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It’s a bit of a joke in Maui about the titles the media gives our beaches.  Pretty much any Maui beach you’re standing on was a “Best Beach in America” at some point.  Our beaches are often mentioned in some of the world’s best beach category too!  America’s Best Beaches award has been picked from Maui’s beaches every year dating back to the 1980’s. There is always a Hawaii beach on the list.

This is because there are so many fantastic Maui beaches to choose from!  Everyone in Maui has their favorite beach they like to go to.  Usually it’s a beach that’s close by, which means they’re all good!

a large body of water with a mountain in the background

Maui has 130 miles of coastline and over 30 miles of beaches!  In many spots, especially the south side you can walk for miles from beach to beach.  As a professional photographer who has lived in Maui for over 20 years I was assigned to photograph Maui’s beaches.  I was able to count 36 beach areas with over 80 named beaches on the island!  That’s a lot to photograph and film!  I say beach areas because some beaches stretch for miles and some beaches are unseen except from the air.  Oh boy…

As I had a little over a week to get as many as I could and it was my plan to get up at sunrise and photograph and film Maui’s beaches to get some video and stills in the morning light.  As it turned out every day, even the rainy ones, where spectacular!  What an adventure!  As I have an extensive archive of the island I already knew what beaches were in my files and which ones I needed more of.  By day 8 it became a wonderful morning routine.  Driving around Maui can be a challenge but just before sunrise is smooth sailing!

a rainbow over water

We feel blessed with amazing things like rainbows, turtles on the beach, sand art and countless people playing in the ocean. I also learned a lot about about Maui’s ecology including native plants, animals and the reef from the many info plaques and signs installed along the paths to the beaches in Hawaii, especially in South Maui.  I’ve now been assigned to write my own Maui beach guide article and hopefully it should give you a good idea about what you may encounter along every side of this amazing island!

I’ll break this Maui beach guide up into the different sides of the island; North, South, East and West but first….

Tips For Enjoying Maui’s Beaches

a person sitting on a beach

1.) Sunburns hurt! Even if your lotion gets confiscated at the airport, get some more (please choose “reef safe” ones) and use it often!  Pay particularly close attention to the top of your feet if you’re a pasty white mainlander…

a person holding a cell phone

2.)Bring a cooler with plenty of water and some food.  The sun and water can be exhausting resulting in polynesian paralysis…

a person walking down a dirt road

3.) Keep a jug of water in your car for rinsing your feet.  Many of Maui’s most beautiful beaches have no showers… like big beach Makena.

Most Maui beach info is centered around beach parks. There are plenty of maps showing where they are. Though many of Maui’s beach parks are quite old they are well kept and much appreciated by all who enjoy them.  A beach “park” usually contains some amenities like bathrooms and an outdoor shower.  Parking is often provided for but usually minimal.  Best advice is to get there early.  Some beaches, especially out along the north shore and along the road to Hana, are wild and unpredictable.

Maui’s North Shore

a large green landscape with a body of water

A favorite for ocean sports Maui’s north shore beaches encompass a wide area.  The first beaches on this side of the island start at the edge of the West Maui mountains.  From a rugged coastline these beaches start at Waihe’e Valley and continue through the town of Kahului to Kanaha Beach Park.

It could be considered central Maui but I think of them as a northern shore because they too are influenced by the northerly flow of wind and waves.  From Kanaha Beach Park the beaches continue for miles past Baldwin Beach.  In between these two points are some beautiful yet rugged coastal reefs and beaches.  The surf and shore break can really work a swimmer or surfer here and reaching some of the remote places may require a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  This side of the island is not a good area to get stranded in as it can be quite remote with spotty cell phone reception.

Kanaha Beach Park

a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the ocean

This area is known as a major kiteboarding and windsurfing area with steady trade-winds and some nice offshore surf when the conditions are right.  This is also true for most of the north shore beaches but this area has long sandy beaches and decent parking. Steady trade winds along this northern shoreline are some of the best ocean sports conditions in the world. This is why a lot of the watersport instruction happens with windsurf and kite-board rental trucks parked right up to the beach.  There are bathrooms here but they are near the first entrance parking lot which is a bit of a walk from the beach.  Kanaha Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand broken up with occasional lava rock outcroppings.

