The North Shore beaches of Maui are perfect for those looking to enjoy less crowded and less touristy beaches. Many of these beaches are close to the historic town of Paia, renowned for its hippie vibe, rustic shops, local art galleries, shopping boutiques, and restaurants.
Since most North Shore beaches have world-class surf breaks, Paia has become a popular spot for avid surfers. It’s ideal for those who prefer to stay in areas that give them easy access to North Shore beaches, including Ho’okipa Beach, dubbed the windsurfing capital of the world.
But other than surfing, there’s plenty to enjoy on the North Shore beaches of Maui. During the calmer summer months, you can swim, sunbathe, and go snorkeling at some beaches. You will also find beaches with shallow waters, safe enough for kids to swim in.
Are you planning to stay in Paia and wondering which beaches to visit? Check out our list of the best North Shore beaches near Paia in Maui.
Even More Activities in Maui
Check out these posts for even more activities in Maui to help plan your vacation.
Spreckelsville Beach (Baby Beach)
Also called Sprecks Beach or Baby Beach, Spreckelsville Beach is a stunning stretch of coastline close to Paia and an extension of the nearby Baldwin Beach. Renowned for its remarkable lava-red sands, it’s one of the most photographed beaches on the North Shore.
Extending west from Baldwin Beach, Spreckelsville Beach is an ideal option for those looking to escape the tourist crowd. Its nearshore reef makes it less ideal for swimming, although it protects younger kids, hence the name Baby Beach.
While Spreckelsville Beach is on the same coastline as Baldwin Beach, both beaches offer different experiences. Baldwin Beach Park is state-maintained and a stopping-off point for those driving the Road to Hana. And while Baldwin Beach has restrooms and showers, you cannot expect the same at Spreckelsville’s Baby Beach.
Location and Parking: From Paia, take the Hana Highway west. Turn right at Nonohe Pl, approximately a mile after Baldwin Beach Park. You will eventually reach Paani Pl. Take the first left turn onto Kealakai Pl. Parking is limited and is in a residential area, so expect to share the parking with local residents.
Best For: Families with kids or anyone looking for a quiet beach.
Baldwin Beach Park
Right next to Sprecklesville Beach is the more popular Baldwin Beach Park, one of North Maui’s best spots for bodysurfing and bodyboarding. Stretching across roughly 17 acres of the North Shore coastline, this beach offers something for everyone. It’s a beautiful, long white sand beach that’s also a perfect place for scenic walks.
Baldwin Beach Park is one of the most child-friendly North Shore beaches, with parts sheltered by a barrier reef wall, which serves as a calm cover for swimming and playing in the sand. However, powerful shore breaks can make swimming at Baldwin Beach dangerous, so be mindful of the conditions before heading to the water, especially if you have small kids.
Depending on the time of the year, the central areas of Baldwin offer an ideal setting for swimming and water sports like bodysurfing and bodyboarding. A state-run beach, Baldwin Beach Park has convenient amenities like public restrooms, showers, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, and a large covered pavilion. There is a lifeguard on duty from 8 AM to 4 PM daily.
Location and Parking: Baldwin Beach Park is at Mile Marker 6 of Hana Highway, only a few minutes drive from the historic town of Paia. A large, unmissable sign at the gate indicates an entry point to the beach. It has a spacious parking lot, but it’s filled up quickly during the peak season, so try to come here early.
Best For: Families looking for a well-equipped beach to swim and play.
Paia Bay Beach
Paia Bay Beach is only a short walk from Paia town, making it one of the most accessible North Shore beaches. Like many beaches on the North Shore, Paia Bay Beach is renowned for being an excellent spot for water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, bodyboarding, and surfing.
Thanks to the trees along the beachfront, Paia Bay Beach has plenty of shaded areas to relax and enjoy a picnic. This beach is great for lounging or playing in the sand, but the waves here can be huge, especially in the winter, so exercise caution when visiting with little ones.
Paia Bay Beach is a lovely place to enjoy leisure walks. You can walk westward to the other North Shore beaches like Baldwin and Sprecklesville Beach. If you’re staying in Paia and looking for a beach you can visit on a short walk from town, Paia Bay Beach is perfect.
Location and Parking: You can walk to the beach from the town of Paia. If you are bringing a car, park at Lower Paia Park. The beach has restrooms, showers, and other facilities. However, you will not find lifeguards on duty at the beach.
Best For: Water sports enthusiasts, walks, or lounging in the sun.
