Where to Find the Best Beach in Maui: Sunbathing, Snorkeling, and More

The best kind of therapy is beach therapy, and there’s truly no place better than the beaches of Maui to soak in the sun, sand, and sea. Here are the absolute best beaches in Maui for your next trip to tropical paradise.

If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful island of Maui, have no doubt: you’re about to experience some of the most stunning beaches in the whole world.

From sun-soaked spots perfect for lounging, miles of golden sandy expanses for leisurely strolls, idyllic bays teeming with colorful marine life for snorkeling, to dramatic black sand shores carved out by ancient lava flows – Maui beaches serve up an ocean of choices for every kind of beachgoer.

So grab your sunscreen and beach towel and let’s dive into exploring the best beaches in Maui Hawaii.

10 Absolute Best Beaches in Maui

Kapalua Bay Beach (West Maui)

At a glance: Picture-perfect crescent of sand with calm waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Consistently ranks among the best beaches in the USA.

Further down towards the northwest corner of the island, the emerald waters of Kapalua Bay glisten under the Maui sun. This highly-envied spot is blessed with a natural, crescent-shaped formation bordered by palm trees that sway in the gentle breeze.

Dotted with lava rock anchors at each end, the bay provides a sheltered, serene ambush for every beach lover and is known to be among the best snorkeling beaches in Maui.

Talk of Maui beaches, and Kapalua Bay Beach is one you can’t afford to miss. A real gem among the best beaches in Maui, it is a paradise for snorkelers, with its clear and calm waters teeming with marine life. It’s truly a gateway to a world of exotic fish and turtles.

But it’s not just snorkeling Kapalua Bay Beach excels in, it’s one of the best swimming beaches in Maui as well. Slightly warmer and generally calm water is ideal for swimmers of any level.

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And if you’re lucky enough, you may even get to share your swimming space with none other than some friendly sea turtles. Kapalua Bay Beach’s scenic beauty, coupled with amenities like picnic tables, ample parking space, and a lifeguard on duty, makes it a perfect spot for your family too.

Whether you’re capturing some stunning Maui beach pictures or lying down on the sandy beach to catch some sun, the experience is nothing short of splendid.

underwater photo of man snorkeling with turtle
photo credit: Four Winds II Maui via Facebook

Napili Bay (West Maui)

At a glance: A series of beautiful coves with generally gentle waves, great for families and those seeking a laidback beach day.

If you’re asking yourself, “Where is the best beach in Maui for a tranquil day amid nature?”, look no further than Napili Bay. With a beautiful series of coves and generally gentle waves, it is perfect for those in search of a serene beach day. The soothing lull of the waves lapping against the shore makes it an ideal spot for sunbathing or tucking into a beachside picnic.

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Particularly loved by families, the waters here are protected by a tropical outer coral reef, offering smooth, calm waters. It’s known as one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui. The colorful marine life teeming beneath the surface is something both children and adults will surely appreciate.

Napili Bay’s picturesque settings also make it one of the best Maui beaches for capturing that perfect beach day photo. So don’t forget to pack your camera, along with your beach essentials. There’s a high chance you’ll want to make these moments last forever.

ground ocean view of Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger in Maui, Hawaii, USA

Makena Beach (Big Beach) (South Maui)

At a glance: A long, wide stretch of undeveloped beach loved for swimming (be mindful of the powerful shore break) and stunning scenery.

Also known as Big Beach, this 1.5-mile-long and nearly 100-foot-wide stretch remains one of the most impressive beaches in Maui. Its sheer size offers plenty of room to spread out, perfect for a day of sunbathing or a serene beach walk.

The shores of Big Beach are dusted with fine, golden sand, and the clear, azure waters are a snorkeler’s paradise. However, the waves can get quite potent, so it’s always a good idea to check with local lifeguards about ocean safety before you wade out too far.

Despite being undeveloped, Makena Beach State Park boasts ample natural beauty. With watching the colorful marine life or gazing at the verdant Mauna Kahalawai hills in the distance; there is no shortage of stunning images for your Maui Beach Pictures collection.

Besides the splendors of the beach itself, Makena State Park also hosts the iconic lava rock formation known as ‘Pu’u Olai’, a dormant volcanic cinder cone that acts as a beautiful backdrop that enhances the allure of this best beach in Maui.

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After a day of frolicking in the waters, kick back and enjoy the true spectacle in one of the best beaches on Maui – the Makena Beach sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky can often be seen sporting hues of magnificent colors, making it a spectacle you would not want to miss.

aerial view of Big Beach in the Mākena State Park with mountains in the background in Maui, Hawaii, USA
Big Beach, Maui

Wailea Beach (South Maui)

At a glance: Fronting luxury resorts, this beach offers soft sand, often calm water, and amenities like restaurants within walking distance.

