The Insiders Guide to Red Sand Beach in Maui

Hawaii is known for its dramatic coastline and spectacular vistas. Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands and is world-famous for its beautiful beaches. 

Maui has 120 miles of coastline, and over 30 miles of these are beautiful beaches where you can while away the day relaxing, or if you’re looking for a little more adventure, you can have a go at surfing. 

The beaches on Maui, Hawaii come in a variety of colors and textures. You have golden, white, black, and even red sandy beaches. Some spread out for miles with soft powdery sand, and others are tiny coves with coarse sand and are scattered with lava rocks.

One thing that we can tell you is that every beach in Maui, Hawaii will give you a fantastic opportunity to post the most amazing photos to your social media. The stunning backgrounds will have all your followers green with envy.

Kaihalulu red sand beach Maui is one of these beaches that will give you stunning surroundings and a sense of tranquility like you’ve never felt before. Maui’s red sand beach is possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii, if not the world.

Key Features

Location: Hana, East Maui
Lifeguard on Duty: No
Beach Length (Approx): 100 meters
Facilities: No facilities on the beach
Activities: Swimming, snorkeling in calm waters before the lava rock wall. Clothing optional beach.
Parking: Park at the Hana Ball Park or on the street nearby
Warning: The hike down to the red sand beach is dangerous – use extreme caution.

Here’s what we will cover in this overview of Maui’s red sand beach:

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach Beach, Maui – Overview

One of the hidden beaches that has sand like you’ve never seen before is Kaihalulu red sand beach, at the end of the Hana highway. This secret beach is made entirely out of red sand, which comes from the rust red cliffs surrounding the cove. 

The crescent shaped beach is completely hidden, and it can be quite a task to find it. However, once you do, you won’t be disappointed. The red sand beach is cut into the Ka’uiki Head cinder cone, which gives it a dramatic coastline, and the deep ocean is a vibrant blue against the rust red of the sand. The green ironwood trees that surround the cove give an extra layer of color to the backdrop.

Kaihalulu Beach’s name comes from the words ‘kai halulu,’ which literally means ‘thundering ocean’ in the Hawaiian language. It’s easy to see why it’s called this when you see the ocean waves hitting the lava rocks.

This is a stunning secret red sand beach that you don’t want to miss out on when visiting Maui. However, the trail to get to the beach can be quite dangerous, so it’s not recommended for families to attempt to visit the beach. The hike to the beach involves narrow pathways on steep crumbling cliffs and isn’t suitable for everyone. 

If you do make the journey along the treacherous trail, you’ll not be disappointed when you see the red sand beach with your own eyes. The sight of the beautiful red sand beach is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Due to its secluded nature Kaihalulu red sand beach Maui has become a clothing optional beach so don’t be surprised or shocked when you see naked sunbathers relaxing on the red sand beach.

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Maui’s Best Kept Secret

You’ll find a handful of red sand beaches in Hawaii. However, there’s only one red sand beach on Maui, and it needs to be seen for yourself to understand the beauty and dramatic colors of the red sand beach. 

Not many people know about Kaihalulu red sand beach. They may have heard about its beauty, but they don’t know where it is or where to find it. This is just one of the reasons why it’s a quiet and tranquil beach to sit and relax on. 

Another reason for its tranquil atmosphere is that you need to tackle a treacherous hiking trail to get to the red sand beach. As you can imagine, this doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Hiking Trails

There are two trails that you can take to the red sand beach. However, the original trail that takes you down to the Japanese cemetery has been affected by a landslide, so it is now a dangerous trail to follow. 

The trail that you need to take has recently been cleared, so is easier to find than previously. Remember that the jungle-style plants can grow quickly so this trail may be hidden again very soon. Make sure that you’re wearing suitable footwear, such as sturdy hiking shoes, as the trail can become slippy, and there are loose cinders and pine needles from the Ironwood trees. Don’t wear flip flops and try to make your way along the trail, as this could be dangerous.

If you take your time and slowly walk along the trail, you’ll come to the red sand beach in around 10 to 15 minutes. As you come around the bend you’ll be greeted by the most stunning view that will make the hike worth it. 

It will be a story for the grandkids one day, you hiking a hazardous trail to relax on the most amazing nude beach!

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Where Does the Red Sand Come From?

Maui is home to a variety of different colored sands, and this is due to the island having had lots of volcanic activity over thousands of years. The red sand beach Maui is formed by lava rock flows that then cooled above the ocean. 

As the rock remained on the surface of the ocean, it was exposed to the air, giving it a high iron content. This then formed iron oxide, or what is known as rust, giving the rock its vibrant rust red color.

