Best Beaches on Maui: A Must-Visit Guide for Sun Seekers

Maui, Hawaii is home to an abundance of stunning beaches that cater to every type of visitor. Whether you are a sunbather, snorkeler, or surfer, the island offers an ideal beach destination for everyone. With its white-sand shores, crystal-clear waters, and mesmerizing marine life, it’s no wonder that Maui attracts millions of people each year.

Best Beaches on Maui

Among the many beautiful beaches on the island, some stand out as the best for various reasons. For example, Big Beach is known for its open space and untamed beauty, while Kapalua Beach is praised for its excellent snorkeling opportunities. Meanwhile, Big Beach or Oneloa Beach in Makena State Park offers pristine waters and exceptional sand quality, making it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. These are just a few examples of the spectacular beach options awaiting you on your Maui adventure.

Ka’anapali Beach

Ka’anapali Beach, located on the west coast of Maui, is one of the most popular and frequented beaches on the island. Known for its pristine white sand and crystal clear waters, this beach offers visitors a picturesque and relaxing experience. The area is conveniently located within walking distance to many large resorts and accommodations, making it an ideal destination for travelers.

One of the main attractions at Ka’anapali Beach is “Black Rock,” a lava formation that juts into the ocean and creates a unique landscape for beachgoers. This spot is also famous for its snorkeling opportunities, offering an array of vibrant marine life to explore. The waters here are calm and suitable for swimmers of all skill levels.

Aside from its natural beauty, Ka’anapali Beach offers a host of activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy. Some popular options include:

  • Beachside dining at nearby restaurants and cafes
  • Water sports such as surfing, stand up paddleboarding, and parasailing
  • Oceanfront shopping at Whalers Village, a renowned shopping center featuring high-end retailers and local boutiques
  • Seasonal whale watching, providing visitors with the chance to view these majestic creatures up close

Whether you’re looking for a tranquil beach day or an adventure-packed trip, Ka’anapali Beach caters to a wide array of interests and preferences, ensuring a memorable visit for all.

Kapalua Bay Beach

Kapalua Bay Beach, located on the island of Maui, is a popular destination for both tourists and locals. This beach is known for its golden-white sand and clear, calm waters, making it perfect for snorkeling and lounging. In 2018, Kapalua Bay was ranked as “America’s Best Beach” which further increased its worldwide popularity.

One of the main attractions of Kapalua Bay Beach is the abundance of marine life present in the area. The bay’s coral reefs create a natural habitat for various species of fish and other marine creatures, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling enthusiasts. However, due to its popularity, the beach can sometimes be crowded, so it is advisable to arrive early in the day if you want to secure a good spot.

In addition to snorkeling, Kapalua Bay Beach is also suitable for swimming, as its calm conditions and gentle waves make it a safe environment for people of all ages. However, it is important to keep an eye on the possible currents and changing water conditions.

A short distance from Kapalua Bay Beach, you can find D.T. Fleming Beach, another popular spot in Maui. D.T. Fleming Beach is known for its boogie boarding and bodysurfing opportunities, as well as the ample shade provided by the ironwood trees lining the shore.

Wailea Beach

Wailea Beach is one of the most popular and picturesque beaches in Maui, situated on the south shore of the island. This crescent-shaped beach features golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and views of the islands of Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Molokini Crater.

With its calm waters and gentle waves, Wailea Beach is an ideal destination for both swimming and snorkeling. The beach is also known for its luxurious resorts such as the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons Resort Maui. These hotels offer world-class amenities and provide beachfront access to their guests, making the beach even more attractive to visitors.

Apart from its natural beauty, Wailea Beach also offers various activities for beachgoers to enjoy:

  • Snorkeling: The coral reefs found along the shores are teeming with marine life, offering an excellent opportunity for snorkelers to explore the colorful underwater world.
  • Beach Walk: The Wailea Beach Path runs along the coastline, providing a scenic walkway for visitors to stroll, jog, or simply take in the stunning ocean views.
  • Water Sports: Wailea Beach offers a variety of water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and boogie-boarding for those seeking more adventurous activities.

Given its popularity, Wailea Beach can get crowded at times, especially during peak seasons. Arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon may allow you to enjoy a quieter experience. Parking is available at a public parking lot, but it can fill up quickly during busy times.

Baldwin Beach Park

Baldwin Beach Park is a stunning, long white-sand beach located on the North Shore of Maui. It is widely considered as one of the best beaches in the area and is a favorite among local families. This park offers more than just a beautiful beach, as it is equipped with various amenities and facilities that cater to different activities.

