Maui's Best Beaches

Relax on the sand, surf and snorkel around the island

It goes without saying that Maui is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. But how might you go about choosing which beach to frequent during your time in paradise? Fortunately, the question is not as daunting as it might appear. The South side of the island, for example, is a good bet for early risers, as high winds make the waters too choppy for comfort past lunchtime. Conversely, the surf on West Maui remains relatively calm throughout the afternoon. And the North Shore more than earns its reputation as a world-class surfing destination. Here's a breakdown to help you find the best Maui beach out there. No matter where you end up, remember your reef-friendly sunscreen — you'll want to ensure that the area stays healthy for your next visit! 
Sugar Beach

Walk along a 6 mile stretch, called Sugar Beach for its powdery golden sand


South Maui

Makena Beach State Park
Makena, also known as "Big Beach," is the ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Swim with caution — the shore break can create dangerous conditions.  

Wailea Beach
A haven for sunbathers, though be prepared to share the warm sand with a number of other vitamin-D seekers. 

If it's respite from Wailea crowds you seek, look no further than this rustic hamlet of a beach, ideal for swimmers and bodysurfers. 

Kamaole III
Another Kihei beach that's a good bet for snorkeling, as well as boogie boarding. If you're feeling adventurous, Maui Paddle Board Rentals is just a couple of miles down the road. 

Sugar Beach
If a meandering stroll across a broad expanse of golden sand is high on your hit parade, Sugar is the place for you. At 2.5 acres, Sugar is the longest beach on Maui, and a great kayaking spot as well. You could also try your hand at windsurfing, or — from November through March — watch the humpback whales as they perform their annual dance across the Pacific.     

Where to stay

Best beach condos on the south shore:  

Kihei Beach Resort   

Kealia Resort 

Haycraft Park

Often uncrowded,  Haycraft Park has a picnic area and sandy beach. 

Central Coast

Maalaea Beach
This secluded beach, located in Maalaea's peaceful harbor, is a prime nesting ground for the Hawaiian Hawksbill turtle, an endangered species. 

Haycraft Beach Park
Connecting Kihei's Sugar Beach to Maalaea, Haycraft Park the best place to unpack that picnic lunch while you watch boats go in and out of the harbor.

Where to stay   

Best beach condos on the Central (Maalaea) shore:  

Maalaea Bay Resorts 

Several oceanfront condo resorts to choose from. All are convenient to hop on snorkel or dive charter out of Maalaea Small Boat Harbor.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

Spot some hard-shelled sunbathers soaking up some rays on the beach at Kuleana Resort and nearby beach parks.

West Maui

Baby Beach

A longtime favorite of Lahaina residents, featuring tranquil waves and stunning views of Lanai and Molokini Crater. 


Covering more than 6 acres, Launipoko is a prime spot for launching a stand-up paddle board. Arrive early to ensure a parking space. 

Pohaku Park

For some of the best surfing on the West Side. 

Honokowai Beach Park

It would be unusual to visit this 4.6-acre park and not catch sight of a turtle — if you're not too busy soaking up the sun, that is. 

Kaanapali Beach

No short-list for the best Maui beach would be complete without mention of this glorious expanse, the epitome of island paradise. Be prepared to battle crowds. 

Kapalua Beach

A jewel of the Kapalua Coastal Trail, with the nearby resort offering everything you might desire from your tropical getaway. 


Though still referred to as "Windmill Beach," the windmill is no longer around. However, Punalau — located on the northern side of West Maui — is worth a visit for its rugged, almost otherworldly charm. 


Where to stay   

Best beach condos on the west shore:  

Kuleana Resort 

Kuleana Resort is located between Pohaku Park and Honokowai Beach Park, and has its own small beach in front of the resort, a popular spot to see turtles.



Black sand beach

The black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park, near Hana Maui, is formed from ground lava.

The North Shore and Hana


Visitors who take the Road to Hana should also stop in at this sheltered beach, steeped in local folklore and dusted with Hawaiian peridot. 

Waianapanapa State Park has an incredibly scenic black sand beach nestled in a small cove formed from lava. There is a cave to explore where Hawaiian legend says a heartbroken Queen once took refuge. 

You could spend an entire day combing this North Shore beauty, but you'll want to leave some time for swimming and overall exploration. Note that the surf can be rough. 


One of the North Shore's most popular spots for tourists and locals alike, this is the place for water sports. Surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, snorkeling — if you get wet while doing it, you'll find someone doing it at Ho'okipa. 




Everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes the best Maui beach. Start exploring and discover yours today. Aloha!


Visitor Caution: It is strongly recommended that you do not leave anything in your vehicle when exploring Maui beaches and parks. Take a small backpack and carry valuables or lock everything out of sight in the trunk.