Maui, the second-largest island in Hawaii, is renowned for its stunning beaches that cater to every kind of beachgoer. From serene, secluded spots to bustling, activity-filled shores, Maui offers a diverse range of beach experiences. Whether you’re an avid snorkeler, a sunbather, or someone who simply enjoys the sound of waves, you’ll find your perfect beach here. Let’s explore part one of some of the best beaches in Maui that should be on your must-visit list.

1. Ka’anapali Beach

Ka’anapali Beach, a strong contender for the title of number one of the best beaches in Maui, is a three-mile stretch of golden sand located on the island’s west coast. This beach is perfect for those looking to enjoy a mix of relaxation and adventure. The calm, clear waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, especially around the famous Black Rock, where you can see an array of colorful marine life. The beach is also lined with luxury resorts, shops, and restaurants, making it a convenient spot for visitors.

The Perfect Blend of Relaxation and Adventure
Imagine sinking your toes into the soft, warm sand as gentle waves lap at the shore. Ka’anapali Beach offers a harmonious blend of tranquility and excitement, catering to a wide range of preferences. Whether you want to bask in the sun, take a leisurely swim, or go on a thrilling snorkeling adventure, this beach has it all. Spread out a beach towel, soak up the rays, and let your worries melt away.

Ideal Waters for Swimming and Snorkeling
The beach’s calm, clear waters create an ideal environment for swimming, ensuring a refreshing and enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages. Snorkel Maui enthusiasts will find Ka’anapali Beach particularly enticing, especially around the famous Black Rock (Puu Kekaa). This prominent lava rock promontory is renowned for its vibrant marine life, including tropical fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and the occasional manta ray. The underwater visibility around Black Rock is exceptional, making it a top snorkeling spot in Maui. Butterflyfish flash amongst the coral, while schools of vibrant yellow tang dart playfully in the sunlight.

Black Rock: A Natural Marvel
Black Rock is not just a snorkeling hotspot; it also holds cultural and historical significance. According to Hawaiian legend, it is believed to be the place where souls depart from this world. Today, it serves as a popular spot for cliff diving, attracting adventurous individuals who leap off the rock into the ocean below. The nightly cliff diving ceremony (a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili) at sunset is a sight to behold, drawing spectators who gather to witness this dramatic display against the backdrop of a Hawaiian sunset.

Luxury and Convenience at Your Fingertips
The best beaches in Maui offer more than just sand and surf, and Ka’anapali is no exception. This beach is flanked by an array of luxury resorts, each offering world-class amenities and breathtaking ocean views. Resorts like the Hyatt Regency Maui, Sheraton Maui, and Westin Maui provide guests with direct beach access, allowing them to enjoy the pristine sands and turquoise waters just steps from their rooms.

In addition to the luxurious accommodations, Ka’anapali Beach boasts a vibrant scene of shops and restaurants. The Whalers Village shopping center is a prime destination for visitors, featuring a variety of boutiques, souvenir shops, and dining options ranging from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. Here, you can indulge in local Hawaiian cuisine, fresh seafood, and international flavors, all while enjoying the stunning ocean views.

Activities and Entertainment
Ka’anapali Beach is more than just a place to relax; it’s a hub of activity and entertainment. The beach offers numerous water sports, including paddleboarding, jet skiing, and parasailing. For those interested in learning more about the marine environment, there are guided diving tours available.

On land, the Ka’anapali Beachwalk is a scenic promenade that stretches along the coastline, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a morning jog. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the nearby Kaanapali Golf Courses, which offer challenging play and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

So, pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sense of adventure, and get ready to experience the magic of this unforgettable beach, a jewel in the crown of Maui’s best beaches. With its diverse offerings, Ka’anapali Beach makes a strong case for being included on your Maui itinerary, alongside other must-see beaches depending on your interests.


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2. Wailea Beach

Nestled in the upscale Wailea resort area, Wailea Beach is known for its soft white sand and crystal-clear waters and contends for one of the top spots on our list of the best beaches in Maui. It’s a fantastic spot for swimming, sunbathing, and paddleboarding. The beach is framed by lush gardens and luxury resorts, offering a tranquil yet luxurious beach experience. For those who enjoy a bit of pampering, many of the nearby resorts offer beachfront services, including food and drink delivery.

Pristine Sands and Crystal Waters
Wailea Beach is characterized by its pristine, powdery white sand that feels like silk underfoot. The clear, turquoise waters are not only visually stunning but also provide excellent conditions for swimming. The gentle waves make it a safe and enjoyable spot for swimmers of all levels, and the calm, inviting waters are perfect for paddleboarding.

