Table of Contents
- The 17 Best Beaches on Maui, with Parking, Directions, and Tips
- Map of the best Maui beaches
- The Best West Maui Beaches
- Best South Maui and Wailea Beaches
- Best North Maui Beaches
- Best East Maui Beaches
- What is the calmest beach on Maui?
- Can you swim in Maui in the winter?
- Is reef safe sunscreen required in Hawaii?
- Planning a trip to Maui?
- Your Maui Honeymoon: 10 Unforgettable Activities for Couples
- Don’t Miss the 5 Best Snorkeling Spots on Kauai (with maps, directions, and tips)
- Which Hawaiian Island Has the Best Beaches? (plus where to find them)
The 17 Best Beaches on Maui, with Parking, Directions, and Tips
Visitors flock to Maui for many reasons and one of the big ones is the abundance of beautiful beaches. Want to make sure you visit the most beautiful beaches on Maui and have a great time while doing so? We have a list of our 17 favorite beaches on Maui along with helpful tips you should know before you go.
Map of the best Maui beaches
The Best West Maui Beaches
1. DT Flemings Beach
Why we love it: Located in Kapalua, this beach has a little bit of everything. You can relax on the long sandy beach, catch some shade under the ironwood trees, or bodyboard in the waves. During high surf times, this is the spot to stay out of the water and watch the experienced surfers do their thing.
Good to know: Hungry while at the beach? DT Flemings Beach is located by the Ritz Kapalua and their delicious Burger Shack. We love stopping in for a milkshake when we’re at the beach.
Parking lot: Yes
2. Kapalua Bay
Why we love it: Named the best beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2018, this spot offers everything you could want for a day. A protected cove that can shelter you from a majority of the waves (but not all!), excellent snorkeling, turquoise water, and soft sand. Plus, if you get tired of the sand, strap on your shoes and do the scenic Kapalua Coastal Trail, making sure to stop at the bird sanctuary and watch the cliff jumpers. Whenever we get a chance to take visitors to the beach, this is where we go.
Good to know: The parking lot is a decent size but it fills up early. This is a popular beach! Get there early or you’ll need to look for a spot on the road and walk in.
Parking lot: Yes
Get more info on Kapalua Bay Beach.
3. Napili Bay
Why we love it: There is something so relaxing about Napili Bay. Even though you’re on west Maui, there are no high-rise resorts in sight, just nice little hotels and inns. The beach itself is quite large — bigger than Kapalua Bay — and is also protected from some waves. It’s an easy and comfortable place to spend the day. Plus, the rocks on the south side of the beach are often frequented by turtles. Hang out there and explore that shoreline and you’re bound to see turtles bobbing their heads in the waves.
Good to know: The famous Gazebo restaurant is located here, so you can stop there for breakfast and then spend the entire day at the beach afterwards.
Parking lot: No
Related: Looking for snorkeling options? We’ve got you covered with our 11 favorite snorkeling spots on Maui and important tips.
4. Kahekili Beach Park (Airport Beach)
Why we love it: Also known as Airport Beach, this beach is the northernmost beach in the Ka’anapali resort area but it is significantly less crowded than Ka’anapali Beach. Here the snorkeling is good, though not often great, but you’ll find a very long, soft sand beach, beautiful water that is great for swimming on a calm day, picnic facilities, and a good size parking lot. The reef is directly offshore on this beach which is great for someone who wants to snorkel not too far from shore, but can be a challenge for people who love to wade out into the water. You’ll see a lot of dive schools here practicing.
Good to know: During whale watching season, this is a great place to park yourself on the beach and look for blowholes in the distance.
Parking lot: Yes
5. Ka’anapali Beach
Why we love it: If you’re looking for a beach resort experience, this is the place. The incredibly long, soft sand beach makes way to beautiful water. Truly, it’s a sight. The Kaanapali Beach boardwalk takes you from Black Rock on the north side down to the Hyatt Hotel on the south. You’ll pass huge resorts, restaurants, and shopping in Whaler’s Village. This is the place you could spend an entire day, though be prepared because it IS crowded.
Good to know: The beach is the widest up north near Black Rock in front of the Sheraton Ka’anapali Hotel. It gets progressively narrower the further south you get. Also, there is limited free beach parking. When that’s full you’ll need to pay for parking (or get it validated) at the Whaler’s Village parking lot.
