Maui’s Best Beaches – but which one is right for you?
Finding great beaches across Maui isn’t hard. There’s no such thing as a bad beach, but some are better than others, depending on if you have small children, are looking to snorkel or watch turtles on the sand, want a small wave to surf or are are watching for the green flash with a cocktail in your hand.
These 3 beaches are located on the South Side of Maui, along Kihei. Great family friendly beaches with good snorkelling. Restrooms, showers and grassy areas for picnicking. Lifeguards are on duty. Take a chair, towel or just your favourite people to share a sunset and watch for the green flash. You’ll see visitors and locals enjoying watching the sun go down together at Kam 1, 2 & 3.
Best Maui Beach for Kids
Ka’anapali Beach, West Side
A couple miles of golden sandy beaches in front of the luxury hotel row that includes the Sheraton and Hyatt hotels. Perfect for snorkelling, walking the boardwalks, and taking in sunset cocktails. Washrooms, showers, picnic areas and lifeguards. Stay late for the nightly diving ceremony and watch a diver light tiki torches along the cliff and dive off Puu Kekaa or Black Rock.
Where to Find Maui’s Best Beaches
Best Maui Beachside Walk
Wailea Beach, South Side
Framed beautifully with stunning views of West Maui, Molokini, Kaho’olawe, and some swanky resort hotels. The sandy beaches and rocky coves that start here and continue south down along the coast are some of the best places to see turtles while snorkelling. Beautiful hiking boardwalks and the Shops at Wailea are a short detour. Showers, restrooms and picnic areas.
Best Maui Beach for Watching Surfers
Ho’okipa Beach, North Shore
Not recommended for swimming due to constant winds and currents, but a spectacular place to chill and watch world class windsurfers. At the far right of the beach you’ll often find turtles snoozing on the beach. Did you know they can also sleep in the water? Give them plenty of space and remember never touch. Washrooms, showers and some picnic areas.
Best Maui Beach for Snorkelling
Honolua Bay, West Side
This protected turquoise bay has exceptional snorkelling and diving with an abundance of fish and coral reef formations. The shoreline is quite rocky though, so you won’t be enjoying a nice sandy beach to relax on. Part of the same Marine Life Conversation District is neighbouring Mokule’ia Bay. When the ocean is calm, there is very good snorkelling around the point and into Honolua Bay.
Deeper out on the headland, you’ll find one of the most popular surfing spots on the island. It’s where the Billabong Pro surfing contest is held, which you can watch from the rocky cliffs in December.
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Beautiful ironwood trees provide plenty of shade for those who want to filter the sun. Can have great waves for bodysurfing or boogie boards, but beware, it can also have a wicked shore break that wipes out many unsuspecting swimmers. Lifeguards, restrooms, showers, BBQ grills.
Best Beach on the Road to Hana
Yes, you have your choice of beaches on the Road to Hana, both black and red sand, but this little crescent shaped sandy beach is perfect to stretch your legs and cool off or rest under a tree. While there are public bathrooms and showers, there are no lifeguards. So while it’s family friendly you want to keep an eye on conditions that can change quickly.
Best Maui Locals Beach
Big Beach, Oneloa, Makena, South Side
This beach, which has an almost endlessly long (2/3 mile) and wide (30 feet) strip of sandy beach, is one of the nicest and most popular on the island. Even with many locals and visitors enjoying, there is plenty of room to spread out. And when the ocean is calm the swimming here is superb. Climb the volcanic cinder cone Red Hill at the north end of the beach or hike to Secret Beach, where some enjoy swimming “au naturel”. There are also number of delicious food trucks near the carpark.
Reef Safe Sunscreen
Hawaii has introduced a ban on sunscreens contacting chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate to help protect against coral bleaching and marine life. Don’t trust the labels and double check the ingredients as there isn’t an agreed upon definition yet for “Reef Safe” or “Reef Friendly”. You may even want to consider buying a swim shirt or rash guard. They are more effective and you’ll use less sunscreen.
When In Doubt, Don’t Go Out
Hawaiian lifeguards risk their lives every day to safe ours. Return the favor and obey warnings, closures and use extreme caution in high surf conditions during October to May on North, West and East facing beaches.
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