Wondering what the best beaches in Maui are? With coastlines full of the most beautiful beaches in Maui, you’ll be overwhelmed with the array of choices. Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island and it does NOT have a shortage of sandy escapes.
If you’re only visiting for a short time then chances are you won’t be able to test out every beach to determine which one is your favorite. Thats why I did all the leg work and tested all the beaches out myself. I know, I know it was a tough job but someone had to do it. From the beaches of San Diego to the beaches of Goa, Maui’s beaches take the cake.
I’ve had a decade of beach bumming and sunset watching to find the best beaches in Maui. In no particular order…
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post including Amazon that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
Best beaches West Maui 👙
This is the closest beach to my house in Lahaina so of course it has to make the best beaches in Maui list because it’s one of the best beaches in Lahaina. This family friendly beach is the one beach on Maui that you can almost always guarantee there to be sun.
The shallow, calm waters make it one of the best beaches for kids in Maui, hence the name Baby Beach. There is an outer exposed reef that protects the beach creating a shallow area for children to swim without fear of getting knocked down by a wave or caught in a rip current.
This makes Baby Beach the calmest beach in Maui. It gets very busy on the weekends.
Slaughterhouse is a great beach for boogie boarding and body surfing especially in the winter. To view the beach from above is dramatic as cliffs tower on each side.
Most of the year the beach is full of sand and in the afternoon you’ll get shade from the iron trees that back the beach.
Parking is a bitch with about 20 different parking spots. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car, the walk down the stairs to the beach takes is far which makes your car an easy target.
Ka’anapali Beach is as perfect as they get. This wide, mile long beach is home to several resorts, ocean view beach front restaurants, high end shopping and several awesome things to do in Kaanapali including some of Maui’s best water activities.
On the far end (north) of Ka’anapali Beach is Black Rock which offers cliff jumping and great snorkeling. I saw the biggest turtle of my life here, TWICE the size of me! Although this is area is saturated in tourists, it doesn’t take away from her beauty.
This is my go to beach when I want to float, drink a seltzer and hang out with my girlfriends. This beach has great facilities like a restroom, picnic tables and a lawn area to hang out in.
Airports is the best beach in Maui for swimming. The large sandy beach is always inviting and less crowded the more south you go.
Napili Bay is a perfect crescent shaped bay. This Napili beach is popular with families as the resorts surrounding it are mid range resorts. This is a great beach for swimming as getting into the water is all sand and it gets deeper quicker than most of the gentle sloped beaches I have mentioned on this list.
When waters are calm be on the look out for turtles cruising around. If you’re here between 2 and 5 pm be sure to hit up the Sea House for happy hour. It’s one of my favorite happy hours on Maui and gives great views of Napili Bay. If you’re not staying at a resort nearby, parking is very limited so come early.
Kapalua Bay is one of the best snorkeling beaches in Maui. Nestled at the foot of the Montage, a luxury resort, Kapalua Bay has impeccable views, palm trees and golden sands.
Located next door to Napili Bay, you’ll want to get here early if you want to get shade or a decent spot to post up. Take a stroll on the Kapalua Coastal Trail or relax in a beach chair in the grass.
This Maui beach is great for snorkeling and for families.
This world class beach is less developed than touristy Ka’anapali Beach but offers full facilities and sits at the bottom of the Ritz-Carlton. Shaded by ironwood trees this beach is popular with the locals.
A strong rip current and big waves are common here. This is a great beach to surf or boogie board in the winter months when there is a swell.
Best beaches in South Maui 🐳
I personally think the best beaches in Maui are on the South side of the island.
I will warn you that Little Beach is a nude beach and if you go on a Sunday night you’ll be able to participate in a naked drum circle.
The wide, shallow, sandy shore makes this beach a pleasure to spend the day at. On the North end of the beach you’ll see an expensive house that is Steven Tyler’s, he’s got good taste.
One of the best beaches in Kihei is KAM III.
What’s not to love about this beach. It has all the facilities you could need i.e. showers, grills, restrooms, large lawn perfect for large gatherings or birthdays and it even has lifeguards on duty.
Kam III has the most consistent South Maui shore breaks, perfect for boogie boarding. This is a great beach for snorkeling which is one of the best things to do in Kihei. Plus there’s always turtles feeding around the lava rocks that surround the beach.
Beware of crowds on holidays and the weekends, this makes the best beaches in Maui list because of its popularity with tourists and locals alike.
Nestled at the foot of the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons is Wailea Beach Maui. This picture perfect beach is lined with palm trees a couple high end luxury resorts and has views of Kaho’olawe, Molokini and Lana’i.
This beach is great for swimming as it’s all sand making it easy to get in and out of the water. Post up and relax your day away. Did I mention they also have showers?!
Located next to Wailea beach is Polo beach. This is another beach that has lots of facilities that always make for a pleasant beach experience. This includes, showers, grills, picnic tables, and restrooms.
The beach itself is a pair crescent bays that joined together creating Polo Beach. The North end of the beach has excellent snorkeling but tends to be more crowded due to the proximity to the elegant Fairmont Kea Lani.
Head to the South end of the beach by the Polo Beach Club for thinner crowds. Sandy entry and gentle slope makes swimming and playing in the water very appeasing here.
Best beaches on Maui on the North Shore 🌊
This is one of the best beaches in Paia. When I first moved to Maui I lived in Paia and used to frequent this beach daily, if not multiple times a day so it always has a special place in my heart. Relaxing at Baldwin Beach is one of the best things to do in Paia.
Depending on what time of the year it is will depend on how big the beach is because of extreme seasonal erosion. Either way you’ll still enjoy this white sand beach on Maui.
Don’t be surprised to see topless females and smell wacky tabacky. Parking can get crazy on the weekends. Paia town is close by and full of boutique shops and must eat restaurants.
Best beaches in East Maui 🍍
This hidden beach isn’t easy to access but the small, steep hike is worth the every step. Located in the town of Hana next to the Travaasa Hotel.
From here you follow the worn path down over and around to the shore line. The crescent-shaped beach is cut deep into the rust-red cinder cone, which gives the beach its red sand.
The beach is protected on the ocean side by a wall of jagged black lava rock which adds drama and appeal. This beach isn’t for everyone as it can be difficult to reach and sometimes even fatal. Just remember to respect the aina and leave only footprints.
Yes this is a stunning black sand beach and she’s located in Wainapanapa State Park close to the town of Hana and is one of the best beaches in Hana. This of course made my list not only for her shear beauty but for the state park that she resides in.
At Wainapanapa State Park there’s a lava tube, the princess pools to jump into, and you theres camping which makes it a popular choice amongst locals and tourists alike.
Hamoa Beach is picture perfect and can be seen on many postcards leaving Maui. The crescent bay can be viewed from the road above.
There are stairs that lead down to the black sand with cliffs on either side. On rough days the surf and current can be strong.
The beach is long and sandy making it an enjoyable beach to swim at. Parking is limited so be respectful when parking your car. That means don’t stick out in the road or park wherever you feel like it.