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Boasting four beaches that have been been names “America’s Best”, Maui is one of the world’s greatest destination for a family beach vacation. From Honolua Bay all the way down to Makena Beach, Maui offers more swimmable beaches than any other Hawaiian Island.
A successful Maui vacation is all about relaxing on the island’s world-famous beaches, and snorkeling with green sea turtles.
Skip the long lines of crowded boat tours, and instead, hit the beach each day of your Maui trip.
This guide will show you exactly where to go on the island, and what to bring to the beach to create an unforgettable Maui vacation.
1. Get The Good Stuff – Hit the beach as soon as you land.
2. Know Where To Go – Sign-up for the Maui Snorkel Report
3. Enjoy Your Ohana Perks – Explore Maui like a VIP
Reserve your comfortable, custom-fit snorkel rentals in advance so you can enjoy the Maui beaches right off the plane—and save a few bucks in the process!
Comfort Makes All The Difference In The Water – Get snorkel sets that keep water away from your mouth automatically. We only rent snorkels with dry-mouth technology.
Maui’s beaches change from day to day. Sign up for the Maui Snorkel Report online, and get a customized beach map in our store so you’ll know which beach is best.
There’s so much that goes into creating an unforgettable Maui vacation. When you join us here in Maui, you’re family. Here are a few of the Ohana Perks you’ll get:
From Black Rock to Honolua Bay, West Maui boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the world for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling with turtles.
If you’re wandering outside of your hotel room, or exploring Maui’s incredible bay beaches, West Maui will effortlessly exceed your expectations every time you’re on the island.
Lined with gently swaying palms and manicured lawns, Kapalua Bay has serene, crystal clear water, which makes it an excellent choice for snorkeling, swimming, and diving.
A “Best Beach in America” award-winner, Kapalua Beach is, arguably, one of the most picturesque beaches in the world.
A simple, 10-minute drive from Ka’anapali, Kapalua is the perfect place to dip your toes during the first few days your Maui vacation. With calm, shallow waters and soft sand, Kapalua is also a great spot for the little ones.
Toss your Beach Bundle into the back of the car and enjoy the Maui beach day of a lifetime at Kapalua Bay. –>> Directions to Kapalua Bay
Ideal rental for Kapalua Beach: Maui Beach Bundle
Another crescent-shaped beach that’s worthy of a postcard, Napili Bay boasts soft sand, calm, gentle waters, and year-round home for giant sea turtles.
Parking is limited at Napili Bay, but the beach’s half-moon grandeur is worth the short walk from your car.
Popular with families, it’s easy to post-up, relax, and frolic all day long at Napili Bay. Swing by in the evening to absorb one of the island’s most remarkable sunsets.
Dine at the Sea House Restaurant, or brunch at The Gazebo which sit at opposite ends of the beach. Restrooms at Napili Bay are reserved for guests of Napili Kai resort, so please plan accordingly. –>> Directions to Napili Bay
Napili Bay is best for:
Ideal rental for Napili Bay: Tommy Bahama Beach Chair (the sunset demands it!)
At over a mile in length, the white sand of this perennial “World’s Best Beach” winner might be visible from right outside your hotel room door.
While we encourage exploring Maui beaches beyond your doorstep, Ka’anapali Beach is truly one of Maui’s top beaches for swimming, relaxing, and snorkeling with green sea turtles.
On the northernmost end of Kaanapali Beach is iconic Black Rock, which rises like a beacon for cliff-jumpers and snorkelers alike. Home to giant green sea turtles, you can count on spying a couple of these friendly guys munching on algae while snorkeling at Black Rock.
Ka’anapali Beach is also the ultimate beach for people watching, paddle boards, and cabana sets. Hungry? Stroll to the Tiki Bar at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel or grab a burger at Hula Grill’s barefoot bar.
There are numerous showers along the boardwalk, but restrooms require a little more snooping. For a lavatory, either head to Whalers Village or pop inside one of the many hotels fronting the beach.
