches have characteristically rougher waters all along the north shore, making them unsuitable for casual swimming.
South Maui Beaches
South Maui beaches are the best! In between Kīhei and La Perouse Bay, you’ll find more than 20 established beaches and beach parks to explore.
You’re also likely to find yourself swimming in numerous beaches, some large and expansive, some small, but each as breathtaking as the last. Throughout the South shore, as you hop from beach to beach, you are bound to stumble upon some lesser-known slices of sand in small coves or tucked away between resort areas.
East Maui Beaches
Many of the East Maui beaches are not ideal for swimming, and most people experience them exploring along the way on the road to Hana. Once you reach Hana, you discover the unique selection of East Maui beaches, including white, black, and red sand beaches.
West Maui Beaches
West Maui beaches are home to one of the most sought-after beaches by vacationers in the whole of Hawaii, Kaʻanapali Beach. These west shore beaches offer some of the best spots for swimming and snorkeling because of their calm waters and protective reefs.
24 Best Beaches By Categories In Maui
Best Overall Beaches
Kaanapali Beach, located in Kaanapali, is commonly referred to as Black Rock Beach because of its famous high volcanic ocean cliff. Kaanapali has three miles of white sand beach and crystal-clear water and was once voted America’s Best Beach in 2003.
This unique beach is the leading tourist’s accommodation location, with six condominium villages and five hotels encompassing it. In fact, Kaanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort and later became a model for resorts around the globe.
- Ideal swimming location.
- Black Rock Maui Resort is located in the middle of Kaanapali Beach. Here, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
- The open-air Whalers Village is a world-class shopping complex that features a variety of unique shops and restaurants. There’s a renowned whaling museum on site, as well as free Hawaiian entertainment.
- Kaanapali boasts two championship golf courses – the Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai.
- There’s no lifeguard tower on Kaanapali Beach.
- The parking area is between the south of Whaler’s Village and the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas.
- For the adventurous few, Kaanapali Skyline Eco-Adventures offer a zipline tour along Kaanapali‘s breathtaking coastline so you can enjoy the scenic views of the sandy beaches.
- Although you’ll find outdoor showers available by the beach, there are no public restrooms. You’ll have to visit one of the hotels.
Makena Beach State Park
Makena Beach State Park is located in Makena, just several minutes from Wailea. It has white sands extending nearly 1.5 miles long and 100 feet wide, making it one of the largest beaches in Maui.
Also known as “The Big Beach,” this beautiful white sand beach has three different entrances and comprises two sections: Big Beach and Little Beach.
Big Beach and Little Beach are unique to suit the different tastes and preferences of vacationers perfectly. Big Beach is located south of the Wailea area near the Makena Beach and Golf Resort. Little Beach, on the other hand, is a small cove (approximately 660 feet long) without amenities and no lifeguard.
State Park regulations prohibit nudity. However, most visitors frequently use Little Beach as a nude beach because of its secluded nature and amenities.
- Makena Beach is smack in the middle of two black lava outcroppings offering protection from the strong trade winds.
- Makena Beach has a natural, scenic surrounding in all directions.
- The Big Beach area has ample parking space, a lifeguard on standby, picnic tables for the perfect outdoor beach meal, restrooms, and food concessions.
- The waters here are suitable for swimming, fishing, and snorkeling.
- There are no public showers.
- Once you are as far south as the Little Beach area, the development ends, and nature begins.
- If you keep going south, it is possible to explore other wild places, like the ‘Āhihi Kinau Natural Reserve and La Perouse Bay.
- Makena Beach State Park has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the most photographed in Hawaii.
Best Beach In Maui for Families
Hamoa Beach is found in Hana on Maui’s North shore and was once named one of “America’s Best Beaches” in 2006. It measures about 1000 feet long, widens to 100 feet, and is surrounded by sea cliffs. As far as family-friendly beaches go, Hamoa Beach is a great pick.
- While the waters are not ideal for swimming most of the year, a quick dip in the shallow surf is possible.
- When the waters are calm, you can enjoy snorkeling around the rocks and bodysurfing too.
- Hamoa Beach has scenic views of Alau Island and the tropical foliage all around.
- Ample picnic facilities for families and a shared restroom with the hotel around it.
- Public shower along the access path.
- A parking area that is adequate for a small group of visitors.
- No lifeguards.
Baldwin Beach Park
Baldwin Beach Park is located in Paia-Hawaii and is considered one of the best bodyboarding and bodysurfing sites on Maui’s North shore. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui, with a mile-long stretch of white sand.
