Wondering what the best beaches in Maui are? Maui has coastlines of beautiful beaches that 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. I’ve had almost a decade to perfect my beach bumming and sunset watching skills.
best beaches in maui
I have the beaches listed by the area that they are located, North, South, East or West.
best beaches in 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. 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 the perfect beach for families with young children, 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. Baby Beach 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 you 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 restaurants and high end shopping. 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. The large sandy beach is always inviting and less crowded the more south you go.
Napili Bay is a perfect crescent shaped bay. This 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.
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.
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 in northshore
best beaches in east maui
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.