Kahana Beach runs from Kahului Harbor all the way to Paʻia. Kahana Beach Park is next to the airport and is a great place to start a good beach walk.

Kahana is a kite boarding area and even though you might have to cut inland a little you’ll rarely lose sight of the beach.  It is quite remote until you get to the Spreckelsville area where you’ll find Baby Beach and Baldwin Beach parks. This shoreline has small coves protected by rock outcroppings so wear some shoes or sandals you can take off while on the sand and put on to climb the sharp lava rocks. Depending on where you start and end this can be a ½ day or full.  Bring water and a towel in case you decide to go swimming.  Be careful though as the North Shore is exposed to open ocean and can have a nasty undertow and hidden rocks and stumps just off the beach.

Spreckelsville Area

a body of water

Technically not a beach park, this gem of a beach is located about half way between the towns of Kahului and Pāʻia.  It’s not easy to find.  Because of this it’s a favorite for locals.  Locals refer to it as the north shore Baby Beach.  Not only because it’s kinda small, but because there is a shelf of reef that protects the beach from waves.  This makes for ideal swimming conditions for babies and small children.  There are no bathrooms here and the parking is minimal and chaotic with lots of people parked along the road in instead of going all the way to the beach.  The parking area at the end of this residential road is Maui dirt parking at it’s best.

Baldwin Beach Park

a group of people sitting at a beach

This is one of the most popular beach parks on Maui’s north shore with lots of parking and plenty of space to stretch out as it’s a fairly large beach.  This is where the locals go for Pau Hana (after work) and get together for sunset.  There is a large pavilion here but shore erosion has taken out the original bathroom building.  Portable toilets are in use here for now.  Pāʻia town is a few minutes away with nice restaurants and wonderful shopping which works out great for some morning beach time and a nice lunch in town afterwards.  From Pāʻia there are several small beaches that are tough to find with limited parking.  Lots of private land makes access difficult also, so you might as well head to…

Maui’s South Shore

a person standing on a sandy beach next to a body of water

Maui’s south shore is probably considered the premier beach area of Maui.  Mostly because the beaches are many with every kind of ocean activity you can think of.  This shoreline stretches for approximately 8 to 10 miles and is composed of close to 20 beaches which is the highest concentration of any area in Maui.  A general rule is the farther north along the Kihei coastline you are the faster the wind comes up as the day progresses.  The farther south you go along this coastline the calmer the waters and the better the reefs get for diving and snorkeling.  This is why the resort areas are at the southern end. Known as Wailea, this area is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in all of Hawaiʻi.  At the southernmost end of this beautiful Maui coastline is Makena Beach (Oneloa Beach) or what locals call Big and Little Beach. At the far south end of this beach is Secret Cove, a tiny beach hidden by a lava rock wall.  More weddings take place here than any other beach in the Hawaiian Islands.  Past this is considered remote with the shoreline progressively turning into lava fields for as far as the eye can see.

Maalaea and Kealia Pond

a bridge going over a wooden fence

This National Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the far northern end of Kihei along highway 310 which leads to Mā`alaea Harbor (home to the island’s many boat tours) and Maui’s west side.  Known by locals as “the mud flats” these ponds encompasses a 691 acre wetland preserve and are some of the last wetlands still intact in all of Hawaiʻi.  The beach here runs from north Kihei’s Sugar Beach all the way to Mā`alaea Harbor and is a prime nesting site for the endangered Hawaiian Hawksbill turtle.  In 2010 a boardwalk was completed along with a small parking area just off the highway.  This boardwalk stretches for 2200’ along the back edges of the ponds next to the beach. Home to the endangered native Hawaiian Stilt (ae’o) and Hawaiian coot (‘alae ke oke’o) are easily observed and photographed from this boardwalk. The stealth fishing technique of the ‘Auku’u (black-crowned night herons) is fun to watch and are quite active if the wind is calm.  This wetland is a feeding and nesting ground for many migratory birds from places as far away as Alaska, South America and even Asia making it one of the most important places in the state for migratory waterfowl. The boardwalk has many wonderful info plaques explaining the birds, habitat and history of this impressive wetland. Get here early before the winds pick up in the afternoon as the birds tend to hunker down in the high winds.  It is possible to walk the beach from North Kihei to here and back, about a 3 mile walk.

