The 10 Best West Maui Beaches Near Kaanapali

Updated Dec 5, 2023 ,

Kaanapali Black Rock Backside

One of our favorite things about West Maui is the beaches. From large stretches of golden sand to small picturesque coves, there’s a variety of stunning beaches close to Ka'anapali, especially Ka'anapali Beach, which was once named America’s Best Beach.

Given the many beautiful beaches in West Maui, it’s no surprise why visitors love staying in the area. Aside from the gorgeous beaches, West Maui also boasts numerous accommodation options, and many have easy access to the most beautiful beaches.

Whether your idea of a beach day consists of lounging on the sand while soaking up the views or going out for a bodyboarding session before enjoying a cocktail from a nearby beach bar, West Maui will have something for you.

Below, check out our list of the best beaches near Ka'anapali.

Ka'anapali Beach

Ka'anapali Beach is one of the most popular beaches in West Maui. It has warm, clear waters that offer the perfect setting for enjoying various water sports. You can go snorkeling, surfing, paddleboarding, and swimming. Many tours also depart from here, such as snorkel tours, dinner cruises, and whale watching tours.

Ka'anapali Beach is also a paradise for relaxation. It has wide enough space to relax and soak up the sun while enjoying the views of your surroundings. You will find a range of amenities onsite, such as restrooms, showers, and beachside restaurants.

If you come to Ka'anapali to enjoy water sports, you will find shops offering equipment rentals. The beach is bustling with activities, from yoga to beach volleyball. It can get crowded on certain days, especially during the peak season. Whether you’re looking for an active day out or a relaxing afternoon in the sun, Ka'anapali Beach has something for everyone.

Location and Parking: It’s relatively easy to reach Ka'anapali Beach. Located along the West Coast, getting here requires a 45-minute drive from Kahului Airport. You will find various parking options at the beach, including free and paid public lots and street parking. However, parking can fill quickly, so arrive early to secure a spot.

Best For: Families, water sports, beach activities, snorkeling, shopping, and dining

Kapalua Bay Beach

Kapalua Bay Beach is a picturesque crescent-shaped beach on the northwest coast of Maui. With its turquoise waters and pristine white sand, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in West Maui. The calm waters and gentle waves make it a perfect spot for swimming and snorkeling.

Visitors can enjoy numerous water activities at Kapalua Bay Beach, such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and boogie boarding. In addition to its natural beauty, Kapalua Bay Beach has plenty of amenities to offer. Aside from having restrooms, showers, and changing facilities, there are beach equipment rentals and a beachside restaurant.

Kapalua Bay Beach is close to several world-class resorts, such as the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and the Montage Kapalua Bay, making it an ideal option for those seeking a luxurious experience. These resorts offer upscale accommodations, excellent dining options, and spa services.

Location and Parking: Reach Kapalua Bay Beach by driving along the Honoapiilani Highway, also called Highway 30, and then turning left in Napili on Napilihau Street. You can park at the beach’s parking lot. But come here early since it can fill up quickly during peak hours.

Best For: Families, water sports, and snorkeling

Napili Bay Beach

Napili Bay Beach is a crescent-shaped beach and another one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in West Maui. Given its white-sloping sand, crystal-clear waters, and typically gentle waves, it’s a great place to swim and play in the water.

Aside from being a popular spot for swimming, Napili Bay also offers excellent snorkeling opportunities and other water activities. While booking a Maui Snorkel Tour is the best way to spot green sea turtles, you usually have a good chance to see them at Napali Bay.

Despite being one of the most-visited beaches in West Maui, Napili Bay Beach maintains a relaxed and laid-back vibe. This beach doesn’t offer many amenities, but it does have restrooms and one of our favorite restaurants, the Sea House.

Location and Parking: Located on Napilihau Street, not far from Kapalua Bay Beach, Napili Bay Beach doesn’t have a parking lot. If you come here by car, you’ll have to park along the street. Parking can fill up quickly, so be sure to arrive early if you want a spot.

Best For: Families, snorkeling, sea turtles, and dining

More About Napili Bay Beach

Black Rock Beach

Nestled along the northern section of Ka'anapali Beach, Black Rock Beach is one of the most unique beaches in West Maui, renowned for its massive volcanic rock formation jutting out into the ocean and offering a picturesque backdrop for the crystal-clear water. A popular spot for snorkeling and cliff diving, Black Rock Beach is a haven for adventurous visitors.

Those brave enough can jump from the cliff, plunging into the deep ocean waters. Even if you’re not interested in jumping, you’ll enjoy seeing the daring cliff divers doing their stunts. Aside from cliff jumping, people come here for easy access to snorkeling.

The area surrounding Black Rock is a habitat for colorful fish and a fascinating variety of marine life, such as turtles and manta rays. Avid snorkelers will have fun exploring the underwater world while catching a glimpse of unique marine life.

