Maui Beaches: Where to Go and What to Do

As one of the largest islands in Hawaii, it’s no surprise most travelers visit Maui to see beaches. However, some may not know which beaches offer certain activities or have regulations. For some local insight, here are the top Maui beaches and tips for visiting them.

Top Maui Beaches, Popular Outdoor Activities and Info

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Ka’anapali Beach Lahaina

Ka’anapali Beach offers 3 miles of white sand and clear water perfect for swimming. The area was Maui’s first resort community, but has grown to include shopping, a whaling museum, championship golf and entertainment.

In addition to ranking among the best Maui beaches, Ka’anapali Beach also welcomes cliff divers. Each evening visitors watch a cliff-diving ceremony lighted by torches.

Wai’anapanapa State Park Hana

Located in Hana, Wai’anapanapa State Park offers outdoor recreational activities as well as amenities. Its coast features black volcanic sand and lies away from bustling city life.

When not strolling along the coast, enjoy a picnic and hiking trails. Sites include a hala forest, caves, religious temple, blow holes and local wildlife. Wai’anapanapa State Park also has restrooms, showers, water fountains and scenic viewpoints.

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Keawakapu Beach Wailea

This spot attracts those who want to swim, sun bathe, snorkel and boogie board. Keawakapu Beach measures less than a mile, with residential and commercial development not far from the coast.

On the north end, see tidepools and a local place to rent beach gear, kayaks, and paddle-boards. The southern half has a sea wall that helps protect nature and development. Snorkelers and skilled swimmers may prefer the southern end.

Ho’okipa Beach Park Paia

For water sports and action-packed activities, head to Ho’okipa Beach Park. This beach is located off Hana Highway at Mile 9, and has some of the best waves on Maui. So much so, Ho’okipa Beach Park hosts championship surf competitions each year.

Ho’okipa Beach Park measures over 8 square miles. Other activities include swimming, picnicking and windsurfing.

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Photo: iTrip Vacations Maui

Napili Beach Lahaina

For fewer crowds and a more family feel, visit Napili Bay. This resort beach offers a low-key feel with plenty amenities and accommodations near the beach. Napili Beach has an old-style feel with low-rise condos and space for sunbathing and swimming.

In addition to the beach, Napili Bay offers easy access to golf courses, restaurants and shopping. Visitors should note sea turtles often come in the bay, so please respect wildlife.

Wailea Beach

Wailea Beach ranks among the best Maui beaches, and it’s no secret spot. This beach has a resort vibe complete with beach lovers, families and friends. Visitors will find a wide beach and a warm ocean perfect for snorkeling, swimming, boogie boarding and body surfing.

Major hotels and resort sit nearby, so expect to see plenty of umbrellas and people. However, Wailea Beach has a paved walkway that runs the length of the beach. Guests should note: The surf can get big with dangerous rip currents, so practice safe procedures.

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Kapalua Beach Kapalua

Kapalua Beach also welcomes groups and offers ample space to lounge, swim, snorkel and scuba dive. The beach has several condos and resorts nearby, so expect plenty of people enjoying the coastline.

When guests think of Hawaii, this picture-perfect beach comes to mind. Visitors enjoy looking for underwater marine life and relaxing to gentle waves. Then admire the view, as Kapalua Beach offers one of the best places to watch a sunset in Maui.

Makena Beach State Park Wailea

Makena Beach ranks among the best Maui beaches for its spacious coastline and location. This area is separated into two beaches – Big Beach and Little Beach – and Makena Beach State Park offers protection from trade winds. In fact, the park is nestled between two black lava outcroppings.

Big Beach sits at the south end near a popular golf resort. Little Beach offers a small cove away from crowds with no amenities. The entire park has 165 acres where visitors enjoy fishing, sightseeing, snorkeling and swimming. In addition, the park does not have water fountains, so bring drinking water.

Maui Beaches: Some Rules and Information

Once visitors pick their favorite Maui beaches, it’s time to plan. Here are some important local regulations:

  • All beaches open to the public, but some property is privately owned. Look for public beach access signs and park in appropriate parking areas – not resort or hotel parking lots.
  • Smoking is prohibited.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the beach. For the most accurate laws, contact the local town.
  • Pay attention to caution flags and signage. The ocean may create dangerous currents and shore breaks.
  • Never swim, snorkel or surf alone. Always wear shoes when exploring tidepools and reefs.
  • Visitors may bring drinking water, reef-safe sunscreen, towels, mats and sun protection.
  • It is illegal to remove sand, dead coral and rocks from Hawaii beaches. Visitors may take driftwood, empty shells and sea glass.
  • Please do not feed fish or other marine life. View all rules in Maui.

Explore more of the island and visit the top Maui cities. Then reserve a spacious Maui vacation home in paradise.