Parking can be tricky at “KP”. The free beach access parking fills up quickly, so hit Kaanapali before 10 a.m. to avoid fees.
You can also park inside the Whalers Village parking structure and validate your parking at lunch. This will buy you a couple hours of “free” parking while you soak up some sunshine. — >> Directions to Ka’anapali Beach
Ka’anapali Beach is best for:
Ideal Ka’anapali beach rental: Maui Snorkel Rental
Named after its previous incarnation as Maui’s first airport landing strip, Airport Beach is one of Maui’s best kept secrets for vacationers.
A stone’s throw from Ka’anapali Beach, Airport has a gigantic public parking lot with facilities—including grass lawn and covered gazebo—for a family BBQ or picnic.
Airport Beach boasts a long stretch of white sand, calm lazy surf, and a beautiful reef located just a few feet from the shoreline.
It’s a picture perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and simply relaxing in the warm Maui sun.
The showers, restrooms, and easy parking make this beach uniquely accessible for Maui’s west side. A boardwalk stretches from Airport Beach down to Black Rock, where you can make your way through the Sheraton Maui to access the much more famous “south” stretch of Kaanapali Beach. –>> Directions to Airport Beach
Airport Beach is best for:
Ideal Airport beach rental: Mobile Cabana Set
A short 15-minute drive north from the resorts at Ka’anapali, Honolua Bay is a marine preserve that offers an underwater universe of tropical fish, green sea turtles, and colorful reef.
Since no fishing of any kind is allowed at protected Honolua Bay, there’s a density and diversity of sea-life that’s second-to-none in Maui.
Surrounded by rocky cliffs, the crystal blue bay is usually spared the winds that are common at the more exposed snorkeling spots.
Honolua Bay isn’t a sandy beach so it’s best to focus on the spectacular snorkeling that’s available in this area. The right side of the bay is where you’ll find a panoply of tropical sea life—head there first.
Be careful walking out to the shoreline over slippery rocks. Snorkeling is best at Honolua Bay in the morning from 7am – 11am, when the visibility is the clearest. –>> Directions to Honolua Bay
Honolua Bay is best for:
Ideal Honolua beach rental: Float Belt
Despite its name, Slaughterhouse is a lovely place to commune with Maui’s untouched natural beauty.
Keep an eye on the Maui Snorkel Report to find conditions at Slaughterhouse. During summer the area is usually nice for snorkeling, but in winter this area often has big waves.
Located at mile 32 off the highway, walk down a long set of steep steps to get to the beautiful beach. This area is home to some of the most beautiful sea life in Hawaii.
More experienced snorkelers venture beyond the stone wall but beginners should only explore the first half of the stone ridge.
Maintain some distance from the edge as waves can rise and push you into the rock. Use caution if the trade winds pick-up; the swells here can rise quickly. On a day with favorable conditions Slaughterhouse is one of Maui’s top spots for snorkeling. –>> Directions to Slaughterhouse
Slaughterhouse is best for:
Ideal Slaughterhouse beach rental: Maui Snorkel Rental (With Dry-Mouth Technology)
D.T. FLEMING BEACH PARK
The 3rd West Maui Beach in this guide to be named “Best Beach in America”, D.T. Fleming is a popular swimming, boogie boarding and body surfing spot for locals and vacationers alike.
This family friendly beach has tons of amenities including a nice park area shaded by a grove of Ironwood trees.
As is the case with most Maui beaches, the wind can pick up around D.T, Fleming in the afternoon, so head out earlier in the day. –>> Directions to D.T. Fleming Beach
D.T. Fleming is best for:
Ideal D.T. Fleming beach rental: Maui Beach Cooler
“BABY BEACH” LAHAINA
As the name suggests, Baby Beach is a dream come true for parents of toddlers and young children. This long, narrow stretch of sand is reef protected, making its waters warm, shallow, and incredibly calm.