This serene aquatic environment ensures that visitors can fully immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of the ocean. Unlike Ka’anapali’s energetic vibe, Wailea Beach offers a more sophisticated ambiance, perfect for those seeking a touch of indulgence on their Maui vacation.

Sunbathing and Relaxation
For those who prefer to stay on the shore, Wailea Beach offers ample space for sunbathing. The beach’s expansive stretch of sand provides plenty of room to lay down a towel or set up a beach chair and soak in the sun’s warm rays. The gentle ocean breeze and the rhythmic sound of the waves create a peaceful ambiance, making it an ideal spot to relax and unwind.

Framed by Lush Gardens and Luxury Resorts
One of the defining features of Wailea Beach is its picturesque surroundings. The beach is framed by lush, meticulously maintained gardens that add to its serene and luxurious atmosphere. Palm trees and tropical plants provide natural shade and enhance the beach’s aesthetic appeal, creating a postcard-perfect landscape.

Luxury resorts such as the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Grand Wailea, and Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort line the beach, offering world-class amenities and unparalleled service. These resorts are designed to blend seamlessly with the natural environment, providing guests with stunning ocean views and direct access to the beach.

Beachfront Services and Pampering
For those who enjoy a bit of pampering, Wailea Beach delivers in spades. Many of the nearby resorts offer exclusive beachfront services, ensuring that guests have everything they need for a comfortable and luxurious beach day. This includes food and drink delivery right to your beach chair, allowing you to indulge in delicious cocktails, fresh fruit, and gourmet snacks without ever having to leave the sand. Some resorts also provide beach attendants who can assist with setting up umbrellas, chairs, and even offer cool towels to help you stay refreshed.

Activities and Wellness
Wailea Beach is not just about relaxation; it also caters to those looking for a bit of activity and wellness. Paddleboarding is a popular pastime here, with the calm waters providing an excellent environment for both beginners and experienced paddlers.

Glide effortlessly on the paddleboard, taking in the stunning coastline from a unique perspective. The protected nature of the bay makes it a safe and enjoyable environment for water activities, a quality many of the best beaches in Maui share. Yoga enthusiasts can often find beachfront yoga sessions, offering a unique opportunity to practice in a serene and inspiring setting.

In addition, many resorts offer spa services that can be enjoyed on the beach. Imagine receiving a soothing massage while listening to the gentle waves – it’s the epitome of relaxation and indulgence!


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3. Makena Beach (Big Beach)

Maui’s beaches offer a spectrum of experiences, catering to every vacation desire. We’ve explored the vibrant energy of Ka’anapali Beach and the luxurious tranquility of Wailea Beach. Now, let’s set our sights on Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach, a contender for the title of one of the best beaches in Maui for those seeking a wilder adventure.

Located in South Maui, this beach is one of the largest on the island, boasting over a mile of pristine sand and one of the best beaches in Maui. It’s perfect for those who prefer a more natural and less crowded beach experience. The waves here can be quite strong, making it a favorite spot for bodyboarding and experienced swimmers. However, it’s always important to exercise caution and be aware of the surf conditions.

A Vast Stretch of Pristine Sand
Imagine yourself on Makena Beach. Unlike the manicured landscapes of some other Maui beaches, Makena Beach embraces a more rugged charm. This beach’s expansive shoreline provides plenty of space for visitors to spread out, ensuring a sense of solitude and tranquility even during busier times. Unlike the calm coves of Wailea, waves here can be quite strong, making the scene more dramatic and untamed. The beach’s untouched beauty and wide open spaces make it a favorite for those who appreciate the raw, natural landscape of Hawaii.

Ideal for Natural Beach Enthusiasts
Big Beach’s rugged charm is a stark contrast to the manicured sands of some of Maui’s more developed beaches. Here, you won’t find rows of sunbeds or beachfront cafes; instead, you’ll be greeted by a vast, open shore framed by lush vegetation and dramatic volcanic cliffs. This makes it an ideal spot for beachgoers who enjoy a more natural and authentic Hawaiian beach experience.

Despite its wild side, Makena Beach caters to a variety of beachgoers. The vast expanse of sand offers plenty of space to spread out and soak up the Hawaiian sun. If relaxation is your priority, you can easily find a secluded spot to unwind and listen to the rhythm of the waves.

Thrilling Waves for Bodyboarding and Swimming
Makena Beach is well-known for its powerful waves, which attract bodyboarding enthusiasts and experienced swimmers looking for a bit of adventure. The beach’s surf conditions can vary, with waves ranging from moderate to quite strong, providing an exhilarating experience for those who love the thrill of riding the surf. However, these waves can also pose a challenge, so it’s crucial to exercise caution and be mindful of the current conditions.

