Our Favorite Local Beaches | Print |


Kamaole II Beach Park

Directly north of Kamaole Point, this beach is a favorite for the seniors and the early risers. You'll find them walking, swimming, exercising, and talking in the cool of the morning before the heat sets in.

Kamaole III Beach Park

Kamaole III Beach

Directly across the street, life-guarded Kam III is divided by rocks into two sections: a small cove and a broader beach good for boogie boarding when the trade wind swell is up. Good snorkeling at Kamaole Point at the north end of Kam III. Usually very calm in the morning hours.

A picture postcard perfect beach just south of the Five Palms Grille. Three parking lots.

Good snorkeling and shore dive spot but very popular and often crowded. Very limited parking--arrive at 8 (yes, 8) or you’ll wait for a spot. If the crowds bother you, just move south a few yards. Snorkeling is good only at the north end.

Ulua Beach


Another wonderful spot with more parking. Fair snorkeling.

Nice beach in front of the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort with lots of parking. Enter the parking lot at the side road adjacent to the south end of the resort. There is a small park with restrooms, showers, tables and grilles. Snorkeling can be good.

Makena Landing Beach Park

Favored by snorklers and large groups of kayakers, the shoreline is mostly rocky with little sand. South of the landing are two small pockets of white sand, which are popular picnicking spots. The ocean bottom here slopes gently, making it a good swimming beach for children and novice swimmers. Accessed off of Makena Alanui Road at the "Makena Landing" sign.

Drive past the Maui Prince resort a ways and then make a sharp right back to the parking lot. Fair snorkeling on the reef to the left. When the reef gets too shallow to swim, turn right and swim into deep water past the under-water arch. Bear left in deep water and look for turtles and perhaps a manta ray. Don’t attempt the swim unless the water is calm and the trades are calm. If you do swim out, swim back if the wind line (white caps in the distance) approaches.

Oneuli (Big Beach

Big Beach

Maui’s most popular “local” beach. Don’t think of body surfing Paraplegic Beach here unless you have good medical insurance. The waves are slammers, due to the quick drop-off in the water. If you must body surf, head south toward the end of this long and beautiful beach. Little Beach over the lava flow at the right side of the beach has much gentler waves and is Maui’s unofficial (and illegal) clothing optional beach. There is good snorkeling between Big and Little Beach, and at the south end of Big Beach. There is also a reef about 100 feet off-shore that provides interesting snorkeling. Two parking lots. The beach closes at sunset.

Po'olenalena Beach

This secluded beach on the way to La Perouse Bay is often missed due to its rock wall enclosure. Its unofficial name is "Secret Beach". Since it is heavily used for weddings and renewal of vows, think twice before laying out your beach mat! But it is great for picture-taking. To access the beach, drive past Big Beach and look for a rock wall with a small opening next to some homes that sit at the road's edge.

Review of Maui's Beaches Maui's Current Beach Conditions

Sands of Maui

A popular Maui souvenir is a bottle filled with layers of Maui sands of different color. You can collect the sand and do the same thing, except using larger decorator Italian tapered bottles. Each of the beaches listed has a different color.

  • Makena Beach--Oneloa Beach (Makena) | light tan sand
  • Wai'anapanapa Beach Park--Pa'iloa Beach (Hana) | black sand
  • Kamaole Beach Park III (Kihei) | an sand
  • Little Black Sand Beach--Oneuli Beach (Makena) | two shades of gray & peppered sand
  • Red Sand Beach--Kaihalulu Beach (Hana) | beautiful red cinder sand 

The Little Black Sand Beach is on the north side of the Puu Olai cinder cone. It is accessed by a rutted dirt road just south of the paved access road to Mala’aku Beach. (This access road is past the Maui Prince turn-off). The rutted road will be a right turn in the Kiawe trees. If you miss the road, you will be at the Makena Beach parking lot access. Although the dirt road seems nearly impassable, and many cars park up front near the road, you can drive the road all the way to the beach. One color sand is to the right, the other to the left.

The Red Sand Beach is accessed near the community center and the graveyard in back of the Hana Hotel bungalows. Just park at the dead end road near the graveyard (but not on hotel property). The trail is slippery in spots and signs warn visitors that they risk their lives using the trail. The trail has some wonderful spots to admire the seascape. Notice the Japanese grave stones that have tumbled into the ocean or are slipping downhill. Do you wonder what happened to the graves?

Collect the sand in plastic bags and when you get home, dry it out and layer the sand, tilting the bottle one way, then another, for the best effect. Multiple layers of each color work best! The inexpensive Italian tapered bottles are wonderful for displaying the sand. It is best to make sure to settle each layer before adding the next. The finer sand has a tendency to fill the spaces between the coarser sand. The filled bottles do not ship very well, as the colors seem to merge together.