Sugar Beach

a herd of cattle standing on top of a sandy beach

On the north end of Kihei (side closest to the airport) is a long stretch of beach known as Sugar Beach. Remains of an old harbor can be seen here leftover from the heyday of Maui’s sugar industry.

This beach runs from about the entrance into South Kihei Road and stretches several miles to Ma`alaea Harbor.  In the winter this stretch of beach is where humpback whales gather to give birth in these shallow and warm waters. It’s highly likely you’ll see some splashing around offshore on this walk during the winter months.  The mornings are calm and perfect for a beach walk but the wind can pick up to amazing strength in the afternoon.

When the ocean swells are just right Ma’alaea has a surf break known for being one of the fastest moving sets of waves in Hawai’i. It’s a lot of fun to watch the locals walk out on the break wall and jump in with their surf and boogie boards right into the breaking waves.

Kenolio Beach/Suda’s

a body of water with a mountain in the background

From the Sugar Beach resort heading south down the beach you’ll find Kenolio Beach area also known as Kihei Wharf. Locals often call it Suda’s as a store of that name sits across the street from here. It is also here that the Kihei Outrigger Canoe Club takes visitors out bi-weekly into the bay for early morning paddling and Hawaiian cultural immersion. I was so happy to hear the morning chant (canoe paddling sessions begin with E Ala E, a traditional chant to welcome the rising sun) spoken in Hawaiian and repeated by all the paddlers. As we say in Hawaiʻi a true “chicken skin” experience. For me it was another blessing and a wonderful reason to be out on the beach at sunrise!

Kalepolepo Beach Park & Whale Sanctuary – Fish Pond

a group of people walking on a beach

Another amazing cultural example of the intelligence of ancient Hawaiians are the revitalized Ko’ie’ie fish ponds just down the road from Kihei Wharf.  The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is worth a visit even if just for a quick stop.  Here you will find some great info on Hawaiian culture originating in this area and the marine wildlife of Hawaiʻi.

Kalama Park/Cove Park

a body of water

This is one of Maui’s largest parks but it doesn’t have much of a beach.  It does have a play park for kids though and the small cove at the far end next to south Kihei road is a great place to learn how to surf.  The reef is shallow here so use booties and stay off the bottom as much as possible as it damages the coral.  This park is right across the street from restaurants, shopping and Foodland grocery store.  Surf boards, SUP and kayak rentals are set up in this beach parks parking lot every morning.

Kamaʻole Beach Park l ll & lll

a wooden bench sitting next to a body of water

These three parks are lined up heading south along South Kihei Road and are some of the most popular beaches on this side of the island. They have bathrooms, showers, lifeguard towers and some wonderful new interpretive signage.  The county of Maui has put a lot of work recently into building boardwalks through the dunes to the beach.  This is part of a beach dune restoration project.  It is nice to not have to scramble across hot sand to get out on the beach also.  All three of these beaches have beautiful reefs for snorkeling and the largest one, Kamaole III, has plenty of parking with picnic tables, fire grates and swingsets for the kids.

Wailea – Keawekapu

a group of people on a beach near a body of water

Wailea is an amazing resort area loaded with world class hotels fronted by some of Maui’s most beautiful beaches.  Keawekapu’s north end starts at the Mana Kai Resort and extends a good ½ mile to a small parking lot at the other end.  Snorkeling and diving are excellent here and the shore break can be great for body surfing during south swells. It is possible to continue past here along several pathways or around rocky outcropping to….