As one of the best beaches in Maui, Wailea Beach encompasses luxury and leisure in perfect harmony. The beach’s vast sandy landscape naturally accommodates space for sun lovers and is perfect for a memorable Maui beach experience.

The ocean safety here is stellar, thanks to the routinely calm waters. The beach is flanked by a lineup of opulent resorts, providing inviting lounge chairs, shade, and refreshing drinks, right at your fingertips.

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But it’s not all sunbathing – there’s an adventure too. Recognized as one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui, you can dive beneath Wailea’s calm, beryl-toned waters, discovering a kaleidoscope of marine life, from vibrant coral formations to playful sea turtles. Remember to pack your underwater camera for remarkable Maui beach pictures!

After a long beach day of sunbathing or snorkeling, you can satiate your hunger with exquisite cuisines from a variety of nearby restaurants. There’s always a feast at hand to recharge after your Maui beach day at Wailea!

Then, explore the mile-long, picturesque seaside walkway- perfect for an enchanting evening stroll. You’ll be taken in by the dramatic vistas of the Pacific Ocean, framed perfectly by Maui’s picturesque skyline.

Three women and one men performing on stage with Hawaiian outfit.
photo credit: Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort via Facebook

Ka’anapali Beach (West Maui)

At a glance:  A popular 3-mile stretch of white sand with excellent swimming and snorkeling spots, particularly by Black Rock.

Surrounded by crystal-clear water, Ka’anapali Beach is the perfect spot for a day full of relaxation and adventure. The beach takes pride in its famous landmark, Black Rock, which is a great lava rock formation extending into the sea.

Known among the best snorkeling beaches in Maui, the area around Black Rock is teeming with fascinating marine life. As you dive into the refreshingly warm waters, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with intricate corals and colorful fish that call this part of the ocean home.

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Ka’anapali Beach is also home to many high-end resorts. If you fancy a bit of luxury, these establishments offer rooms with breathtaking views of the beach, guaranteeing you wake up to the best Maui beaches every morning. Not to mention, their beachfront bars and restaurants allow you to dine with your toes in the sand as you watch a picturesque Hawaiian sunset.

Complete with adventures for the water sports enthusiast, or ample sand for those looking to unwind and soak up the Maui sun, Ka’anapali Beach truly embodies the essence of the best beach in Maui.

People walking along Kaanapali Beach - Maui, Hawaii, USA

Hamoa Beach (East Maui, near Hana)

At a glance: Scenic salt-and-pepper sand and lush surroundings make it a Road to Hana highlight, perfect for experienced swimmers.

If you find yourself on the Road to Hana, pause your journey and soak up the sun at Hamoa Beach. Located on east Maui, just past Hana, this beach showcases an expanse of salt-and-pepper sand – a unique characteristic that adds to its charm. The verdant, tropical surroundings embrace you, perfectly setting the scene for some serious relaxation.

For adventurous souls seeking more than just a tan, Hamoa Beach presents an engaging challenge. This beach is ideal for experienced swimmers, as the surf can get rough with a strong break. As always, your enjoyment of Maui’s beaches is tied directly to ocean safety, and it’s important to judge both the conditions and your abilities accordingly.

Whether your day manifests as diving headfirst into the swaying waves, or simply catching up on a favorite book while the ocean serenades you – Hamoa Beach is your perfect tropical backdrop. Don’t forget to take a moment to take in the breathtaking view before you, and perhaps snap some stunning Maui beach pictures for your memory album.

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There are no picnic tables here, no elaborate amenities – just the enchantment of Maui’s natural beauty in all its glory. It’s a great place to reconnect with nature, experience the peace of the ocean, and enjoy a slice of paradise away from the usually crowded sunspots.

hamoa beach in hawaii
photo credit: My Own Maui via Facebook

Honolua Bay (West Maui)

At a glance:  A world-renowned snorkeling and surfing spot (advanced) set within a protected marine preserve teeming with colorful fish.

You’re about to uncover the aquatic paradise of Honolua Bay, one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui. Imagine yourself plunging into the warm, crystal-clear waters without any interruptions.

As you dive deeper, a vibrant spectrum of marine life unfolds before your eyes. Schools of multi-colored fish dart about, their shifting iridescence beautifully echoing the rays of sunshine filtering down from above.

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The underwater scenery is accentuated by waves in the bay that are perfect for seasoned surfers. As one of West Maui’s gem spots for surfing, Honolua Bay attracts throngs of surf enthusiasts.

Bear in mind, though, that the surf here is powerful and can get quite big, which makes it best suited for advanced surfers. If surfing isn’t your forte, the rocky reefs that surround the bay are filled with green sea turtles—an undeniably magnificent sight.

rock formation in water at Maui Hana Cave Quest Day Tour with Temptation Tours in Maui, Hawaii, USA
photo credit: Temptation Tours via Facebook

DT Fleming Beach Park (West Maui)

At a glance: Wide sandy beach with amenities like picnic areas, and waves that make it popular with bodyboarders.

