Beaches

Water lapping at your toes, warm breezes playing with your hair and sun shining down on your shoulders; the quintessential picture of Maui. Where is the best place to make your beach dreams come true? Paradise awaits, so try them all and decide for yourself.

Slaughterhouse

Slaughterhouse

Slaughterhouse is a slightly hidden gem between DT Fleming and Honolua Bay and is one of my favorite beaches on Maui. The name comes from Honolua Ranch`s slaughterhouse and tanning shed that sat on the hill above the beach (ranch was torn down in the 60`s). It isn`t a huge beach, but the sand is soft and water beautiful. There is great snorkeling on calm, summer days, and big waves on winter days. There are about 88 stairs to reach the beach, so if you like to bring everything and their mother to the beach, this might not be the one for you. There is a small parking lot, and some parking along the street (keep an eye out for the no parking signs, they do monitor this area), so get there early.

Restrooms: no
Showers: no
Lifeguards: no
Parking: small lot, street and limited

Location: Lahaina
Kapalua Bay

Kapalua Bay

If snorkeling is on the bucket list, Kapalua Bay is a great beach for the whole family. There are reefs fairly close to shore, and while this doesn`t make great swimming conditions, it is perfect for the beginner (or nervous) snorkeler. One doesn`t have to swim out to the abyss to see marine life. For more experienced snorkelers, the water is usually clear and there is plenty to explore within the confines of the bay. If there are non-snorkelers in your group, never fear, the beach is beautiful and easy to while away a day. There is also a walkway behind the beach if you want to take a stroll and explore the area a little bit. Public restrooms and showers are available at the entrance to the beach.

Restrooms: yes
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: no
Parking: lot, street and limited

Location: Lahaina
DT Fleming Beach Park

DT Fleming Beach Park

Located at the north end of the island, DT Fleming Beach Park was voted "Best Beach in America" in 2006 (once a beach has received #1, it is taken off the list) and continues to appear as a "top beach" in the world. The beach is roughly 1/2 mile long and if you want a quiet place to sit, not many make the trek to the west end of the beach. This isn`t really a snorkeling beach, and depending on the swells, there will be surfers, but most often you`ll see bodyboarders catching the shore break. This beach park hosts lifeguards, public restrooms, showers and BBQs, so if you`re craving a beach day, this one has all you need. Lifeguards post flags depending on water conditions as well, so keep an eye out for which flag is up. They will ask you to get out of the water if they feel like you can`t handle the conditions.

Restrooms: yes
Showers: yes
BBQ: yes
Lifeguards: 8am - 4pm
Parking: lot and plenty

Location: Lahaina
Ironwoods

Ironwoods

This hidden gem, also called Onelo Beach, is located in the heart of Kapalua and lies between Kapalua Bay and DT Fleming. It is roughly in the middle of the Kapalua Coastal Trail that stretches between Fleming and Kapalua Bay. Snorkeling is fairly good at either end of the beach, but beware of strong rip currents during big surf. Ironwoods can be windy, but it isn`t usually a busy beach, so pull up a towel and enjoy the view.

Restrooms: no
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: no
Parking: small lot

Location: Lahaina
Napili Bay

Napili Bay

Napili Bay is my other favorite beach on Maui. It is a great all around family friendly beach. On any given day, there will be stand-up paddlers, snorkelers, and swimmers in the water, children young and old playing in the sand, and sunbathers reading books. Most of the time there is plenty of sand to set-up for the day, but sometimes, particularly in the winter (yes, Maui does have winter) the beach can disappear to the tides, so get there early and have the beach to yourself for a few hours, it does get busy in the early afternoon. A family of turtles lives on the south end of the beach and dolphins are often spotted swimming past the bay. During whale season (December - April), Napili Bay is a good location to see humpback whales. There is a restaurant on either end of the beach, both with premier views. There are public showers at all beach exits, but no public restrooms or lifeguards on duty.

Restrooms: no
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: no
Parking: street and limited

Location: Lahaina
Ka`anapali

Ka`anapali

Ka`anapali Beach has several different areas, you might hear people reference "Black Rock" or "KP", this is usually in regard to which end of Ka`anapali to meet. Airport Beach and Canoe Beach are on the north and South end of Ka`anapali respectively, as well. Ka`anapali Beach is the true resort beach, while breath-taking, it is bordered on the mauka (mountain) side by resorts. This is a fantastic beach for swimming and there is some really great snorkeling around Black Rock. If you need a little adrenaline rush, you can also jump off Black Rock and if you want bragging rights, jump off the back side. There is a boardwalk that runs from Airport Beach all the way down past Canoe Beach, so get up early, take a walk and then spend the day at the beach. Whaler`s Village is located almost right in the middle of Ka`anapali Beach and has a food court and several sit-down restaurants (as well as shopping) if you need a break from the sun. The currents can be varied all along the beach, so make sure to always keep an eye on the water.