The crumbling red cinder cone is then ground into tiny particles to create the rare red sand that you see today. Hawaii is one of the very few places in the world that has red sand beaches.

What Can You Do at Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, Maui?

There’s not a great deal to do at Kaihalulu red sand beach apart from relaxing and taking in your beautiful surroundings. You’ve survived the hiking trail to get to the beach, that’s enough excitement for one day.

Kaihalulu Beach Facilities

There are no facilities on the red sand beach, so you need to make sure that you take everything with you when you go. You also need to remove everything when you leave.

There’s no parking lot available close to the red sand beach, only street parking, so you’ll have to park on the street. Make sure you don’t leave any valuables in the car. Park close to the Hana school and Hana community center for the closest location to the red sand beach.  

Bring drinking water with you as it’s a trek back to be able to get any if you don’t. There are no restrooms available at the beach or close by so remember to go before you start the hike to the beach. You don’t want to get caught short on the way.

The red beach is accessed via private property through the grounds of the Hana community center, so you may need to ask permission before entering.

Kaihalulu Beach Activities

Relaxing is the thing to do once you reach the red sands of Kaihalulu Beach. This is a beach where you can wear as little clothing as you want. You can don a bathing suit or completely strip off if you’re looking to shed some of your inhibitions and get that all-over tan. 

The water at the shore of the beach is calm, and this is thanks to the lava rock wall that divides the water and shields the shore from the strong waves of the ocean. This allows you to safely swim and snorkel within the protective barrier. What a great way to spend the day.

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What Can You Do Close to Kaihalulu Beach, Maui?

Kaihalulu Beach is along the road to Hana at Ka’uiki Head, which means ‘roaring sea’ in Hawaiian. This was the birthplace of Queen Ka’ahumanu, and also the site of historic battles. The remains of an ancient heiau or temple can be found here.

You’ll find lots of other beautiful beaches to visit along the road to Hana. There’s a black sand beach, and several golden sand beaches, giving you a wide variety of beaches to see while you’re there.

The east of Maui is abundant in flora and fauna, with natural wonders around each bend of the road to Hana. You can stop off to see the cascading waterfalls and trek through the rainforests, feeling like you’re in a tropical paradise.

There are also many historical sites to visit on your journey along the road to Hana, and you can take in the views of the stunning rugged coastline. 

When you get close to the secret beach in Hana, you can treat yourself to some delicious Thai food. You’ll find the best Thai food in Maui at the Pranee restaurant, next to the Hana ball park.

How to Find Kaihalulu Beach, Maui?

You can find Kaihalulu red sand beach at the end of the Hana highway. You need to drive along the Hana highway until you reach the town of Hana. 

The red sand beach is located south of Hana Bay. On your left you’ll pass Alau Street, then Keanini Drive, and Keawa Place. When you get to Hauoli Road you’ll need to turn left off the Hana highway. This is also the way that you’ll take if guided by Google maps.

Follow the road to where it crosses Uakea Road. You’ll know when you’re in the right spot as you’ll see the Hana ball park on your left and Hana school and community center straight ahead. 

Across from the basketball court is a parking area that you can use if you’re going to the red sand beach. You’ll also find street parking available at the dead-end of Uakea Rd, where it leads up to the Travaasa Hana hotel. This is closer to the trail but can get busy at times.

Public restrooms are next to the baseball field. Use these before you start your hike to the red sand beach as there are no facilities available on the way or when you get there.

The start of the trail down to the red sand beach is found at the dead-end of Uakea Road, in front of the Hana community center.

Where to Stay Near Kaihalulu Beach, Maui?

There are lots of vacation rentals to choose from in the Hana Bay area. The Hana Kai community has a range of rentals, from studios to two-bedroom units that have fully equipped kitchens. 

There’s also a B&B available in Hana, located on the oceanfront with great views. If you want to get close to nature you can even try camping. 

However, if you’re looking for a little luxury during your visit to Hana, check into the Travaasa Hana Resort, now known as the Hana- Maui Resort by Hyatt. This huge resort has swimming pools, gardens, and oceanfront views that will take your breath away.

Summary

Kaihalulu red sand beach needs to be seen to be believed. The crimson cove is a great place for swimming and snorkeling, or just relaxing and getting an all-over tan if that’s your thing.

You may have trouble finding the protected cove, but once you find the trail to the red sand beach, you’re almost there. The walk to the beach can be treacherous, so make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes. Hiking shoes are ideal as you don’t want to lose footing while walking along the water’s edge.

Once you reach the red sand beach, you’ll realize that the short hike was worth it. Make sure to take plenty of photographs of the stunning red sand and the sapphire blue water. You can then share your memories of this rare natural wonder with your family and friends when you get home.