Want recommendations for the best Maui beaches? Then this is the page for you. All Maui winners on Stephen Leatherman's (Dr. Beach
) America's Best Beaches
list are included on this page.
Since you will usually visit a beach close to where you are staying, they are organized by Maui location. I also list a group of favorite Maui beaches for activities like snorkeling and whale watching. Popular unusual beaches such as black sand beaches are included.
And I also help you to understand Maui beach access, Maui beach weather, and how to choose the best Maui beach for you.
Best West Maui Beaches
D.T. Fleming Beach Park
includes good surfing, boogie boarding and swimming, with lots of beach for sunbathing. The park also has parking, restrooms, shaded grassy picnic tables with barbeque grills, and lifeguards.
2006 #1 Beach in America
is the perfect white sand beach with snorkeling at Black Rock. The several miles of beach beach also serves the large Kaanapali Resort community. 2003 #1 Beach in America
Kapalua Bay Beach
is a safe beach in the northern part of west Maui that is good for families with small children. Snorkeling is popular here. If you are not staying at one of the many condos surrounding this beach, access is tough - parking is scarce.
1991 #1 Beach in America
Best South Maui Beaches
offers good swimming, snorkeling in calm waters, and bodysurfing on a shore break that is not as punishing as Wailea’s other beaches. Like all Maui beaches there is public access, but the Grand Wailea Resort
and the Four Seasons Resort Wailea
front almost all of Wailea Beach and public parking is scarce.
1999 #1 Beach in America
Best Road to Hana Beaches
The unique Maui black sand beach
(Honokalani beach) at Waianapanapa State Park on the road to Hana is more of a photo beach than a sunning or swimming beach because of the rocks, high surf, and hot black sand.
is a family friendly isolated beach on the road to Hana. This beach was a favorite of James Michener, the famous author of books such as Hawaii
and Tales of the South Pacific
. 2007 #6 Beach in America
Maui Beach Access
How close a beach is to where you are staying is important. Most Maui vacationers select a beach that is close to their hotel, even though it may not be the best beach for a particular activity.
But even if you are close to a beach, beach access may still be difficult - how easy is it to get on the beach?
Some Maui beaches are just a few steps from parking, while others require a hike and detailed instructions just to locate the beach.
An example of easy access - we like to park at the shops at Kaanapali Beach, enjoy the white sands in front of the hotels for a few hours, then get our parking ticket validated by purchasing $15 worth of food or gifts at a shop.
Maui Beaches Weather
At Maui beaches, weather forecasts deal more with surf & wind forecasts and warnings than with rain and temperature.
WARNING! At any particular time for any beach, there may be safety warnings caused by extremes such as high wind or surf conditions.
View today's Maui beach surf and wind forecasts.
Rain. The north and east sides of the islands get a lot more rain than the west and south sides. There is less rain in the summer dry season.
Wind. High winds come from the north and east sides of the island. The trade winds are strongest in the center of the island between the west maui volcano and the east Maui volcano - Haleakala.
Waves & Surf.
The northeast side of Maui - for example Keanae Peninsula - has rough surf that
is good for surfing and photos, but not swimming.
Hawaii beaches on the 'leeward' (west) side of the islands tend to have less waves - better for swimmers, but not so good for surfers. That's where Kaanapali and Lahaina are located.
Match Maui Beaches to Your Activities
There are so many types of Maui beaches that you don't just 'go to the beach'. Beaches make up thiry miles of coastline on Maui.
So be sure to select Maui beaches that fit what you want to do ...
Sunbathe? Play in the sand? People watch? Wade in shallow water? Swim? Snorkel?
Take pictures? Scuba dive? Surf? Boogie board? Fish? Watch whales? Hunt for shells?
Picking the right beach for what you want to do makes the difference between an memorable day and a forgettable one on your Maui family vacation. For example, the large breaking waves that make for good surfing are a problem for a snorkeler.
An ideal snorkeling area may not have a beautiful white sand sunbathing beach. And a perfect sunbathing beach may have strong currents if you go too far out when swimming.
Teenagers often like sunning in the sand, while kids like to explore through rocks and surf - different family members have different 'Best Maui Beaches'!
You will find plenty of listings and maps for Maui beaches. Determine what is important to your group and then select your beach:
• Swimming - Is the water shallow or deep? Are there strong currents of sudden drop offs? At one public beach, we drifted too far out with the current, and we had the assistance of a lifeguard to get back to shore. Note: teenage boy lifeguard helps teenage girl; Dad is left to fend for himself!
• Snorkeling - Are there fish in the water at this beach? Is the water clear enough to see the fish? Are the fish in water that is shallow enough for novice snorkelers? Read about the best snorkeling beaches on Maui.
• Sun bathing - how often does the sun shine on this beach, without being blocked by clouds or fog? Do you want an isolated beach, or a location where you can 'see and be seen'?
My Other Maui Beach Pages
Maui Bucket List from Maui Beaches