- Baldwin Beach begins at Wawau Point, passes the Maui Country Club, and ends at Kapukaulua Point.
- You’ll find protected swimming areas with calm waters on the east and west ends of the beach known as Baldwin Cove and Baby Beach.
- The soft sand is ideal for family beach fun.
- Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a lifeguard are all available.
- The access road shoulder to Baldwin Beach Park offers enough parking space for about 100 cars. You’ll find additional parking space on an unmarked sandlot that accommodates no more than 70 cars.
Launiupoko Beach Park
Launiupoko Beach Park is one of Maui’s most family-friendly beaches and measures 350 feet long. The park is easy to access as it is located just on the way to Lahaina from Ma’alaea, right off the road.
- The beach has a protected wading area for small children.
- On the southern point of the park, the sandy beach has a wide, grassy picnic area with plenty of natural shade and surf breaks catering to beginner surfers and stand-up paddlers.
- Launiupoko Beach Park appeals to Maui locals and is also popular for weekend barbecues.
- People also visit for other fun activities like boogie boarding, kayaking, photography, and yoga.
- The park offers one outdoor shower and a public restroom.
- No lifeguard on the beach.
- You’ll find a parking lot facing the ocean side of Honoapi’ilani Highway, and more space on the mountainside of the road.
Best Beaches In Maui for Kids
Kapalua Bay Beach
Kapalua Beach, located in Kapalua, is one of the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, thanks to the golden sun, palm trees, and great waters for swimming and for children to snorkel. The coastal trail is about 2.5 miles long.
- Kapalua is a well-sheltered beach perfect for families, with ample parking space and fantastic sea views.
- The Kapalua coastline is great for kayaking and offers Napili Bay, Fleming Beach, Kapalua Bay Beach, and Oneloa Beach.
- You’ll need to be careful with the water activities as there isn’t a lifeguard on the ground.
- You’ll find restrooms and fresh-water showers on Kapalua Bay.
- Sea turtles hang out by the lava rocks along the north end of the shore, making this beach perfect for nature watching.
- You can access the beach by taking a short walk from the parking lot through a tunnel.
Kahekili Beach Park
Kahekili Beach Park is located in Lahaina, just north of Kaanapali Beach, on Maui’s north shore. It’s a great place for young children to learn snorkeling because the reef is close to shore, and the water is typically calm.
The beach is lovely, and the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas is a great resort right on Kahekili Beach.
- On the beach, you’ll find barbecue grills and picnic tables, perfect for some beachside meals.
- There is free ample parking at the beach’s lot, restrooms and showers, and a lifeguard available.
- A shaded pavilion that is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Best Beaches In Maui for Couples
Wailea Beach, located in Kihei, is one of the most exclusive beaches on Maui island and is only available to hotel guests of the Grand Wailea Resort. This beach is renowned for its expansive shoreline and gentle slope to ease you into the Pacific Ocean waters.
Featuring a paved path, three miles long, past the Wailea Resorts, Wailea Beach invites couples to take romantic walks and enjoy picturesque sunsets.
- Wailea Beach is adjacent to shops and restaurants with restrooms and convenient equipment rentals.
- A public shower along the beach.
- If you want a real-life island backdrop for romantic couple pictures, the outer-lying Kahoolawe and the nearby islet of Molokini are visible on the horizon.
- There is no lifeguard on this beach.
Makena Cove (Secret Beach)
Makena Cove, also known as Secret Cove, has been one of the most popular Hawaii wedding sites for a long time. It is a small beach spot hidden behind a wall along Makena Road, on your way to Makena Beach.
- The street parking space is very limited. However, there is a parking lot located a ten-minute walk away from the beach.
- The beach is located near Makena Beach, you can use the restrooms in the restaurants nearby.
- There are no public showers on Makena Beach.
Best Beach In Maui for Snorkeling, Swimming, Surfing, Boogie Boarding, and Scuba Diving
Ho’okipa Beach Park
Located near the historic Paia town, Ho’okipa Beach Park is the most consistent Maui surf spot. Measuring 8.4 square miles, Ho’okipa is also the world’s most famous windsurfing destination.
- On a perfectly windy day, top activities include longboard surfing and all sorts of wind sports.
- Professional windsurfing competitions are regularly held on the beach.
- The park has all the facilities you would need at the beach: restrooms, lifeguards, picnic areas, showers, and plenty of parking space.
- The beach has pavilions with small sections of the sandy-bottom ocean and sheltered swimming.
- Small tidepools run the length of the middle of the beach that kids can safely play in.
- Animals lovers can occasionally enjoy seeing the Hawaiian green sea turtles (Honu) bobbing just on the reef.