Lined with palms and affording beautiful views of Lahaina Harbor, Lanai, and Molokai, Baby Beach is a perfect spot to enjoy some of the most idyllic Hawaiian sunsets.
The water here is loaded with a maze of coral heads, and the ocean is only chest high, making it a wonderful place for beginning-snorkelers to explore the ocean in safety and comfort.
Since Baby Beach is hidden from roadside view, finding it can be a little tricky for a first-timer. You’ll have to park on Kenui or Front Street, then walk cross the road to find the “shoreline access” path, which is located in a residential cul-de-sac.
Alternatively, you can access it near the Lahaina Jodo Mission, where you’ll also find some additional parking. Baby Beach doesn’t have showers or restrooms, so please prepare accordingly. –>> Directions to Baby Beach
Baby Beach is best for:
Ideal Baby Beach rental: Maui Float Belt for the kiddos
LAUNIUPOKO BEACH PARK
As you approach Lahaina from the other side of the island you’ll see Launiupoko Beach Park just before arrive in town.
Popular with surfers, stand up paddle boarders (SUP) and local families looking to celebrate a weekend in paradise, Launiupoko is also a great spot to BBQ.
With a shaded, grassy park setting, a natural, lagoon-type swimming area, and excellent amenities, this great beach for folks traveling with youngsters. The sand isn’t as white or as soft as that found on Kaanapali Beach, but Launiupoko’s other features make it a worthwhile option. –>> Directions to Launiupolo Beach Park
Launiupoko Beach Park is best for:
Ideal Launiupoko beach item: Maui Boogie Board
The rugged natural beauty of South Maui’s remote beaches is a welcome compliment to its opulent, high-end resort destinations.
Whether hiking from the dirt parking lot onto Makena Beach, or sipping a Mai Tai beneath a cabana in Wailea, South Maui is unmatched on the island for fun in the sun.
BIG BEACH (MAKENA BEACH)
Big Beach is considered by many to be Maui’s best beach (Kapalua Bay and Ka’anapali Beach are often in the conversation as well).
Spanning almost a mile in length, Makena’s secluded location and rugged beauty set it apart from its competitors that lie on resort properties.
Boasting fluffy white sand and luminous, turquoise waters, Big Beach is a remote beach destination where you can spend the entire day and return rejuvenated.
A Beach Bundle is essential to a successful Makena beach day as there’s plenty to explore here.
Relax beneath your umbrella, frolic in the water—or even climb over a rocky ridge on a short hike to Little Beach.
Makena is known for its powerful shore break, which is why it’s a popular destination for skim boarding, boogie boarding, and bodysurfing.
There are a number of dirt parking lots available at the various entrances to Makena Beach. Investigate each turn-off and you should be able to find a free spot.
Because of the deceptively strong shore break, we don’t recommend this beach for young children or inexperienced swimmers. If you’re a strong swimmer, or if you just want to sunbathe Makena Beach is a dream come true. –>> Directions to Makena Beach
Makena “Big” Beach is best for:
For a more detailed description of Makena Beach, click here:
Ideal Big Beach rental: Maui Beach Bundle
OLOWALU (MILE MARKER 14)
Located south of Lahaina Town, on Highway 30, Olowalu is an excellent morning snorkel spot that locals and visitors alike have enjoyed for decades.
You’ll find a parking lot just beyond the Olowalu General Store and Leoda’s Pie Shop at—you guessed it—Highway 30’s mile marker 14.
Featuring beautiful rock formations and coral gardens, Olowalu is renowned for its water clarity and colorful marine life. You’ll be able to snorkel a ways from shore without a large change in water depth.
Swim out in shallow water instead of wading to avoid stepping on the coral reef—which is a living organism.
At Olowalu you’ll explore an underwater universe of fish and turtles that’s off the beaten path from the resorts and hotels. There aren’t any facilities at Olowalu so bring a bite to eat, and use the restroom before you depart. –>>Directions to Olowalu
Olowalu is best for:
Ideal Olowalu beach rental: Maui Snorkel Rental
KAMAOLE (KAM III) BEACH PARK
A favorite among locals, Kam III’s open grassy lawns and favorable ocean conditions encourage an environment of constant activity.