Ulua/Mokapu Beach

a group of people on a beach near a body of water

This is a great beach for diving and many companies start at this beautiful beach with reef and rock outcroppings at both ends which makes for some fantastic snorkeling.  The parking is ok but located a short walk from the beach.  With a circular driveway set up for dropping off scuba gear it is one of the few beaches with such a set up.

Wailea Beach – The Four Seasons & Grand Wailea

a flock of seagulls are standing in the grass

If you’re staying at either of these two resorts you’re in for a real treat. Wailea Beach fronts the Grand Wailea and is the one of the ultimate in pampered luxury in Maui.  The Four Seasons is right next door but is situated more on a hill overlooking this beautiful stretch of sand. I won’t go into it too much here because these resorts have plenty of info about all they offer.  Suffice to say it’s worth it to spend a day poolside at either of these resorts.

Polo Beach

Polo beach is fronted by one of Maui’s oldest resorts, the Polo Beach Club.  There is plenty of parking here and a great little park that is a favorite for locals too.  The water is calm and beach activities include outrigger canoe paddling in front of the Kea Lani Resort on the north end and Polo Beach Resort on the south.  Bathrooms and showers round out the amenities.

Makena Area

an island in the middle of a body of water

Another beautiful stretch of beach is on the other end (south) of Kihei just past Wailea where you’ll find Makena beach, also known as Big Beach.

Though not as long as Maalaea beach this spectacular mile long beach is popular with the residents. Not for the novice swimmer this beach has a steep fall off to deeper water which causes the waves to be stronger than they look. Sand skimmers love this beach as the waves wash over large areas as they crash onto bare sand. Good fun if you know what you’re doing. If not you could end up getting hammered by the waves. On one end of this beach is a towering cinder cone hill known as Pu’u Olai. An outcrop of lava reaches from it’s base out into the ocean. This lava outcrop is what separates Big Beach from Little Beach.

Climb up and over this rugged lava along the trail and you’ll find the secluded cove of Little beach – Maui’s nude beach mecca. The beach is a short scramble over the outcrop and down onto the beach that is protected on both sides from wind and waves.

There are three beach entrance points with parking lots along the road leading to this fairly remote part of Maui. The first one is closest to Little Beach with the second and third leading to the middle portions of this large beach. The far end has several coves and beaches but turns mostly to lava rock after that. There are some great hikes through the lava fields in the Keone’o’io Bay Marine Preserve (LaPerouse Bay) at the end of the road. If you plan on venturing out along this rugged coastline be sure to bring lots of water and good shoes. It’s hot out on this remote and dry side of the island and the lava is sharp along this young lava flow! That’s why the Hawaiian name for this type of lava is a’a – as in that’s the sound you make when walking across it…

Big Beach

an island in the middle of a body of water

This is one of the largest beaches on Maui in width and has three entrances.  The first one puts you closest to the north end of “Big Beach” with a large red cinder cone (Pu’u Ola’i) at the oceans edge that can be seen all the way from Mā`alaea Harbor.  The sand here is steep which can make for some pretty dramatic and somewhat treacherous shore-break.  Skimboarding is the main activity on this beach and it’s fun to watch the locals who come here on an almost daily basis.  Snorkeling is not worth it here as it’s mostly a sand bottom off shore and the water can get rough.  If you’re feeling adventurous you can take a short but steep hike up the path at the far north end to visit…

Little Beach

a group of people on a beach

This is south Maui’s clothing optional beach.  It’s quite laid back though with nice waves for surfing, boogie boarding or body surfing.  Sunday nights and full moons become a haven for the drum circle hippies and hippies at heart here.  Unfortunately the parking lot gate is locked nightly at 8pm which requires parking along the road for evening beachgoers. Bring a flashlight as this can become quite a hike in and back in the dark.  Cars have been broken into here so secure your valuables for any “after hours” events at Little Beach.

