The best beaches in Maui range from beautiful white strips of sand to sheltered golden crescents that are simply among the main draws of the island. Many give way to turquoise water like something straight off of a postcard. And when you dip underneath the water, reef networks like cities spread out in all directions.

    Some of Maui’s beaches are for intense bodyboarding, while others have quiet shores for families with small children too. You've also got sprawling coasts so big that you’re guaranteed to find a good spot in the sun, as well as secluded ones where the only sound you hear is the lapping of the waves.

    1

    Makena Beach

    Blue-green water that will take your breath away

    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Makena Beach, also known as Oneloa Beach and Big Beach, is nearly a mile of undeveloped, white sandy coast. It is also quite wide, meaning that there is plenty of space for you to spread out no matter what time of day you arrive. Food vendors and small shops are located on the beach, providing everything you need without taking away from the incredible sights.

    Makena Beach is a must-visit in Maui and an essential sightseeing spot. Just make sure that any swimmer going into the water is an expert. The waves are fierce.  The more secluded Little Beach is a treacherous hike away – it's home to more off-beat activities like nude sunbathing.

    Location: 6600 Makena Alanui, Kihei, HI 96753, USA

    Map
    2

    Hamoa Beach

    A crescent of beach surrounded by a lush landscape

    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Hamoa Beach is a secluded shore with salt-and-pepper sand running smoothly into beautiful blue-green water. Figures as diverse as Oprah Winfrey and Ernest Hemingway have sung its praises, with Oprah herself going out of her way to purchase the surrounding land and keep it undeveloped. This keeps the water clean and the sights magnificent.

    Boogie boarders and surfers will love it here. The water is warm, but the waves can get choppy, so be careful if you're not especially experienced. There are no lifeguards on duty, but you can shop for basic amenities on the beach. Come for the beauty if nothing else – you won't regret it.

    Location: Hamoa Beach, Hana, HI 96713, USA

    Map
    3

    Ka'anapali Beach

    A beach bursting with things to do

    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo
    • Nightlife

    Ka'anapali Beach sits among several resorts and a shopping district in Maui, so it doubles as a prime spot for an evening on the town. Before dressing up, you can dabble in water sports and snorkelling. There's also a daily ceremony in which a diver lights torches along a cliff before diving off, which is said to be a reenactment of King Kahekili's historic dive.

    Ka'anapali Beach has plenty of cultural activities and diversions to keep you entertained while you soak up the sun in one of Maui's most beautiful locales.

    Location: Kaanapali, HI 96761, USA

    Map
    4

    Kapalua Beach

    Waves gentle enough for the whole family

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Kapalua Beach is a heavenly stretch of undeveloped shoreline on Maui’s northwestern tip. The waterline is shallow and calm enough for kids to play in, setting this apart from Maui’s other more surf-intensive beaches.

    This beach offers no amenities, making it ideal for family bonding time. It won't be hard, either – your kids will adore the sea turtles that can be seen swimming off-shore. If you've ever wanted to visit a beach with underwater sights as colourful as in an aquarium, Kapalua Beach is the place for you.

    Location: Kapalua, HI 96761, USA

    Map
    5

    Wailea Beach

    Recline by turquoise waves

    • Photo
    • Luxury

    Wailea Beach is often seen dotted with umbrellas, occupied by guests staying at the nearby Grand Wailea and other resorts. With so many luxurious hotels around, you'd better believe this beach has a neatness and elegance to match. Its fine sand descending into turquoise water is complemented by high-class amenities and décor.

    Expect to hear the strains of ukulele music as you watch a brilliant sunset on Wailea Beach. That's just the kind of beach this is. Calm waves lap at the shore, allowing for a relaxing swim, while well-maintained amenities are always within reach.

    Location: Kihei, HI 96753, USA

    Map
    6

    Baldwin Beach

    For the bodyboarders and sporty types

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Baldwin Beach is noted for its excellent, consistent waves. Bodysurfers and boogie boarders flock to the beach, so it's hardly the place for a light swim. Sporty types will have a ball here as well.

    Flat paved paths make Baldwin Beach ideal for running, and there's even a football pitch and baseball diamond nearby. All kinds of amenities are on offer, including showers, pavilions, and BBQ grills. It’s a great spot to spend an entire day doing all sorts of activities.

    Location: Paia, HI 96779, USA

    Map
    7

    Honolua Bay

    Top spot for underwater activities

    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Honolua Bay lies on the northern tip of Maui. It's hardly a beach, which is important to note as you're probably not going to want to sunbathe on this thin and rocky shoreline. Rather, this bay is noteworthy for being an ideal snorkelling spot. The surrounding cliffs block the wind, keeping the water still and creating the best conditions for an incredible underwater display.

    You can expect to find sea turtles and fish of various colours, and, with a little luck, maybe even dolphins. Surfing experts are going to want to come here, as Honolua Bay has an excellent surf break – one of the best in the world.

    Location: Honolua Bay, Hawaii 96761, USA

    Map
    8

    Olowalu Beach

    A labyrinth of reefs awaits

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Olowalu Beach is one of the best places to snorkel in Hawaii. It might not look like much when you rock up onto its brown, thin line of sand. That's because the wonders are hidden underwater. Put on your snorkelling mask and get ready to descend – you'll find a vast network of reefs, with adventure waiting around every corner.

    You'll be amazed at the long corridors, walls extending into the distance on either side, with twists and turns everywhere. The best part is that it just keeps on going. Calm water and warm temperatures make Olowalu Beach ideal for beginner snorkellers. When you need a breather, the relatively uncrowded and shady is a great place to relax in between dives.

    Location: Olowalu Beach, Hawaii 96761, USA

    Map
    9

    Charley Young Beach

    An untouched paradise for the whole family

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Charley Young Beach is a gorgeous, calm beach where you can lie back and relax as the kids play in the shallow waves. You won't be hearing much else since this beach is quite far from any roads or civilization. Trees provide plenty of shade – a great place to catch a few Zs.

    When you're up for it, go for a dip in the clear water. Visit in the morning for the calmest and most inviting swimming conditions. Check out the good snorkelling spots at the edges of the beach, and be sure to visit the nearby Kamaole. The view from that beach is particularly stunning.

    Location: Charley Young Beach, Kihei, HI 96753, USA

    Map
    10

    Napili Beach

    Find your getaway at this secluded beach

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Adventure
    • Photo

    Napili Beach is known for its laidback feeling, where children can safely swim in the calm water. Sometimes, sea turtles peek up at you from under the waves. You're also less likely to run into crowds here – always a plus. Right on the beach is the Napili Kai, a picturesque resort made up of huts and rattan furniture, adding a unique atmosphere to the place.

    Another unique aspect of Napili is the view of Molokai in the distance. The puffy, white clouds hanging above the big island in the distance is truly a sight to behold. The horseshoe shape of the beach makes it feel particularly secluded. It’s an excellent spot to let your cares wash away with the surf.

    Location: Napili Bay, Hawaii 96761, USA

    Map
    Benjamin Gorman | Contributing Writer

    Start planning your trip

    Maps