There’s always something going on at Kam III—BBQs ablaze, kids playing in jumpy castles and slip n’ slides, people flying kites, playing frisbee, or tossing horseshoes.
Even though the beach itself is the smallest of the three Kams, it’s a beautiful spot and offers great swimming and quality snorkeling near the rocky outcroppings. –>> Directions to Kam III
Kam III is best for:
Ideal Kam III beach rental: Maui Snorkel Rental
CHARLEY YOUNG BEACH
Popular Charley Young Beach, located in South Kihei is shielded from Maui’s famous trade winds making it a comfortable spot to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the area’s spectacular ocean views.
Swimming conditions are favorable at Charley Young Beach, and there’s plenty of space to lay out a picnic or to build a sand castle.
The amenities at Charley Young are limited to only a shower and a couple port-a-potties. However, Charley Young Beach is located at the northernmost end of Kamaole I Beach Park. Simply stroll to the south end of the beach to utilize Kam I’s more robust facilities. –>> Directions to Charley Young Beach
Charley Young is best for:
Ideal Charley Young beach rental: Mobile Cabana Set
Spanning 2 1/2 miles from Maalaea Harbor to North Kihei, Sugar Beach is the longest stretch of sand on Maui.
Named for its proximity to Maui’s old sugar mill, the offshore breezes make it a popular destination for kite surfers and windsurfers. Because of its seclusion, Sugar Beach is also the chosen launch spot for Maui kayakers.
Sugar Beach is the only sandy shoreline on Maui where you can literally walk for miles and scarcely see another person.
Located between 2 resorts, this romantic, soft, white sand beach is as easy on the feet as it is on the eyes. For folks lodging in North Kihei, Sugar Beach is an excellent spot to unwind and enjoy Maui’s natural beauty in peace and quiet. –>> Directions to Sugar Beach
Sugar Beach is best for:
Ideal Sugar Beach rental: Maui Kayak Rental
KAMAOLE (KAM I) BEACH PARK
Kam I is the largest of the three Kam beaches, boasting a large swath of beach that’s both long and wide.
Swimming is lovely in this area and there’s decent snorkeling at the rocky ends of the beach when conditions are calm.
Kamaole Beach Park 1 is a favorite for locals and visitors alike because of its size, accessibility, and generous park facilities.
There are places in South Kihei that have better snorkeling but you’re looking for reliable family fun at the beach, head to Kam I. –>> Directions to Kamaole I Beach Park
Kam I is best for:
Ideal Kam I beach rental: Maui Beach Bundle
KAMAOLE “KAM II” BEACH PARK
Kam II is a little smaller, but provides the same natural beauty, fine sand, and great amenities as those found at Kam I.
This is a terrific beach for swimming, and body surfing can also be good when the ocean cooperates.
In the evenings, Kam II is a nice place to take in a colorful Maui sunset.
Like Kam I, snorkeling here is just “okay”, so we recommend popping over to adjacent Kam III for more favorable snorkeling conditions. –>> Directions to Kam II
Kam II is best for:
Ideal Kam II beach rental: Maui Boogie Board
Keawakapu Beach is a South Maui gem. This white sand beach stretches over 1000 yards in length and offers some of the best swimming conditions in the area.
Picturesque and palm-fringed, this gently sloping beach is also a favorite location for sunset photography. Bring your camera! –>> Directions to Keawakapu Beach
Keawakapu Beach is best for:
Ideal Keawakapu Beach Rental: Maui Beach Chair
There’s a reason why the opulent Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons Maui chose to set up shop on this particular beach.
The sand is soft and golden-white. The water is great for swimming, boogie boarding, body surfing and stand up paddleboarding. Like Ka’anapali, Kapalua, and Makena, and D.T. Flemmings, Wailea Beach was once named “Best Beach in America.”
