Which is the Best Beach in Maui? 13 You Should Know About

October 22, 2022

Imagine your toes in the sand and read on to find the perfect beach for your next Maui vacation.

Looking for the best beaches in Maui? With more than 80 beaches that are open to the public, there is a beach for everyone.

Many of these world-famous shores are so inviting that you wouldn’t want to spend less than a full day at each beach. So unless you live in Maui, Hawaii, it is unlikely that you will ever get to visit all of the beaches on the island.

If you want to visit the best beaches in Maui, you can narrow down the list of must-visit best beaches in Maui by listing out the things you want to see and experience. For example, are you looking for a rocky black-sand beach, a rare red-sand beach, or golden sand? Are you planning to swim in calm waters, or do you prefer surfing on wild, wild waves?

There is no single best beach in Maui because each beach on this list has something unique and equally beautiful to offer! It depends on what you want to see and do during your trip.

Keep reading as we give delightful details on the best beaches in Maui!

13 of the Best Beaches in Maui

Ka Anapali Beach

Ka Anapali beach is arguably the most famous beach in West Maui, especially for cliff divers, snorkelers, and scuba divers. The iconic Black Rock is located at the north end of Ka Anapali Beach, a popular area for snorkeling and achieving your very first scuba certification. 

If you are one of the brave ones and are itching for a thrill, join the cliff jumpers at sunset! There is a daily ceremony in which a cliff jumper lights torches along a cliff before diving off, which is part of a unique cultural activity that you don’t get to experience every day.

Looking for a hotel near Ka'anapali Beach? Enjoy discounted room rates through Tripster at the Ka'anapali Beach Club!

People walking along Kaanapali Beach - Maui, Hawaii, USAKapalua Beach

Kapalua Beach is constantly ranked as one of the best beaches in Hawaii, especially for families who are looking for calm and warm waters to enjoy with their kids. There are many opportunities to see sea turtles as they swim offshore and other marine creatures like butterfly fish and spotted Moray eels.

There are many tide pools to explore on Kapalua beach. Sea stars, mussels, and clams may be found here, but families will also enjoy walking along the shoreline under the shade of palm trees while admiring the most breathtaking sunset view on this crescent-shaped beach.

Hamoa Beach

Hamoa beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui, so much so that the surrounding land was purchased by Oprah Winfrey years ago to retain the beach’s raw quality.

To this day, the waters are a brilliant shade of aquamarine, the fine sands are perfectly golden, and the overgrown tropical foliage is so thick that it provides a gorgeous backdrop that can be hard to find in modern Maui.

If you plan to go on a Road to Hana tour, ask the tour guide to stop by Hamoa Beach if it isn’t already on the itinerary. The beach doesn’t typically draw large crowds, which makes it a perfect spot to watch the sunset.

hamoa beach in hawaii

photo credit: My Own Maui via Facebook

Napili Beach

Silky golden sand, a line of palm trees, and the lush mountains beyond make Napili beach the quintessential tropical beach–not to mention the show-stopping sunsets! 

Although vast, much of Napili Beach is actually part of the Napili Kai Beach Resort. Visitors who stay at the resort often enjoy a fully self-contained vacation because there are tons of activities to do, such as calm snorkeling Maui. In fact, Napili beach is one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui.

Take a trip to Honokeana Cove, where children can safely swim in the calm water and snorkel to their hearts’ content.

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

Makena beach comprises two separate beaches, Big beach, and Little beach. As its name suggests, Big Beach is one of the most extensive beaches on the island, which stretches 100 feet wide and over a mile long. In addition, Big Beach is one of the most stunning beaches on this side of Maui, with its low black lava cliffs and fine silver sand. 

Makena beach is near some of the best hotels in Maui on the beach. However, since it is located in the lush 165-acre Makena State Park, it is still a more peaceful alternative to other resort-studded beaches nearby. You get to enjoy less crowded restrooms, showers, food vendors, and small shops, and over at the Little beach, more off-beat activities like nude sunbathing.

Makena Secret Beach Maui Hawaii

Makena Secret Beach at sunset in Maui, HI

Charley Young Beach

Charley Young Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui. The striking rock and vertical lava structures at its edges make it a popular beach for photographers who want to use the rocks as a background.

Charley Young beach is also one of the best swimming beaches in Maui. The beach is wide and features golden, soft sand, while the waters are calm enough to let kids go for a dip and enjoy the shallow waves. Any budding marine biologists in your group? There are a lot of tide pools to explore!

Kaihalulu Beach

Beautiful red sand beaches are rare, but in Maui, there are several of them, including Kaihalulu Beach. This red-sand beach is located in a hidden cove, surrounded by cliffs of lava rock, and is truly one of Hana’s hidden gems. Thus, if you are planning to tour the Hana Highway, be sure to stop by and bring a camera to take the most Insta-worthy red-sand beach shots.

The views alone make Kaihalulu Beach one of the most beautiful beaches on Maui, but visitors also come here because it’s one of the best places to snorkel Maui. Its surreal shade of Kool-Aid blue waters is calm enough for both swimming and snorkeling–just don’t venture past the protective lava rock wall!

red sand beach surrounded by red sloping dunes and palm trees with ocean and rocks in the waterKoki Beach

Koki Beach is another excellent stop on the road to Hana. In the summer, the water is calm enough for a nice swim, and the sands are soft enough to lounge on. Oprah Winfrey owns a part of the beach to retain the area's natural beauty, which adds to the beach’s appeal. 

