First, here are the results of the Hawaii Magazine readers poll:
- Kaanapali Beach
- Napili Bay
- Makena Beach
- Baby Beach
- Keawakapu Beach
It’s a fine list and hard to argue with. But this would be a pretty boring article if we didn’t take a little bit of time to disagree. For one thing, the poll doesn’t list any beaches from non-tourist areas on the north and east shores. So, let’s fix that with our own top five list of beaches!
- Makena Beach (Makena)– Also known as Big Beach and yes, it’s a big beach, spanning over 1.5 miles! The beach is also wide, with over 30 yards of beach from shore to the water. While the water can get rough – rough enough that if you’re a beginning swimmer, you may not want to enter the water – for most of the year, it’s simply perfect. As an added bonus, around a northern bluff lies Little Beach. It’s hidden from the general public, but if you know where to go (it’s not hard to find) you’ll come across this clothing-optional gem.
- Napili Bay (Kapalua)– A smaller beach, but with a great location and actual trees for shade, we find this beach to be the best on the west side. Parking can be tough to find, but if you go early enough it won’t be a problem. The water is nearly always glassy and it’s a great place to learn how to snorkel. Turtles are abundant here.
- Baldwin Beach/Baby Beach (Paia/Spreckelsville)– A “locals” beach, but as long as you’re respectful of the people and the beach, you will be just fine. Baldwin is another long beach. Located on the north shore, if you’re coming from the airport, it’s just before the sunny surf town of Paia. The waves at Baldwin Beach can get big, but that’s part of the fun. If you walk down the beach from the main parking lot, you’ll eventually run into Baby Beach. A beautiful cove with a large reef that blocks the waves, creating smooth, lake-like conditions that are perfect for your keiki, and it has some of the best tide pools on the island. Baby Beach is also accessible directly from the west side if you don’t want to make the walk from the main parking lot. You can follow Google maps to Maui Country Club, but instead of turning right into the golf course, keep going straight and you’ll run into the ocean.
- Kamaole One/Charley Young Beach (Kihei)– Located in the heart of Kihei, this beach has a little of everything. Kam 1 and Charley Young are connected, though we’ve never figured out where one ends and the other starts, so we’ll just lump them together. The north end of the beach, Charley Young, features small, yet body surfable (for beginners) waves most of the year. There’s also tide pools that are ripe for exploring. The southern part of the beach, most of the year, has calmer waters… and more people. But parking is ample, and the south end features three sets of showers and a nice bathroom.
- Waianapapa State Park (Hana)– The largest black sand beach on Maui, Honokalani Beach (pictured above), resides in this beautiful state park. But the park has more than just its fascinating black sand going for it. It also features overnight camping, easy to navigate lava caves, blow holes and Hawaii’s largest known heiau (an ancient Hawaiian temple or sacred site). If you’re staying in Hana or are doing the Road to Hana, running your feet in the black sand is a must do.
That’s our list of the best five beaches on Maui. Do you agree… or disagree? Hit us up in the comments. We’d love to see your favorite beaches!
By the way, did you know that you can now save $10/person on our Maui Princess Dinner Cruise or a Snorkel Adventure to the island of Lanai? Well you can! Just use the promo code VIP20 after clicking on this link: Hawaii Ocean Project Adventures.