One look at this beach and you’ll learn why Wailea is so special: the area’s incredible natural beauty.
The Shops at Wailea—where you’ll find a variety of food and drink options and high-end boutiques—is a only a short stroll from the beach.
Wailea offers showers, restrooms and free parking. Keep in mind that free parking is first come, first served; the early bird gets the worm. –>> Directions to Wailea Beach
Wailea Beach is best for:
Ideal Wailea Beach rental: Maui Beach Bundle
Situated beneath the striking Fairmont Kea Lani, Polo Beach spares no expense when it comes to natural beauty.
The grounds are well-manicured and the sand is perfect. Waves at Polo Beach tend to be slightly larger than neighboring beaches, so it’s a good location for novice boogie boarders to earn their stripes.
Like Wailea Beach, Polo Beach hosts a couple of luxury resorts, making it a popular (and often crowded) place for swimming, sunning, and enjoying ocean activities. But don’t let the crowds scare you off. A trip to Polo Beach is totally worth it! –>>Directions to Polo Beach
Polo Beach is best for:
Ideal Polo Beach rental: Maui Boogie Board
On your from Wailea to Makena you’ll come across a turn-off to incredibly beautiful Maluaka Beach. Maluaka is one of Maui’s hidden gems that attracts less attention as its popular neighbors— Big Beach, and Wailea Beach.
Perfect for swimming and snorkeling, it’s situated within the South Maui coastal area known as “Turtle Town.” Why is it called Turtle Town, you ask? Because this coastal region is the chosen home for hundreds of giant sea turtles!
Snorkeling conditions are best near the rocky outcropping at the south end of the beach, and keep your eyes peeled for…turtles.
Maluaka Beach offers showers, restrooms, ample parking, and small crowds, though accessing these amenities requires a 5 minute walk.
There’s also a grassy area with tables that’s ideal for family picnics. The ocean is often calm and safe in this area, but always be on the lookout for rogue waves. –>>Directions to Maluaka Beach
Maluaka Beach is best for:
Ideal Maluaka beach rental: Maui Cooler Rental
If you like to sunbathe in the buff, Little Beach has you covered…or uncovered, as it were.
Located in Makena, this “clothing optional” nudist beach offers more than just beach “bums.” Water conditions at Little Beach are often ideal for bodysurfing…if you don’t mind navigating through a bunch of bare bottoms!
As Sunday evening approaces, Little Beach becomes much more lively.
At sunset, Little Beach lights up in a celebration of drumming and dancing. Fire dancers light up the night sky, twirling flaming sticks, staffs and hoops.
Access to Little Beach can be a little precarious: a short hike over a rocky ridge leads to the beach area. If you’re going to Little Beach in the evening, be careful climbing over. Since Little Beach is totally secluded, you’ll have to traverse the hill a second time to use the port-a-potty at Big Beach. –>> Directions to Little Beach
Little Beach is best for:
Ideal Little Beach item: Reef-safe sunscreen (grab some in the store)!
Before embarking of The Road To Hana you’ll find 2 Central Maui beaches that are well worth stopping for an oceanside picnic.
The expansive beauty of Baldwin Beach Park and Ho’okipa Beach offer a view of Maui that’s only available on the way out of town.
BALDWIN BEACH PARK
Just before you reach Paia on Highway 36 (Hana Highway) the Baldwin Beach Park turn-off will appear on the left hand side of the road.
At Baldwin you’ll find yourself staring at a whole lot of beach…and also, a whole lot of park. Baldwin Beach is about 3/4 mile long and it boasts some of the best sand on Maui.
Since Baldwin Beach is the largest beach park in the area, it’s a favorite among locals from North and Central Maui, as well as vacationers. Baldwin can get quite windy in the afternoon so it’s best to visit in the morning, when conditions are calm.
The east and west ends of the beach are most popular, since they provide shelter from strong winds.
Here you’ll find youngsters frolicking in the calmer surf and sunbathers congregating near the ironwood groves.
