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Hanging With The Kiddos

What makes a good beach for kids? The short answer: anything that makes things easier for parents.

A beach day with your kids in Maui can become one of your family’s all-time magical experiences.

In this article we’ll help you discover the best spots to create mellow memories while maintaining your sanity along your pathway to the beach.

Here’s what The Snorkel Store considered when choosing our list of the best beaches in Maui for kids:

  • Predictable ocean conditions: shallow water, fewer waves, geographically protected areas
  • Abundant sea life: turtles and fish
  • Relaxed environment: fewer people, open sandy beach, shade
  • Nearby facilities: restrooms, showers, grassy areas, food options nearby
  • Accessibility: convenient parking, direct walking path to the beach

The most important thing you can do for your family vacation is sign-up for the Maui Snorkel Report now so you know which beaches are best each morning of your trip.

Then join us at The Snorkel Store to get custom-fit with quality snorkel gear with dry-mouth technology so your family will be safe and comfortable in the ocean.

Finally, pick your favorite family-friendly beaches from our list and start creating unforgettable memories in Maui! Here are our top choices:

1. Baby Beach (Lahaina)


—> Photo Gallery Of Baby Beach

Surprise, surprise. The name says it all.

Baby Beach is a unique treasure for families because there are reliably fewer waves here compared with other beaches, and because Lahaina—which literally means relentless sun—is balmy and beautiful most days of the year.

Featuring more than 200 yards of shallow water at depths of less than 4 ft, your family will find plenty of space to spread out with your Maui Beach Bundle.

Groups of adults sometimes congregate at Baby Beach, but there’s enough soft, sandy beach to stake-out your own zone. Plentiful food options are available in nearby Lahaina Town.

Lahaina, which literally means relentless sun is balmy and beautiful most days of the year

why baby beach made our list

  • Fewer waves
  • Reliably sunny weather
  • Shallow ocean depths for recreating
  • Soft, sandy beach
  • Plenty of space
  • Nearby food options

plan ahead for:

  • Parking can be limited: there’s a single parking lot at the north end and street parking at the south end  
  • There’s not much sea life here because the ocean water is warmer
  • A local hangout, Baby Beach is sometimes populated with large groups

Location of Baby Beach on Google Maps


2. Kapalua Bay


—> Photo Gallery of Kapalua Bay

Sometimes America’s Best Beach is also one of Maui’s top spots for building sandcastles with your kids.

Kapalua Bay has received the top honor, nationally, multiple times.

A perfect half-moon bay, Kapalua offers kids an opportunity to snorkel with green sea turtles—often for the first time—along its shallower northern rim. Turtles can also be found at greater depths at the bay’s southern rim near Merriman’s Restaurant.

Parents will be equally thrilled Kapalua Bay’s raw natural beauty. A beach day at Kapalua is like climbing inside of a postcard.

While you should expect to pay to park, Kapalua Bay is relatively easy to access most days of summer. Showers and restrooms are available just above the beach.

A perfect half-moon bay, Kapalua offers kids the opportunity to snorkel with green sea turtles along its shallow northern rim

Why kapalua Bay Made Our list:

  • Plentiful sea life, including turtles and fish
  • Shallow ocean depths  
  • Bay is more protected from wind
  • Soft, sandy beach
  • Facilities nearby

Plan ahead for:

  • Free parking is limited. You should expect to pay to park. 
  • Kapalua Bay is very popular so it can become overcrowded

Location of Kapalua Bay on Google Maps


3. Launiupoko Beach Park


Launiupoko Beach Park features a shallow breakwater: a crescent-shaped  lagoon area that’s perfect for toddlers. 

If you’re looking to picnic in Maui with tiny tikes in tow, Launiupoko may be your best choice.

Located just 3 miles south of Lahaina on Highway 30, Launiupoko is a grassy beachfront park with palm trees for shade, BBQ pits and picnic tables.

Protected from waves, young children can safely experience the joys of the ocean while parents and older children prepare sandwiches, grill fresh ahi or toss a frisbee.

Weekdays are best at Launiupoko Beach Park because Saturdays and Sundays can become crowded with local families.

Protected from waves, young children can safely experience the joys of the ocean while parents and older children prepare sandwiches, grill fresh ahi or toss a frisbee.

why launiupoko made our list:

  • Shallow breakwater for toddlers
  • Reliably calm conditions
  • Grassy beach park
  • Trees for shade
  • Facilities including restrooms and showers
  • BBQ pits for grilling

Plan ahead for:

  • Protected breakwater area is relatively small
  • Sea life is limited
  • Can be crowded on the weekends
  • Far from grocery stores and restaurants

Location of Launiupoko on Google Maps


4. Kamaole Beach Parks 1 And 2


The pulse of family beach life in Kihei is located in the heart town at the gorgeous Kamaole Beach Parks.

These well-groomed South Maui beaches have lifeguards on duty, providing peace of mind for your family beach day.

There’s an abundance of wildlife to be discovered at the sprawling “Kam” beaches—including green sea turtles that hang out near rocky outcroppings. When ocean conditions are right, snorkeling here is excellent.

Morning will be best at The Kamaole Beaches as Kihei tends to be windy in the afternoon. There’s a 3rd, smaller Kamaole Beach, “Kam 3”, but it’s often more crowded.

These well-groomed South Maui beaches have lifeguards on duty, providing peace of mind for your family beach day

why kamaole 1 and 2 made our list:

  • Lifeguard on duty
  • Large, open spaces
  • Soft sand
  • Plentiful sea life, including turtles and fish
  • Grassy park with shade
  • BBQ pits for grilling
  • Facilities, including restrooms and showers
  • Food options nearby

plan ahead for:

  • Often becomes windy in the afternoon

Location of the Kamaole Beaches on Google Maps


5. Kahekili Beach Park (Airport Beach)


—>Photo Gallery Of Kahekili Beach (Airport Beach)

An underrated snorkeling destination in Maui, part of Kahekili’s charm is, surprisingly, it’s massive free parking lot.

