The best beaches in Maui based on your ideal day
By Sarah Gillespie, Jun 2020
Maui's 120-mile coastline is flush with powdery white sand and dotted by abundant reefs, volcanic rocks and roaring waves. Where you spend your day depends on your beach goals: Are you stoked to watch skilled surfers navigate heavy breakers? Do you fancy a day lounging with your significant other? How about an afternoon with a snorkel exploring the underwater world? Whatever your ideal beach day looks like, Maui has it.
Here are our picks for the best beaches in Maui for romantics, snorkelers and surfing enthusiasts.
Find a perch at the Ho'okipa Lookout, where you can watch surfers and windsurfers ride big waves.
Best for spotting surfers: Ho'okipa Beach Park
Ho'okipa Beach Park, on the North Shore, is one of the best beaches in Maui (and one of the most famous in the world) for water sports. Maui's finest surfers can be found carving into the glassy, barrel-like waves here, and the beaches' strong winds make it prime windsurfing territory. Claim a spot on the Ho'okipa Lookout, situated on the edge of a cliff, and feel the power of the ocean as the waves pound against the outcroppings.
Ho'okipa's waves make its waters too rough for swimming in most areas, but the Pavilions break on the beach's eastern point has cushiony white sand and sheltered tide pools that are ideal for sightseeing and sunbathing. At sunset, Hawaiian green sea turtles clamber ashore for the night, blending almost seamlessly with the black lava rocks.
Best for snorkeling: Honolua Bay
Because fishing is prohibited in the Honolua-Mokule'ia Marine Conservation District, Honolua Bay is a magnificent protected area home to abundant and colorful marine life, including shimmering shoals of fish, diverse coral reefs and green turtles. Come winter, this crescent-shaped bay is a haven for experienced surfers, but in the height of summer, Honolua Bay is a snorkelers' wonderland. For the best visibility, enter along the rocks on the north side of the bay.
Scuba divers, meanwhile, enjoy superior visibility and denser marine life farther from shore. Because there's only a small, rocky beach here, Honolua Bay is best for people who favor spending more time below the water than on the sand, but the scenic walk through the dense canopy of trees and vines on the trail leading into the bay is worth a visit in itself.
Watch the sky of Keawakapu Beach cycle through shades of pink on a romantic sunset stroll.
Best for romance and tranquility: Keawakapu Beach
Keawakapu, which means "forbidden cove" in Hawaiian, is one of the best beaches in Maui to escape the island's densely populated areas. This peaceful hideaway in South Maui is a healthy distance away from its fully developed shoreline. It's a beach straight out of an abstract painting: a gold ribbon of sand framed by green palms, white foam and a blue horizon dotted with yellow paddleboards.
This wide stretch of beach provides plenty of prime sunbathing opportunities, and it's also known for having soft sand and favorable swimming conditions year-round. Watch the sky turn pink at sunset, when you'll likely only have the waves for company. For a romantic dinner backdrop, try Sarento's on the Beach, which looks out onto the sand and surf.
There's no shortage of incredible beaches to choose from in Maui. All you have to do is figure out what your ideal beach day looks like, then head for the shoreline.
Ready to get your adventure started? Browse our Maui vacation packages today!