Slaughterhouse Beach is probably one of the most eccentric beaches in Maui. It is located in Lahaina, near Kapalua, and is surrounded by a cliff.
Ironically, the beach got its name from the Honolua Ranch slaughterhouse and storage shed previously located on the cliff’s edge above the Pacific Ocean. The name remained even though the slaughterhouse was torn down.
- During the winter months, seasoned surfers and boarders can enjoy the large, well-formed waves of Slaughterhouse Beach.
- During summer, the waves are much more mellow, often suitable for beginner surfers.
- You’ll find good snorkeling spots around the north point and into Honolua Bay.
- The beach is hidden 88 steps below the steep cliffs, and visitors have to leave their cars in a small parking area atop the cliffs to go down.
- There are no bathrooms, restrooms, or other amenities on the beach.
- There are no lifeguards on the beach.
D.T. Fleming Beach Park
This classic beach park in Kapalua is hands down West Maui’s most popular body surfing and bodyboarding site. Fleming Beach has a 1500-foot long, sandy beach perfect for a relaxing beach day. It is named after the man who introduced pineapples to West Maui, D.T. Fleming.
- D.T. Fleming Beach features plenty of amenities, including picnic tables and barbecue grills.
- It boasts crystal clear water with moderate waves for surfing, swimming, bodyboarding, and a lifeguard on the beach.
- Public restrooms and outdoor showers are available on the grounds.
- Ample parking space and an easy-to-access loading zone.
Kanaha Beach Park
Kanaha Beach Park, located near Kahului, is a world-famous beach renowned for its excellent windsurfing conditions. The beach is 1.4 miles long and has multiple fun amenities ideal for a fulfilling holiday.
- Kanaha Beach is located close to Kahului Airport.
- A large grassy park area that’s perfect for picnics.
- Kanaha’s ample afternoon wind conditions make it an excellent spot for wind sports like kiteboarding and windsurfing.
- A volleyball court and great swimming and snorkeling spots.
- There are four lots on the ground, offering numerous parking spaces.
- Public restrooms and outdoor showers are available on the grounds.
- Lifeguards on call.
Puamana Beach County Park
Puamana Beach Park is located along Honoapiilani Highway near downtown Lahaina. Here, you’ll find several locals and visitors going for picnics, surfing, and pure relaxation by the beach.
- A perfect location for surfing beginners as the waves are mellow and not too strong.
- On site, you’ll find three portable toilets and an outdoor shower.
- Picnic tables and barbeque stations for weekend grills.
- The parking area offers 12 parking spaces. However, there is an extra parking area along Honoapi’ilani Highway.
- There are no lifeguards on the 0.5-mile beach.
Kama’ole Beach Park I, II, III
Kama’ole Beach Park entails three popular beaches (Kam 1, 2, & 3) located in the town of Kihei on the south shore of Maui.
Kam 1 is the best of the three beaches. It offers approximately 0.33 miles of sand. Kam 2 is smaller than Kam 1 (less than 0.33 miles) and is extremely pleasant for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.
Kam 3 is the smallest beach out of the three and has the rockiest sections. However, it is still a great beach. It features a grassy park and is the nicest place for picnics. This beach offers a great place to swim and snorkel because of the variety of fish and the shallow waters.
- There are parking lots available and street parking options depending on what section of Kamaole Beach Park you are in.
- Some areas have lifeguards on patrol, public restrooms, showers, and places to picnic.
Charley Young Beach
This beach is basically the farthest north stretch of Kam 1 Beach. It stretches about 600 yards with great views and perfect sand for family and friends.
- Parking spots are limited compared to what you can find on the side of South Kihei Road.
- Charles Young Beach is a swimming beach mainly frequented by Maui locals.
- The water is calm and ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
- A portable toilet and a shower are available on the beach.
Located north of Lahaina, Honolua Bay is not a typical beach; it has a rocky shoreline and terrible visibility near the shore. However, it is by far the best deep diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling destination. It is one of the few sheltered bays to snorkel in Maui and even offers a beautiful short hike through a stunning forest.
- The bay here is enormous, over 30 feet deep. Visibility improves greatly further away from the shore.
- Honolua Bay is in a Marinelife Conservation District where fishing and collecting any natural resource is prohibited, but snorkelers can enjoy viewing numerous marine life species in the bay, including barracuda, Fourspot butterflyfish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, etc.
- The parking lot is situated a considerable distance from the beach.
- Honolua Bay has no lifeguards, showers, or restrooms on-site.