Baldwin is also excellent during the evening when the sun is setting behind the West Maui Mountains. Rays of sunlight shoot out from behind the mountain tops creating a brilliant and memorable view. –>> Directions to Baldwin Beach
Baldwin Beach is best for:
Ideal Baldwin Beach item: Maui Beach Chair
HOOKIPA BEACH PARK
Considered by many to be the windsurfing capital of the world, Hookipa is famous for big surf and windy conditions. Here you’ll find kite surfers, surfers, and, of course, windsurfers enjoying Hookipa’s ideal conditions year-round.
Hookipa has a sandy beach with a rocky shoreline, making it better for picnics and sunbathing than for swimming.
We suggest making a pit stop here to watch the professional surfers as you start your journey on the road to Hana. Hookipa has a nice cliffside lookout, where a food cart is often parked, just above the beach. –>> Directions to Hookipa Beach
Hookipa Beach is best for:
Ideal Hookipa beach item: Maui Cooler Rental
Black sand, red sand and tropical rainforests mark the otherworldly beauty of East Maui’s stunningly unique beaches.
Prepare to be amazed at the colorful beaches peppered along the magical path that is The Road To Hana.
BLACK SAND BEACH (HONOKALANI)
Located within the gorgeous Waianapanapa State Park in Hana Maui, Honokalani Beach, Maui’s most notable black sand beach, is truly a vision to behold.
Though small, this volcanic beach is embraced by brilliant green flora on one side and the deep blue waters of the Pacific on the other.
Amble down to get a closer look. You’ll notice that, while there is plenty of black sand, much of the beach is also comprised of tiny black stones.
Swimming at Honokalani Beach isn’t advised, but do explore the rest of Waianapanapa State Park! With several hiking trails, caves, and picnic areas, it’s easy to spend hours enjoying the area. –>> Directions to Honokalani Beach
Black Sand Beach is best for:
Ideal Honokalani beach rental: Maui Beach Chair
RED SAND BEACH (KAIHALULU)
Maui’s red Sand Beach wins our unofficial award for “Craziest Looking Beach on Maui.”
The various hues of red sand and soil juxtaposed against the cobalt-blue ocean create an otherworldly landscape. But, hey, don’t take our word for it; look for yourself!
Carved from a cinder cone and protected from the raging surf by lava rocks, Red Sand Beach is worth seeing while in the Hana, Maui area.
With that said, it’s imperative that we offer a serious warning. Accessing this beach can be very dangerous. The path is narrow, steep, and slippery; one wrong move could spell disaster.
If you consider visiting, make sure you’re sure-footed and are equipped with appropriate shoes. If the surf is high and licking the pathway, don’t bother. Risking an injury simply isn’t worth it. –>> Directions to Red Sand Beach
Red Sand Beach is best for:
Ideal Kaihalulu Beach item: Sturdy sandals (in store)
Just beyond the sleepy town of Hana Maui, you’ll find Hamoa Beach. Bounded by sea cliffs and lush foliage, this salt and pepper sand beach is popular with locals living in the Hana area.
Hamoa Beach is a magical place that many folks site as their favorite beach on Maui because of it remote beauty and radiant ocean water.
Hamoa is excellent for sunbathing, swimming, and bodysurfing. The ocean can get rough here, so exercise caution. Restrooms and showers can be found at the nearby Travaasa Hotel. –>> Directions to Hamoa Beach
Hamoa Beach is best for:
Ideal Hamoa beach rental: Maui Beach Bundle
Want to learn more about Maui’s beaches? Check out our article on Maui’s Top 10 Beaches For Snorkeling here.
We’re Here To Assist!
You’re on your way to getting premium snorkel rentals at a deep discount! This coupon secures our special 2-For-1 online rates at any of our 3 physical Maui locations.
If you pre-pay online for 2 or more snorkel sets you’ll receive an additional boogie board or beach chair rental free for the same time period! One freebie per party. We’ll see you soon in Maui, Mahalo!