Makena Cove

a group of people on a beach

This is south Maui’s clothing optional beach.  It’s quite laid back though with nice waves for surfing, boogie boarding or body surfing.  Sunday nights and full moons become a haven for the drum circle hippies and hippies at heart here.  Unfortunately the parking lot gate is locked nightly at 8pm which requires parking along the road for evening beachgoers. Bring a flashlight as this can become quite a hike in and back in the dark.  Cars have been broken into here so secure your valuables for any “after hours” events at Little Beach.

Maui’s East Side

Hana is a place to recharge for most people who live in Maui.  I have been traveling this crazy road for over 20 years and I can tell you this…. it never gets old!  For years I have been going out in tour vans because they sit up higher than cars and the bigger windows give me a great viewing advantage for photos.  Plus I don’t have to be concerned with food, gas, ect.  This time though I booked a vacation rental so I could stay overnight and get 2 days of photography in. Although we started out in the pouring rain this made for some amazing waterfall action.  Luckily we had a rental van but even that was still a lot of work to get shots and keep my gear dry.  I still kinda wished I was in the tour van…

Black Sand Beach at Wai’ānapanapa State Park

a body of water

This is one of Maui’s most iconic beaches.  I have been here at least 20 times and have enjoyed photographing this park for many years because it’s so spectacular!  This time however was extra special.  My plan was to photograph and film the sunrise here.  However, when I arrived at 6am rain and clouds covered the horizon.  Since I’ve never been to Hana’s black sand beach that early in the morning I knew if I just kept exploring I would find something interesting.  It turned out to be someone interesting.  A local guy was fishing on the beach.  Turns out his family has lived on this land that is now a state park for centuries.  His great grandparents are buried in the small cemetery in the park at the edge of this bay.  He told me a story that his great grandparents, who only spoke Hawaiian, told him about how they, in the “old days”, raised sharks and dolphins and trained them to help catch fish by chasing schools of fish into this bay to be netted by the awaiting Hawaiians.  Amazing!  It reminded me of how special this place is not just to the people who visit it every day but to the people of Hana and their Hawaiian ancestors who have lived here for centuries.

Hana Bay

a river running through a body of water

Not known as a major stop along the road to Hana this bay is none the less a major landmark in ancient Hawaiian history.  The hill that overlooks this bay is called Pu’u Ka’uiki and was once the site of an ancient fortress.  Many battles were fought here for control of Maui from invading Big Island Alii (royalty).   Queen Ka’ahumanu was born here in 1768.  Her mother was from Hana and her father was from the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.  Her hand in marriage was promised to a young warrior from the Big Island by the name of Kamehameha.  Ka’ahumanu became his favorite and most trusted wife as she supported his conquest and subsequent unification of all the islands.  After his death she became the first Kuhina Nui (Royal Prime Minister) and encouraged women’s rights and christianity which would change Hawaiian society forever.  She is honored every year on Queen Ka’ahumanu day on March 17th which is her birthday, with parades and entertainment including Hula shows.

Hamoa Beach

a group of bushes in a body of water

Voted best beach in America so many times it’s now almost a shoe in for a top 5 spot every year, Hamoa Beach is a small beach with steep banks and cliffs on both ends.  A little hiking is involved to get down to this beach but it has a beautiful pavilion and the surf here can be fun in the right conditions.  Be careful though.  Any and all beaches on this side can get rough with a strong rip tide showing up at any time.

Koki Beach

a sandy beach next to the ocean

Located on the other side of Hamoa Beach along this small peninsula Koki Beach is a mix of red, yellow and gray sand.  The view here is amazing as a small island off shore called Alau Island gives a beautiful accent to the waves and deep blue ocean on the horizon.  This shoreline has some decent parking, which is something you won’t find on the other side at Hamoa Beach.  There is what looks like a cool little food shack here too, which is a recent addition.  The beach is large but the surf here is on a shallow reef. Local knowledge about where to go into the surf is a must.

