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Best of Maui: Beach Edition

Discover the best Maui beach for you

The Vacationeer
Sea turtles in a picturesque cave on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

Editor’s Note: Read on for everything you need to know before you go regarding updates to quarantine requirements for Maui-bound travelers.

Hawaii's idyllic, sun-soaked beaches beckon visitors from all over the world. And Maui's are some of the very best. That said, it's hard to experience each one unless you're lucky enough to be staying for a month or more.

In honor of Hilton Grand Vacations' newest Hawaii resort, Maui Bay Villas by Hilton Grand Vacations, we're sharing our picks for Maui's best beaches ranked by activity. Whether you're looking to relax, surf or have fun with the whole ohana, there's a beach for you.

Best Beaches for Surfing: Cove Park and Ho'okipa Beach 

Surfing is the quintessential Hawaiian sport and the best place to catch a wave depends on your skill level. Cove Park on Kalama Beach in southwestern Maui is a great place for beginners. Learn the basics from the surf instructors you'll find on the beach seven days a week and ride the gentle waves while you finetune your new-found skills. 

More experienced surfers will want to hang 10 at Ho'okipa Beach along Maui's northern shore. This is where the pros practice. It's also where several high-profile windsurfing competitions take place each year. Just know that the waves can be massive and the rip currents strong. Use extra caution if you see orange flags up. 

Best Beach for Snorkeling: Kapalua Beach

With pristine white sand and a view of the island of Molokai, Kapalua Beach in northwest Maui consistently tops lists of Maui's most beautiful beaches. It's also one of the best for seeing marine life in full display.

Eels, sea turtles, urchins and a colorful array of tropical fish are just some of the sea life you can spot amid the beach's abundant coral. Waters are generally calm, thanks to those protective reefs that surround the crescent-shaped beach. For the best conditions and more accessible parking, head over in the early morning. 

Walk along the Kapalua Coastal Trail that hugs the beach for a fun land-based activity. This 2.5-mile hike takes you past dramatic shorelines, beaches, lava fields and other picturesque sites.

Best Beach for Relaxing: Keawakapu Beach

Head over to Keawakapu Beach for a beach that personifies the aloha vibe. This tranquil shoreline in southwest Maui is tucked away amid tourist favorites like Kihea Beach to the north and Wailea Beach to the south. The lack of crowds makes Keawakapu the perfect spot to unfurl a towel or a yoga mat.

You'll feel one with nature while spotting everything from sea turtles to whales to divers in the ocean's distance. Divers love Keawakapu for the artificial reef composed of junk cars, concrete slabs and tires a half-mile offshore.

One thing to know is that residential homes line most of the beach, making Keawakapu a little hard to find. Also worth noting is that there's no reef protecting the beach, creating waves that can be intense. 

Best Beach for Romance: Hamoa Beach

Romance is in the air at this secluded, crescent-shaped beach. Dig your toes into the picture-perfect white sand as you gaze at the cliffs that dramatically frame the crystal-clear waters.

Those willing to leave their better half's embrace can enjoy surfing, snorkeling and paddle boarding. Like Keawakapu Beach, there are no outer reefs to soften the tide, so the area is known for rough waters. 

Hamoa Beach is just off the Road to Hana, a scenic, 64-mile highway that winds around Maui's eastern perimeter. Cozy up with your special someone on this iconic drive.

Best Beach for Families: Napili Beach

Families have long flocked to Napili Beach along Maui's northwest shore thanks to the conditions afforded by its protective outer reefs. They keep big swells at bay, making Napili a safe place for families to swim, paddle board and more. 

This plentiful coral reef also houses tropical fish and sea turtles if snorkeling is on your agenda. Depending on the time of year, you might even spot whales in the distance.

It's worth sticking around for sunset because Napili has some of the island's best views. If the kids are "dying of hunger" beforehand, know that several restaurants are within walking distance.

Best Boardwalk: Ka’anapali Beach

If the hustle and bustle of a busy boardwalk is your jam, make plans to visit Ka’anapali Beach and its 1.5-mile boardwalk. It affords excellent views of whales, parasailers and surfers out towards the horizon. You'll also pass a wide variety of restaurants and shops. 

For even more retail therapy, consider a visit to nearby Whalers Village. This open-air, beachside mall has more than 90 stores and restaurants along with free events like hula shows and lei-making demos.

When it comes time to kick back after all that walking, find a spot on Ka’anapali's three miles of shoreline, Ka’anapali regularly tops lists of America's best beaches. You'll understand why when you see its powder white sand and bright turquoise waters. 

Another draw is the daily cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock on Ka'anapali's north shore. Each night around sunset, reenactors gather with torches to recreate the dive made by a traditional Hawaiian king. Fearless adventure travelers may even consider taking the plunge themselves. 

Discover Maui Bay Villas by Hilton Grand Vacations and the Many Benefits of Vacation Ownership

Another place to check out in addition to these great beaches is Maui Bay Villas. Hilton Grand Vacations’ first Maui timeshare property is an ultramodern beachfront resort overlooking Maalaea Bay. Relax in a spacious suite with stunning views, just steps from the beach, for a truly remarkable island vacation experience. Stay at Maui Bay Villas beginning September 2021, making now the perfect time to start planning your Hawaiian getaway.

Read 3-Day Getaway: Maui for more Aloha inspired vacation ideas.


The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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