With over 30 miles of beaches spread out along close to 140 miles of coastline, Maui has some of the most beautiful and highest rated beaches in the world! Both the south side (Kihei and Wailea) and the west side (including Kaanapali and Kapalua) have miles of beaches, many that are right in front of world-class resorts! Hawaii law grants public access to all beaches, but often there is limited parking for the public. It’s best to get to the most popular ones, especially in the resort areas on the west side, as early as possible.
Kihei and Wailea have the largest concentration of beaches, including Makena, also known as “Big Beach.” At over a mile long this beautiful beach is a favorite with local residents and includes the secluded “little beach,” Maui’s only nude beach.
The west side has mostly smaller cove like beaches with stunning reefs perfect for snorkeling. The exception is Kaanapali Beach, which stretches for more than half a mile in front of half a dozen world-class resorts. Restaurants, boat tours, and cliff diving can all be enjoyed here.
Maui’s north shore is where all the big surf is, and the waters can be rough with dangerous rip currents when the surf is up. The north shore is not for casual swimming or snorkeling but Hookipa beach is world renown with surfers and windsurfers, plus there is a great overlook where you can watch all the action! Hookipa is located just outside of the town of Paia along Hana Highway.
If your out on the road to Hana be sure to check out the black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park, all Hana tours stop here. It’s a unique beach in a small cove with lava caves and beautiful lava rock formations all around, including a blowhole. Overnight rustic cabins can also be rented here, but reservations are often required months in advance.