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South Maui Beaches


Go to the beach and bring your snorkeling gear: the Kamaole Beaches are all framed by lava outcroppings, and there is colorful reef below. Each has its particular flavor: on some days, Kamaole III seems like Turtle Happy Hour as they munch the algae off the rocks. Kamaole I and II are on and off, but always great to explore.

Kihei Beaches

Kihei is a beach town through and through, and the community’s vibe is all about sun and sand. South Kihei Road parallels the ocean for eight miles and offers easy access to Maui’s famed postcard beaches. They’re even more beautiful in person, with soft golden sand and amazingly calm, clear, warm water.

The Kamaole Beaches (Kamaole I, II, and III) are among Maui’s best. These sister beaches are separated by lava outcroppings, and span about two miles of South Kihei Road. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Most of our condos and homes are located across the street from one of these beaches, and some are ocean front.

Kihei’s most reliable surf break is located near Kalama Park (close to Kamaole I Beach) at “The Cove,” with plenty of rental and lessons options nearby. Stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and shoreline whale watching (in the winter season) are popular up and down the south Kihei shoreline. The scenery is amazing, and seeing Maui from the water is a visual treat. Rentals are available near all of these beaches.
Kamaole I is the northernmost of these beaches, Kamaole III, closest to Wailea, is the southernmost.

North Kihei, while generally windier with less water clarity and rockier shorelines, has its charm – and Sugar Beach. It’s Maui’s longest walking beach, with eight miles of soft golden sand, spanning all the way to the harbor community of Maalaea.

Plan your beach and water outings in the mornings. The trade winds often whip up in the afternoon, and the beaches regularly get blown out. Get out by 8 or 9 for your shoreline snorkeling and paddling. We recommend booking at least one boat trip while you’re here, and morning outings are always best.

Beach parking is generally easy, food options abound, and the tone is mellow and laid-back, island style!


Sugar Beach

North Kihei’s beaches are favored by windsurfers and kiters rather than swimmers, which speaks to the prevailing conditions. This shoreline is more natural and has a less manicured feel than South Kihei’s beaches. Swimming-friendly beach spots are more sporadic, and water clarity here is sometimes muddled. Foot protection is recommended, as submerged rocks (and spiky sea urchins) are more common.

Charley Young Beach

Located about a block south of Foodland just off South Kihei Road, is a local favorite for its natural shade (courtesy of the Ironwood trees), a paved parking lot, and more of a sense of seclusion than the others. It connects with the northern end of Kamaole I beach and is loved by families for its shallow, kid-friendly swimming.

Kamaole I Beach

Walk a few hundred yards south, and you’re on Kamaole I Beach, the northernmost and largest of the three Kamaole beaches. This is a very appealing sunning beach, the water is incredible, and there are basic facilities and lifeguards. Lava outcroppings book-end the beach, with good snorkeling. There’s also a public volleyball net, a shaded picnic area off the beach, restrooms, and restaurants across the street.

Kamaole II Beach

A half-mile south of Kamaole I is Kamaole II. This wide, beautiful beach is smaller than “Kam I” but often less crowded. Small sand dunes divide the road and the beach. The shoreline is soft sand, the swimming and sunning are wonderful, and there are some primo snorkeling spots along the rocky shoulders of this beach. Restrooms and lifeguards.

Kamaole III Beach

Furthest south of the Kamaole triplets, “Kam 3” is a sprawling, grassy beach park with a sloping lawn to the sand, favored by local families celebrating birthdays or just getting together for weekend “ohana” time. At day’s end, it transforms into a natural amphitheater, perfectly set up to indulge in Maui’s legendary sunsets. Great snorkeling, and a favorite resting and dining spot for south Maui’s sea turtles, especially early morning and late afternoons.

Keawakapu Beach

One of Maui’s all-around best, this expansive beach is an ideal playground for every imaginable ocean pursuit, including the most popular one of all – doing nothing. Right out of a Jimmy Buffet song, this beach has it all: plenty of spacious sand, placid and warm swimming, facilities, and easy in-and-out for kayaks and SUP’s. The south swell brings boogie boarding (and sometimes surfing) waves.

Wailea Beaches

Wailea’s beaches are a mix of cabana-dotted, manicured resort beaches (all beaches in Hawaii are public), to hidden, less traveled stretches of sand. Public parking is at more of a premium in Wailea, but there are designated beach parking lots that are nearly invisible to the driving eye. Located just South of Kihei, Wailea’s resort properties are nearly all gated, and many have immediate beach access.

One of South Maui’s wonderful morning options is a walk on the Wailea Beach Path, which weaves above the shoreline between the Andaz and Fairmont Kea Lani resorts. There’s no better way to get a sense of ocean front Wailea, and the path offers direct access to Mokapu, Ulua, Wailea, and Polo Beaches – four beautiful beaches. The path takes you by the incredible new Andaz Resort, Grand Wailea, and the totally renovated Wailea Beach Resort (formerly The Marriott). The coffee kiosk located beach front at the Wailea Beach Resort may have the best view of any coffee kiosk, and their brews rock just as much.