Parking lot: Yes
6. Puunoa Beach (Baby Beach)
Why we love it: Our favorite family-friendly beach on all of Maui is Baby Beach in Lahaina. This beach is perfect for young swimmers or anyone who wants to wade out into the water without worrying about waves and currents. Located on the north end of Lahaina’s Front Street, this beach is walking distance to a number of shops and restaurants. The beach is protected by an off-shore reef, so even if there are waves in the area, the waters at baby beach remain calm. If you’re not with young swimmers or anyone else who would like an easy swim in the ocean, this is probably one to skip in favor of the other west side beaches.
Good to know: There are two entrances to the beach. The north entrance (near Mala ramp) has a free parking lot. If entering at the south end you’ll need to find street parking.
Read more about Baby Beach in Lahaina, our favorite family friendly beach.
Related: Want more family friendly beaches on Maui? We’ve got you covered with the 8 best beaches for kids and families on Maui.
Best South Maui and Wailea Beaches
7. Kamaole Beaches I, II, and III
Why we love them: This chain of three beaches are the most popular beaches in Kihei, and it’s easy to see why. These three beaches offer great swimming, beautiful white sand, and plenty of amenities, like parking lots, bathrooms, and picnic tables. The calmest beaches are Kamaole I and II. Kamaole III will regularly have waves that are perfect for body surfing, and it has the best amenities of the three beaches, including a large grass area and swings.
Good to know: Snorkeling is pretty good at all three beaches. For the best bet, head to Kamaole Beach I, especially the north part of the beach known as Charley Young Beach.
8. Wailea Beach
Why we love it: There is a reason that one of the most popular resorts on the island is built on this beach — it is near perfection. Here you’ll find a very wide, soft sand beach with beautiful ocean views and water. The waves are generally small and while the snorkeling isn’t great, there’s usually fish to be seen along the rocks.
Good to know: This beach is in front of two large Wailea resorts, the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons. So expect a resort vibe and resort crowd (think cabanas, chairs, and umbrellas). But don’t let that stop you. All beaches in Hawaii are public and this beach does come with plenty of free public parking and an accessible public path.
9. Ulua Beach
Why we love it: This is a great spot to snorkel on the south shore of Maui and it comes with an excellent beach that has great amenities. Located in front of the Wailea Elua Village Condos, this beach can get crowded with locals and visitors. If you want to escape the crowds (a bit!), you can walk north to Mokapu beach in front of the Andaz resort, which is usually a little quieter. Both beaches are located on the Wailea walking path, so hopping between the two is easy.
Good to know: There are excellent facilities here, but the parking does fill early because it’s such a great spot. If you can’t find parking here, head up to Keawakapu Beach, which is just as nice.
10. Keawakapu Beach
Why we love it: I think this might be the most underrated beach in south Maui. Located between Kihei and Wailea, this beach is quieter than most south Maui spots and offers multiple parking lots. Yes, multiple, large parking lots. You won’t find massive resorts fronting this beach. Instead, there’s a smaller resort on the north end and many large (private) homes set back a distance from the beach. It makes this beach feel like a welcome refuge from the busier resort areas.
Good to know: Head to the north end of the beach to check out the tidepools!
11. Maluaka Beach
Why we love it: Say hello to another hidden gem, located right near the resorts of south Maui. Head just south of Wailea into Makena and you’ll find this beach. The first time we visited this spot, we were blown away by the beauty. It has the bright blue water and white sand that Makena Beach is known for, but without the dangerous shorebreak. It’s truly a gem. It’s not an unknown beach, but the main entrance to the beach can’t directly be seen from the road, so it’s easy to continue cruising past this spot.
Good to know: There are two parking lots, so if the northern one is full, head south and you’ll find a bigger option.
12. Makena Beach
Why we love it: When you drive to Makena beach you feel like you’re escaping it all. Leave behind the resorts in Wailea and drive on a less well-paved road down to the beaches in Makena. Here you’ll find space! Makena Beach is postcard perfect: a ⅔ mile long, white sand beach with clear blue water and a great view of Molokini and Kahoolave. And, not a resort in site.
At Makena Beach you’ll find two beaches: Big Beach and Little Beach. Little beach is smaller, without amenities, and is known as being Maui’s nude beach. Big Beach is our beach of choice, with three large parking lots and porta potties.
Good to know: There is a lifeguard stand but at the present, it is not in operation.
13. Secret Beach
Why we love it: This isn’t technically a beach I’d plan to spend the day at. But if you’re looking for a special place to enjoy the sunset, exchange vows, or have a photo shoot, this is where you want to be. It’s small, but spectacular. The waves come crashing into this tiny cove and occasionally you can find very daring (and possibly a little crazy) cliff jumpers that time their jump with the crashing waves. We don’t recommend following their lead. Instead, just enjoy the view!