Palauea Beach (White Rock)
White Rock Beach is another name given to Palauea Beach. and is a lovely, wide, lesser-known beach. Instead, it is mainly populated by the locals, a few fishermen, and a few families from around the beach on weekends.
Located just south of the Wailea Hotel area on a stretch of sand 300 yards long, the area is dominated by fancy homes, giving it the impression of being a private beach.
- The waters here are typically calm throughout the summer months.
- Since it is less populated than surrounding beaches, White Rock Beach is perfect for lone snorkeling and swimming.
- Palauea Beach has no amenities other than a porta-potty by the road.
- The beach is only accessible via Makena Road, where you have to leave your vehicle by the roadside to make your way to the beach.
- There are no lifeguards on site.
Most Unique Colored Sand Beaches In Maui
Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu)
Another uniquely attractive feature about Maui is the variety of colors of the sandy beaches. Top of that list is the Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu). The Red Sand Beach is located south of Hana Bay.
- One of the few red sand beaches in the world. The sand has a deep reddish-black appearance, which contrasts sharply with the blue water, the black sea wall, and the green ironwood trees in its environment.
- The cinder cone behind the beach constantly erodes due to the sea action, continually enlarging the cove. This hill is particularly rich in iron and is why the beach’s sand is such a deep red hue.
- Kaihalulu is also a nudist beach and does not have a direct route into it. Visitors have to endure a strenuous hike across a steep mountain cliff to get to the beautiful red sand beach. This means you’ll have to leave your car on the parking street in Hana Town beforehand.
- Bird watching and swimming are popular activities here.
- Kaihalulu Beach is not state-protected and there aren’t any lifeguards on site.
- There are no showers or restrooms on the grounds.
Wai’anapanapa State Park (Honokalani Black Sand Beach)
One of the famous black sand beaches on Maui is named Honokalani and is in Waianapanapa State Park, approximately three miles north of Hana Town.
The black sand of Honokalani Beach was formed when volcanic lava met the ocean, and it rapidly cooled and shattered.
- The park is sacred to the locals, and although it is not a swimming beach, you can enjoy the black sand, hike to lava caves, and witness a local blowhole.
- Besides the black sand beaches that provide the perfect backdrop for timeless pictures, the park is also attractive to hikers.
- Honokalani Beach offers several amenities, including a paved parking lot, picnic facilities, restrooms, showers, swimming, snorkeling, and diving areas.
- There are no lifeguards on the grounds.
Ho’okipa Beach Park (White Sand Beach)
Many mainland beaches, like Florida, are primarily white formed with quartz minerals. However, Maui and Hawaii do not typically have quartz deposits.
The best white sand beach in Maui is the Ho’okipa Beach Park. It is not only famous for its white sandy beaches but also world-famous as a windsurfing destination.
- The park has many amenities, including restrooms, outdoor showers, a picnic area with permanent tables, and barbecue grills.
- There are three lots offering ample parking space.
- There are also lifeguards on duty.
Best Beach Trails for Hiking In Maui
La Perouse Bay
Not all beaches on Maui are ideal for swimming and sunbathing. A good example is La Perouse Bay. Located south of the town of Wailea, this bay is the result of a more recent eruption by Haleakala, a shield volcano in Maui. Haleakala erupted to form the jagged lava rock coastline and eventually the La Perouse Bay.
La Perouse Bay is a fascinating natural site in Maui. The land is rugged and covered in crumbling lava rocks, and the temperatures are also scorching.
- Hikers often see spinner dolphins from the coast and humpback whales during whale season.
- The lava fields are beautiful and strange, and you’ll find ancient paths leading toward the mountains.
- Watch out for any signs displaying the word “Kapu.” This word comes from the ancient Hawaiian system of laws and taboos. It has many meanings, including “Keep Out” and “Sacred.” Therefore, it’s best to be respectful and keep off.
- Drivers can use the parking lot at the end of Makena Alanui Drive, past the lava fields.
- You’ll find portable toilets, showers, and recycle bins on the grounds.
- There are no lifeguards on site.
Kapalua Coastal Trail
Kapalua Coastal Trail, one of the best hiking trails, is a two-mile walk in Lahaina-Maui, along Maui’s northwest shore.In the northwest corner of Maui, the 2.5-mile track takes you past lava fields, a wilderness, along the ocean,with luxurious hotels and villas nearby.
- The trail offers an exquisite view of nature and how it interacts with the man-made developments around it. It is categorized as an easy hike and runs from the south end of Kapalua Bay to D.T. Fleming Beach.
- There’s a small parking lot in Kapalua Bay, and ample parking on D.T. Fleming Beach.
- You’ll find showers and restrooms on either end of the trail.