Kaupo Area

a close up of a hillside next to a body of water

This area past Hana along the southern coast is known as the “back side” of Maui.  Kaupo is vast and dry compared to the rainforest that most people spend all day driving through.  Locals love this side as it’s remote rocky beaches have some of the best fishing in all of Maui’s waters.  There are remnant stone foundations of villages right on the beaches here.  However, the roads to the shoreline are treacherous and crazy steep.  It’s best to stop at a few lookouts along the road to get a good look at the beaches and watch the sea crash into the lava arches all along this coastline.  It truly is one of the most stunningly expansive landscapes you will see in Maui.

Maui’s West Side Beaches

a view of a mountain

The west side of Maui is where the first resorts sprang up over 50 years ago.  Much of Maui’s post contact history starts on this side of the island in the town of Lahaina which was the first capitol of the newly unified Hawaiian Kingdom in the early 1800’s.  Kaanapali was favored by the Alii (royalty) and Kaanapali beach now boasts some of the most beautiful resorts on the island.  The shoreline from central Maui to Lahaina is a long string of beach areas with mellow surfing and snorkeling to be found along the way.

Papalaua Beach Park (Thousand Peaks)

a tree next to a body of water

The ocean cliffs between central Maui and the west side of the island is known as the Pali, which is Hawaiian for steep slope or cliff.  As you drive out of this cliff area the beaches begin to line up all along this shoreline.  The first one is Papalaua but locals know it as Thousand Peaks.  Located right off the highway coming out of the Pali it can be a dangerous left to pull into the dirt parking lot under the trees, so be careful!  I’ve seen locals camp here often and the surf is a wonderful easy rolling swell that makes for long smooth rides.

Ukumehame Beach Park

a group of people walking on a sandy beach

This is a tiny little spot that has minimal parking but in the right conditions there’s some fun surf just off shore.  The view here looking back towards the Pali and Haleakala can be beautiful though.  The whales can be seen offshore here in the winter months as well.  Heading west from here are a few miles of sand that is narrow and long.  If you pull of the highway here be careful.  A car can get stuck in the soft sand as soon as you turn off the pavement.


a view of a body of water with a mountain in the background

This small bay on Maui’s southwest shore has a fairly calm and shallow reef.  Again it’s a tricky turn off this busy highway to dirt parking so be careful.  The trees here at the waters edge offers nice shade and shallow waters make for some ocean fun for little kids and beginner snorkelers.  Several kayak tours launch from here also daily.

Laniopoko Beach Park

a flock of seagulls standing on a rocky beach

This is a well known spot and easy to find.  A stop light at this beach parks entrance just before you reach Lahaina town makes for a nice in and out of this parking lot.  A circular rock wall keeps the surf out and creates a small calm water beach in the center of this park. On both sides of this are fairly expansive areas for picnics and lounging in the shade.  This and the slow rolling waves offshore make for a great place to take a surf lesson.  This park is also a favorite of the locals because it is minutes away from Lahaina and has plenty of trees and picnic tables to hang out at.

Puamana Beach Park

This is a tiny beach park with minimal parking but people enjoy it mostly for the nice mellow surf just off shore.  It also has a minimal little beach which can make for some great sunset photos with beautiful coconut trees all along here due to the Puamana Resort directly next door.  For the most part this location is rocky with little room for lying about on a beach but the surf is great for beginners.

Lahaina/505 Front Street

a person sitting at a beach

Not known for it’s beaches but there is one here in front of 505 Front Street shopping mall.  This is another great place for surf lessons and gear can be rented within walking distance.  Lahaina is a wonderful town with plenty of history and it is definitely worth a stop.  Check out the banyan tree and old courthouse and museum.  The historical info plaques throughout town are wonderful and you can just feel the vibe of old Hawaiʻi once you get past all the tourist shops.


a group of people on a beach near a body of water

This beach is the hub for activity on Maui’s west side.  Kaanapali is loaded with resorts, condos, restaurants and a fairly large shopping mall at Whalers Village.  There is a concrete sidewalk that runs the entire length of this beach which makes it a great place to grab a bite to eat or a beverage just feet from the sand.  Hula Grill and Leilani’s are the most popular restaurants here.  You can book boat excursions which land right on the beach here or rent gear like kayaks or stand up paddle boards for some ocean fun.  Once a place in ancient Hawaiʻi for royalty Kaanapali is a destination all in itself for people staying at nearby hotels.