Good to know: Entrance to the beach is down a beach access path in between two houses.
Best North Maui Beaches
14. Baldwin Beach
Why we love it: Probably our favorite beach on the north shore of Maui, Baldwin offers a little something for everyone. This is a popular spot for locals of all ages. During the winter or other periods of high surf, you’ll find experienced boogie boarders here (this is NOT a place for beginners). The far west side of the beach offers a protected swimming area called Baby Beach — not to be confused with Baby Beach in Lahaina.
Good to know: If you want to head to Baby Beach, you’ll either need to make the long walk from the parking lot or try to find a spot in the neighborhood near the Baby Beach entrance.
15. Ho’okipa Beach
Why we love it: Love watching windsurfers battle the waves? We do too. And this is the most famous windsurfing location on Maui…or in Hawaii…or in the US. The waves are large (check out our video below) and there is a lot of wind, making conditions nearly perfect for experienced windsurfers. For the rest of us? This beach offers a small swimming area and plenty of sea turtle viewing.
Good to know: Beware of strong currents and waves if you’re swimming and don’t head out too far.
Related read: Are you here for some honu (turtle) sightings? You’ll want to check out the 10 best places to see turtles on Maui.
Best East Maui Beaches
16. Waianapanapa Beach State Park
Why we love it: If you’re doing the Road to Hana, this beach is probably on your list of stops. This picturesque black sand beach offers stunning panoramic views, a dark ocean, and green jagged cliffs. There are also nice walking trails, a blowhole, arches, and plenty to see here. If you want to extend your stay, there’s even a campsite and cabins available. Check out our video down below of our stay in the Waianapanapa cabins (spoiler: it was great).
Good to know: Entrance and parking reservations for Waianapanapa must be made in advance.
17. Hamoa Beach
Why we love it: This crescent beach just past Hana offers a great place to swim and relax. The crescent shaped beach can often have a decent amount of surf and rough break, so judge the conditions and your skills accordingly. The sandy bottom helps to make the water crystal clear, and it’s one of our favorite stops when we’re in Hana. It does get crowded but it also does have shade, so it’s a great place to spend a few hours.
Good to know: Parking here is tough. There are spots along the road (parallel parking only) and they fill up quickly. Also, you’ll need to walk down so access isn’t the easiest for people with limited mobility.
Bathroom: Yes (closed on our last visit)
What is the calmest beach on Maui?
The calmest beach on Maui is Puunoa Beach, commonly known as Baby Beach in Lahaina. The beach is protected by an offshore reef, so large waves and strong currents aren’t generally a problem. Read more about visiting Baby Beach in Lahaina.
Can you swim in Maui in the winter?
You sure can, with precautions. First, the weather in the winter is still pretty warm, with high in the high 70’s. But what’s great is the water temperature doesn’t vary much either. It only fluctuates around 5 degrees during the year. In the winter, the ocean temperature will still be in the mid-70’s, so it’s still a great temperature for swimming.
That said, winter can bring some storms and swells. Make sure you stay up to date on ocean conditions and be aware of your surroundings. We love to use the Snorkel Store snorkel report to understand water conditions each day.
Read more about visiting Maui in the winter.
Is reef safe sunscreen required in Hawaii?
If you’re planning to use sunscreen in Hawaii, make sure that it’s reef-safe. That means it’s free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can damage the coral reefs. Learn how to help protect the reefs of Hawaii and how to pick the best reef safe sunscreen for your trip.
Planning a trip to Maui?
We have your trip planning covered with our itineraries. These done for you days will take you around to the best spots on excursion days, so you can make the most of your valuable vacation time. We include beaches (like the ones on this list), restaurants, hiking spots, and more to make sure you have wonderful days out.
“Just wanted to thank you for the awesome itinerary you have put together. We just got back from our 10 day Maui trip & it was such a great help to my family. We saw and experienced so much. Thank you for putting all of this fantastic travel information out there! For this travel research nerd, I sure do appreciate it!”
I'm the co-founder, with my husband Jordan, of The Hawaii Vacation Guide. We live on Maui with our toddler Henry and our sweet but quirky dog Hattie. I am a planner! I love to plan island-hopping adventures, days out on Maui, and everything in-between. I spend a lot of my time on our SUP and my favorite time of year in Hawai'i is whale season!
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