Ho’okipa Beach Park
If you’re looking for the best North Shore beaches for windsurfing, Ho’okipa Beach Park is perfect. Dubbed the windsurfing capital of the world, Ho’okipa Beach Park boasts a captivating, dramatic surf break emerging from the reef system stretching across the bay.
Ho’okipa Beach Park is also among the best places on the North Shore to spot Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (Honu). Later in the day, you can often see many turtles beached in the sand amongst the boulders at the far end of the beach.
If you’re here to swim, head to the far-right side of the beach, which offers more suitable conditions for enjoying the water. As one of the most popular North Shore beaches in Maui, expect Ho’okipa Beach Park to be full of beachgoers. While many come here for water sports, the middle section of the beach is more suitable for families.
Location and Parking: Ho’okipa Beach Park sits on the famous Hana Highway with a turnoff at mile marker #9, only a 10-minute drive from Paia. You will find plenty of parking spaces at Ho’okipa Beach Park, including a few parking spots on the street. After parking, follow the trail with the picnic tables and barbeque grills to get to the beach.
Best For: Avid windsurfers, turtles, and families looking for a day at the beach.
Sugar Cove Beach
Sugar Cove is part of the Spreckelsville Beach area and is one of the smallest North Shore beaches. It’s a great place for kids to get in the water, as most of the time, the waves at Sugar Cove are safe enough for kids to swim and enjoy water sports like bodyboarding.
As one of Maui’s less-popular North Shore beaches, you can expect Sugar Cove Beach to be less busy than its neighboring beaches. Therefore, it’s perfect for families and anyone looking to spend quality time away from the tourist crowd.
The beach has no amenities, but the grounds fronting it are gorgeous, with a carpet-like lawn surrounded by tropical plants and trees. It’s a little off the beaten path, and parking isn’t great, but it’s worth a visit if you’re looking for a quiet beach to enjoy.
Location and Parking: Sugar Cove is part of the Spreckelsville Beach area, so you can get here by following the same direction as heading to Spreckelsville Beach. From Paia town, take the Hana Highway West. Turn right at Nonohe Pl, approximately a mile after Baldwin Beach Park. Instead of turning right at Paani Pl, turn left, and you’ll end up at Sugar Cove.
Best For: Those looking for a quieter alternative to the busier North Shore beaches.
VOR Beach is a hidden gem on Maui’s North Shore. Located just behind the Kahului Airport, VOR Beach is a secluded tropical oasis, perfect for those looking for a quiet beach to relax. It’s off the beaten path, and few visitors know about this beach, so expect to find mostly locals here.
This beach is perfect for little kids to play in the water as it has a natural barrier just off the shore, making the water exceptionally calm. While many come here to relax and soak up the sun, some beachgoers enjoy activities like snorkeling, fishing, and kite surfing.
The main stretch of VOR beach links to the parking area, but you will find sections of the beach in both directions, which you can reach on a short walk. Its location close to the airport also makes it a great spot to see picturesque views of airplanes flying in and out of Maui.
Location and Parking: VOR Beach lies in a secluded area behind the Kahului Airport. The beach is slightly off the Hana Highway and can be reached when heading towards Paia by turning left on Stable Road. You can park your car in a sandy turnaround immediately above the shoreline.
Best For: Anyone looking for a quiet spot to relax or clam waters to swim in.
Mama’s Beach is a remarkably scenic small cove beach just past the town of Paia, bordered by a coconut grove and numerous tide pools. Its original name is Kuau Cove, but many call it Mama’s Beach because it’s right in front of the famous Mama’s Fish House restaurant.
Many come here to enjoy a swim or snorkel in its tide pools. Much of the reef gets exposed during the daily tide cycle, leading to the formation of shallow tide pools teeming with sea life. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear as there are no shops in the area to rent any.
The sandy shore of Mama’s Beach is also suitable for families looking for a place to relax before an unforgettable dinner. Although Mama’s Beach might seem private, it does not belong to Mama’s Fish House. It’s a public beach open to all but with limited amenities.
Location and Parking: Follow the signs heading to Mama’s Fish House on the Road to Hana. Mama’s Beach is about 1.4 miles past Paia. It’s a famous stopping-off point for those exploring the Road to Hana. Parking is at the entry to Mama’s Fish House.
Best For: For families with kids, dinner guests, and snorkeling in tide pools.