Restrooms: no (yes at Airport and Canoe Beach)
Showers: yes (varied points along the way)
BBQ: no (yes at Airport and Canoe Beach0
Lifeguards: no (yes at Canoe Beach)
Parking: hard to find along Kaanapali, several free lots, but limited spaces (Airport and Canoe both have lots)

Location: Lahaina
Baby Beach

Baby Beach

Though perhaps not the best sand on the island, Baby Beach is a great beach for the littles. There is an exposed reef protecting the shore, so it is good for wading, learning to snorkel and swimming beginners. There isn`t any shade though, so be sure to bring an umbrella; it is located right in the heart of Lahaina and gets hot! The view is still spectacular however, with a great view of Lanai. Be sure to arrive early, not only is it cooler, but you`ll be able to find a place to park and find a place to set up on the beach.

Restrooms: no
Showers: no
Lifeguards: no
Parking: street and limited

Location: Lahaina
505

505

The closest beach to Aina Nalu and Lahaina Shores is 505 or Shark Pit. This is a great local beach with a great view of Lanai. There isn`t much of a shore break and it remains shallow a few feet off shore, so it is great for family beach days. There is also a surf break (Breakwall) that is good for beginners and there are some outside sets good for intermediate and advanced surfers. However, the best time of time here might be at sunset, there hasn`t been a bad one yet!

Restrooms: no
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: no
Parking: street or paid lots at the South end of Lahaina

Location: Lahaina
Launiupoko Beach Park

Launiupoko Beach Park

Is surfing on your to-do list while in Maui? Launiupoko Beach Park is the place for you. Located outside of Lahaina, this beach has it all: BBQ`s, picnic tables, showers, bathrooms, a safe place for the keiki (children) to swim and a fun surf break. The break is good for beginners, but still lots of fun for more advanced surfers. The only negative to the beach is the poky weeds in the grass, so be sure to have your slippahs (flip-flops) with you. It is a very, very popular spot with locals and tourists alike, so be sure to get there early. There is a parking lot right in front of the beach park and also one located across the street (though you have to wait forever and a day for the light to change).

Restrooms: yes
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: no
BBQ: yes
Parking: lots and plenty

Location: Lahaina
Kihei Beaches

Kihei Beaches

There are a few sought-out beaches in Kihei. Sugar Beach, Charley Young Beach and Kamoele I, II and III are the most popular. Sugar Beach boasts beautiful fine white sand and stretches a long way in either direction, so quite a few people make this their morning walk. Charley Young Beach is named after the man who owned the house just above the beach and is one of the best swimming beaches on the island. Trade winds come in from the north so there are usually quite a few stand-up paddlers on the water. This beach is often filled with locals; fishing, playing beach volleyball or swimming. Charley Young Beach connects to Kamoele I, which is separated from Kamoele II by a shelf of rocks, which is separated from Kamoele III by a shelf of rocks. Kam III is the most popular of the three Kams and has great boogie boarding conditions and a new playground for those who need a break from the surf and sand. All three beaches are good for swimming, and snorkeling is good around the rocky points between the beaches. These beaches can get very busy on the weekends, so if you want to venture to Kihei, do it during the week.

Restrooms: only at Kam III
Showers: yes
BBQ: Kam III
Lifeguards: Kam I, II & III
Parking: lots, street and plenty

Location: Kihei
Big Beach

Big Beach

Big Beach or Makena is among the most popular beaches in Maui. It is 2/3 of a mile long and is very wide, so there is always space to stake a claim for the day. Lifeguards are very vocal (and very blunt) here if they think you are out of your element, "you, with the white legs, get out of the water, you can`t swim." Please take their advice, the shore break can be brutal when there is a south swell. There is never a good time for inexperienced swimmers and small children to swim here. That said, as long as you are aware of the ocean and your place in it, this is a beautiful beach to have on your tour of Maui beaches. There are several food vendors in and outside of the parking lot, so no need to pack a lunch. Side note: if you`re feeling especially adventurous take the hike over the ridge on the north side of the beach, please note images you see may not be appropriate for little eyes!

Restrooms: yes
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: yes
Parking: lot and plenty

Location: Makena
Ho`okipa

Ho`okipa

Ho`okipa Beach is probably most well-known as a wind surfing beach. In fact, there are several pro tournaments held there every year. If you are a novice surfer or wind surfer use caution if you decide to try your luck. Ho`okipa means hospitality in Hawaiian, but if you get in the way of a local surfer, don`t expect to experience any of that. The water can be hard to access as well, so ask the lifeguards the best place to enter that day. It is also not the best place to swim, but it is a great place to watch the surfers, the sunset, and the green sea turtles. It seems that at any given time there are 2 -3 turtles (honu) on the beach, but around sunset, as many as 30 have been spotted resting at the far end of the beach close to the lookout cliff.

Restrooms: yes
Showers: yes
BBQ: yes
Lifeguards: yes
Parking: lot and limited

Location: Paia
Hamoa

Hamoa

If you decide to venture out to Hana and experience all the road has to offer; be sure to stop at Hamoa Beach. Located 1/2 mile past mile marker 51 on Highway 31, Hamoa is touted as one of the "perfect" beaches in Maui. It is surrounded by cliffs and is covered in beautiful white sand. The currents can be strong here though; Hamoa Beach is exposed to open ocean, but it is a great beach to do just about everything beach related: swim, snorkel, boogie board, play... Locals have been surfing at this beach since the beginning of time, so you`ll join in the ranks of history if you decide to catch some waves.

Restrooms: yes
Showers: yes
Lifeguards: yes
Parking: street and limited

Location: Hana