The path is a wonderfully scenic blend of manicured tropical growth, opulent resort living, beach front condo options, and a great mix of local and visiting foot-traffic, some in hurry, some not so much.


Keawakapu Beach

So nice, we've listed it twice! Technically the North end of Keawakapu beach is in Kihei and it extends into Wailea bridging the two communities. Aquarium-level snorkeling (in front of Mana Kai), easy Stand-Up Paddle boarding and Kayaking access (and beach front rentals), spectacular sunsets, great swimming, and a mix of seasoned Maui locals and vacationers: this beach has it all. Parking lot on S. Kihei Rd. and Kilohana Dr.

Ulua Beach

A beautiful white-sand beach that is separated from Mokapu by a lava outcropping. A beach parking lot is between the two. It fills up quickly during high season but if you get lucky, it’s super convenient. Ulua Beach is directly in front of the Wailea Elua Village, and on most mornings, you’ll see dive instructors with students in tow. You don’t have to go deep to see beautiful ocean wildlife here – the reef is vibrant, the snorkeling wonderful.

Mokapu Beach

On the other side of the rocky outcropping that separates Ulua Beach from Mokapu beach, sits “the sacred island” referring to the small islet that used to sit just offshore. While these rocky islets were all but destroyed during WWII combat training, the remains offer excellent swimming, great snorkeling and boogie boarding. As with all the great snorkeling spots, the earlier the better for both parking, calmness, and visibility.

Wailea Beach

Located between the majestic Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons Resorts and practically across the street from one of our favorite condo properties (Ho’olei) -- Wailea Beach is a wide, pristine, and inviting beach that is as hospitable to sun fun as it is picture perfect. A frequent member of the “world’s best” list. Two nearby iconic resorts can mean big crowds. Showers and bathrooms, no lifeguards.

Makena Beaches

Just as Kihei and Wailea beaches have their own tone and vibe, so do the Makena beaches. Drive south past the Wailea resorts, and the landscape changes dramatically. The further south you drive (the road ends seven miles past the Grand Wailea, at La Perouse Bay), the stronger sense you’ll have of old Maui beach life. The timeless shoreline geography contrasts explosive development on both sides of the narrow two-lane asphalt road that meanders past some of the world’s highest-dollar real estate.

You can find every beach indulgence here, from secluded, hidden stretches to mass expanses of sea-lapping sand, to a weekly Sunday drum party that would be a strong “R” if it were a movie. Makena is magical, and even more so on the weekdays than weekends. Snorkel Ahihi Preserve if you get the chance (bring rubber footwear).


Polo Beach

Formed by a pair of sandy crescents in from of Polo Beach Club and the Fairmont Kea Lani hotel. The original name, Ke One o Polo” means “The sand is not thick” as you will find many rocks poking through the sandy beach. This does not take away from it being a beautiful beach for walking, sunbathing or snorkeling around the rocky point on the north side of the cove. This beach features picnic tables, BBQ area, and showers.

Palauea Beach

Commonly known as White Rock, near the Fairmont/Kea Lani, this is a lesser-used beach with a wilder, more natural and local feel than the other Wailea beaches. It’s been a popular wind-down spot for locals for generations. Development has changed this once sleepy beach enclave, and homes in this neighborhood start in the ten million range. No bathrooms, no lifeguards.

Po'olenalena Beach

Also known as Paipu Beach, stretches over 700 feet of picture-perfect beach with great snorkeling spots on either end of the beach. This spot can also be a great boogie board spot if the winds are right. A favorite spot of locals, this beach is less crowded during the week and offers spectacular sunset views. Po'olenalena means "Yellow Head" referring to a yellow streaked rock on the Mauka (Mountain) side of the road.

Makena Landing

A little drive from most hotels, Makena Landing Park is the one stop shop for all your water activities. Hang out on the beach, snorkel, scuba or even stand-up paddle board – you can do it all from this roadside beach. You will likely share the space with kayakers as many companies put in here as well.

Maluaka Beach

A long and flat white sand beach offers it all. This is a favorite spot of many due to the trade winds tend to fill this spot last, so if you are looking for calm and tranquil water – this is the spot. But get there early as parking is limited.

Little Beach

Hike around and over the point to the right from Big Beach, and down below you’ll find Little Beach, a hideaway for nude sunbathers and host to Sunday’s drum party, a time tunnel into the 1960s. The beach and surf are pleasant, the swimming mostly calm, and the boogie boarding is good when conditions cooperate.

Makena Beach - a.k.a. Big Beach

Before the endless accolades so deserved by one of Maui’s landmark beaches, observe one rule above all others when you’re at Big Beach: if there is someone yelling at you with a bullhorn - listen to them. They just don't want to do the paperwork when you get crushed and end up in the E.R.! That said, this is a “must see” beach, with more than a half mile of sandy expanse.

Ahihi Bay

The Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve's Ahihi Bay is not really what you might think of when you think sandy beach - but that is what makes it som eof the best snorkeling in Maui. The ground is rocky at nearly every point of entrance, so bring your water shoes - but this area is not to be missed!
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