Derived from Maui’s very own D.T Fleming, a notable figure who brought the Kapalua resort area to life, the beach park is picture-perfect for an outdoor Maui Beach day.

Nestled in the heart of West Maui, it offers a traditional Hawaiian beach experience coupled with a laid-back ambiance. It’s a beach where marine life thrives, making it one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui. Don’t be surprised if you spot a playful turtle during your snorkel; the beach is famous for these friendly encounters.

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When not swimming or snorkeling, tourists and locals alike enjoy watching the waves crash against the black rock formations. However, if you’re looking to ride those captivating waves, bodyboarding is popular, thanks to the consistent medium-sized swells that the beach park boasts.

After hitting the waves, relax in the large, shaded picnic areas equipped with plenty of picnic tables for your comfort. Bold sunsets over the horizon end the day, lifting the sky with vibrant hues of orange, peach, and purple. Make sure to have your camera ready for snapping those amazing Maui beach pictures.

a sailing boat with a mountain behind it
photo credit: Sail Maui – Performance Sailing via Facebook

Baldwin Beach Park (North Shore)

At a glance:  Long, sandy beach with lifeguards, a good option for families visiting the Paia area.

If you’re looking for one of the best beaches in Maui to enjoy a family outing, Baldwin Beach Park is your go-to destination. Known for its long stretch of sandy beach and ocean safety, this spot on the North Shore of Maui perfectly encapsulates the beauty of Maui beaches.

This favorite spot, popular with locals, offers something for everyone. While experienced boogie boarders can enjoy the waves, kids will particularly love the ‘Baby Beach.’

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This protected swimming area, thanks to a natural break in the reef, provides a safe spot for them to splash about, making it one of the best beaches in Maui for swimming.

However, remember to stay alert and respect the sea’s immense power despite the presence of lifeguards. The sea may occasionally be rough, and rip currents are a common occurrence. Always prioritize your safety and the well-being of others while enjoying any beach in Maui Hawaii.

Blue green ocean with sand and algae covered rocks in foreground, big grey clouds and low sun in background at baldwin beach maui hawaii

Wai’anapanapa State Park and Black Sand Beach (East Maui, near Hana)

At a glance: Unique black sand created by lava flows, dramatic scenery, and freshwater caves to explore.

There’s nothing quite like the sight of black sand beaches in Maui, and Wai’anapanapa State Park is the place to see it for yourself. This stunning natural setting is not just a beach, it offers you an impressive range of activities and sights to feast your eyes on.

Witness the might of the Hawaiian landscape, transformed by volcanic activity into a unique canvas of black sand. Undeniably, this beach is a testament to the power of lava flows, shaping and reshaping the landscape into an awe-inspiring sight. This gem among Maui beaches is easily one of its best features.

But don’t limit yourself to lounging under the sun. Plunge into the freshwater caves to explore what lies beneath the surface. Immerse yourself in the raw beauty of these natural features. It’s an experience not to be missed when on a quest for the best beach in Maui.

And that’s not all, the wild beauty that encompasses this site provides more than beautiful Maui beach pictures. The dramatic coastal scenery creates the perfect backdrop for hiking. Hit the King’s Trail to meander through lush greenery and cliffs offering panoramic views that will steal your breath away.

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Diving, snorkeling, or simply marveling at this masterpiece among the best beaches in Maui Hawaii, you’re in for an overall transformative experience. And with camping sites and cabins available, you can even spend a night or two under the Hawaiian sky, by the enchanting Black Sand Beach, to witness the raw beauty of Maui unfold at dawn and dusk.

waianapanapa state park beach in Maui, Hawaii, USA
photo credit: redtag.ca via Facebook

Maui Beaches FAQs

The best beaches Maui has to offer are primarily found on the leeward side of the island, namely South Maui and West Maui. This side of Maui is favored due to its sheltered position from trade winds, offering pristine, calm waters that are optimal for swimming and snorkeling.

It's where you'll discover renowned beaches like Maluaka Beach in South Maui and Kapalua Bay Beach on West Maui, hailed as some of the prettiest beaches on Maui.

Why Not Stay at a Beachfront Hotel in Maui?

Imagine waking up to the sound of rhythmical waves right on your doorstep. Well, that’s precisely what you’ll get when you treat yourself to a beachfront hotel in Maui. When you access the crystalline beaches just a few steps from your room, you are setting yourself up for an absolutely unforgettable Maui experience.

The good news is, you can enjoy this slice of paradise without breaking the bank. Right now, stunning beachfront luxury resorts are offered at the lowest rates on Tripster. Isn’t it high time you indulged in the beachfront experience that you truly deserve?

Book your beachfront hotel in Maui on Tripster now and start experiencing the best beaches in Maui in style.

What Did We Miss?

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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