Location and Parking: Drive to Ka'anapali, and you will find Black Rock Beach in the middle of Ka'anapali Beach. The area has various parking options, including paid public lots and street parking. But since it’s a popular spot, parking spaces can fill up on busy days.

Best For: Families, cliff jumping, snorkeling, sea turtles, and dining

Kahekili Beach Park (Airport Beach)

Kahekili Beach Park is an idyllic golden sand beach located at the northern end of Ka'anapali Beach. It’s one of the most family-friendly beaches in West Maui, best known for its calm waters, making it suitable for snorkeling, swimming, and paddle boarding.

Kahekili Beach Park offers several amenities for an enjoyable beachside experience. It has restrooms, picnic tables, benches, and showers. You can also find shops nearby to rent chairs, umbrellas, and gear for water sports. Thus, it has everything needed for a day at the beach.

One of the unique features of Kahekili Beach Park is its massive coral reef just off the shore. The reef is a habitat for fascinating marine life, such as colorful fish, sea turtles, and octopuses. In addition, the beach is located on the Ka'anapali Beachwalk, a scenic oceanfront path lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels, making it a convenient spot to spend the day.

Location and Parking: Located at the northern end of Ka'anapali Beach, Kahekili Beach Park can be reached by taking Highway 30 to Kai Ala Drive. There’s a large parking lot with plenty of spaces, but parking can be competitive given the popularity of this beach.

Best For: Families, snorkeling, water sports, picnics, and BBQing

Baby Beach

A favorite of local families with young kids, Baby Beach Lahaina is protected by an exposed stretch of reef, resulting in a calm and shallow area where kids can paddle safely. It is also home to abundant marine life, which makes it ideal for snorkeling. However, be mindful of shallow areas with coral heads and rocks that can cause scrapes and stubs.

Nearby amenities, such as free parking, picnic tables, and barbecue grills, make it ideal for a relaxing day at the beach. Like the entire West Coast of Maui, Baby Beach enjoys almost always great weather, while the beach boasts spectacular ocean views of the neighboring islands.

Located only a short walk from Lahaina’s Front Street, Baby Beach Lahaina offers convenient access to shops, art galleries, and dining options. As the sun sets, indulge in the breathtaking view of the golden West Maui sunset, creating an unforgettable beach experience for all ages.

Location and Parking: Baby Beach lies along the northern end of Lahaina Town and is only a short walk from the famous Front Street. You will find plenty of parking spaces in the nearby parking lot for a hassle-free beach experience.

Best For: Families, small children, and snorkeling

DT Fleming Beach

DT Fleming Beach is a long and expansive sandy beach along the coast of Kapalua in Maui. It has several amenities, including restrooms, showers, bars, and restaurants, including two of our favorites, the Burger Shack and the Banyan Tree.

DT Fleming Beach is a top spot for locals and visitors to swim and enjoy water sports like surfing and bodyboarding. However, the waves at this beach can get very strong. But for the more experienced swimmers looking for thrills, this beach can offer an exhilarating experience.

Safety is not a concern since a lifeguard tower is onsite, with lifeguards available daily. Many beachgoers tend to gather around the tower, leaving the sides of the beach empty, perfect for those looking for a bit of seclusion.

Location and Parking: You will find DT Fleming Beach at the end of Lower Honoapiilani Road, just off Highway 30 in Kapalua. Those bringing cars can use the large parking lot near the beach. Parking is free, and there are no time restrictions.

Best For: Surfing, bodyboarding, sunbathing, eating, and drinking

Slaughterhouse Beach

Located on Mokule’ia Bay, near Fleming Beach, Slaughterhouse Beach is part of the Honolua-Mokule’ia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. However, unlike nearby Honolua Bay, with rocky shores, it has a fine white sand beach that you can comfortably sit on.

Slaughterhouse Beach is surrounded by cliffs, making it secluded and difficult to reach for people with mobility issues. To reach the beach, you must descend a flight of stairs built into the side of the cliffs. It’s not difficult and makes for a fun off-the-beaten-path beach to explore.

During winter, well-formed giant waves can appear on Slaughterhouse Beach, making it a suitable spot for experienced surfers and boogie boarders to test their skills. However, the large surf can get dangerous, and even the most experienced must exercise caution when playing in the ocean. In summer, the waves are calmer, which makes it safer for beginner surfers. When the ocean is calm, snorkelers can enjoy snorkeling around the north point and towards Honolua Bay.

Location and Parking: To get to Slaughterhouse Beach, drive north on the Honoapiilani Highway, also known as Highway 30. You will find the beach and its small roadside parking area after Flemming Beach, just before Honolua Bay. From the parking area, take the path towards the concrete stairs with a railing to get to the beach.

Best For: Surfing, bodyboarding, snorkeling, and sunbathing

Oneloa Beach

Oneloa Beach is a secluded beach along the northwest coast of Maui in Kapalua. It’s renowned for its soft white sands surrounded by breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s usually uncrowded and offers plenty of space to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy fun beach activities.