Visitors can enjoy activities such as bodysurfing, bodyboarding, swimming, and surfing at Baldwin Beach Park. The beach is also recognized as one of the top bodysurfing and bodyboarding sites on Maui. However, be mindful that the surf in the middle area of the beach can sometimes be rough.

Apart from water activities, Baldwin Beach Park has several amenities that make it an ideal spot for picnics and gatherings. These include:

  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Picnic tables
  • Lifeguards
  • Basketball courts
  • BBQ pits
  • A covered picnic area right in the sand

Overall, Baldwin Beach Park provides a perfect combination of natural beauty, activities, and amenities that appeal to beachgoers of all ages, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the best beaches of Maui.

Makena State Park

Makena State Park, located in South Maui, is home to one of the island’s most iconic beaches: Mākena Beach, also known as Big Beach. With its white sands extending nearly 2/3 of a mile long, it is one of the largest and most undeveloped beaches in Maui, offering a blissful, natural atmosphere for visitors.

Activities at Makena Beach include sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. For those interested in marine life, Makena Landing is a popular spot for Turtle Town snorkeling where beginners and experienced snorkelers alike can meet sea turtles and colorful fish. The park is split into two distinct sections: Big Beach and Little Beach, each offering unique experiences.

Big Beach is perfect for families and travelers seeking a spacious, serene environment- free of commercial development. The seclusion of Big Beach is further emphasized by its surrounding lava outcrops and tangle of kiawe trees.

Little Beach, on the other hand, is a smaller and more intimate spot, renowned for its clothing-optional policy and occasional gatherings of fire dancers and drum circles. It’s easiest accessed by a short hike over a rocky hill from Big Beach.

Rounding out the experience are conveniently located food trucks near the parking lot, offering a variety of foods for hungry beachgoers after a day in the sun at Mākena Beach.

Napili Beach

Napili Beach, situated on Maui’s northwest coast, is a beautiful crescent-shaped cove that attracts a large number of visitors due to its picturesque scenery and excellent conditions for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. This popular destination is known for its white-sloping sand and turquoise waters that make it one of the most sought-after beaches on Maui (Hawaii Guide).

Featuring a golden-white sandy beach, Napili Bay offers a wide array of water activities suitable for visitors of all ages. Tourists can engage in snorkeling, swimming, and stand-up paddleboarding on both sides of the bay, and the area is famous for its abundant sea turtles and marine life (TripadvisorMaui Guide).

While Napili Beach tends to get crowded during peak seasons, it remains a favorite among families and visitors alike. The beach has a steep incline in some areas, but it boasts calm water conditions, making it perfect for swimming and lounging (Maui Guide).

Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach is a stunning crescent-shaped beach located beyond the Hana town limits, on Highway 31. This picturesque spot is known for its dark sand and cobalt water, offering visitors an alluring contrast between lava rock and white coral sand (Hawaii Guide). Though it may be a small pocket of sand that stretches no longer than 1,000 feet, Hamoa is undoubtedly one of Maui’s most beautiful beaches, backed by a thick forest (Condé Nast Traveler).

Often cited as a gem on the eastern side of the island, Hamoa Beach offers clear water, white sand, and a hala-tree backdrop that makes it even more attractive for those looking to experience the charm of East Maui (Lonely Planet).

Visitors to Hamoa Beach can access the beach via Haneo’o Road (Loop road), with GPS coordinates 20.718954,-155.987449. While there are showers and bathrooms available at the site, it should be noted that other facilities are intended for Hotel Hana Maui guest use only (Maui Guidebook).


In summary, Maui is home to a wide variety of stunning beaches that cater to different preferences and activities. Among the top beaches are Kapalua BeachMakena Beach (Big Beach & Little Beach), Wailea Beach, and Baldwin Beach.

Each of these beaches offers unique experiences for visitors. For instance, Kapalua Beach is known for its clear waters and excellent snorkeling conditions, while Makena Beach is famous for its expansive stretches of golden sand and azure waters. Wailea Beach attracts sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts, and Baldwin Beach is popular for its beautiful white sand and perfect swimming conditions.

To make the most of your trip to Maui, consider visiting multiple beaches to experience the island’s diverse coastline. It is essential to respect the environment and wildlife, as well as adhere to local regulations and cultural etiquette. With its natural beauty and welcoming atmosphere, Maui’s beaches are sure to create lasting memories for any traveler.

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