Enjoying Maui does not require a daily expense account and travel planning. Maui's beaches offer a variety of activities and atmospheres ranging from the quieter "rest in the sun" beaches, to the body surfing,
snorkeling, and more. The following information lists a number of beaches around Maui available for free enjoyment.
These beaches in general have less shore break, and more gradual gradients into the water. While all beaches require child supervision, you will find your day at the beach much more relaxing with the safer environment.
Kihei offers some of the best family beaches on the island. Many of the beaches have long shallow areas inside, and an outer reef that limits the shore break.
The beaches along highway 31 are all excellent white sand beaches with very few people. There are several places to pull off along the road, and often you may find a beach to yourself.
Grand Wailea Beach
We often spend our days at the beach by the Grand
Wailea. To get there travel south through Kihei to
Wailea. Continue south through town, past the Wailea shopping center. If you are using the beach only, continue past the Grand Wailea hotel entrance and parking; you will see a sign for beach access and parking just past the hotel.
The Grand Wailea is a spectacular hotel so enjoy the beach, and be sure to leave some time to walk the grounds. They have miles of pools interconnected with water slides. There are rope swings, and
Jacuzzis hidden within the maze of caves.
Other Beaches (not Recommended
Big and Little Makena Beaches
Makena beaches are south of
Wailea as the buildings drop
away. There is a large parking
area, and plenty of room on the
When you walk onto the beach from the parking area you enter "Big
Makena" beach. This is a nice beach for sunbathing, but
beware if planning to spend much time in the water. Makena has a
pretty steep beach, and the waves generally break hard onto the
sand. This is a regular site for injuries from bodysurfers being
rolled and slammed on the beach.
To get to Little Makena you turn right on Big Makena beach and
walk to the end. You will climb over an embankment and drop into
Little Makena on the far side. Little Makena is mainly known as a
nude beach. I have also heard it can be a good snorkeling
location, although the break has been too high on the occasions I have
tried to snorkel there.
Beaches of Napili
While we have heard the beaches of Napili are excellent for families, we have made only one attempt at finding them. The beach we did find was located off a small back street. The beach was fairly narrow, and dropped quite off sharp into the water. There may be other beaches in this area for families, but the one we located did not rate very high for child safety.
We found one beach off the back streets of Napili that offered excellent
snorkeling. I can not offer directions (and would be unlikely to find it again!), but recommend this area if you are out for a
snorkeling adventure. Mainly smaller fish, but people were feeding them, so the fish would cluster into large groups around the
Snorkeling Past Kahana
There is a beach park around the end of the island past Kahana that is well known for
snorkeling. To get there you travel around the north-western end of the island until the round narrows and winds up and down along the coast. A few miles in you will come across cars parked along the right of the road near a trail head. It is a short walk through the trees to a stony beach on a cove. There are usually a few boats anchored here for the day.
There are reefs along the sides that are quite spectacular. Depending on conditions you may see fish right off shore, or may have to swim out further along the side to the outer point reef. If lucky you will see sea turtles in this area. The water is deep within this bay - not like some of the safer family areas previously mentioned.
And when you've had enough fun in the sand, a world of water activities awaits you. As you might expect, you can enjoy just about any ocean activity imaginable here, including snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, jet-skiing, catamaran cruises, deep sea fishing and charters of every kind. Rental equipment is readily available at various locations across the island. Of course, whatever you choose to do, be sure to bring your sunscreen.