The waves at Oneloa Beach can get powerful, especially in winter, so exercise caution when swimming. Oneloa Beach has few amenities. It is a simple beach with no restrooms, sun beds, benches, or lifeguards on duty. However, you will find ample parking spaces near the beach.

Aside from swimming and sunbathing, Oneloa Beach is a great place to take scenic hikes. The Kapalua Coastal Trail runs past here and is a nice trail to walk on to end your day.

Location and Parking: Drive along the Honoapiilani Highway towards Kapalua and turn left at Office Road. When you reach the end of the road, take a left towards Lower Honoapiilani Road until you reach an intersection. Follow the road to Ironwood Lane until you arrive at the parking lot. Parking is free, and there are no time restrictions.

Best For: Bodyboarding and sunbathing

Olowalu Beach

Olowalu Beach is a long strip of sand off the main highway coming into West Maui, sitting at the base of Olowalu Valley near the town of Olowalu. While it’s famous as a snorkeling spot, it’s also a nice place to lounge around and play with kids in the sand.

Like most beaches on Maui, mornings are the best time to visit Olowalu Beach. If you want to snorkel, you will be in for a treat. As one of Maui’s best snorkeling spots, Olowalu Beach is home to one of Hawaii’s largest ocean reef systems.

On your snorkeling adventure at Olowalu Beach, you could see large coral heads about several hundred years old and abundant marine life, including manta rays and blacktip reef sharks.

Location and Parking: Located south of Lahaina off the Honoapiilani Highway, getting to Olowalu Beach is easy. Drive along Honoapiilani Highway, and you will reach the beach about 6.5 miles from Lahaina. Park your car near the northern end if you want to lounge around on a beach chair. But if you’re here to snorkel, park closer to mile marker 14.

Best For: Families, sunbathing, and snorkeling

Other Beaches in West Maui

One of West Maui’s biggest draws is its overwhelming number of beaches. Aside from the well-known beaches like Ka’anapali Beach, Napili Bay Beach, and Kahekili Beach Park, you will find several hidden gems worth exploring. If you want to escape the crowds and explore some of the lesser-known beaches in West Maui, keep reading to learn more about these hidden gems.

  • Honokowai Beach Park – this is worth visiting if you’re looking for a child-friendly beach in West Maui. Nestled midway between Kahana and Ka'anapali, the beach occupies a 4.6-acre park along Lower Honoapiilani Road, where you will find a parking lot.
  • Hanakaoʻo Park (Canoe Beach) – connected to the south of Ka’anapali Beach, Hanakao’o is a beach park where outrigger canoes often launch. Hence, it’s also called the Canoe Beach. While it’s an excellent spot for swimming, it doesn’t offer the best condition for snorkeling due to poor visibility.
  • Pohaku Park (S-Turns) – this beach park may be one of the smallest beaches in West Maui, but what it lacks in size more than makes up for its lovely ambiance. Easily accessible from Kahana, the park is also known as “S-Turns Park.”
  • Launiupoko Beach Park – if you’re looking for a quiet spot to enjoy water sports, this beach is worth a visit. A mile south of Lahaina, Launiupoko Beach Park has spectacular surf breaks, making it an excellent destination for surfing and other water sports.

West Maui Beaches FAQ

Regions and towns of Maui

West Maui is an ideal base for your holiday to Maui since it has everything you need for a relaxed and fun-filled getaway. However, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the area, including where the best beaches are. The map above offers a simplified view of the island’s top areas, where many of the beaches in this post are located.

What Sunscreens Are Allowed in Maui?

Reef-safe sunscreens are the only type of sunscreens allowed in Maui. These sunscreens do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are dangerous to coral health. When looking for reef-safe sunscreens, choose those with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients.

What Is the Best Time to Visit the Beach?

The best time to visit the beaches of West Maui is in the dry season, which runs from May to October. West Maui enjoys lots of sunshine, warm weather, and calm ocean conditions during this period. Thus, it’s the best time for swimming and other water activities. Those who prefer to visit West Maui when there are not too many tourists can visit during the shoulder seasons, either in April or November. The weather is still pleasant, while the crowds are thinner.

Are the Beaches in West Maui Safe?

The beaches in West Maui are generally safe for visitors. However, you must be aware of potential hazards and exercise precautions, such as adhering to warning signs, ocean conditions, and lifeguard instructions. Rip currents are dangerous, especially during high surf. Visitors should also protect themselves from the sun and wear appropriate gear in the ocean.

Can You Camp on the Beaches in West Maui?

Camping on beaches in West Maui is generally not allowed. But if you wish to go camping, you will find campgrounds at Camp Olowalu, which offers the only camping facilities in West Maui.

Justin and Katie Busa

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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