Of all the times my husband and I have visited Hawaii, the beaches on Maui have always impressed us the most. Don’t get me wrong, every single Hawaiian island has beautiful beaches but the ones on Maui are picture-perfect indeed.
Gold sand, white sand, red sand, black sand — you name it, a beach in Maui has it. Today we review the absolute best beaches on Maui that you can’t afford to miss during your visit to paradise.
Tips for visiting the best beaches on Maui
You + sunscreen = best friends forever
- Did you know that the active ingredients in traditional sunscreen are toxic to reef systems and marine life? This is the reef-safe sunscreen we used during our trip to Maui and have re-purchased 3 times since — it’s a winner!
- Not planning to swim? Then this is hands-down the BEST sunscreen you can buy (I discovered it in France six years ago and never leave the house without it).
Pack your snorkeling gear!
- I purchased this snorkeling mask prior to our trip and was very happy with it. I noticed a lot of people using this mask and would consider purchasing it for my next trip.
- These are the flippers I have used the past 5+ years (I practically lived in them when we visited the Virgin Islands and would repurchase them in a heartbeat!).
- A rash guard is essential, especially if you run cold like me. I bought this one before our trip and put it to good use on several occasions. It’s highly reviewed on amazon — another perk.
Parking is difficult
- Did you know that County governments and private developers are required to provide public access and parking in areas where the shoreline is dominated by residential dwellings? It’s true! However, since the spaces are limited, they typically fill up by 9am. To increase your chances of finding a parking spot, I suggest arriving early.
#9. Baldwin Beach
Imagine catching sunrise on this beautiful Maui beach as a colorful sunrise graces the golden sand and looming mountains take shape in the background while playful clouds dance about.
Talk about breathtaking! The first time I visited Baldwin Beach it felt like stepping foot onto a movie scene because it’s so beautiful.
What’s more, Baldwin Beach is further removed from the more touristy part of the island, making it less crowded. Make sure to check out Baby Beach, which is a large reef on the western end.
The shallow pool is great for young swimmers and an ideal spot to catch sight of a sea turtle or two!
#8. Hamoa Beach
Hamoa Beach is a popular stop along the Road to Hana for those eager to take a swim after a long day of exploring. The beach itself is picturesque with long stretches of golden sand and swaying palm trees, which is why it’s often considered as one of the most beautiful beaches on Maui.
Word to the wise: Hamoa Beach is notorious for dangerous tides so please don’t swim unless you are a very strong swimmer. We witnessed a search and rescue effort during our visit because the tide swept someone up.
#7. Slaughterhouse Beach
Slaughterhouse Beach is easy to miss because it’s tucked into a cove that is only accessible via stairs (short 2-minute walk) and a short trail that leads to the actual beach. But don’t make the mistake of assuming it is unknown!
Locals and visitors flock to this beach because it’s a great spot for body-surfing. The area is prone to wind and causes massive waves in the beach during the winter and early spring months. If you’re visiting during the warmer summer months then you can expect a calmer sea, which creates the ideal conditions for snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles.
I must admit, I’m not entirely sure where Slaughterhouse Beach got its name, but I am certain of this — this is one of the best beaches on Maui for wave diving and boogie boarding.
Go for: Snorkeling, swimming with sea turtles, body-surfing
Parking is limited and fills up quickly, arrive early to get a parking spot.
#6. Wailea Beach
You can probably guess that a beach facing Maui’s grandest resorts must live up to a certain reputation, and you would not be mistaken.
Wailea Beach is easily one of the best beaches on Maui, how do I know? You’re bound to spot a celebrity or two!
#5. Makena Beach (Big Beach & Little Beach)
Makena Beach is one of the beaches we never grow tired of returning to time and time again. The reason is simple — this beach is beautiful. So much so that it’s often considered the most photographed beach in Hawaii.
Makena Beach is composed of two separate beaches, Big Beach and Little Beach. Big Beach’s soft gold sand shore spans 2/3 of a mile and the area is somewhat free from development. Swing by the food trucks after you’re done lounging at the beach — fish tacos are always a good idea.
Safety Note: If you are not an expert swimmer I would avoid swimming at Big Beach altogether. The shore breaks at Big Beach are VERY dangerous. It’s far too easy to underestimate the power of the waves in this area and sadly it’s not uncommon to hear about broken bones and necks. Don’t take the risk.
#4. Ka’anapali Beach (& Black Rock Beach)
Perhaps one of the best known beaches on Maui, but for good reason — Ka’anapali Beach is a classic. The Pacific Ocean rests easy on one side while the mountains looms large to the west, this beach has something to offer to everyone.
Like walking on the beach for the heck of it? Well, feel free to enjoy three lovely miles of golden sand. Want to snorkel with sea turtles?
Welcome to one of the best spots for sea turtles on the island. Want to lounge in an umbrella-shaded chair? You’re a stone’s throw from impressive resorts and hotels.
P.S. This is one of the best beaches to spot migrating whales from January – March (we saw SO many!).
Tip: Don’t miss the Black Rock Cliff Dive Ceremony that occurs at sunset every evening. It’s free!
#3. Napili Beach
With plush sand and calm turquoise water, Napili Bay is one of Maui’s most visited beaches and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a great people watching spot as well, since it’s so beloved by both locals and tourists alike.
While opted to snorkel with sea turtles while I lounged on the beach and caught up on a good book (have you read this one yet? Highly recommend!).
Afterward, I listened to a young boy negotiate with his mom and the whole scene cracked me up. If you’re looking for relaxing day at the beach, Napili Bay fits the bill.
#2. Kapalua Beach
We spent more time on Kapalua Beach than any other during our last visit to Maui. Why? It’s the perfect beach! Quietly tucked into an idyllic bay, the beach is lined with palm trees, golden sand and calm water.
This is actually one of our favorite places to snorkel with sea turtles on Maui because the sheltered bay creates the perfect conditions for a pleasant experience (even for young and inexperienced swimmers).
Parking is very limited, we had to park on the street. Arrive early if you plan to use the small public parking lot, if you end up parking on the street make sure to read the signs so you don’t get cited or towed!
I highly recommend coming here for sunset. If you’re looking to splurge, the Merriman’s Restaurant is right on the beach and the views can only be improved with a tasty cocktail in hand. 😉
#1. Secret Cove Beach (best beach in Maui)
If you’re looking for the best beach to catch sunset from then look no further than Maui’s Secret Cove Beach — it is absolutely breathtaking!
Don’t let the small size fool you either, eloping couples flock to this beach like crazy during the sunset hour because of the views.
List of Best Beaches on Maui
In summary, here’s a quick list of the best beaches on Maui
- Baldwin Beach
- Hamoa Beach
- Slaughterhouse Beach
- Wailea Beach
- Makena Beach (Big Beach & Little Beach)
- Ka’anapali Beach (& Black Rock Beach)
- Kapalua Beach
- Napili Beach
- Secret Cove Beach
Map of Best Beaches on Maui
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Until next time!