You’re dreaming of a beach vacation and Hawaii tops your list. While all Hawaiian islands have beautiful beaches, there is one island that has the best beaches for sunbathers and swimmers to enjoy. 

Out of the main Hawaiian islands, Maui has the best beaches. Maui has the most number of easily accessible beaches as well as bays that are more protected from currents and are suitable for both enjoying the sand and swimming. 

But there’s more to it than that. Read on for seven reasons why Maui has the best beaches and how to make sure you’re staying near the best beaches on Maui. 

Seven Reasons Why Maui Has the Best Beaches

1. Numerous protected bays that are great for swimming

If you’re looking for a great beach in Hawaii, you likely want to be able to get in the water and swim a little. With its numerous protected bays, like Kapalua Bay and Napili Bay, and offshore reefs protecting the coastline, Maui has the best beaches for swimming. 

On our list of the 17 best beaches on Maui, many of them are great for swimming nearly year round. 

Most of Maui’s best beaches are also located on the leeward side of the island, like the famous beaches in Ka’anapali and Wailea. The leeward side faces away from the tradewinds and is more protected. This means that the odds of being able to enjoy calmer ocean waters are increased on the leeward side. 

Swimming in the ocean comes with risk and you should always check conditions before heading out

which Hawaiian island has the best beaches Kapalua

2. Miles of sandy coastline

On Maui you’ll find miles and miles of beautiful sandy coastline, just perfect for sitting out and enjoying the view. For example, Ka’anapali Beach has over a mile of beautiful sand — plenty of space for beachgoers to stretch out and relax without being piled on top of each other. And Makena Beach is over 1.5 miles long making it an unbelievable place to take long beach walks. 

Which Hawaiian Island Has the Best Beaches Snorkeling

3. Vibrant sea life

When you are heading to the beach, snorkeling might be high on your priority list. If so, Maui is the place to be.  Maui offers the best snorkeling of all the islands. Why? Those protected bays and reefs offer great visibility and easy access just off shore. It also has a number of marine life preserves and since snorkeling is so widely accessible on the island, many of the best snorkel spots aren’t too overcrowded. Plus, the calmer ocean condition of the leeward side of the island where many of the best snorkel spots and beaches are located gives you an opportunity to snorkel year round. 

Related read: the best snorkeling spots on Maui. 

which Hawaiian Island Has the best beaches for sunset

4. Excellent sunsets

Most of Maui’s most famous beaches are located on the leeward, or west side of the island. And while not great for anyone wanting to catch the sunrise from the beach, these beaches are perfectly positioned for sunset. Not only that, but there are other islands off the coast of Maui which add to the beauty of the sunset. For example, you can watch the sunset over Lanai and enjoy the spectacular colors and the sun dips behind that island. 

Which Hawaiian Island Has the Best Beaches kid friendly

5. Most family-friendly beach options

If you’re heading to the beach with young children, it’s probably important to find family friendly beaches. Beaches where you don’t have as much worry about shorebreak and strong currents, so your kids can splash in the (tiny) waves. Maui has plenty of those. Not only will you find the best kid’s beach here — Baby Beach in Lahaina — there are a number of beaches your kids will love all over the island.

Get our list of the best kid friendly beaches on Maui. 

6. Great weather

Usually when you’re heading to the beach, you’re looking for good weather. That means blue skies, no rain, and warm weather. With most of Maui’s best beaches on the leeward side of the island, your chances of experiencing better weather are improved. The leeward side is the drier side of each island and gets little rain. The windward side is where you’ll find lush scenery and great waterfalls, but you risk experiencing more rain — something beach goers are generally not excited about. 

7. Easy access

Whether you’re staying at a resort or a vacation rental, you’re likely going to have very easy access to some of Maui’s best beaches. While there are great beaches all over the island, a majority of them are concentrated along the west and south shores. Great for visitors because that’s where you’ll find a majority of hotels and vacation rentals. That means you can stroll out of your hotel room and be swimming in one of the top beaches in Hawaii within a matter of minutes. 

You’ll also find that many of the best beaches on Maui are actually very easy to get onto. There’s no need to hike down steep cliffs or trek 15 minutes. For many, you’ll park in a lot or along the side of the road and take an easily paved path to the sand. 


Where to Stay on Maui for the Best Beaches

If you’re trying to stay somewhere that is conveniently located for the best beaches on Maui, you’ll want to head to either west Maui or South Maui. Luckily, that’s where you’ll find a majority of the resorts and vacation rentals. 

From Kapalua down to Makena, there are plenty of places to stay that will have you within a stones throw of a spectacular beach. 

Want some help narrowing down the options? Read our article covering where to stay on Maui and download our where to stay cheat sheets so you can make the best decision.

Maui Hawaii Where to Stay Download

Erica Gellerman

Erica Gellerman

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!

Related Articles You Will Find Fascinating

Island Hopping in Hawaii: how to do it right

Island Hopping in Hawaii: how to do it right

When you’re making the big trip to Hawaii, you might plan on island hopping. But what’s the easiest way to get around? And is it worth the trip? Island hopping in Hawaii is absolutely worth it. The islands are all incredibly different and it’s easy to get from island...

Your Maui Honeymoon: 10 Unforgettable Activities for Couples

Your Maui Honeymoon: 10 Unforgettable Activities for Couples

You’re planning your honeymoon to Maui so you’re in for a treat. While beach going and relaxing are probably at the top of your to-do list, there are some amazing experiences you can have that will help make this a trip you won’t soon forget.  Is Maui a Good Honeymoon...