When you imagine Maui, beautiful beaches with warm sand probably come to your mind. The island is home to many beaches, each with its own unique character. They’re all open to the public, but must be accessed via marked public paths. Swimming isn’t recommended in all areas, but if you’re at a beach where it’s generally safe to swim, be aware of the currents, which can quickly turn rough.
These five beaches are some of the top ones to visit while you’re in Maui.
1. Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach is ruggedly beautiful and feels like a world all its own since it’s off the beaten path. In fact, you’ll need 4-wheel drive – as well as clear directions from your guide or concierge – to get there.
Located about 30 minutes north of Lanai City, this eight-mile stretch of beach is perfect for beachcombing but too rough for swimming. The beach’s rough currents and numerous reefs have made the area the site of several shipwrecks, giving the beach its name. Look out from the shore to see the Liberty, a rusty World War II ship. Liberty was placed there, not shipwrecked. Many visitors say it gives the beach an eerie feeling, but it makes a memorable photograph.
2. Makena Beach State Park
This is South Maui’s biggest beach, and it’s anchored by Pu’u Olai, a 360-foot high cinder cone. Makena Beach State Park contains two distinct beaches – Big Beach and Little Beach.
Big Beach is a large section of pristine sandy beach, great for sunbathing. It's also perfect for swimming or snorkeling among the reefs. Little Beach is situated at the right of the beach, over the lava rock formations. This area is unofficially “clothing optional” and frequently attracts a drum circle on the weekends.
3. Ka’anapali Beach
Located just beyond Whalers Village Shopping Center and several resorts, this three-mile stretch of beach has soft, beautiful white sand. It slopes gently into clear ocean water, making it the perfect spot for snorkeling, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding and scuba diving. A great deal of sea life is often visible, and the area boasts a large sea turtle population. The sea turtle is a protected animal, so it's illegal to touch or harass them, but you can swim in the ocean with them. Ka’anapali Beach is also well known for Black Rock, a lava rock formation that’s a popular destination for cliff jumpers.
4. Hamoa Beach
This crescent-shaped stretch of beach is located in Hana, below sea cliffs formed by black lava. In fact, coral and lava have combined to give the sand its grayish color. “Hawaii” author James Michener called Hamoa Beach the most beautiful beach in the Pacific.
The area is surrounded by plenty of lush vegetation, so you’ll be able to find shade when you need it. The ocean off of Hamoa Beach has powerful currents, so caution should be exercised when you’re in the water.
5. Baldwin Beach
Located at the six mile marker of Hana Highway, Baldwin Beach stretches for about 17 acres of coastline. It’s popular with families, who often head to “Baby Beach” on Baldwin’s west end. This section of beach has calm pools, protected by a barrier reef wall, making it better-suited for children.
The entire beach is popular for swimming and bodyboarding, but watch out for strong currents. The area also has tables, shaded pavilions, and barbecue grills if you’d like to have a picnic while you’re enjoying the beach.
Tips When Going to a Maui Beach
Heeding the admonition to “look before you leap” might serve you well in other parts of the country, but in Maui, it could spare you a ticket.
This is why it's important to read, “Tips When Going to a Maui Beach,” which will enlighten you about:
- Maui beach rules and restrictions
- Ocean conditions and warnings
- Beach safety basics
As you know, Maui benefits from the ocean's tempestuous, exhilarating nature. But look before you leap into the ocean – and look at the article – so you can make the most of your Maui vacation.
To see the beauty of Maui’s beaches for yourself, book a Maverick Helicopters tour today by calling 1-800-978-0266 or 1-808-893-7999.