- Although there’s no lifeguard at Kapalua Bay, you’ll find one at D.T. Fleming Beach.
Hoapili Trail to Hanamanioa Point Lighthouse
Hoapili Trail is on Maui’s southeast coast, sited under a majestic red hill. The trail is a total of 3.6 miles and is ideal for intermediate hikers. The path snakes its way through lava fields, and although it is relatively flat, hikers are advised to prepare accordingly.
- Scenic coastline
- Wild goats are known to inhabit the areas surrounding the trail.
- Hoapili Trail has no lifeguards on duty and no showers either.
- Portable toilets are located in the parking lot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Part of Maui Has the Best Beaches?
It’s a tight race between the west shore Maui beaches and south shore Maui beaches. However, if you can’t visit the two locations, then the western shore wins hands down! This area is located only about 25 minutes from the airport, making it easier for tourists to access the rest of the island.
West Maui comprises the following beaches: Honokowai, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Lahaina. It is home to some superb beaches and is a top-rated tourist destination, sought after for its variety of outdoor activities, fabulous restaurants, world-class golf courses, and attractive West Maui real estate options.
West Maui certainly is the most popular choice for visitors because of the concentration of attractions, hotels, restaurants, and shopping facilities. The biggest attractions on the west side are the Kaanapali Resort and Front Street. West Maui is definitely worth your consideration if you cannot tour the entire Maui.
Are Beaches Open on Maui?
The truth is there are no private beaches on Maui; all beaches are open. As long as you are standing on the sand, then you’re on public property.
Maui’s laws legally define the public beach area as extending up to the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, i.e., up to the highest watermark. Beyond this point, anyone may privately own the land above and beyond the beach. The only catch is that the public has to access the beaches through designated beach public accesses.
Under Hawaii’s “Safe Travels” program, travelers (age five years and older) arriving into Maui with negative COVID-19 test results within 72 hours before their flight are not subject to the 10-day quarantine requirement. So, beaches in Maui are now open and back in business.
Which Is the Best Beach in Maui to Stay At?
There are many places to stay while you are visiting Maui. However, our top recommendation is Kaanapali Beach, which is West Maui’s signature calling card. The beach is also referred to as Black Rock Beach because of its famous high volcanic ocean cliff.
Kaanapali offers three miles of white sand beach and crystal-clear water and was voted America’s Best Beach in 2003. Another reason to stay at
Black Rock Beach is because it’s the top tourist accommodation location, with six condominium villages and five hotels encompassing it.
To add to the list, look out for sea turtles and cliff divers. It’s an absolute delight!
Can You Drink on the Beach in Maui?
The simple answer to this is, for your safety, don’t drink on Maui beaches.
Many state and county laws prohibit the consumption of alcohol on or near Maui beaches or beach parks.
Additionally, these laws are so varied and complex; it is virtually impossible to know where to drink an alcoholic beverage on the beach. Other factors that throw a spanner into the works are that the law varies depending on:
- which beach it is,
- proximity to a school,
- proximity to a public restroom,
- proximity to a public observatory,
- proximity to a public highway,
- proximity to a public sidewalk,
- proximity to municipal parking.
In short, it’s best to avoid drinking on the beach if you’re new or unfamiliar with the law.
Can You Swim in Maui During the Winter?
When people around the globe gather around fireplaces and heaters to brave the winter cold, Maui is the perfect getaway because it is possible to swim all year round in Maui.
Ocean temperatures drop to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months from August to January. However, Maui stays within 5 degrees of its summer high temperatures all year round. That means that Maui visitors swim in ocean waters that average a comfortable 75 degrees during the holidays.
Compared with other state beaches, such as the Sunshine State, Florida, water temperatures plummet to 63 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, you would need a wetsuit to enjoy yourself.
Why Isn’t There Seaweed on Maui Beaches?
Both kelp beds and seaweed grow in waters with a specific temperature lower than what you find in Maui. In fact, these plants require explicitly cool water.
Since Maui water temperatures are pretty high, you will find little to no seaweed on Maui beaches or Hawaii islands in general. North Kihei on the South Maui shores is one example of the few beaches with seaweed issues. West Maui shores have little to none.
Life’s a Beach!
No matter which beach you find yourself on in Maui, you are definitely bound to have a good time. You’ll find over 120 miles of the coast line packed with experiences that will keep you going back. The rich culture of the locals and their warm nature will make you almost not want to leave.
With any of the beaches listed above, you’re sure to have a fantastic time! Additionally, the winter temperatures are almost similar to the summer, meaning anytime is a great time to take advantage of the vast range of features they offer.