Kū’au Beach Park
While your best chance to see Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles is by joining a Maui Snorkel Tour, some North Shore beaches allow you to see these fascinating sea creatures up close. One is Kū’au Beach Park, which has a section dedicated to Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.
It’s important to note that touching the turtles on any of the Hawaiian Islands is a crime. Doing so can harm the turtles and comes with a hefty fine. It is also advisable to keep at least 10 feet between yourself and the turtles.
Kū’au Beach Park is a small beach and is mostly popular with local families who come here to hang out and fish. There’s a reef just off the shore, so it’s also a popular place to snorkel or play in the water, as the waves can be calm here on a good day.
Location and Parking: Kū’au Beach Park is just beyond Paia along the Hana Highway. To get here, take the Hana Highway through Paia and make a left into the dirt parking lot when you see the sign for Kū’au Beach Park. To get to the protected turtle cove, walk right facing the ocean, and you’ll see the area fronting a rock wall.
Best For: Seeing Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, snorkeling, and playing in the water.
Paia Secret Beach
Nestled between Paia Bay Beach and Baldwin Beach Park, Paia Secret Beach is a small, secluded, clothing-optional beach. Its seclusion comes from the lack of a road to get here. You’ll need to walk in from Paia Bay Beach or Baldwin Beach Park, but it’s a short walk.
We’ve found the water here calmer than the neighboring beaches due to the protective reef offshore, making it a safe place for kids to play in the water on good days. You won’t find amenities like toilets and showers here, but you’ll find some nearby at Paia Bay Beach. Paia Secret Beach is primarily popular with locals, so be respectful if you spend time here.
Location and Parking: To reach Paia Secret Beach, follow the same direction as going to Paia Bay Beach. Park in the parking lot for Paia Bay Beach and walk in from there. After parking your car, head west towards a small vegetated area at the far end of Paia Bay Beach.
Best For: Those looking for a secluded clothing-optional beach.
Kanaha Beach Park
Located along a vast expanse between Kahului Bay and Spreckelsville Beach, Kanaha Beach Park is a large but relatively quiet beach. It boasts spectacular views of the West Maui Mountains and Iao Valley, flanked by tall trees that offer a shaded area to relax and enjoy a picnic.
This is another one of North Shore’s off-the-beaten-path beaches popular with locals. You won’t find many tourists here. It has a local vibe, with many enjoying water sports like kiteboarding and windsurfing. Kanaha Beach Park has picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and a lifeguard. It also has a campground and BBQs where local families gather on weekends.
Location and Parking: Kanaha Beach Park is just off Amala Place near the Kahului Airport and has ample parking in two different lots. The directions take you through several small streets, so it’s best to have a map ready for this one.
Best For: Water sports enthusiasts and families looking for a spacious area to relax.
North Shore Beaches FAQ
If you’re looking for a quieter area in Maui with easy access to beautiful beaches, consider visiting the North Shore. Many beaches here offer a great blend of Maui’s more popular beaches without the crowds. Refer to the map above for a simplified view of Maui’s top areas, where many beaches in this post are located.
Are the Beaches on the North Shore of Maui Safe?
The North Shore of Maui is more exposed to changing weather, strong ocean currents, and dangerous shore breaks. Therefore, you must exercise caution when swimming or playing water sports on North Shore beaches. While many beaches have lifeguards on duty, some have none, especially the secluded ones. Before heading out into the water, know the weather and water conditions and always heed warnings.
What Is the Nicest Beach on the North Shore of Maui?
Most people consider Baldwin Beach Park the nicest among Maui’s North Shore beaches. The lovely beach park has recreational facilities such as a basketball court and a sheltered picnic area, perfect for families or anyone looking to enjoy the beach. Other beaches like Paia Bay Beach and Ho’okipa Beach Park are more suitable for enjoying water sports.
What Is the Best Time to Visit the North Shore Beaches?
While the waves at the famous surfing spots of the North Shore, such as Ho’okipa Beach Park, can reach up to 60 feet in the winter months, the North Shore beaches of Maui are relatively calmer during the rest of the year.
If you are more into snorkeling and swimming, try going to the North Shore in late spring to early fall when the conditions are smoother and calm around most beaches. But if you want to see the big waves, witness surf competitions, and watch professionals testing their skills, head out during the winter when the swells are huge, usually from December to February.
Meet the Authors
Aloha! We’re Justin and Katie, the owners of Maui Hideaway. We’ve been visiting Hawaii together with our family for 20 years and would love to share the experience of the islands with you. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or just some vacation advice, we’re here to help!
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