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The Best Beaches of Maui

Maui is a gorgeous island with literally hundreds of beaches to choose from - and just about every type of sand. From golden to black to red and white, you’ll be surprised at the variety of beaches located on just one island. The beaches of Maui, however, have their purpose. Some are better for swimming, while others are best for catching the waves and others are ideal for sunbathing. If you are not sure where to start in the sea of beaches, here are a few of the best-rated beaches in Maui to get you started.

Ali’I Kahekili Nui Ahumanu Beach Park
It’s a mouthful to say, which is why most people just refer to it as the Kehekili Beach or Airport Beach. This beach spans from Westin Ka’anapali Resort Villas to Black Rock. You’ll find a beach entrance right in front of the Westin resort parking lot. The beach itself has its own bathrooms and showers and there are covered pavilions and grills for those who want to spend a day at the beach. You’ll find a lot of locals doing their family gatherings all week long here. The sand and beach is nice, but if you go into the water, be aware that the depths drop dramatically once you’re in the water. So, this is a beach definitely made for swimmers. The waters are fairly calm and you can easily swim out to Black Rock as well as go snorkeling while staying close to the shore.

Big Beach and Little Beach
Big Beach, known to the locals as Oneloa, is one of the longest and widest beaches on Maui. It spans almost an entire mile - and it’s a popular beach spot for locals and tourists. There are tons of family gatherings and picnics here and the parking lot is packed on the weekends - so you may have to walk a bit to get in. The water conditions can get rough, but for the most part it is safe for swimming. Once in the water there is a steep drop off, which is why it is more popular for swimmers, body surfers and boogie boarders. If you head to the northern corner of the beach you will find a rocky section, known as Little Beach (or Pu’u Ola’I Beach). While it’s not published, this small rocky area is the unofficial nude beach of Maui.

D.T. Fleming Beach
This was selected as the Best Beach in America for 2006 by “Dr. Beach”. It’s known for its year-round perfect beach weather, crystal clear water and pristine white sand. You can find an array of outdoor activities year-round at this beach too, including windsurfing, beach volleyball, and even local competitions. It’s a favorite beach for sunbathers and swimmers. But, the waves are still favorable for surfers too. At the back of the beach you’ll have a low sea cliff and small forest - making it feel like a secluded tropical island. There are plenty of amenities here too, including restrooms, showers, grills, a snack bar, picnic areas, and even the unofficial beach of the Ritz Carlton just down the way.

Hamoa Beach
A lot of tourists seem to skip Hamoa Beach, which is tragic. It is one of Maui’s most romantic, beautiful beaches and it is definitely remote. It is the official beach for the Hotel Hana Maui, but it is open to the public. The hotel takes responsibility for keeping the beach clean, well-groomed and the lovely landscaping around. Parking is only available on the road unless you’re staying at the hotel. The beach is about 1,000 feet long and 100-feet wide, and you can access it by a set of steps that takes you down the 30-foot sea cliff. The facilities at the beach are only available to guests of the hotel.

Honokowai Beach Park
In west Maui you will find the Honokowai Beach Park. This park has been recently upgraded and now features a playground for kids, bathrooms and shower facilities. You have large picnic tables and areas and tons of grassy areas for those who want to get away from the sand. Parking is a lot easier at this park than other beaches. The beach itself is very narrow and rocky - and the area is more for sunbathers and those who want to picnic while looking over the ocean. There is an opening, however, where you can swim through the coral reefs and it is a great spot for snorkelers.

Ho’okipa Beach
Located in North Maui, this beach is not great for swimming because of the waves. But, if you want to watch windsurfers or learn how to windsurf, this is the best beach to go to - since it is known as the windsurfing capital of the world. At the eastern end of the beach you’ll see some of Maui’s best board surfers too. The waves are pretty harsh at this beach year-round, so do not venture into the waters unless you’re a skilled swimmer.

Ka’anapali Beach
This is one of Maui’s most popular and busiest beaches. You’ll find lifeguards all along the three-mile stretch of beach and its ideal for families with young kids. The water is calm and the entire beach is bordered by luxurious hotels and resorts. You can do just about everything at this beach, including snorkel, swim, surf, jet-ski and even kayak. For the best snorkeling you’ll want to head down to the northern end of the beach toward Black Rock. If you are not staying at the resort, parking can be a little tricky - but the Whaler’s Village Parking Garage is open (for a fee).

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