On Maui’s uber-popular west side, free parking options can be hard to find at its most popular beaches.

Kahekili Beach Park is the exception.

Casually referred to as “Airport Beach” because small planes landed and took off from here until 1986, you can usually roll up to Airport Beach last minute and find a spacious spot for your rental car.

Once you’re settled in the luscious, soft sand, you’ll find a natural reef conveniently located 10 ft. from the shoreline. Turtles and tropical fish enjoy munching on algae here, which makes it an excellent destination for children to snorkel in shallower water.

Kahekili Beach Park’s grass lawn and covered gazebo area allow you to toggle between your car, the park and the ocean while your family enjoys full-day beach adventure.

Like the Kamaole Beaches, morning is often best at Kahekili because afternoons may become windy.

An underrated snorkeling destination in Maui, much of Kahekili’s charm is, surprisingly, it’s massive free parking lot.

Why Kahekili Made our list:

  • Free parking
  • Good snorkeling
  • Plentiful ocean life: turtles and fish
  • Soft, sand beach
  • Lots of open space 
  • Excellent facilities

plan ahead for:

  • Kahekili Beach Park can become windy in the afternoon. Black Rock to the south is more protected from wind.

Location of the Kahekili Beach on Google Maps


6. Napili Bay


—>Photo Gallery Of Napili Bay

Is it possible that West Maui has 2 perfect, half-moon bays within 1/4 mile of one another?

The answer is yes. Napili Bay and its twin to the north, Kapalua Bay, are so alike at first glance, the 2 bays are often mislabeled in photographs.

A favorite destination for casual weddings and impromptu engagements, Napili Bay shares many of the virtues of Kapalua Bay: a perfect semi-circle of soft sand, turtles along its northern rim, and excellent public facilities, including showers and restrooms.

For families, The Sea House Restaurant is a major bonus of Napili Bay. Boasting an excellent happy hour with tasty bites at affordable prices, parents can grab a quesadilla for the kids in a casual environment—and maybe a beverage for themselves.

The south end of Napili Bay also has good boogie boarding for the older kids when swells aren’t too big.

Parking can be tricky at Napili (imagine rows of Jeeps half-parked in the dirt shoulder of a windy 2-lane road). Arrive early to grab street parking in the small neighborhood directly behind the beach.

The south end of Napili Bay also has good boogie boarding for the older kids when swells aren’t too big

why napili bay made our list:

  • Soft sandy beach
  • Protected from trade winds
  • Somewhat shallow water for snorkeling
  • Plentiful sea life: fish and turtles
  • Facilities on site
  • Food options nearby

plan ahead for:

  • Street parking can be tricky
  • Can have large waves in summer and winter
  • Napili Bay is very popular so it can become crowded

Location of Napili Bay on Google Maps


7. Olowalu (Mile Marker 14)


—>Photo Gallery Of Olowalu Beach

Often overlooked by visitors, Olowalu’s bucolic setting offers an alternative version of Maui’s natural beauty without driving all the way to Hana. 

Upon arrival, Olowalu’s tree-lined shore, tranquil atmosphere, and roaming wild chickens immediately place you into a more remote mindset.

Located 7 miles south of Lahaina at Mile Marker 14 on Highway 30, a jaunt to Olowalu is an easy way to completely detach from West Maui’s more commercial resort culture.

Post-up beneath a canopy of tree branches and absorb Olowalu’s serene ocean panorama. Children will have plenty of space to roam within sight lines.

When ocean conditions are right, Olowalu boasts an impressive array of fish and sea turtles feasting on its expansive reef, located 10 yards from shore.

Need a snack? Leoda’s Pie Shop and Olowalu General Store are located directly across the highway.

Olowalu’s  tree-lined shore, tranquil atmosphere, and roaming wild chickens immediately place you into a more remote mindset.

why olowalu made our list:

  • Lots of open space
  • Calm, shallow water when conditions are right
  • Shaded areas
  • Plentiful sea life: turtles and fish
  • Large, free parking area

plan ahead for:

  • When ocean conditions aren’t right, the water can be murky
  • Located far from facilities
  • Can be pretty crowded on the weekend

Location of Olowalu (Mile Marker 14) on Google Maps


8. Keawakapu


Keawakapu’s relaxed, “out of the way” vibe will make you feel like you’ve found a secret spot in Kihei without leaving town.

Featuring nearly a mile of expansive beach, active tide pools, and small areas at each end with good snorkeling, Keawakapu is a particularly spacious destination for your relaxed family beach day.

Located just south of the 5 Palms Resort at the south end of Kihei, parking is free at Keawakapu, showers and restrooms are available on-site, and restaurants and grocery stores are only a short drive up the road.

Check the Maui Snorkel Report before heading to Kewakapu. Currents tend to be strong here when conditions aren’t favorable. Like all beaches in Kihei, arrive in the morning as the beach may become windy in the afternoon.

Keawakapu’s relaxed, “out of the way” vibe makes you feel like you’ve found a secret spot in Kihei, without leaving the city.

why keawakapu made our list:

  • Large, open spaces
  • Mostly soft sand 
  • Excellent facilities: restrooms and showers
  • Large, free parking area
  • Close to food and beverage options

plan ahead for:

  • Often becomes windy in the afternoon

Location of Keawakapu on Google Maps


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