One of the longest beaches on the west side is in Ka’anapali.  This beach has a path that runs in front of some of the swankest resorts on Maui.  I enjoy playing in the surf and then having lunch at Leilani’s or Hula Grill because these restaurants are steps away from the beach.  Parking can be hard to find, but check behind the Hyatt Ka’anapali.  They have public beach access parking stalls.  Otherwise just park and pay at Whalers Village.

Honokowai/North Kaanapali

a group of palm trees next to a body of water

This is more of a stretched out area than a single beach.  Located a few minutes from Kaanapali this area is fronted by numerous condos and resort timeshare properties strung out for about 5 or 6 miles along this coastline.  Almost every property here along this coastline has a beach out in front of it.  Most are small yet beautiful beaches in front of amazing resorts.

Airport Beach

a house that has a sign on the side of a road

Airport beach is popular with decent parking and is located near the Westin Villas.  Kaanapali Beach Club, the large pink resort, has a wonderful beach out front also which is part of this beach.  The pavilion here is big and used often by locals and visitors alike.  Farther down the road towards Napili on lower Hanoapiilani Highway is Honokowai Beach Park.  Small but quaint, it is across the street from some nice local shops and stores.

Napili Beach

a group of palm trees on a beach

This small hidden gem of a beach is quite spectacular in the sense that you can rent a condo that pretty much sits right on this beach.  Napili Kai Beach Resort is the main resort here and has a nice restaurant just feet away from the sand.  All beaches in Maui have public access but this is a good example of how it is sometime hard to find a beach that is surrounded by vacation properties.  The only good place to park here is at a resort and they prefer paying customers to the general public.  Still, have a drink at a nearby restaurant and you’re in!


a close up of a lush green field next to a body of water

This location is one of Maui premier luxury resort areas.  The Ritz-Carlton is the biggie with boutique hotels and condos filling in most the gaps.  Championship golf happens here also with 3 courses with one of them, Kapalua Bay Course, that meanders right down to the ocean cliffs overlooking Kapalua Beach.  This beach has a decent parking lot and is fairly large.  Popular on the west side surfing scene it can get pretty rough when the ocean swells are up, especially in the winter.

Another wonderful stroll is along west Maui’s Kapalua Coastal Trail.  Many of Kapalua’s resorts have access to this trail system which is well kept and an easy walk.  Some rock outcropping between beaches is required but they are easy to traverse.  Enjoy a wonderful gourmet dinner at fine restaurants like Merriman’s Kapalua and enjoy a sunset walk along this trail afterward.  You will truly feel like you are in paradise!

D.T. Fleming Beach Park

an empty park bench next to a body of water

This is another Maui beach that gets a “Best Beach” title every couple years.  It’s pretty much the last beach park on this side of the island and one of the most beautiful for sure.  The wave action here is 2 part, surf on the outside (farther offshore) is smooth and big and the shore break is perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing.  Good parking and some picnic tables make for a nice spot whether you’re there for some beach time or ocean fun or just passing through.

Honolua Bay

a body of water surrounded by trees

Not far from DT Fleming beach is Honolua Bay which is an amazing reef and marine sanctuary.  Boats or kayaking tours are the best way to experience this amazing bay as there is no real sand beach here.

Beaches are a way of life on Maui.  It is the lifestyle envied by the world. To be able to meet up with friends for a sunset pupu party, or just walk hand in hand with a special someone, Maui will never leave you feeling like heading to the beach was a bad idea…

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