Safety First: Navigating the Surf
While the waves at Makena Beach can be exciting, they also necessitate a level of caution. The beach is not sheltered by reefs or coves, which means that the surf can be unpredictable. Rip currents and shore breaks are common, so it’s essential for swimmers and bodyboarders to be aware of their surroundings and heed any posted warnings. Lifeguards are often on duty, especially during peak times, to help ensure the safety of visitors.

A Perfect Spot for a Day of Exploration
Beyond swimming and bodyboarding, Makena Beach offers ample opportunities for exploration and relaxation. The vast shoreline is perfect for long walks, beachcombing, and soaking in the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The lack of commercial development means that you can enjoy a picnic on the sand without the hustle and bustle of nearby restaurants or bars.

Accessibility and Amenities
While Makena Beach might not be ideal for young children and despite its rugged nature, Makena Beach is relatively accessible, with parking areas nearby and facilities such as restrooms and picnic tables available for visitors. These amenities make it easier to spend an entire day enjoying the natural beauty of one of the best beaches in Maui and is a perfect example of how Maui’s best beaches cater to diverse desires.


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4. Kapalua Bay

Maui’s best beaches offer something for everyone and for a more sheltered and family-friendly beach, Kapalua Bay is an excellent choice. This crescent-shaped beach is protected by two lava rock points, creating calm, gentle waters that are ideal for snorkeling and swimming. The underwater life is vibrant and easily accessible, making it a favorite spot for both beginners and experienced snorkelers. The beach’s facilities, including restrooms and showers, add to its appeal for families and casual beachgoers.

A Natural Shelter for Tranquil Waters
Imagine a crystal-clear bay, protected by two lava rock points that act as natural guardians, calming the currents and waves. This is the magic of Kapalua Bay. The serene conditions make it a safe and enjoyable environment for children and less experienced swimmers, ensuring a relaxing day by the ocean for families.

Snorkeling Paradise
Snorkel Maui at this beach as one of the main attractions of Kapalua Bay is its vibrant underwater life. The clear, shallow waters offer excellent visibility, allowing snorkelers to easily explore the diverse marine ecosystem. Colorful coral reefs, schools of tropical fish, and even the occasional Hawaiian green sea turtle can be seen just a short distance from the shore. Kapalua Bay’s accessibility to this underwater world makes it a favorite among Maui’s best beaches for families of all ages. Both seasoned snorkelers and curious beginners can explore the wonders of the ocean here.

Family-Friendly Facilities
Understanding the needs of families, Kapalua Bay goes beyond breathtaking scenery. This beach is well-equipped with facilities that cater to families and casual beachgoers, enhancing its appeal as one of Maui’s best beaches. The beach offers restrooms, showers, and picnic areas, making it convenient for families to spend an entire day enjoying the sun and sea. These amenities are particularly beneficial for those with young children, providing easy access to necessary comforts and ensuring a hassle-free beach outing making Kapalua Bay a standout among Maui’s best beaches for families.

Beautiful Surroundings and Accessibility
The beauty of Kapalua Bay extends beyond its waters. The beach is surrounded by lush, tropical landscaping, with palm trees and flowering plants adding to the idyllic setting. The beach’s golden sand is soft and inviting, perfect for building sandcastles or simply lounging under the Hawaiian sun.

Accessibility is another key feature of Kapalua Bay. The beach is located near several high-end resorts, including the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and the Montage Kapalua Bay, making it easily reachable for guests staying in the area. Additionally, there is ample parking nearby, ensuring that visitors can conveniently access this stunning beach.

Activities and Relaxation
While Kapalua Bay is perfect for snorkeling and swimming, it also offers opportunities for other beach activities. Paddleboarding is a popular choice, thanks to the calm waters. The beach’s gentle slope and sheltered waters make it an ideal spot for trying out this relaxing sport. For those who prefer to stay on land, the soft sand is perfect for sunbathing or enjoying a picnic with family and friends.

If you’re looking to extend your stay, the nearby Kapalua Coastal Trail provides a scenic route for a leisurely walk or hike, offering stunning views of the coastline and opportunities to spot native wildlife. This trail adds an extra dimension to a day at Kapalua Bay, allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area beyond the beach.

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Best Beaches in Maui

Want to discover more of Maui’s best beaches? Join us next week as we share 4 additional breathtaking destinations to add to your Maui itinerary!