And if you are looking for an opportunity to spot the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, you might just if you visit Koki beach! The species typically rests on the rocks of the beach, undisturbed, since there are no facilities or lifeguards in the area.

Honokalani Beach

Looking for a black sand beach? Look no further than the fine, black sands of Honokalani beach! It is considered a necessary stop along the Hana Highway because of its jet-black shore, aquamarine waters, and thick jungle-like foliage. However, if you are only stopping by, you will still get to enjoy walking on jet-black sand composed of millions of tiny lava pebbles.

Related Post: In-Depth Guide to Maui Waianapanapa State Park

Beyond being one of the most Instagrammable spots in Maui, visitors also come here to use their boogie boards! If you don’t have your own, there are rental facilities and local guides who can help you explore the many sea caves carved into the cliffs along the shore.

photo credit: TRAvelling via Facebook

Wailea Beach

Glamorous Wailea beach is where you will likely encounter A-listers from around the world. The beach boasts stunning views of Kaho’olawe, Molokini Crater, and Lāna’i, so it’s perfect for celebrities and locals who just want to lounge and feast their eyes on breathtaking scenery.

Since it’s one of the most popular beaches in Maui, Wailea Beach is surrounded by the most luxurious resorts and hotels. The Four Seasons and Grand Wailea are a walking distance, so aside from the crowd, sunbathing on the golden sand or swimming in the bluest waters comes with complimentary strains of ukelele music and sounds of lively entertainment from the neighboring resorts. 

Maluaka Beach

Some people travel to Maui hoping to swim with giant and decades-old sea turtles. If you’re one of them, Malauka Beach is a must-visit. Snorkeling Turtle Town Maui (Malauka) is a good idea if you want to swim with a high population of Hawaiian green sea turtles. In addition, this underwater world is filled with abundant marine life, so your snorkeling expedition will not disappoint.

Alternatively, you can head to Turtle Arches Maui for more turtles while exploring a unique series of underwater lava formations. Hawaiian green sea turtles have made their homes here, so this is the place to be for gentle sea turtle seekers.

Close up of a sea turtle swimming over the reef in blue green water near Oahu, Hawaii, USA

photo credit: Sea Turtle Foundation via Facebook

Baldwin Beach

Baldwin beach is one of the most family-friendly and fully-developed beaches in Maui. Here you will find a spacious parking lot, picnic tables, BBQ grills, and all kinds of amenities that make a beach trip with the family worthwhile. There are many different areas to throw down a towel a relax, but there are also tons of activities to do, like bodysurfing, boogie boarding, or taking advantage of the football pitch and baseball diamond nearby.

Even if you don’t feel like trying out the beach activities, a trip to Baldwin beach is still inviting if you feel like watching a mesmerizing sunset with less crowd, unlike the more touristy parts of the island.

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

Baby Beach is mainly visited by families with young children. Perhaps it’s because of the shallow pool that is great for young swimmers, where the waters are mostly calm due to the long reef offshore that protects the area from breaking waves.

A perfect family trip to Baby Beach consists of building sand castles, burying mom and dad in the fine white sands with a mermaid fin, and walking along the shores searching for baby sea turtles. 

Know Before You Go

Check Opening Hours and Weather Conditions

Although public beaches in Maui typically open at 7 AM and closes around 7 PM, some open later or close much earlier, if you are planning to visit some of the most popular beaches in Maui, check what time the park opens so you can arrive before the crowd. In addition, check the weather before you go. Incoming storms may cause beaches to close on the day of.

Kaanapali Beach West Shore Maui Sunset with orange and red tonesPlan Where to Park

Big Beach and Baldwin Beach are developed beaches with more visitor parking spaces. However, if you are planning to visit less-crowded beaches and you’re going to drive your own vehicle, search for nearby parking lots in advance. You may have to walk a few distances from the parking to the beach.

Get a Reservation (If Needed)

The beaches along Hana Highway often require reservations because of the number of visitors that stop by each day. For this reason, many visitors opt to get a Hana Highway Tour instead, as these tours already include reservations to the best beaches along Hana Highway. However, you can still get reservations on your own through the park’s online reservations system.

Bring Reef-Safe Sunscreen

Reef-safe sunscreen in Hawaii is essential. If you are planning to snorkel, swim, or dive underwater, wear sunscreen that does not contain coral-harming chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Black sand beach with rocks and waves coming in under a cloudy grey sky with orange sunset in the distance at Waianapanapa state park mauiClean As You Go

Much of the beach entrance fees go towards maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness. However, as visitors, we leave only footprints and take only memories. Remember to throw food packaging and bottles of water in the trash, many of which are strategically located throughout the beaches to help visitors clean before they go.

Plan the Best Trip to Maui

Maui has an abundance of beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery! Make the most of your time exploring Maui’s top attractions and hidden gems with Maui vacation packages and special offers only on Tripster.

Which is Your Favorite Maui Beach?

Leave us a comment below!


Nicole sitting on rocks with waves in background

Written By Nicole

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 exploring the great o ...

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